If you're a designer who does some of your own photography, digital photography is a godsend. The freedom of being able to take photos for a client and then instantly download the files to your computer, without the costs of processing or scanning, seems almost too good to be true. Indeed, until recently, it generally was too good to be true due to quality limitations of most reasonably priced digital cameras. However, the recent onset of 5, 6 and more megapixel cameras at affordable prices has now made digital the only way.
The Forensic Evidence… How Digital Stacks Up from a Technical Perspective
Despite the advances in megapixel technology, the resolution you will get from a professionally drum scanned slide or negative is still about double the resolution you'll get from a 4 or 5 megapixel camera. [inset side="left" title=""]Despite the advances in megapixel technology, the resolution you will get from a professionally drum scanned slide or negative is still about double the resolution you'll get from a 4 or 5 megapixel camera. [/inset]This will not be a limitation on smaller shots, but if you're doing a poster or cropping an image for use for a magazine cover, you may run out of resolution. If, however, you are printing images at smaller sizes, you should see little, if any noticeable change in quality. The importance of resolution is also highly dependant on the method of printing you are using. If you are printing on a web press, on a copier or digital printer, or even on most offset presses, you are unlikely to see any quality difference between digital/film. The cases where you will see the difference is when your job is output on a linotronic device and is being printed on a top quality press, with metal plates and resolutions of 175+ lpi.
A Crime of Passion… The "Emotional" Side of Things
Given the technical side of graphic design and modern pre-press technologies, we often get extremely caught up in the finer points of colour fidelity and exact accuracy. On this basis, some designers have been willing to overlook digital as the colour fidelity is not yet quite what you would get with a print from film. Guess what - unless the "memory colours" (skin tones, sky, grass, etc.) are being reproduced incorrectly, the end user of your piece couldn't care less whether there is an exact colour match between your printed product and an original photo (an original photo which they will never see)! Additionally, some colours actually seem to be captured more vividly through digital means than through film. Reds, for instance, can often appear more vibrant captured digitally than through film.
We strive to be as accurate and current with our information as possible. Due to the infinite number of scenarios that occur in print & desktop publishing, we can not guarantee that the above information will be correct in all situations.