Thursday, January 25, 2007
Myths, Misinformation & Misunderstandings
Well-meaning reporters and marketing hype all contribute to problems in communicating digital information
Labels: Learning Center
•Cameras often are lumped together based on price for comparisons in ways that don't make sense based on their camera types. I recently read an article reviewing all sorts of different brands of advanced compact cameras that then included one digital SLR (of a brand that had advanced compact models, but wasn't represented there) and concluded that camera was best (knowing a little of the author, I don't think there were any motives to favor one brand, although he set himself up to look like that was true).
That's like comparing compact cars from Nissan, Toyota, Ford and GM, and then suggesting that an SUV from Dodge is in the same class and better. Although prices seemed similar on the surface (which is supposedly why the comparison was made), they really weren't. To match the advanced digital cameras' capabilities, the digital SLR would have needed to add lenses and some other accessories, increasing its price dramatically. That also changes the portability comparison of the cameras. It's difficult to compare digital cameras strictly on price because the feature sets on the cameras can be so different, especially when going across camera types.
Three Billion Printer DPI
Marketing types at manufacturers are responsible for the problem of hyped-up printer resolutions. It shows up in many publications masquerading as "just the facts, ma'am" sort of reporting. Consumer-oriented printers today will boast printing resolutions of 4800 to 5760 dpi. I've heard salespeople at mass-marketing stores like Best Buy tell customers that such resolutions mean they offer the best photo quality. Nonsense.
We've seen no evidence that anyone can see any real, visual difference in prints made with printer dpis higher than 1440. There are some claims that seem legitimate, stating that 2880 offers some slight advantage in printing out certain tonalities on specific papers, but we've yet to see any visual proof, short of putting a magnifier to the print (when was the last time you went to an art museum and used a magnifier on the paintings?).
But the high numbers sure look impressive on the printer boxes, right? Too many printer buyers are swayed by big numbers-power, power, power-even if they have no real effect. Well, actually, there is an effect; the printer is slowed down and it uses more ink.
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