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Another Look at APS Cameras

May 05, 1996

Re "A Shot in the Arm" (April 23): Advanced Photo System (APS) is not a new 35-millimeter system; 35mm cameras take 35mm film. APS cameras take the new APS film.

APS is not a digital system. It uses a normal photographic negative. However, it also magnetically records a small amount of information about the exposure to be used during the printing. There are digital cameras on the market that store images digitally, but APS cameras are not among them. (The quality of film-based systems is far superior to what is available in digital cameras.

The negative (the one you state doesn't exist), is stored inside the film cassette after processing rather than being cut in strips. The photofinishing equipment pulls the film out of the cassette, processes the negative and then uses the exposure information on the magnetic strip to create the print.

While the results will be better, there are limits to what can be done, and the results will never match what a custom photo lab can do with a hand-processed shot.

For the consumer, the smaller cameras, choice of picture format and higher percentage of "good" shots with an APS camera must be weighed against slightly lower quality from the smaller negative, the lack of one-hour processing, and the inability to use their current cameras and lenses with new cameras and film.

KEVIN TORY

Whittier

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