Fri, Sep 07, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Photo competition irks shutter bugs

SNAP UNHAPPY:The Tourism Bureau has said that high-definition requirements for the photo competition submissions are necessary to avoid quality issues

By Tsai Wei-chi and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

A screenshot of the Tourism Bureau Web site taken on Tuesday shows the announcement of a travel-themed photo competition.

Photo: Tsai Wei-chi, Taipei Times

A photography campaign launched by the Tourism Bureau to boost the tourism industry has been criticized by photography enthusiasts, as they would need to have a camera with a resolution of at least 16 million pixels to meet the minimum requirement to compete in the event.

The campaign, which runs through Oct. 31, would select a series of photographs that best capture the nation’s highlights in categories of cuisine, shopping, culture, lifestyle, ecology and romance. The winner in each category would receive NT$80,000 in prize money.

According to its official Web site, the competition is aimed at finding pictures that truly embody the theme “Time for Taiwan” (旅行台灣、就是現在) and could draw international attention, rather than focusing on the participant’s photographic techniques.

However, one article in the competition requirements, which states that the pictures must be made with a high-definition digital camera with a resolution of at least 16 megapixels, has disgruntled many photography enthusiasts.

Some amateur photographers said that most digital single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras, such as the Nikon D700, have a resolution of no more than 12 megapixels, despite already costing more than NT$60,000.

“If we wish to sign up for the competition, we would have no choice but to spend some extra cash on a new camera, because most 16 megapixel cameras have only been released on the market very recently,” they said.

Taipei Photographic Supplies Commercial Association chairman Wu Jung-pin (吳榮濱) said that while a 16 megapixel camera has become the standard for models released this year, with some cameras priced at just NT$4,000, most advanced SLR cameras currently used by amateur photographers fell below that standard.

“Even if their advanced SLR cameras were manufactured by Nikon and Canon, only a handful of those models would be fitted with a 16 megapixel lens, which means they must buy a new one,” Wu said, adding that it was reasonable that enthusiasts were discontent with the requirement.

However, Wu said that the requirement was also justifiable should the winning pictures need to be enlarged and made into promotional materials, but added that the event should prize photographic techniques and the works itself above camera models, because “a host of fine pieces were actually taken by [average] mass-produced cameras.”

Eric Lin (林坤源), director of the bureau’s international travel division, said that as winning photographs were to be used as the nation’s promotional materials in foreign countries, only photographs taken with a 16 megapixel camera could be properly magnified or enlarged without losing their sharpness.

“The bureau has also launched another similar photography competition that does not set a requirement for the resolution of pictures, and also offers a wealth of prizes such as an automobile and a motorcycle. People [who do not have a 16 megapixel camera] are encouraged to sign up for this event instead,” Lin said.

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