Gore is Vice President of Praxis International, Inc.
Technical Training, Consulting, and Publishing since 1988
Digital with Your Photography
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reading about digital cameras and talking with several of my friends who
own one, I decided a digital camera would solve two of my personal
photography challenges - too many photos of poor quality that I never
got around to discarding and some good photos laying around uncatalogued
in various places. With digital photography, I could simply erase the
bad photos and easily catalog and store the good photos on my hard drive
or zip drive. I could also easily share digital photos with friends and
family via e-mail or on the web.
course, digital photography comes at a price. In researching prices
through various mail order catalogs of computer supplies, I found that
digital cameras from leading manufacturers like Canon, Casio, Fuji, HP,
Kodak, Nikon, Olympus, and Sony ranged in price from $279 to $1299, with
most of the offerings in the $499 to $999 range. These cameras offer a
lot of "bells & whistles," including high resolution (1-3+
mega pixels), zoom lenses, fast shutter speeds, self timers and the
digital cameras also feature LCD displays that show the image you've
just taken. Plus, some of these digital cameras can also be used as
video camcorders. The images are stored on internal memory in the
camera, on removable "picture cards" or "sticks," or
on regular floppy disks. (A floppy disk, for example, may hold up to
forty still images in the industry standard JPEG format.) Picture cards
and sticks add to the total cost and range in price from $69 to over
$300 depending upon memory and how many pictures you want to store.
was looking for a digital camera that would be comparable to the cameras
I take on vacation. On vacation, I want something small, light and
inexpensive. If my camera gets lost or stolen I don't want to feel too
badly about it. I have found that the disposable flash cameras for $7 to
$10 meet my needs and the photos they produce are acceptable for family
use. Developing costs are about 12 to 20 cents per photo on a "buy
one set of prints and get one set free" basis. So, counting the
cost of the camera and the developing costs, a photo costs me from 35 to
40 cents. If I exclude the poor quality photos I should probably throw
away, I think a good guess is that I'm paying a dollar a photo.
my needs, and with some knowledge of what's available in the
marketplace, I was ready to begin to narrow my search for a digital
camera. Everyone I talked with who owned a digital camera recommended
"the higher the resolution the better" approach. I was told I
needed a least one mega pixel and preferably higher. One mega pixel is
approximately equal to a resolution of 1152 x 864 on a computer screen.
I did some research and found that the resolution of film is equivalent
to 12 to 15 mega pixels-much higher than the 1-3+ mega pixels most good
quality digital cameras produce. Yet, the quality of digital photos I
had seen had been remarkably good.
practically, I considered that although my computer monitor had a
resolution of only 800 x 600, the images are very clear. I also used my
scanner to see what kind of results I got when I scanned in photos at
low resolution. The quality of the scanned photos was acceptable to me.
I considered that I would not be printing my photos. I have a
high-quality laser printer, high-quality dot-matrix printer, and a
bottom-end color inkjet printer with a 600 x 600 d.p.i. resolution. I
did not want to upgrade my printers and I also did not want to buy
expensive paper for printing high-quality photos. Storing photos on my
hard drive or on a Zip disk and sharing photos via the web were my
found the camera that fit my needs in a TigerDirect.com
catalog. It is a Largan Chameleon. At 3.4" long by 2.2" high,
the camera is the size of a credit card. (The width is 1".) The
small size combined with the light weight-5.5 oz including carrying case
and 2 AA batteries-make it ideal for travel. Moreover, it can be used as
a digital camera, pc camera, or video camera. Other features include a
macro mode (close-up focusing at 8"), flash, and self-timer. At
$119.99 I thought it was a great deal.
trade-offs are that the resolution is 640 x 480, it does not have a
removable memory device, and it does not have the LCD feature that
allows you to view the image just taken. However, with its internal
memory, the Largan stores up to 128 images, which is more than I use on
a vacation or holiday. Additionally, the Largan features a USB interface
for downloading the images to my computer. A USB interface was one of my
requirements because the USB interface on my Compaq CPU is conveniently
located in the front of the unit.
the software that came with the camera for downloading and editing the
photos was easy and trouble-free. Instructions for using the camera were
also complete and easy to follow.
The Greg Gore Web Site on Computers and the Internet (www.GregGore.com)
column was published in the Daily Local News, West Chester, PA on October
11, 2000.. Greg Gore can be
reached at gg@GregGore.com.
2009 by Greg Gore. All rights reserved.