Subject: Re: Digital photography
Hi everyone.

I would like to comment on some recent postings by Jim in Redmond, Paul Di Biase, and Mike and Fran Rhodes. If you have seen some of my previous postings, you will note that I am a PC user who is most interested in digital photography and DVD creation. These are an important part of any trip we take. We were hybrid for a couple of years since my wife took snapshots, but now we are basically all digital, save for the scrapbooks that my wife and daughter like to make with coupons, receipts, menus, etc. I also use some of the material I generate for the classes I teach, e.g., I use video of a trip to the University of Padua, where Galileo taught, in my history of psychology course.

1. Jim in Redmond, WA (there has to be a bit of irony about this considering where he lives), argues for a Mac.

I have car pooled with a Mac enthusiast for over 20 years. Staying in a carpool for that long is harder than staying married, so we talk very little about our computer preferences. Dwelling at length on this issue also takes us beyond the scope of TheTravelzine, but I would certainly agree with Jim _if your primary interest is in graphics_. In my own case, I use a PC because I need various statistical applications where PC software is far more abundant and for its lower cost. This is clearly a case of YMMV, but certainly do look at the Mac.

2. Paul Di Biase commented on the problems of archiving, expense, and related differences between professionals and amateurs, opting for a hybrid approach. Mike and Fran Rhodes agreed, pointing out mechanical problems they have had.

Paul makes the excellent point of needing to obtain more secure archiving than simply assuming a CD will last forever. However, I have CDs I burned five years ago that show absolutely no signs of deteriorating. More critically, I update the most critical one every year as I return from vacation, which takes virtually no time since they are easy to store on the computer in a readily retrievable form (how many of you can find pictures you took five years ago?). I may be a bit of an obsessive compulsive, but it takes roughly 5 minutes for me to burn all my photos onto a CD and less time to add them to an existing disk. You can copy them back onto hard disks of new computers to keep them indefinitely. With large modern hard disks, the space is hardly a problem

In addition, don't forget the various problems you have getting film through airport scanners, as I have never heard of any problems with flash memories in this regard. Think of the beauty of being able to preview an important picture or not having to worry about whether 35 mm film has fed properly (a problem I once had). In addition, I don't particularly find it a problem to save and print the pictures. When I return from our major trip, I have about 600 pictures, which I can transfer to my PC in a couple of minutes Has a processor ever lost your film? Deciding which pictures to delete and which to print for our scrapbook is hardly work--it is a pleasure considering our standard of living is usually reduced considerably for a period of time after our AMEX bills arrive from the vacation trip. The cost of these prints has become minimal with the drop in photo paper cost. Again, YMMV.

The basic cost of digital cameras need not be anywhere near the $2000 to $5000 Paul cites nor do you need to turn over the equipment that frequently. I agree that the rapid evolution of the digital equipment in the late 90s made one feel more frequent needs to upgrade, but, as much of a junkie I am, I only bought two cameras in six years and gave the first to my daughter. Things are now much more stable since newer models upgrade resolutions beyond what most of us need My current still equipment cost less than $750, including two lenses, and my camcorder/DVD cost around $1200 total. I have had the former three years and the latter two with no urge for anything resembling a major purchase.

Mike and Fran argue for thorough study. I could not agree more given the fact that even though I feel the money I spent was well worth it, it was not trivial and there certainly are those unhappy with the results. I hope that this discussion is also illuminating.

Ira H. Bernstein Dallas, TX