Subject: Travel Cameras
Hello Travelers with Cameras:

I know we have these digital versus film discussions from time to time, but as an advocate of digital I thought that I would relate what I did over the last few weeks.

First, Jan has an Olympus 2800 Zoom which she loves. It is her second for the first died last year and some friends gave her theirs which they were no longer using having gone to digital. I think her photos are really quite nice. Nevertheless, I bought her an Olympus Stylus 400 Digital for Christmas (still on backorder, so on the perfume box I added a picture of the camera). I chose it for its simplicity of use. Slide open the lens cover and she can fire away. She is coming into the digital age kicking and screaming, My 2800Z works just fine, why do I need a digital camera? Instant gratification, dear, is my response. If looks could kill..... I suspect that we will take the digital along on trips, but guess who will be carrying it?

Second, I have a Kodak 4800 which I bought several years ago. It takes great photos at 3.2 MP and I really have not been disappointed. Its drawback is that it is not quick and it does not take MPEG's, but the more I get them from others the more I am convinced that they are nice, but not a necessity. I have been tempted to buy a more advanced camera, but other than resolution I have not been able to sell myself yet. I think that my quest is for speed and versatility, but the digitals that promise that 35mm speed are up around $1,500 to 2,000 USD before you get to the extras such as memory cards, etc.

Third, my friend, Steve, and his wife decided to clean out his attic. In his attic was a safe that he cannot open despite the fact that he has the combination. He decided to give it to me (I have a fair amount of success in opening safes, but that is a story (or stories) for another time) and he drove it out to my home. It took the both of us to put it in the basement. After having deposited it in the basement, Steve announced (after a glass of Chardonnay) that he was disappointed in his Nikon digital (5 MP) and he was thinking of going back to 35mm. Moreover, he was going to a small camera shop which has been in Arlington, MA since the beginning of time to have his Nikon 35mm whatever refurb'ed. He is not the first person over the last few weeks to mention that same disappointment.

It was at that point when I told him that I had a nice Nikon 4004 that did not work, but I had a great 28 to 85mm lens and another 75 to 300mm lens which I regretted could not be used on my digitals. Moreover, I, too, was disappointed in the lack of ability to get quick shots in the digital. He offered to take the 4004 to the shop to get it repaired. I was sold. A few minutes later (he drives a Beemer very fast) he called to tell me that the 4004 would cost $200 to repair, but that I could get a brand new Nikon 75 for about the same price. The repair guy offered him $300 USD for my lens alone. What the heck. I did not win the lottery this week, so I decided to spend something on myself. After the purchase I read the reviews of the 75 which are not bad at all.

Today, Steve came out with the new N75 and the old, seemingly irreparable N4004. The new camera works like a charm, quick and efficient and with my old lenses. In the process we decided to take the 4004 apart to see why it was not working. As it turned out, the Manual/Automatic switch on the front is sticking and we got the thing to work just fine. Okay, I now have four perfectly great 35mm cameras (I did not mention the 32 year old Mamiya or the Oly 200QD 35mm). I think on the next trip I am going to take the N75, the Oly 400 (if it arrives), the Kodak 4800 and Jan's 2800Z. The difference, however, is that I will concentrate on the N75. I believe that there are yet some situations in which the speed of the 35mm outweighs the instant gratification of the digital.

We will see how the next batch of photos turn out. I think that I can wait for the processing.

Tom shooting everything in Carlisle but not digitally.