Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio September
BY BOB WALTERS
GETTING THE PICTURE
The first rule for neophyte digital-camera buyers: No
Devices that were once the height of modern technology
eight-track-tape players, Betamax video recorders now seem
downright quaint. Your good old camera, which requires film, soon
will be relegated to the same obscurity, a victim of the digital
But before buying a digital camera, you need to decide how you
are going to use the pictures you take. Will the camera be taking
low-resolution photographs at meetings for posting to a Web site?
Or will you want to print the pictures, which requires a
DIGITAL PHOTO ALBUM
In evaluating cameras, buyers have to decide how and where they
want to store images. Cameras come with a disk, which can be
upgraded to hold more images. The two most common formats are cards
called CompactFlash and SmartMedia or SSFDC (Solid State Floppy
Disk Card). While each has advantages, the CompactFlash format is
becoming more of the standard. Canon, Kodak and Nikon all primarily
use it. Both types store from 8 MB to 128 MB and range in price
from $30 to $300.
What about connectivity? While the storage cards are all-important
if you are going to take your pictures somewhere else for
developing, amateurs (that’s most of us) usually just transfer the
pictures to our PCs, from which we e-mail them to family and
friends. That being the case, make sure your camera supports the
correct cable for your PC: serial, parallel or USB. USB cable is
the new standard on PCs and peripherals, and transfers data faster
than either serial or parallel cables.
A LITTLE PIXEL
One limitation in digital cameras is the megapixels they hold. The
higher the number of megapixels, the fewer pictures that can be
stored but the greater the detail (resolution) in each picture.
So, what is a pixel? A pixel is a digital color square that,
when combined with other pixels, makes up the image on your
computer screen. That’s what choices like “1,280 by 1,024” refer to
in your monitor settings. The display is 1,280 pixels wide by 1,024
pixels tall. To determine megapixels, multiply the height times the
width 1,280 by 1,024 would be 1,310,720 pixels or 1.3
Confused? All this might be more information than most of us
need to replace our Brownies. We also could discuss optical zoom
vs. digital zoom (optical is better), battery life and
interpolation, but, if you are like me, the final decision will be
guided by what you can afford.
Having said that, how much should you pay for a digital camera?
The inexpensive, good-quality ones with limited zoom now run
between $250 and $400. These would include the Kodak DC215, Olympus
D-360L and Fuji FinePix 1400.
You can easily spend $1,500 or more. At that level, the feature
set, storage capabilities, shutter speed, zoom options and
attachments will rival high-end 35mm film cameras. A new entry in
this market is the Sony Mavica MCV-CD1000, which stores images on a
CD that fits in your CD drive on your PC no cables needed.
One word of caution: If photographs taken at a meeting will be
posted on your Web site, get releases from the people in the
pictures. Once you intend to put a digital image on the Web, you
will be “publishing” it. You need a disclaimer signed by your
subjects allowing you to use their images before you can put their
faces out for the whole wide world to view.
For more information on digital cameras, visit www.dcresource.com, where you
can read reviews, chat with digital camera owners and share your
pictures.Bob Walters, based in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, is the
founder of Phoenix Solutions and developer of MeetingTrak
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