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Have you ever gone to hear a speaker and found out it was you? This is what happened to Steve Rosenblatt of Glen Ellen at the last Sonoma Valley Computer User Group's last meeting, November 14, 1998. Due to a scheduling mix-up, Mike Roddy, our scheduled speaker, was not in attendance. (Mike has agreed to reschedule and show us some of the nifty things coming out soon.) Before we could ask, "Is there a doctor in the house?" Steve volunteered to show us the digital camera he had brought with him and tell us about it.
In preparation, our president, Barbara Heiman, gave a brief introduction to digital cameras in general. In order to use a conventional photo in a computer document, you must scan the photo (or negative) thus making a digital representation of an analog photo. A digital camera allows you in effect to photograph and scan at the same time. The camera transforms your image into a digitized or pixel-based file which can be loaded into your computer. At this stage most digital cameras are limited to a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels, the same as the lowest resolution computer screen.
Steve's camera is a Sony1 which he purchased about 6 months ago for about $700. He uses it in his business and says it has more than paid for itself. It stores picture on a floppy disk, which can hold 20 to 25 pictures at the highest resolution. While not publication quality, the images are more than adequate for his construction business. The camera includes a good telephoto lens and flash. It features 5 modes: color, black and white, sepia, pastel and negative and is good on batteries, operating for 173 minutes on a set of batteries.
Steve says he takes pictures differently than on a conventional camera. He takes lots of pictures and then deletes the ones he doesn't like. Also, since it takes seven seconds to transfer the picture to the floppy disk, he can't shoot as rapidly as with a conventional camera.
It is possible to make prints from a digital camera disk, but it is expensive. It is better to make color prints from the computer and use coated paper for important images. However, since ink-jet prints fade faster than conventional photographs, writable CD-ROM will ultimately be the most important storage device for archiving valuable prints.
Barbara mentioned that Iomega has announced a storage device called CLICK, providing a disk the size of a matchbook which holds 33 megabytes, which should be very important in the field of digital photography.
Steve demonstrated his camera by taking several pictures during the meeting which we then viewed on the computer and printed out. We appreciate Steve's presentation. It was a classic demonstration of the benefit to the club of recruiting new members with various areas of expertise.
It was also a perfect demonstration of the willingness to take responsibility which we need from our members. We thank Steve and look forward to his continued participation in our user group.