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Mike Roddy from Shutterbug
Talks About Digital Photography


by Eileen Adams
Where DOES a 2 million-pixel file sit?*
Digital photography has been around for a long time--over 50 years in the magazine and motion picture industries, according to Mike Roddy, manager of Shutterbug Cameras in Santa Rosa. Mike came to our March meeting to talk about digital photography and show us some of the new toys he has for sale. The only problem with the new digital cameras is that they sell so fast that he cannot keep them around. Luckily I brought mine!

So what is new in digital photography? The fact that it is now available to the general public. Photography without film involves 2 challenges: storing the image and downloading it to the electronic darkroom for processing. Mike showed us cameras from 2 different manufacturers representing 2 different solutions to these challenges. As Mike described them, both cameras looked pretty much like cameras. (As opposed to what? Uzis?)

Sony has adapted a keep it simple approach. It stores files in a jpeg format on 3 inch floppies. Transferring the file is as simple as reading the disk. The downside? Files are limited to 1.44 megabytes. Olympus, on the other hand, uses smart media cards available in increasingly large capacities. The downside here is that the files must be downloaded to your computer through your (slow) serial port.

So what is the direction of the future?

According to Mike, 99% of this year's new cameras will use smart media cards to accommodate their 2 million-pixel images. The most exciting development is a flash path, a device which looks like a floppy disk in a space suit which enables you to read a smart media card in a regular floppy drive. It has its own power source and drivers. We were unable to get it to work in the lab, but the idea is really cool.

Visit Mike at his store on Santa Rosa Avenue and identify yourself as a member of our user group and you will receive his special attention.

*Wherever it wants to.




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