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Digital Camera Redux

We received a number of interesting comments about my articles relating to digital cameras. Among them was someone who wanted to take 5,000 pictures of an entire town (sounded like the QuickTake could handle it well), and a note from Chris Kimm <[email protected]> of Kinko’s commenting that you can test drive a QuickTake 150 from any Kinko’s store for $5 per hour or $25 per day. Several folks noted that the QuickTake’s CCD (the hardware that records the image) is probably at fault for the mediocre image quality, not its optics. In addition, Bruce Norikane <[email protected]> sent a pointer to a Web page his company has created listing available digital cameras. Basic specs and prices are included, so you can get a sense of how expensive these puppies can get. DigitalCameraGuide.html

Lee Zimmerman <[email protected]> writes:

You mentioned in your comments about the little Fargo dye sublimation printer that it would be nice to have an affordable, quality way to distribute digital images on paper. I bought a HP DeskWriter 855C a few weeks ago and have been impressed. At $550 it costs more than the Fargo printer but has the advantages of (1) being a near-laser-quality black and white printer, (2) being a near-photographic quality color printer, and (3) printing on 8.5" x 11" media. The color on this printer is not quite dye sublimation quality, but definitely acceptable. HP now has a new plastic-coated paper that is expensive (about $1 sheet) but makes the color output look even more like a photograph.

My parents are currently traveling the country in their motor home and I volunteered to publish a newsletter for them. They send me photos and text each month and I distribute the finished product. The first production run on the new printer was last weekend and I was extremely satisfied with the results. Also, I’m not much of a letter writer, but have been using the printer with Avery postcard stock to print quick color postcards to send to family members.

Matthew Hawn <[email protected]>, Macworld Online’s production editor, writes:

I thought I’d pass on some experiences with the Kodak DC40 and the threaded lens mount. Macworld Online is using a DC40 as a down-and-dirty option to get photos online fast. We’re happy with the image quality and the storage the camera offers but less happy about the downloads from the camera. Kodak told us there is a new version of the Photo Enhancer software in the works that will move compression from the camera to your Mac (where it belongs). They claimed we’d get something new before December, but they didn’t mention if it would be Power Mac native.

When we got the camera, we were working with beta versions of everything, so none of the optional lenses were available. Thanks to the helpful staff at Adolph Gasser, our local photography store, we put together a great collection of lenses for considerably less than many of the ready-made kits. Here’s what we got:

  • a $20 Tiffen 37 to 49 step-up ring (this adaptor ring lets you use a wide range of standard lenses and filters with the camera)
  • a $50 Hoya close-up kit (three 49 mm lenses: +1, +2, +4)
  • an $80 Kenco wide-angle conversion lens kit (a 1.5x lens (KCT15) and a 0.5 lens (KCW05)). Kenco makes lenses for video cameras but they use the same threading as the Kodak camera.

The only other problem we’ve had with the Kodak and the extra lenses is the time it’s taken to adapt to the lack of a decent viewfinder. Using a special lens throws off the field-of-view even more than normal. It takes a lot of practice to make sure that you’re framing your subject properly, and we take many extra photos to be sure. After all, it’s not like we’re wasting film, just bits.

[Macworld Online requires authentication, but I discovered it works with the username "guest" and password "guest". -Adam]

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