Jul 22, 2004, 6:31 PM
Post #5 of 16
I third (or fourth) the motion for digital. I'm moving to Mazatlan in a week; I spent a week there about a month ago, and for the first time in my life I regretted not having a camera.
Re: [tfyoung] Digital Camera / Internet Cafe ?
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So when I came back to U.S. one of the first things I did was get a digital camera. Got myself a Canon Powershot S410. This thing is sooooooooooo cool. I don't know the first thing about photography, yet all I have to do is point and click and I'm taking really decent photos! I can plug the camera into my Mac laptop and the photos are automatically uploaded (downloaded?) so I can view them, right there, or shrink them (to send to friends, otherwise they're quite large), crop them, I can do all kinds of stuff.
There were so many funny sights in Mexico that were made bittersweet because I wasn't able to record them. My favorite was when I saw a man and his child riding on one of those four-wheel motorcycles. Of course in Mexico, only one rider needs to wear a helmet, and you'll sometimes see whole families on a scooter, where, in obeyance of the law, only one rider is wearing a helmet. However, in this case, both the man and his son were wearing helmets. Why do I find that amusing? Because the four-wheel motorcycle was in the bed of a pickup truck that was stopped at a red light!
I don't know, I guess you had to be there. A truly charming scene, and I missed capturing it for posterity, all because I didn't have one of these really cool cameras.
Well, no more! The other great thing about these cameras is that they're really small. Mine's about the size of a pack of cigarettes, maybe a little fatter. The plan is to carry the thing with me in a pocket or one of those hipsacks(?) I keep seeing people wearing, so it's at the ready when the next memorable scene comes my way.
If you go ahead and purchase one, I'd recommend getting a bigger memory card. Mine came with a 32MB card, which you'd think would be really big, and it is, but these pictures are huge! Mine's a 4MP (four mega-pixel) camera, so every picture I take ends up being something like 2MB when JPEG-encoded. So we're talking maybe 16 pictures before I run out of memory, which isn't bad, because I can always download (upload?) them to my laptop at the end of the day, but still, I'd hate to be made to miss a picture because I ran out of space. In hindsight, I should've gone for less mega-pixels. I mean, 4MP pictures are HUGE, we're talking about pictures that are 2272x1704 pixels. In comparison, most computer monitors do 1280x1024 or so. My monitor does 1600x1200, and still I have to scroll to see the whole picture. Who needs pictures that big?
There's also an aesthetic factor here. I took a close-up picture of my brother recently, and it wasn't a terribly bad shot, and he's a fairly decent looking dude, but when you blow the picture up, every little imperfection in his skin, including pimples and wrinkles (and don't tell him I said this, but gray hairs) is recorded in perfect digital clarity. Seriously, who amongst us really wants to be photographed using these things? Point one my way and you'll probably want to set the camera for a fast shutter speed, because I'm running in the opposite direction. And I might be tubby, but baby, I can really scoot when I need to.
Another feature in these cameras (at least in mine, maybe not yours, I don't know) is that it lets you actually take motion pictures. I haven't used it yet, as the documentation is rather intimidating, but it sounds like it could be really useful, and I'm sure it can only benefit from having lots of memory. I was taking a bus to the Golden Zone in Mazatlan once, and for most of the trip you're riding adjacent to the ocean. Mazatlan has pelicans like New York City has pigeons. I like pigeons well enough, but pelicans are cooler. Especially when you're hanging out the window of a bus and a pelican is gliding maybe 10 feet above you on a course and at a speed approximately that of the bus. If I had taken a motion picture of that, I'd be hanging a genius sign on my door right about now.
Alas, all I could do was applaud. Again, I guess you had to be there.
You can get flash memory cards as big as 2GB if you want to. It costs more than the camera probably will, but then we're talking about the ability to take an insanely huge amount of photos in a single session, somewhere around a thousand I guess. That's like being out all day (16 hours) taking a 4MP picture every minute. Crazy. But it's really, really cool that you can do that if you want to.
As a kid I always thought that I'd be driving flying cars in the 21st century, or taking that Pan Am Shuttle to the moon, like Stanley Kubrick (sort of) promised us. It's sort of disappointing that none of that stuff has made it into reality. However, there is a lot of cool stuff that has made it to shelves, and I think the digital camera is at or near the top of that list.
To boldly go where no wig has gone before.