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I didn't know whether to put this under computer...since it is mostly digital
photography. My Olympus OMPC 35mm is collecting dust in the closet (I think
that's where it is), so it's the digital age but still photography.
Important Note - if you are
downloading pictures to your computer, make sure you have a backup
system in place(see section below). I have repaired a few peoples pc's
that the harddrive crashed and there was no way to retrieve their pictures. In
one instance I had to purchase an identical harddrive off e-bay for an exuberant
price, removed the controller card off the good one and replaced it on the
crashed drive and luckily i was able to retrieve them. It is a very hard lesson
Sharing Photos (or posting
These super-duper cameras nowadays are producing fantastic
quality pictures. They can be printed and or viewed with very high quality.
The cameras are taking photos good enough to print a very high quality 8x10"
or larger picture for your wall, and that is in regular mode on the
camera, you could switch the camera to high quality and have a picture good
enough to print a poster...
BUT...most people aren't printing their
pictures for posters or 8x10's or even 5x7's, heck some people aren't even
printing them. They are viewing them on their computer, sending them in
emails, and posting them on websites.
So what's the problem?
The pictures filesizes are huge in computer terms, some
cameras are taking 2 megabyte pictures in default mode. The picture files
size are a combination of resolution and dpi (all covered in a different
section on this page). The biggest problem is they create huge resolution,
which is ok if you wanna zoom-in on the family picnic photo to see if Aunt
Jane really had a zit. The big file sizes slow down peoples internet
connection, either by taking forever to retrieve their email or bringing up
a webpage, plus some people still do dial-up for their internet
connection(approx 5 minutes per megabyte on a 56k connection). The big file
sizes can also just slow down the person's email once it is in their email
when they hi-lite the item.
So why don't I need that high resolution?
Most camera's are taking 2048x1536 or better, you really
don't need that because you computer screens resolution is probably less
than 1024x768(your actual is listed below in red). If you viewed that 2048x1536 on your monitor that
was set at 1024x768 at full view, you would only see 1/4 of the picture, so
you zoom out to be able to see the whole picture.
Your current screen resolution is :
How can you reduce your pictures for sharing?
There are a few different ways.
- easy to medium difficulty - if you have
Windows XP, goto http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx and download and install the "Image Resizer". This will allow
you to use Windows Explorer to right-mouse on pics and reduce them as
needed, with the advance option of not renaming them if you want. If you use
the default option of renaming, then I would rename the pic to get rid of
the parathesis (some systems don't like parathesis in a
filename). Oh there is other cool stuff on the powertoys
Vista image resizer - http://sourceforge.net/project/platformdownload.php?group_id=224498
another nice one - http://www.powerhourgame.com/windows_vista_image_resizer_powertoy_prish_image_resizer.htm
- easy to cumbersome but with many rewards (only
option if you don't have Windows XP) - download a program like
www.irfanview.com (which is an awesome little
program) and open the picture and do "Image, Resize/Resample, half (or make
it whatever size you want)". This program has many many other features, it
just takes a little experimenting and playing with. This program will: open
many different types of picture formats(including animated gifs), batch
conversion of pictures to convert almost all aspects of picture, slide show
viewer, and it's pretty small.
- easy using what you have - if you have Windows XP and
use Outlook Express for your email. With XP's Windows Explorer, select them
and email them to yourself, then save them out of the email to another
directory. Here is a step by step on how to to it: http://www.geekgirls.com/windows_email_photos.htm#xp (also
other good info on that webpage)
- easy to difficult using what you
have - if you have Windows XP and don't use
Outlook Express for your email, you can still utilize the photo reduction
part of XP. You might have to setup Outlook Express with a dummy account.
Just do the steps before, but once you get to the message where the pictures
are attached, goto "c:\documents and settings\YOURPROFILE\local
settings\temp" and copy them out of there to another place, then cancel the
Other ways to share you photos
- www.snapfish.com - (aka HP photoshare) its free, easy to
use. you create albums, upload pictures, then send people kinda secure links
to people by email for them to visit the album.
- http://new.photos.yahoo.com/ - never
used it, but have visited peoples photos and it looks pretty cool.
- www.ofoto.com - (ada Kodak) - sharing and printing
Back 'em up
I cringe when someone gives me their computer and I ask them
is there anything on it that they need and they say "all my pictures". So the
next question is "Do you have them backed up?"..."ah no"...OH...it makes my
job that much more intense to make sure I don't blow away all their
I know some people don't want to become a computer techie just
to learn how to back up their photos, but in this instance you need to learn
or do something because there will be no "shoebox" in the closet to dig though
years from now and laugh at yourself wearing that oh so 80's haircut if your
harddrive crashes after collecting 5 years of pictures.
Here are ways to do it:
- First and foremost, learn how to organize them in your
computer. Many people just copy them all into one directory, then after
awhile you have one big mess and trying to find things is a
- Create sub-directories for subjects/events. ie: for
vacations - under "My Pictures" create a directory called "Vacation", then
under that create a sub-directory like "2006-DisneyWorld". for kids
birthdays - under "My Pictures" create a directory called "Birthdays",
then under that create a sub-directory like "2006-LittleJohnny".
- Windows XP has a copy function that pops up when it
recognizes a external drive that has photos on it and you can go through
its wizard to move pictures from the camera(external drive) to "My
Pictures" or wherever you would like to put them. The only downfall is it
renames(with a prefix) all your photos in which could be a good
- Back them up to something. NOTE -
keep the originals at their original size, you never know when you might
want to print a really good picture(of that 80's haircut) and if you
have reduced the resolution or quality it might not come out good.
- CD-DVD - Most new computers are coming with DVD-RW's and
XP provides easy built in utilities to back stuff up. Some of the cameras
and printers also come with utilities to manage your photos, these
programs are iffy, I would not suggest using those programs because people
get used to using them and if they change computers or somehow lose
software somehow you can't find/get it anymore. Advice - use RW's
(read-writable) so you can reuse them or maybe you don't want to
- CD - this way is a good way but very time consuming
because most people have more than 650 megabytes of pictures due to file
size (covered elsewhere on this page) and you would have to do
- DVD - this is a very good way, but here again a DVD is
4.6 gigabytes which is alot but if you have accumulated a couple years
of photos and take alot of pictures, your gonna go over that 4.6gigs
easily and your gonna have to take some time to back them up properly
ensuring you get them all.
- External Harddrive - This is the most bestest (is
that phrase allowed). It's fast(compared to writing
CD's/DVD's) and portable. You can either buy one already together OR
buy an "USB harddrive enclosure" and an regular internal IDE harddrive(the
one your desktop/laptop already has). If you chose this option, this drive
is just like any drive on your computer and you can manage them
- complete - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?CatId=136&
- build your own - regular desktop pc's have a 3.5" IDE
harddrive in them, laptops/notebooks have a 2.5" drive in them. You can
get enclosures for both sizes, the 2.5"(enclosures and drives) are
a little pricey but the convenience of being able to stick it in your
pocket might justify the cost. If your running out of space on your
computer (either desktop or laptop) then this may be a good way to
upgrade your computer and get a backup drive out of the deal by buying a
new harddrive and stick the new drive in your computer then taking your
old one and stick it in the harddrive enclosure for use as an
external backup drive.
- enclosure (under $30) - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?CatId=1204&
- hard drive (however big or small you wanna go) - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?CatId=134 NOTE
- if your gonna stick it in the harddrive enclosure don't worry too
much about the speed or cache on the drive, the USB connection will be
your bottleneck and not the drive itself.
- Syncronization program - instead of manually managing
the directories on both drives (your computers harddrive and the
external drive), you can get "syncronization" programs that will only
update the files that need updated. A good program for this is http://www.gelosoft.com/adescr.html . OR alot of the
photo management programs have backup options built in
I can't stress "Back them pictures up" enough. It is a very hard
lesson to learn if your harddrive crashes and all your pictures are
Convert 8mm to VHS or DVD
The main reason why people want to convert off the
8mm is because they are just plain inconvienent. Having to get the
camcorder out and hook it up to TV is a hassle, plus you just can't send
grandma a tape.
But another reason is magnetic tape
has a life expectancy of 10+ years, if stored properly and never played. But
do you store them properly in that shoe box in the garage that the door got
left open by the kids and the storm came?... A DVD is much more reliable,
they aren't indestructable, but definitely more tolerable to
environmental sources. Now physical sources such as scratching is a problem,
but with todays pc's it very easy to make backups. Here is a link to really
really in-depth analysis of magnetic tape degradation: http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub54/5premature_degrade.html
Site to is full of video help: http://www.videohelp.com/
The big question is:
Can I take all these 8mm tapes and put them on
Reasonable thinking would say yes, they made an
adapter for cassettes to fit in an 8-track player, they made/make an adapter
for VHS-C(looks similiar to 8mm tape) to fit into a VCR, they make an
adapter that fits in your cassette player that takes any kind of mini-jack
input (ie:walkman CD player...).
The one word answer is NO.
The short answer is NO, it is 2 t-totally different
formats of encoding/decoding on the tapes (digital and analog, remember in
school the continuous and
- The long answer is here http://hometheater.about.com/cs/vcrs/a/aa8mmtovhsa.htm
Ways to convert:
Services - expensive, and don't know the quality.
Supposedly Walmart does it.
Output the camcorder to the input of your VCR. Quality
loss, but ok. And here your back to magnetic tape.
Output camcorder to a DVD recorder. Haven't tried this
b/c I don't own one, but if you do the "capture" option(below) there
is alot to learn b/c there are so many options.
Output your camcorder to pc with a video capture
card(video card with VIVO video-in video-out) or Firewire(IEEE1394
aka i-Link). I have experimented(back in 2004) with doing this, at
that time it wasn't easy and the quality wasn't there on the analog part,
firewire was good though. The package(Adobe Premier supposedly the best
video editing software available to the public but pricey) I used was
pretty good but cumbersome to use. This is a time consuming process
having to capture it to MPG or AVI (AVI has better quality), then writing
it to DVD. You definitely want to do digital and not analog b/c you will
lose quality of the digital if you convert to analog.
There are software packages out there now, never tried
them, so I don't know how many "1-touch" solutions are out there without
learning stuff like: pc inputs, resolutions, MPG formats, AVI formats,
fps (frame per second), audio frequencies/samplings, CD formats just to
name a few. If you have a bunch, then maybe it is worth
What I have
Olympus om-PC - 35mm, automated. Sorry the only link was to
the manual. This is one of the first 35mm cameras that was somewhat automated.
It didn't have auto-focus but it did all the other adjustments for you, if
your familiar with good ole 35mm cameras and having to set the f-stop and
iso...this camera did it for you. It was less expensive than the Canon, but
just as good.
Olympus C-740UZ -
3.2mega-pixel, 10x optical/3x digital zoom. Awesome camera. I chose it for 2
- optical zoom - a zoom on a camera is essential, you can
never get close enough...remember the first rule of photography is "fill the
- AA batteries - didn't want to be hendered by having to make
sure you have the charger, you never know when your on vacation and you
forget your charger or batteries die during the day. I use rechargeables for
normal use, but in a pinch I could run and get some AA
- only 1, the XD chip is expensive, it's about double that
of an SD chip. But I think the transfer is
Casio Exilim EX-Z40 -
4mega-pixel, 3x optical/4x digital zoom. Neat little camera. Great for
carrying around with you for those ad-hoc pictures. I chose it for a couple
- smallness - 3.46"(W) x 2.24"(H) x 0.91"(D). Its a little
bigger than a credit card and about an inch thick, fits in your pocket nice.
Good for taking to the amusement park, no need for an extra bag.
- features - has some neat features, one in particular is the
"coupling shot" in which if there is nobody around to take a picture of
you and your partner, you can take a picture of 1 person and
switch and finish the picture with the other.
- female friendly - Ha. Really easy to use, it's a point and
shoot with extra stuff. Except I haven't figured out how to take good
pictures indoors yet.
- movie mode - great little feature with sound. Records into
an AVI format. Perfect for those little clips of Guesstures at the party.
Can the 8mm camera...ha
- fast - very quick time between turning it on to taking the
picture. quick zoom and auto-focus also.
- Digital zoom is very grainy. If you stay in the optical
zoom the pics are good.
- Download speed though the craddle or SD chip is slow (but
who cares about that).
- Lense broke on me 1 week after I bought it...was a little
leary about buying a camera from a calculator company
I always get asked for advice on digital cameras, so here are some things
- What is your objective? (if you can't answer any, then
stick to your good ole 35mm)
- Do you want to see your pictures now? and not wait for
the rolls to pile up your draw awaiting to be taken to the store for
- Do you want to take more pictures without the cost of
developing? (digital is about 5cents cheaper, but your trading time for $)
- Do you want to email them? (that roll of film will never
end up in grandmas view if you don't process them)
- Do you want to manipulate them? black out someones tooth
and put them on a "Wanted" poster.
- What is the most important feature of the camera?
- zoom ? - Optical and digital, they
advertise them as of both total (Optical multiplied by Digital)
- mega-pixels ? - the more pixels,
the better the quality (read info below on sizes), but you aren't printing
- quickness ? - time it takes to turn the
camera on to take a picture, also time it takes to focus and snap
- body type ? - compact or SLR(like full
- battery ? - normal OTC batteries or does
it need its own charger and/or external AC adapter
- media ? - built in memory and/or
removable memory(ie: SD card)
- price? -top of the line technology drops
- ease of use(taking the picture)? - it
may be easy to start taking pics, but if you wanna get fancy
- ease of use(printing)? may depend on
- name brand?
- does it have connection for computer ? -
USB or firewire connection
- Do you have a computer? (with todays in-store photo
stations, you don't necessarily need your own PC but they help)
- Is your computer up-to-date? (need USB ports and a CDRW
for backup purposes)
- Do you have XP? (XP has built in tools to manage your
- Do you have the harddrive space? (pics can take up alot
- Do you have a back-up plan? (harddrive crashes, there
goes your pics) (see "Back 'em Up" on this
So here is my advice:
- If you want a no decision making one(inspirational
buy) - buy a cheap one to start off with, something not over $200, a
3.2mega-pixel with a 3x optical zoom is fine for beginners. Once you start
taking pictures and doing whatever with them, make sure you use all the
features of the camera. Then as you come across things you can't get out
of that camera, research a new one and retire that one to your child. But
I do suggest doing at least a little research first.
- If you want one that is gonna last you. - learn the
lingo...Do not plan on going to the store and coming back with one, you
won't be happy in the end. I know even being a computer geek there is alot
to learn, but you could probably learn alot by visiting an actual camera
store (not BestBuy or CircuitCity), then go online, learn more about
different things, then start comparing models/features. Stick to the
"camera" companies ie: Olympus, Canon, Pentax, Fuji...
Here is a good table based on what kind of
photographer you are - http://www.photoxels.com/buyersGuide.html
Links for learning
Technical info about digital cameras (still under
Whats ratio or aspect ratio?
- Its the "Width vs Height" perspective.
- 4:3 ratio is the normal computer resolutions ie: 1024x768, 800x600,
640x480. Most cameras in normal mode take a 4:3 picture. A normal TV is 4:3,
a widescreen TV is 16:9.
- 3:2 ratio is the normal "print" size ie: 4x6
- so when you take a 4:3 picture and print it to 4x6 and you tell it to
crop...it will crop the heads off or cut the edges off(depending on your
Mega-pixel to print size:
Digicam Resolution vs.
Photographic Print Size
Typical Image Size (in pixels)
Maximum Print Size (in inches)
| Less than 1.0
640 x 480
800 x 600
Maybe 3 x 5 inches.
| 1 megapixel
1,154 x 852
4 x 6 |
| 1.3-1.5 megapixels
1,280 x 960, 1,280 x 1,024
5 x 7 |
| 2.0 megapixels
1,600 x 1,200
8 x 10, sharper 5 x 7 |
| 3+ megapixels
2,048 x 1,536
Sharper 8 x 10, 8 x 10 with cropping
This is a table from a 3.2 mega-pixel camera which has alot of options, HQ is
the normal mode...
So on HQ mode a JPG is approx 800k (depending on what your taking a
||Number of storable
pictures (without sound *3)
|16MB Card *2
||2048 x 1536
||2048 x 1360
||1600 x 1200
||1280 x 960
||1024 x 768
||640 x 480
||2048 x 1536
||3200 x 2400
||2048 x 1360
||2048 x 1536
||3200 x 2400
||2048 x 1360
||1600 x 1200
||1280 x 960
||1024 x 768
||640 x 480
||320 x 240
||160 x 120
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