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Old May 29, 2003, 10:20 PM   #11
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I have a hard time believing that adding a few chips but reducing the pin count on a connector (and some traces) is a zero sum equation. Making a USB-Master device has got to be more complex in both manufacturing and programming (even if that turns into $$ by buying the programming.)

You could be right, it's been many years since I learned the lessons that led to my statement. I'd just be surprised. If they integrated your asic and the processor and I/O into 1 chip (like Motorola was pushing with a modified 68040 core about 7 years ago... but with even more integration) I don't know if that would be a win or not. I assume that is similar to the Dallas chips you mentioned (I'm not familiar with it) except it doesn't have your custom asic chip built into the same silicon.

I fully agree about layout ergonomics. I hadn't though about that. Smaller is all the rage right now (and less materials can reduce materials cost.) So if switching to a 3-pin interface means a smaller device can be made, or a better internal layout is achievable, that could be enough of a win to make that choice worth it.

I remember reading an interview with one of the lead designers on the Nikon D100. One of the things he mentioned was that the diagonal position of the CF card was crucial to the small design of the camera (the D100 is a small & light digital SLR camera, for those that haven't handled one.) If they had used something smaller than the wide-long (but thin) CF... like a USB flash memory stick... would have made their life easier?
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Old May 29, 2003, 11:00 PM   #12
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Several things:
1. USB OTG will fix the controller issue
http://www.usbonthego.com/

2. USB 2.0 is still expensive both @ the camera and @ the card to implement.

3. Speed: the new CF specs call for much faster speed than a serial/or wireless link can handle (except serial ATA)
http://www.compactflash.org/pr/030302a.pdf
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Old May 30, 2003, 2:26 AM   #13
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Thanx for all the replies!

My point exactly is...how many types of memory are there for digital cameras? This seems to me like a BETA VHS scenario. Which one will triumph?

Why not settle for a USB controller, in this way you could even stream data to an external hard drive or IPOD. The possibilities are endless!! And memory will be universally compatable through USB!

I cannot accept that if you can write data to a CF card in a cammera it is impossible , technology wise, to write data to a USB thumb drive. Plus, thumb drives will probably become smaller...it doesnt matter as long as the port stays standard.

Just a thought.
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Old May 30, 2003, 5:37 AM   #14
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I just want to add to my previous posting:

I know that the USB port on a digital camera does not match the port on a PC, but that doesnt mean that it is impossible to add the correct USB port to the digital camera! In this way you can chose whether to store pics on the thumb drive or download them to a PC. I may be rambling here but you must agree that the idea deserves some merit. If you could stream pics and movies to a 40GB IPOD directly it would be great!

The problem is that the camera should have a USB controller so that it is both a pheripheral and a "computer" :
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Old May 30, 2003, 6:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
I know that the USB port on a digital camera does not match the port on a PC, but that doesnt mean that it is impossible to add the correct USB port to the digital camera!
But the physical USB port (mini spec) is already there for downloads! It's the host controller that isn't.

Remember all that talk from Bill G. about all appliances in the world having an IP address? Thinking about the comms side, you can't realise this without an intelligent interface and which I'll bet would be high speed serial.

You can't assume a PC will always act as host, this might sound futuristic, but interconnectivity is in many product now, and data sharing e.g sharing content between similar devices (MP3 Players?) pictures etc, will become more of a requirement.

For one thing, consumers are having difficulty driving the PC 'API' Windows environments and this will slow take up and growth of new products - even cameras. They will just want to get content from one device to another easily, without being shackled to a pc.
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Old May 30, 2003, 6:40 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert111
My point exactly is...how many types of memory are there for digital cameras? This seems to me like a BETA VHS scenario. Which one will triumph?
No one card will triumph because they have different uses. It's not a question of going for one card format only because (for instance) CF cards are too large for many devices, like the Palm series of handheld PDAs which use the SD/MMC cards.

I've owned cameras for three of the card types, CF, MMC, and SM...MMC is my favorite because it's so small, and only has 7 contacts (no pins to bend, or chance for contacts shorting).

I don't think we'll see it widdled down to one card...if it did happen probably the wrong one will win, like the Beta vs. VHS fight (Beta was a better format in terms of picture quality).
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Old May 30, 2003, 6:51 AM   #17
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Just like Panasonic M11 versus Sony BetaSP. Panasonic lost because the superior quality format (same tape size) couldn't deliver a reliable camcorder.

If USB flash media prices fall, and it becomes ubiquitous in volume sales for a wide range of devices, it will win. So yet another media format to add to the list. Just buy what you need now and for the future life of your cam, watch the price trends for the largest media size your cam will support. Concentrate on taking pics, enjoy them, and rest easy! As new media comes out, yours will be around at bargain prices. That doesn't happen with petrol!
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Old May 30, 2003, 6:59 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert111
I know that the USB port on a digital camera does not match the port on a PC, but that doesnt mean that it is impossible to add the correct USB port to the digital camera!

The problem is that the camera should have a USB controller so that it is both a pheripheral and a "computer" :
The connector doesn't match the one on the PC for a reason, because the camera is a peripheral...the USB spec was created that way on purpose.

The biggest problem with your idea of wanting to make the camera a USB controller is DRIVERS! Everything in USB needs a driver...in the case of a PC many are already included in Windows. For many USB devices out there, there may not be a driver available for the Mac. If companies aren't making drivers for the Mac market, what makes you think that they will spend the effort to make drivers for their devices for every single camera brand out there?

Most people here (from messages posted on the subject) prefer to take their card out of the camera and pop it into a reader hooked up to a PC anyway (they don't hook up their camera to the USB port at all).

If you wanted to wish for something, why not something like infrared (IR) beaming so you can beam pictures to a PDA, or a laptop with IR and not have to deal with wires (I already use IR on my desktop PC with my handhelds), or the risk you'll zap your camera by hooking up the USB cable (it does happen to Palm users). The IR can double as a focus assist beam.

Or even better, Bluetooth...that way you don't have to be line-of-sight like you have to be with IR. You walk near your Bluetooth enabled PC and it says (K.I.S.S.), "I'm Robert's PC" and your camera says, "I'm Robert's camera, and I got some pictures to upload to you" and the PC says, "OK, upload the pictures" and the transfer takes place without you lifting a finger. Or imagine being able to transfer the pictures via a Bluetooth enabled cellphone. Don't limit yourself in your imagination.
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Old May 30, 2003, 7:09 AM   #19
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So the proverbial bottom line is "unlimited comminication" both ways, from the camera to the IPOD/PC/cellphone and the other way around.

The reason why I mentioned USB specifically is purely based on the cheap high capacity and robust thumb-drives available today - as a storage medium.
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Old May 30, 2003, 7:17 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert111
The reason why I mentioned USB specifically is purely based on the cheap high capacity and robust thumb-drives available today - as a storage medium.
It's cheap because it's big and bulky (compared to camera memory). The chips used in pen drives are thicker than most memory cards themselves.

Also nothing has yet been said about speed about pen drives.
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