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Old Aug 5, 2004, 1:27 PM   #1
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I am thinking of switching from film to digital and am currently trying to decide on the camera (seems to be a choice between the Nikon D70 and the Minolta A2).

I will be going on a 3 week trip to Australia in November and want to be set up by then. I will also need to be able to take and store lots of pics on that trip.

Therefore,I am thinking of getting an Addonics MFR portable CD burner so that i can have one memory card, take high res pictures and save them asI go.

My London flat has no room for a desktop and so in the longer term I know that I will need a laptop to be able to properly sort the shots and to alter the images but I was wondering whether you guys reckon that I could perhaps spend 6 months using the CD burner as my only means of downloading. I would be able to view the CDs on a TV (if JPEG, not RAW) and could get them printed as they are.

This would obviously allow me to spread the cost of investing in a new media.

Have I missed any problems with this idea?
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 1:49 PM   #2
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The only obvious problem i can see is how to sort the images and properly tag them with locations. I haven't used a tv for evaluating so that might be a snag, as no tv i have used is in any way calibrated for color.

Lately the manufacturers seem to be spending quite a bit of money making this kind of setup possible, but not knowing anybody doing this i don't know how well it works.

Worst case is you now have a camera that operates like a film camera plus a histogram for exposure.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 2:06 PM   #3
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Make sure your DVD player hooked to the TV can read JPG or TIFF files directly. Some require you to record a VCD, which requires a computer. Have a friend record a CD with some images on it and make sure your DVD player reads them.

The big advantage of digital to me is the digital darkroom. You can buy a lot of film for the cost of an A2 or D70. If you have a good film camera and don't intend getting a desktop and getting seriously into image editing on the computer I would consider sticking with film. Film has better dynamic range than even the D70.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 3:41 PM   #4
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Slipe, thanks

The Addonics MFR can play the CDs direct to the TV as long as the files are JPEG (or at least, that's what i read in the reviews!)

I hear what you are saying about film (and i am very happy with my current Nikon F90X - hence my particular interest in the D70)but i would intend to use a computer once my bank balance has built up again. I also perceive a few other benefits of digital, apart from the ability to tinker with images:

1. i think that i would be more creative because i can waste shots and can also see (to an extent) whether the exposure needs adjusting without having to bracket shots so much (i do realise that there must be only so much detail that can be seen on the LCD).

2.i am continually disappointed by standard prints but am not disappointed by slides. i therefore blame the printers rather than the camera (or me!). However, my girlfriend hates it when i take slides since she cannot look at them very easily. At least with digital we can have a CD of our best shots from each trip and can look at them even if we do not get all of them printed.

3. i take a lot of black and white and there are inevitably times when i want colour but have B&W film in the camera or vice versa. with digital i can decide on a shot by shot basis or even after i have taken the shot.

Please let me know if you think i am mistaken with any of these points!!

it is a very steep learning curve!
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 4:17 PM   #5
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For what it's worth, you can find some pretty good deals on used laptops, too.

I bought one for my wife quite a while back on Ebay. It's got a nice TFT display, CD-ROM Drive (read only), Win '98 (yep it's old but works fine), built in modem, a good size hard disk, enough RAM to run the applications she uses, USB Ports, etc. I paid a whopping $212.00 for it (and the seller specifically indicated it's condition as being mint, with a battery that holds it's charge fine).

I checked the seller's reputation and it was good, so I decided to bid on it and got it. The Laptop is still in perfect working order (and I think we bought it year before last if memory serves).

I also bought a USB attached hard disk drive for it for very little money (by purchasing one of the kits that you put a laptop hard drive into, that had drivers for Win '98). This gives us removable storage for moving photos around between PC's and acts as a backup, too.

So, it performs multiple duties (storage for photos when on the road, internet access when on the road, and a fully functional computer that's fine for my wife's use at home). It also doesn't take up much space.


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Old Aug 5, 2004, 10:39 PM   #6
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One place to look at is: http://www.gotapex.com/deals.php
They scan all the other sites & have daily updates on deals that can are cheap (but good) on Laptops, Desktops & just about anything else you might want.
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Old Aug 6, 2004, 9:01 AM   #7
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Thanks guys. Is there anything that i should lokk out for on a laptop, considering that i want it for photo orientated use rather than anything else. I guess that hard disk capacity is more important than processing speed. Are there "good" screens and "bad" screens which affect the viewing of photos?
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Old Aug 6, 2004, 10:47 AM   #8
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Most of the inexpensive laptops will probably have relatively small hard disk drives. Although, they areeasy to swap out with most. My wife's has a removal panel on the front (justsome screws holding a vented cover over the drive), so that you can swap it out.

Of course, you need to be careful that you know how to reinstall the operating system and drivers needed for most, too. Although if you take it to someone that works on computers, they can "clone" the drive for you to upgrade to a larger one.

You can also get inexpensive USB attached external drives for additional storage (although USB 1.1 is slow). I bought a small external case designed for laptop drives that I use for this purpose -- along with a laptop drive that fits into it. You can also find USB attached external drives fully assembled from manuacturers for this purpose.

If the laptop is still USB 1.1 only, and you want the high speedof USB 2.0 for external devices, drives, etc.; PCMCIA cards designed to plug into laptops, with USB 2.0 ports are also available for around $50.00

Actually, I didn't tell the "whole story" about the laptop I bought for my wife. She had another one before the one I bought on Ebay. But, she broke the LCD display when she had it sitting on the floor under the front of a rocking recliner. She leaned forward, and "crack" -- there went the display.:shock:

Surprisingly, it till functioned fine after the display broke (with an external monitor plugged into it). But, she wanted portability for travelling, so I actually searched Ebay for one that was identical. I paid a small fraction of the price for the used one (since computers tend to drop down in price when newer models are introduced).

In fact, I saw higher prices for the LCD display (part only) alone, than I paid for the entire usedlaptop. Ditto for the battery for it (they can be pricey).

So, I simply swapped hard drives from her old one to the new one, and she had eveything she had before. So now, I've got two fully functional laptops (with one requiring an External Display). If anything fails on the one she uses (hard disk drive, battery, CD-ROM drive, etc.), then I'll have spare parts, too.

Yes, there is a big difference in display quality between laptops. I'd go with a TFT Display. The other displays tend to be hard to read at much of an angle.

You'll also want to make sure it's in mint condition if buying a used one (keyboard, battery still holds charge, etc.). The batteries can get pricey. Make sure it supports the software you'll want to use on it, too (CPU type/speed, operating system, RAM, etc.). Some of the newer editing packages are "resource hogs".

However, mostof them would be suitable for storage/display of photos -- provided you've got a good way to get them into the laptop (i.e., usb port), with enough storage space to hold 'em -- as long as your camera or card reader will work with the operating system being used (and most will still work with Win '98 found on older laptops).

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Old Aug 6, 2004, 12:29 PM   #9
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excellent. thanks a lot.
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