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  Digital cameras and plant images
From: Steve Marak <samarak at arachne.uark.edu> on 1997.06.28 at 22:47:04(899)
Finally I have some time to return to this topic. Enough people expressed
interest that I'll post this to the entire list.

Kris, I too am using a Kodak DC120, after much research and gratitude that
I happen to have some background in this stuff from my job. In general,
I've been very pleased. I'm especially impressed by how well images with a
lot of contrasting bright/dark areas, or those against cluttered
backgrounds (i.e., dead leaves) have come out. I've found it easier to get
a good picture in these conditions with the digital camera than our 35mm,
and the images are *much* better when viewed on a computer monitor than
those we have scanned in from pictures.

Roy, your comment about reloading versus film is dead on. Although memory
sizes are going up, and many cameras let you add on memory cards which
increase the number of images you can take without downloading, it's still
an issue. I bought a fairly large memory card, which holds 71 images in
the default mode in addition to the 15 or so the camera itself holds.
However, I intend to keep a laptop nearby on my botanical trips to let me
offload as necessary. While this is a good solution for me, since I will
have a laptop anyway, it clearly wouldn't be for many people.

The 2 areas where I would like some improvements are (a) battery life, and
(b) download time. This will run from practically any sort of AA
batteries, but anything less than heavy duty alkaline are just a snack and
even the high energy lithium only lasted me a couple of hundred pictures.
Lots of pictures in closeup mode exacerbates the problem, since aiming
in closeup mode is best done using the built in LCD monitor - which really
sucks the life out of the batteries.

Downloading to the PC is slow - 70 pictures can take a couple of hours,
since I convert out of the native KDC picture format to JPEG immediately
(few of my utilities seem to understand KDC). I suspect upgrading my PC's
processor would help more than trying to run the serial port faster. (I
deliberately chose a camera that downloaded via a serial port to avoid
shelling out for SCSI on my laptop.)

But for web pages and otherwise using digital images, I think it will do
everything I want - maybe it truly will pay for itself. Our film
consumption has certainly dropped.

I'd be glad to let people view some unmodified straight-from-the-camera
images, but don't yet have a place to put them. If anyone is interested,
perhaps I can e-mail a couple.


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