Saturday, December 09, 2006

Toys, ahem, tools for your creative game: digital cameras plus an additional hard drive is the ticket

My Workspace
Originally uploaded by corykrug.

We are all in the same slough when it comes to researching the smartest buy in a digital camera. Read reviews until your bohonkus melds with the chair. Still you won't know what you should buy.

I've been through maybe half a dozen digital cameras. Three of them were the excellent Olympus Camedia 3 mp models. Currently I'm using an OK cheapo Nikon 5 mp, the Coolpix P2. Also I still fall back on a battered but tough Canon 3 mp Elph. My wife shoots a Sony 5 mp CyberShot with a delightful Zeiss lens. We shoot several hundred shots a week, month after month.

* My entire 2-point camera buying guide:
1. buy a Sony or Canon 5 mp.
2. Find one that fits your pocket and hand.

* One thing to remember: it's the photographer, not the camera.

Take care in buying: today most stores are charging a 15% restocking fee for returning a camera that you don't like.

* The main thing is, shoot and enjoy. Shoot and edit. Cropping and brightening photos can be an additional creative outlet. Read books and learn to critique the snaps you see in ads and magazines.

* Buy your kids their own cameras or have an extra parent camera that will serve the kids. Try not to carp when they take weird stuff. My 10 year-old likes to shoot mundane signage and odd portraits. Between the wankers he hits a few terrific shots.

* Today our videocam gets little use. That's because we've learned to take mini videos via our digital cameras. While these Quicktime movies are good enough in quality for our use, we can shoot them because we bought large memory cards.

* Because memory has become relatively cheap, I would recommend getting a 512 mb memory stick for your camera. You'll be able to shoot plenty of stills as well as short movies.

* Now for the photo accessory that may be the most important of all: the extra hard drive. Why do you need that? For storage of the photos and videos and your mp3's.

If you're super organized you can burn photos and videos to CD or DVD soon after they're amassed. For the rest of us, having a big external hard drive is they key to media management. We bought a Seagate 200 Gb hard drive a couple of years ago. It's fine if slow running. This year we got a 300 Gb OWC hard drive to store things from the iBook G4.

Partly we need the hard drives because I shoot a fair amount of video. Partly we need it because we're artists who need access to a wide array of our still photos.

Some of you are thinking, "An external hard drive? That is utter gobbledygook!" Technically, it is not a big deal. Follow the directions in plugging it in. Drag and drop files from your internal drive to the new one. You're done.

Looking for a new laptop? Brief consumer guidelines coming up this week.


Anonymous said...

Looking for a new laptop?

Here is the sexiest Christmas present ever for the "creative class":

Robert E Trudeau said...

Agreed, Kevan. But I like my iBook G4 and evidently they're not all sold:

Anonymous said...

Yep, you still have a great computer. That's another plus with Macs: they stay current longer and retain their resale value better than PCs.