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[at-l] AT Camera - Staring from Scratch

> Sounds good - but - I am digitally deprived.

The bottom line:  ALL photography is about capturing images of light.  Don't
let the medium fool you - it's all the same.  Good photographic technique
will result in good photos no matter what you use.

> I won't say money is no object, because it is, - on the
> other hand, this is a lifetime trip. So, I am willing to
> make an investment.

Do you have a price range?

Some good places to start:



> 1) For total non-techie, starting from scratch, steer me
> to a decent camera, and make it easy for me: specify
> what pixels (whatever them be) I want, decent brands,
> and whatever I don't even know what to ask about.

Digital photography is no more technical that film photography.  First order
of business is to stop thinking that it's different.  You should start with
a camera capable of no less that 3 mega pixels.

> Don't talk jargon at me, as if will fly over my head and
> stick to the wall, and somebody will have to clean it up
> ( might put someone's eye out, and I hate when that
> happens)

Might make an interesting photograph.

> Actual links to said camera on sale with the note "buy
> this one, dummy" will rate a not-insignificant line in
> my will.

That's hard.  What if someone asked you, "I want a film camera.  Just tell
me what to buy.", how would you proceed?  We need to know more.  What are
you photographing?  Landscapes?  Portraits?  Do you need zoom?

> 2)Someone mentioned a six-ounce camera. Is this
> possible, and also be of decent quality?

Don't focus on the weight.  Focus on the quality and optics - just like a
film camera.  If you intend to do decent photography, you should be willing
to ignore the ounces and use the right equiptment.  That isn't to say that
you should lug a ten pound Bogen tripod around either...  Most cameras are
close enough in weight not to be too concerned about it.

> 3) Help me puzzle out the mechanics of it. HOW would one
> make a digital camera work on the AT?

Just like a film camera, only better.  You have reusable 'film'.  You can
delete images that don't come out.  You can take ten shots of the same thing
and then keep only the good one.

Batteries are your only worry, and you should have at least one spare.
Preferably two.

> I believe I'll have to be mailing stuff back and forth
> to support folk (Leapfrog already volunteered to burn
> the thingies to a disc), but what are these mysterious
> things I'll be mailing? Will I need to put stuff in a
> bounce box? I am thinking of regular batteries, not the
> rechargeable ones. How do I keep records of what I am
> shooting? Is there a capacity for labeling?
> It occurs to me, there will be massive amounts of photo
> info to process on a six-month trip.

That depends on the media you choose.  See below... If you use smart cards,
or other 'hard' memory stick, you can get a very portable unit with a small
hard drive that stores the images, allowing you to reuse the memory stick.
This, of course adds weight.  My solution is to use a camera that burns
images to CD ROM.

> 4) Is there ANY way for publishable photos from digital?
> Sometimes I need a photo for a story. I know our state
> newspaper has gone digital because the shooter can check
> on the spot if s/he got the shot. But, print quality in
> newspapers in a different animal.

I get beautiful 8x10s out of my 3 Mega pixel camera, and they still look
really good at 11x14.  I've shot weddings with it, and everybody was
thrilled.  Only a very trained eye with a magnifying glass can tell the
difference between my Epson Photo Printer and lab processing.  To be honest,
I can't tell the difference...

> 5) What are the drawbacks of digital (cold weather
> operational?) How to avoid them?

The same drawbacks as a film camera.

> 6) What else do I need to know that I can't begin to
> fathom? Gotta do this soon.

Read the manual of any camera you get - twice.  Learn it and know it.

Bottom line time...

I use a Sony MVC-CD 300.  <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonycd300/> This
camera burns images on a 3" CD-R disk.  Each disk holds 101 images.  (Cost
per image, then, is two cents.  Can you say that about film?)  If you use a
Sony MVC camera, you can just mail the disks back.  The disks are cheap,
nearly indestructible, and lighter than film.  Two batteries have lasted me
over a week on the trail, which is about 300 shots.  How many shots will you
take in a week?

Therein is the largest benefit of digital - it's MUCH cheaper over time.
How much would 300 shots cost you to process in a lab?

Drawbacks:  Just like any other camera, it is a delicate instrument and
doesn't like to be dropped from a great height or go for a swim.  I keep it
in a padded case and inside a Ziploc bag.

Most of the pictures on my site (www.theplacewithnoname.com) were taken with
this camera.