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[at-l] AT Camera - Staring from Scratch
On Wednesday, October 30, 2002, at 11:13 AM, Jan Leitschuh wrote:
> Help me out here. I'm starting from scratch.
> Walk this gal thru slowly... I want Digital Info for Dummies here.
> Make it
> 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.
You've got lots of questions, but I'll see if I can help. I hiked the
AT this year
with a Cannon Powershot S30 camera. Over 400 of my pictures are at
www.trailjournals.com/gwright if you want to take a peek. Please note,
you see on the web are *NOT* high quality digital images. Web photos
generally downgraded in quality before being posted in order to reduce
size (the number of bits and bytes) for quick download.
Spend some time at http://www.dpreview.com. This site allows you to
for cameras and compare them side-by-side, has detailed reviews, and
If you want to look at my camera, jump to
If you want to spend a bit more for better a better resolution camera,
move up to
the Cannon S40. That is my short "buy this" answer.
Don't get any camera with less than 3 megapixel resolution. I know
you said you didn't want jargon, but you need to know at least a
little. A pixel is
a "picture element", more pixels means more picture elements means
photographs. If you manipulate the photos afterwards (crop for better
enlarge for printing at 8x10, etc.) then you want those extra pixels to
maintain the quality
of the final image since you'll be throwing away some pixels
(cropping), or enlarging
the pixels (in which case you want them small to start with to avoid
having the picture
become "grainy" when you enlarge it).
> 2)Someone mentioned a six-ounce camera. Is this possible, and also be
> decent quality?
It is possible, but you'll generally not have as many features. I just
did a search at
dpreview.com for cameras under 11oz with at least 3 megapixel
resolution (2048x1536) and
found 6 cameras at 7oz or less. Mine was just over 11oz.
> 3) Help me puzzle out the mechanics of it. HOW would one make a digital
> camera work on the AT?
Digital cameras have memory cards where the images are stored. There
types of cards each model camera will use a particular type of card. I
"compact flash" type cameras (like the S30 or S40mentioned above). The
come in different sizes, just like rolls of film. I used 128mb cards
which held 70-80 pictures
at the highest quality (ALWAYS shoot your pictures using the highest
quality of the camera).
You can get larger memory cards.
When I got to town, I would ship the memory card and battery back to a
friend who would
download the images from the card to his computer, recharge the
battery, and send it all
back to me at a future maildrop. I had four memory cards and three
batteries in rotation.
The batteries lasted about 10-14 days. The key is to *NOT* use the LCD
display on the
camera while on the trail. The LCD display gobbles up the battery
charge. Before sending
the memory card home, I would sit down and review all the pictures on
the camera writing
down a brief description, which I would send back with the card and
battery. I think it is
important to do this while you are on the trail because it will be very
difficult to remember
You could keep a battery charger in a bounce box and deal with the
but you'll have to find someone to offload your pictures and send you
the memory cards.
> 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
> shooter can check on the spot if s/he got the shot. But, print quality
> newspapers in a different animal.
You can print them out on your own printer at home on photo paper.
You can send them to an online service to be professionally printed and
sent back to you.
You can bring your memory card to Walmart and have it printed at the
You can use a service to convert your digital photos to 35mm slides for
You can put them together with a sound track and make a movie to view
on the computer
or even to burn into a DVD to share with others.
and so on
> 5) What are the drawbacks of digital (cold weather operational?) How to
> avoid them?
Less flexibility with lenses (if you are into that) unless you spend
*LOTS* for a professional
grade rig. You need to have someone comfortable with shuffling the
digital files from
your camera to the computer or CD or printer and so on.
I'm still working on organizing my photos, but I just uploaded one of
my favorite pictures
from the trip to my Yahoo Photo Album. You can view it and even order
a print if you want
to see what the final quality would be. Goto
to see some of the photos.