Recycled Computing

Low End Photography in the Digital Age

- 2008.07.09

For some reason, people keep giving me old cameras, both digital andfilm.

My aunt was cleaning out her office at the University of Minnesotaand sent me a Canon EOS 630 film camera with autofocus and a 28-70mmzoom lens, as well as a Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH digitalcamera with an underwater case. They were also cleaning out the artdepartment at the end of the year, and someone decided I should get aSony Mavica.

I have been using the PowerShot as an everyday camera for the pastmonth or so. It reminds me a little bit of the old Rollei 35 film camera. Ifhas that boxy shape and fit, of course, without the quality of theRollei. It only is a 2.1 megapixel (MP) camera, so I would hesitate toprint an 8x10 unless it was taken under (more or less) perfectconditions. Still, it is small enough to fit into my pocket and recordmy family's adventures.

Getting pictures off of the camera could be easier if I had theUSB-to-camera cable, but since the camera uses Compact Flash cards andI have a CF-to-PC Card adapter, I take out the CF card, put it into theadapter, and then put it into my PowerBook G3 Pismo's PC Cardslot. Apple's iPhoto recognizes that the card contains photo files andimports the files.

I shudder to think how many shekels the proprietary cable would havecost me. Also more that one way to skin a cat (don't worry, no catswere harmed in the making of this column).

I already have a pair of film cameras that served me very well untilthe digital revolution came along. I own an Olympus OM-1 (an allmechanical camera that is basically a photographic hockey puck - bythat I mean it can take a beating and still deliver photographs). Ialso have an Olympus OM-4, which possesses (IMHO) the best spotmetering system ever placed in a 35mm camera.

Neither of these cameras is autofocus, and that is why I find theCanon EOS 603 intriguing. Autofocus is a nice thing for the agingphotographer whose eyesight is not what it used to be. If I can locatea cheap 300mm autofocus lens for this camera, it will become an idealsports camera.

I also received a Sony Mavica MVC-FD91 digital camera with a 14xzoom lens that records images to 3.5" floppies. Talk about fossils! I'mnot sure I want to bring this back from the dead, as the Li-Ion batteryin it is dead and I don't have a charger. I suppose I could buy onewith a new battery, but it is around $45.

Also due to lack of funding, I have not had access to a high quality(8 MP and up) digital camera, so I use digital for snapshots andresort to film cameras for high quality work. Yes, you can still buyfilm, but your choices are limited. I suppose I am reluctant to give upthe lenses and accessories for my film cameras, but I would be morethan happy to be a recipient of a fundraising effort to purchase me anOlympus E-3.

If you can repurpose older computers, you can certainly use oldercameras in a new universe. I am using the Canon PowerShot as apermanent family and "snapshot" camera, ready at a moment's notice torecord events in my world. I have loaded up the Canon EOS with slidefile and am going out to do some "artistic" work. LEM

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