Cameras Go Digital

by Steve Gage

The technical communication field changes constantly, as does the technology used in this occupation. The digital camera changed the way many use visuals in this field.

Digital cameras look, feel, and behave like conventional cameras, but the similarities end there. Digital cameras allow instant review of pictures taken. Simply plugging the camera into a computer, often through a Universal Serial Bus (USB) port, allows this instant review. Many digital cameras have small screens on the back of them called color Liquid Crystal Display (LCD); this also allows instant review of the picture.

Photo courtesy of Eastman Kodak Company. Kodak is a trademark.

Digital cameras use a disk to store pictures. This enables technical communicators to print only the pictures needed, instead of developing film. Some digital cameras use a standard 1.44MB floppy disk; however, the newest technology allows smaller disks that can hold over 65 times more than the typical 3.5 inch floppy. These new disks, called compact flash memory cards, can range anywhere from 8MB to 96MB. On average, a picture on a high-resolution digital camera (high resolution printing requires 1280 x 800 pixels) takes up about .5MB.

Digital cameras save the user time and money. While the intial cost is more ($300-$1000 for digital versus $30-$400 for traditional), digital cameras eliminate film developing fees. Users can easily upload and print photos directly. The uploading process via a USB port allows convenience and needs fewer steps than the scanning process.

Using a digital camera to load pictures involves a minimum of two steps: plugging it in, and choosing the pictures. Scanning pictures can involve several more steps. Overall, digital cameras are easier to use than traditional cameras and save users time and money. They give crisp, clear, and easily edited images. Best of all, digital cameras allow users to get exact images relevant to specific subjects.


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