A Short Course Book
Curtin's Guide to Digital Cameras
And Other Photographic Equipment

Image Storage and Viewing

 
When a card gets full on trips there are devices like Apple's Camera Connector/iPod that lets you save images until you get back home. This frees up storage on the card so you can keep on shooting.
 
 
One way to eliminate or reduce the need for intermediate storage is to use a higher-capacity storage device in the camera. For example, some devices now store many gigabytes of data, enough to store hundreds of large photos and thousands of smaller ones.
Portable digital image storage and viewing devices are advancing rapidly although their beginnings were quite humble. When out photographing, if your storage device becomes filled with images, you need a place to temporarily store the images until you can transfer them to your main system. One device used for this task is the notebook computer. Not only do many people already have one of these, but their large screens and ability to run any software lets you create a mobile version of your permanent setup. However, a notebook computer isn't always the ideal temporary device because of its weight, short battery life, and long start-up time. Hence the introduction of the portable hard drive.

To use one of these devices you insert your memory card into a slot, often using an adapter, and quickly transfer your images. You can then erase your camera's storage device to make room for new images and resume shooting. When you get back to your permanent setup, you copy or move the images from the intermediate storage device to the system you use for editing, printing,and distributing them. The speed with which you can make this transfer depends on the connections supported by the device. Most support USB 2 and some support FireWire (IEEE 1394).

The latest trend is to make devices that are multi-purpose multimedia devices. Many of these devices let you view your stored images on the device itself or on a connected TV—and even rotate and zoom the images. Some also let you print directly to a printer without using a computer. The trend is to go even farther and combine digital photos, digital videos, and MP3 music in the same device. With a device such as this you'll be able to create slide shows with special transitions, pans, and accompanying music and play them back anywhere.
 
The key questions to ask when considering one of these intermediate storage devices are:
  • What is its storage capacity? What is the cost per megabyte of storage?
  • Does it support the storage devices you use?
  • Does it support the image formats you use? Many devices support common formats just as JPEG, but not proprietary formats such as Canon's RAW and Nikon's NEF format. Also, does it support your camera's movie format if it has one?
  • What is the transfer rate and how long does it take to transfer images from a card to the device?
  • Can it display images on a TV set or be connected directly to a printer?
  • Can you view stored images on the device's own screen?
  • Does it support video and MP3 music playback?
  • Are there ways to rotate, zoom in/out and scroll?
  • Does it have a remote control?


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