Go digital: photographic film a thing of the past

Digital photography really has become mainstream as I learned when I visited Costco the other day. Their photo processing counter has two small Noritsu machines that allow customers to take digital media and have it processed into photographic prints just like they get from film.

Beverly Plass demonstrated how it works. She had taken a group of family pictures that she transferred onto a compact disk using her home computer. Using the simple touch screen on the Noritsu, she told it that her pictures were on cd. A drawer opened on the machine and she inserted the cd and closed the drawer. Her pictures then appeared in slide like format on the screen and she could touch each frame and instruct the machine whether she wanted that particular photo made into a print. After indicating the size of prints she wanted she told the machine to proceed and it transferred the selected pictures to the large photo processing machines behind the photo counter. It then printed an invoice and in a short time her prints would be ready.

The Noritsu machines will take digital images in many forms. It has slots for Smart Media cards, Compact Flash, Memory Sticks and PC Cards, all the popular devices used in most digital cameras. This alleviates one of the more time consuming tasks in digital photography, the printing of images on home printers. Beverly could have downloaded her pictures from her camera into her home computer and then used her image manipulating program to crop, remove red eye and adjust color before copying them to compact disk. Then she used Costco to make her prints. Four by six prints are available for 19 cents each, about seven dollars for 36 prints. Not bad and using the Noritsu you can select only the photos you want printed.

I understand Wal-Mart has similar machines and Kinko's has the Kodak Picture Maker that will make up to six prints at one time but is rather expensive. The Kodak machine has the advantage of making prints in less than five minutes.

Many photo processing services also will copy film photos onto compact disks that then can be taken home and manipulated on the home computer. This allows film shots to be corrected before printing.

All in all, digital photo processing is now common, whether from digital camera to print or film camera to computer than to print, all at reasonable cost.

We learned a lot about photo processing and digital photography on Friday, April 11, when Lloyd Denny, well known local photographer, spoke at a 'Coffee and Computers' gathering. He told us that there is a new crop of digital cameras that rival film for quality. He showed us prints made from digital and film cameras and it was hard to tell the difference.

Digital really has become mainstream with a wide selection of cameras, excellent computer manipulating programs like Adobe Photoshop Elements 2, and a new group of printers that have been optimized for photos with inks that last 65 years.

If you would like to hear more about digital photography, or other computer topics, visit "Coffee and Computers" at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. 'C' Street, any Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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