A digital trip with 'The Doc'

Please join me on a new computer adventure as I start a journey into the realm of digital imaging.

To begin this journey I finally have made the decision to purchase a digital camera. This decision has been long in coming since my children are grown thus negating one of the prime reasons for owning such a camera.

I suppose that my main reason for finally going digital is immediacy. Simply, I am tired of waiting to finish a roll of regular film before heading to Costco for prints. When I see something of interest, I want to click and then see the final result on my computer screen. Also, I want to be able to discard those images not worth keeping and then be able to manipulate those other images into a form suitable for display. All these things can be accomplished on my computer.

So I invite you to travel this new path with me. There are many vistas to explore. We start with the camera and all its wondrous features. Then there are the many powerful image manipulating programs available to shape our creations into works of art. There are new and amazing printers that render our work using seven colors of ink that will last 75 years. There are special programs that transform our images into slide shows with music and other effects that we can send to family or friends via the Internet. Other programs take our end products and display them on our home television sets. And there are those new things that will appear that are as yet undreamed of as we travel our digital imaging road.

My choice of camera was painful. Literally there are hundreds of good digital camera from which to choose. Many are well known brands while others are less well known. Resolution, or the fineness of the finished image, is a major concern and is almost directly correlated to price. And there are dozens of other features to consider.

Like all things computer related, my first question was, "for what am I using the camera?" Today the entry level camera is a "point and shoot," 3 megapixel device. This means that the final image can contain three million picture elements (pixels), which is enough resolution for display on a computer screen or over the Internet and is sufficient to print images of about four by six inch size. The street price is around $300.

I decided that I might want to print larger size images and also want some of the features that I am used to in more professional film cameras. So I talked to people who owned digital cameras and "Googled" the Internet for camera reviews. With price and features in mind, I settled on a Canon, Model G-3. This is a 4 megapixel camera with many features found in "advanced amateur" file cameras. The wide angle to telephoto range of the lens is 34-140, there is selection of aperture or shutter priority and the camera has a "hot shoe" for attaching an external flash.

Obviously, the moment I decided on the G-3, Canon introduced the G-5, a 5 megapixel camera, at about $200 more in price. But that's to be expected.

After deciding on camera, the next choice was where to purchase. This involved a whole other set of choices that will be explored in another column.

So I hope you will join me on this journey into another realm of computing. More and more, computing is heading in the direction of "home entertainment" and digital imaging makes up a big part of this transition.

If you would like to hear more about digital imaging 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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