Technology is a wonderful thing. There have been a great number of technological advances made, especially as it pertains to photography. I remember my first experience with a camera was my grandmothers Kodak Instamatic 110 sometime in the 70's. It had a little square flash bulb that had to be replaced way too often. After taking all the pictures, you removed the 110 cartridge and dropped it off at the drug store and picked up your pictures 7 days later.
The next one I remember clearly is the Polaroid Instant Camera. This was pretty cool for a pre-teenager. You just bought (what I thought back then) some overpriced film for it, snapped yourpicture and a few minutes later (and a lot of shaking) your picture sprang to life in front of you. The downsides were that it was bulky, and there wasn't a way to make copies of the pictures easily. They had the right idea back then. To let the customer take a photo and be instantly gratified with a print of it. But it wasn't efficient and didn't have advanced technology resources such as the internet, computers, printers, and digital cameras.
My next lesson in photography was photography school. I didn't end up graduating, but spent my first (and only) year learning basic 35 MM photo skills and darkroom skills. It was a lesson in color as well as black and white photography. I learned a lot while I was there, and my Pentax camera was a trusted friend that captured my images. We learned how to develop and process our own film and photos in the darkrooms. Doing this process could take several hours, depending on how many rolls of film you had to develop and how many prints you needed to copy. It was nothing to go through 100 sheets of photo paper and have an entire afternoon spent in the darkroom.
Now it's the year 2006. The Digital Age. My new camera is a Sony Cybershot DSC-W7. This little camera makes the barrier to entry into photography much smaller. For only a few hundred dollars, you can pick up this or a similiar digital camera. This camera is loaded with 32 MB of internal memory for taking pictures, however I recommend picking up a memory stick to maximize your photo taking capabilities. A 1 Gig memory sticks run about $70.00, but I've never run into a problem taking up to 200 pictures at a time. This is a wonderful way not to have to ever buy traditional film again. This camera also doubles as a video camera. In standard recording mode, the DSC-W7 equipped with a 1 Gig memory stick is about 44 minutes of recording time. In Fine Mode, it would be around 12 minutes. Using your computer equipped with their printing software, you can burn these to DVD's or hook right into your Television for replay. This same software gives tools to retouch and perfect photos before you print them, too.
Printing your photos has made revolutionary changes since the days in the darkroom. You have many more options for making your own prints. You can bring your memory stick to a place like Wal-Mart or the grocery store, and use a machine to make copies of your pictures. You can order prints online, or you can develop them yourself with a printer. I happen to own two printers that are compatible with my camera. I have a Hewlett Packard 6200 that I use to make 8 by 10 prints. For smaller prints (4 X 6) I like using my Epson Picture Mate Personal Photo Lab. If I remember correctly, this cost about 150.00 but has paid itself off in charges not incurred by getting them processed elsewhere. Photo paper and replacement ink cartridges are sold off in a 100 pack and cost around 30.00 at Best Buy. You just insert the memory stick into the Epson or connect it with the pictobridge cable and press a few buttons, and your prints will be done in front of your eyes.
Just like in the days of the Polaroid cameras. I told you they had the right idea!
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