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Computer Equipment

Which computer?

Currently I am using two main computers, a Sony VAIO PCV RZ221 and a Apple G5 Powermac.

Sony VAIO

The PCV RZ221 desktop is a prime example of a well designed and equipped desktop. I like the fact it comes with two DVD drives (one a writeable drive), it has an in-built memory stick reader and a PCMCIA card slot! It has a Pentium 4 3.06GHz processor.

The G5 Powermac, is a dual 2Ghz beastie with 1Gb Ram!

Prior to that I was using an Athlon 1333 Windows XP box with 256Mb Ram and a 80Gb HDD. My older box was a (wait for it) a P120 Windows 95 with 48Mb ram and a 3.2Gb HDD... It was not a bad piece of kit (SCSI card, Rainbow Runner, etc) but in the end was too slow for most things, especially using the internet...

I have also an Apple G4 Powerbook (which is nice).

So how do you get the images from the camera to the website?

I do use a variety of methods, with digital camera, I use a memory card reader as it is faster than using the cables that generally come with digital cameras. The Sony VAIOs comes with Memory Stick readers built-in, and I also have a PCMCIA adapter for the G4 Powerbook.

Film to PC

There are various ways of getting your prints from a film camera into a PC.

CD

Usually I now when getting my film developed get it scanned onto CD as it is realtively cheap and a lot lot quicker than scanning all the images by hand.

HP Scanjet 3200c

My wife bought this for me for my birthday and though worked really well with my Win 95 box (it's a parallel port scanner) it was a nightmare to set up on the XP box, but now with the latest drivers (40Mb download) from HP it seems to be working...

I have now borrowed a spare HP Scanjet 5700 from work, which installed fine on an XP box.

It's amazing to think that it costs less than £50 to buy a scanner today and when I bought my Scanjet IIIp it was nearly £500!

Most of our images are now scanned in at 600x400 pixels at 24-bit colour, saved as a bitmap, before using Macromedia Fireworks program to convert into JPG format. What this means is that the original 704Kb BMP image now becomes a 40Kb JPG image. Of course there is a loss in quality, but for screen work it is acceptable.

Prior to this stage some photos are digitally altered, sometimes it's just a matter of erasing the odd bit of fluff, but I have for example, removed the flying bases from this Epic Battle Scene and added a background to Sharke and Elephant in Mountains.

In some cases we can be more ambitious. with these photographs of two Snotling Pump Wagons, the first has had motion blur added to the wheels, whilst the second is an attempt to show them at speed.

Snotling Pump Wagons

Snotling Pump Wagons

HP Photosmart Printer

P1000 Photosmart Printer

My printer is the P1000 Photosmart printer, due to cartridge problems with the original photosmart printer and that I needed a replacement for my laser (and the P1000 is good at both colour and black and white). It's a great printer with an excellent print engine and also had the advanatage that you can print straight from a digital camera memory card without even needing to switch the PC on. It's also very useful as a standard page printer and ink consumption is not excessive.

Considering it is now over four years old, it is still going really well, and can print a mean picture! The same print engine is used in the HP 1220c and G95 which shows that it can last. It still works really hard as I use it to print stuff for work when working from home and it seems to work well.

I have also shared and networked it with my other computers and the Macs and it works fine.

Legacy Equipment

Details on older equipment used to capture, create and convert images for the website can be found here.

Camera Recommendation
Babylon 5

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