Getting in Gear: My First Digital Camera

 

The age of Digital Photography started for me in the middle 1990’s. I still have vivid memories of the arrival of that yellow box with the Kodak logo. My first digital camera. I can’t remember how or why I selected this camera. It was probably more company name recognition than research. It was the Kodak model DC220 and it set me back about $300. A two Mega-Pixel digital powerhouse, packed with the latest technology. I planned on using it to take pictures of items my wife sold on her collectibles website. It was the first website I constructed (built with Adobe GoLive). According to the camera’s information sheet, it came with an 32 megabit compact flash card and cables to connect it to a computer through either a USB Port or Serial Port interface. I imagined that I already knew allot about high-tech stuff. My computer had a 386 processor, 4 megs of RAM and was complete with an RGB monitor which weighed more than a console TV. I was told this was more computing power than Apollo 11 had for the lunar landing. At least that’s what the sales guy said.

As reported in an article for Imaging Resource Review, “Kodak’s DC220 opens new possibilities and applications in the upper mid-range of the digital point & shoot world. The computer-like capabilities it incorporates give it unique power for vertical applications, such as real estate and insurance claims handling”. This probably meant it would work photographing collectibles. The camera possessed an ISO speed of 140, and available lens apertures range from f4.0 to f13.5 and f/4.7-f16 at maximum digital telephoto. It was good for making prints as large as 5×7 inches. I didn’t yet have a photo printer, but the future was out there.

Anyway, It broke. The camera insides kept working but the case was made of an inexpensive soft plastic. I used a tripod for the product shots and the screw mount receptacle in the camera instead of being metal was also a soft plastic. One too many tripod mounts and it shredded. It was under warranty so I sent it to Kodak for repair and they quickly sent it back denying my repair request. “Damaged by Customer in bold letters. So I called Kodak’s Rochester, New York headquarters. I was connected to a vice president in charge of something and he explained that in order to repair it they would have to replace the entire case as it was a one piece mold. So what happened to that “Damaged by Customer part”? I’ll always remember he then added, “We didn’t think anyone would actually use a tripod”. Ah, so it was my fault for using the camera as advertised.

To my naked eye and the images in the ad, it certainly looks like the tripod connection was a separate part but I was supposed to believe the VP and not my lying eyes. I mentioned to him that the camera had a “timer function” (From Kodak’s press release: A 10-second self-timer feature lets the photographer get in the picture with the subjects). I pleaded, “It can’t suspend itself so why wouldn’t I use a tripod?”

My common sense position fell on deaf ears, I lost my case. (I’ve since learned that “common sense” can sound like sarcasm). I managed to remove a base screw from something else and wedge into place so that it was good enough for shooting on a tripod, compensating for the slight tilt to the left.

That was the end of my relationship with Kodak but now my feet were firmly planted in the age of the digital camera. Kodak never became the leader in the field of consumer digital photography which the articles of the day predicted and I never purchased another Kodak product.

My second camera was the Sony-Mavica. It utilized floppy disks instead of compact flash for image recording. This made for an easier workflow. Now I could walk the ten steps from the table-top area to the other side of our basement office and deliver the graphics to myself for editing, without cables and adapters.

To see more images of our two-year Senior Ex-Pat travel journey, please visit my website at gregoryspring.com.  You can find me on FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Our Travel Blog is Grace’s Wanderlusting Dreams: Still Bohemian at 65, follow her on FaceBook and Twitter.

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