Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

What are the latest advances in digital camera PDAs?

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In recent years, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) have become increasingly available and more popular. There is now a wide range of products that come under this category, including devices that serve as little more than a glorified calendar and organizer, to top of the range tablets and “Palm PC’s”. Miniaturization has taken leaps and bounds as developments have progressed, and PDAs continue to grow more powerful. For some people, a PDA is something of a hobby, and the features, gimmicks, and novelties, whether they use them or not, are the most important part of the fun. More often, however, they are put to use in business, across almost every modern industry, at nearly every level, to varying degrees. PDAs now feature massive amounts of storage space, whether on-board, or via flash cards which keep growing in size, wireless networking, web browsing facilities, telephone-PDA hybrids, and ever more advanced software. One other feature that has raised some attention is the integration of digital cameras into Palm PCs.

Digital camera PDAs are not really intended for photography enthusiasts. They are intended more for people who depend upon and always carry their PDA. Integrating a camera into these versatile systems has so far been a matter of convenience and entertainment. The digital cameras combined with modern PDAs do not have particularly advanced camera features, and tend to be relatively poor in quality compared to a separately purchased digital camera. While a $200 digital camera may produce photographs at as high a resolution as 5, 6, or 7 “mega-pixels”, the cameras found aboard a similarly priced PDA will be less than half a mega-pixel, and even more expensive PDAs rarely boast a camera with a resolution as high as 2MP. Digital camera PDAs are not just a trivial toy, though, and have many useful applications. And of course, no-one ever knows just when they might need a camera.

The Hewlett Packard HW6515 iPAQ is a fully featured PDA featuring a 1.3MP camera, with an LED flash. PDA cameras often use a high powered LED rather than a conventional strobe because they use significantly less power. Unfortunately the intensity of the flash is also much lower, but using an LED is the most efficient tool for the job. In addition to its camera, the 6515 has a 312MHz Intel CPU, 320×240 TFT display, and 128 MB of on-board memory, of which, 55MB is available for to the user. It is Bluetooth enabled and has all common digital cell network compatibility (GPRS, GSM, EDGE.) Data cable is USB, and it uses Secure Digital removable media. It comes with a very full bundle of Microsoft mobile software, and runs the Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 (Phone Edition) Operating System. Weighing in at 5 ounces, it will set you back a little under $700.

If you are more interested in the camera capabilities themselves, then you will want to consider external cameras designed to be used in conjunction with an existing PDA. These offer much better camera quality, resulting in better image reproduction. Another 1.3MP PDA camera is the Lifeview Flycam. This small digital camera plugs into your existing PDA by way of the CF card attached to it. This is inserted directly into the CF slot of your tablet or PDA, and you have almost immediate camera functionality. It offers a few more features as a camera, and it is the camera aspect itself that is important to you, it makes a lot more sense to buy your PDA camera and PDA separately. As better PDA cameras are developed, you will be able to upgrade the camera without having to replace the whole PDA, which – as can be seen by the above example – can be quite an investment. The Flycam retails for as little as $130, making it a very appealing way to retrofit a camera to your PDA.

The HP Jornada is another retro-fitted PDA camera, also installed by way of an attached CF card. At a maximum resolution of only 640×480 (0.3MP), this camera retails for about $60. If you have an existing PDA, and have no desire to upgrade it yet, and you only need a simple camera, then this could well be the option for you. With an auto-focusing lens, this is a very easy camera to use, however, it will not appeal to more astute photographers. If all you want is to be able to take pictures of your friends whenever you want, then this is a great purchase.

Choosing a PDA camera is a matter of weighing up what you need. If you mostly just need a good camera, you are best off buying a normal digital camera, completely independent of your PDA. If it’s a PDA-camera hybrid you need, along with all the other functionality of a top shelf palmtop, and you can afford the considerable outlay, but you don’t need absolutely top notch photography, then consider an integrated option. If the idea of being able to swap the camera between different PDAs, and you like having the option of progressively upgrading as newer and better technology comes out, then you may wish to consider one of the retro-fitting options. They’re an ingenious solution that promises to stay within budget, and allows you to upgrade at will.


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Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Proverbs 29:18

The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
Psalm 24:1-2

He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
Psalm 104:10-13

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number living things both large and small.
Psalm 104:24-25

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.
Ansel Adams

When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!
Ted Grant

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.
Dorothea Lange

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
Ansel Adams

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
Henri Cartier-Bresson

You don’t take a photograph, you make it.
Ansel Adams

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.
Matt Hardy

Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment.
Elliott Erwitt

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.
Imogen Cunningham

You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.
William Albert Allard

If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up.
Garry Winogrand

I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good.
Anonymous

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.
Ansel Adams

It can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get.
Timothy Allen

 


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