Today, I will not talk about technology per se -- or will I? I want to speak about digital cameras, which are more and more popular day afer day. This is fine, but when it comes to printing your pictures, you have several choices, and none is really a winner, as this article from the Economist is pointing out by saying "Digital cameras are popular, but making prints is still too hard."
Making prints at home is strictly for enthusiasts, since it involves transferring the images to a PC, manipulating them (to reduce "red-eye", for example) and then printing them out. Far simpler are printers that plug directly into digital cameras, allowing prints to be made without a PC. But that raises the problem of long-term storage: where should pictures be stored once the camera's memory is full?
An alternative approach involves equipment in high-street photo stores that can produce prints from digital cameras on the spot. This is reassuringly similar to the current film-based way of doing things, and appeals particularly to companies, such as Kodak, that already have a vast retail network in place and are trying to shore up sales of film and paper. But again, long-term storage is the problem. One option is to transfer the images on to CDs, which can later be used to order reprints.
A third approach is to send images from a camera, via a PC, across the Internet to a photo finisher. The resulting prints are then sent back by post. Several such services exist, though none has really taken off. Without a fast Internet connection, uploading more than a handful of photographs simply takes too long.
It is unclear which of these approaches -- home printing, high-street printing or online printing -- will prevail. All three will probably co-exist, suggests Michelle Slaughter of Infotrends.
Here is my preferred solution: a specialized -- and portable -- printer that you carry with you when travelling. It's also an expensive solution, but you don't have to travel with your laptop or find a specialized shop. And as says the article, you will not be able to save your images.
What is your take?
Source: The Economist, June 6, 2002
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