From the December, 1998 issue of PC Alamode
Holiday Buying Guide:
Do you really need that camera?
by Susan Ives

Sidebar: Digital cameras are just one way of digitizing photographs for use in computer applications. Depending on how you want to use your images, one of these other digitizing methods might be cheaper and better suited to your needs: 


Decent scanners can now be purchased for less than $100. I recently bought a Visioneer PaperPort 6000B for $118, tax included, and have a $30 rebate on the way from the company, making the total cost $88. A scanner is more versatile than a digital camera. I can not only scan the photos I took yesterday, but also my old family photos, and line art. I can use the optical character recognition (OCR) software to scan in documents and turn them into files that can be read by any word processor. It can work as a FAX machine. If you only have one digital imaging device, it should probably be a scanner.

 Video input devices:

 If you have a video camcorder, you can grab 

still frames from your video using an inexpensive video capture device such as Snappy, GrabIt Pro, AIGotcha! or Connetix QuickClip. These small gadgets - not much bigger than a pack of cigarettes - act as an interface between your computer and your camcorder or VCR. They retail between $90 and $200. Several years ago we used a Snappy attached to my laptop and a home video camera during the Alamo Bowl; it worked great. While the game was still in progress, we managed to post about 75 photos to the official web site.

Film digitizing bureaus: 

When I take my 35mm film to my camera shop, one of the options I have is to get all of my photos digitized onto a diskette in addition to the envelope full of paper prints. If you have only an occasional need for digitized photos it might be cheaper and more efficient to pay a bureau to do it for you.