Photoblogging the Old-Fashioned Way

So here’s the part where I whine a bit about the process of building yesterday’s entry. I shall do this by delineating for you the steps involved in creating your own photoblog, the old-fashioned way:

1. Take random pictures of your cats, in order to finish the roll of film that’s been lingering around the house for a month or so.

2. Take that roll of film, along with six others dating back as far as Christmas 2002,* to your friendly neighborhood drugstore for processing.

3. Request single prints and photo CDs. Get told, incorrectly, that it will actually be cheaper to get double prints and photo CDs. Fail to see the overhead price list which would have given you the correct information.

4. Agree to return at 2 pm the next day to pick up the results.

5. Return at 3.30 pm, just to be safe, and still find yourself standing around for forty minutes waiting for the last roll to be finished.

6. Discover, upon paying for the prints, that prints is all you’ve got on six of seven rolls; fortunately, the last one does have the CD with it, and it’s the one you most want. Request a second time the photo CDs for the other six rolls, and graciously accept a ten percent discount on those CDs.

7. Take the prints and CD home; pop the CD in the iMac; import the images into iPhoto.

8. Export the images you want to use as JPEGs. Find yourself a bit taken aback by their initial size.

9. Fire up GraphicConverter and scale, crop, scale, crop, and scale. Save reasonably-sized images and appropriate thumbnails.

10. Upload images and thumbnails.

11. Scour the web for a decent bit of javascript that will create a pop-up window for your images.

12. Create your entry, complete with inline thumbnails and pop-up images.

13. Tinker with your CSS for three hours trying to work out the kinks.

The good news is that two of the last three steps will not be necessary in future iterations. But the process is still a good six steps too long.

Not to mention that the cost of the prints and CDs would have gotten me a good quarter of the way to a decent digital camera.

So, at last: as both a cost-cutting and a time-saving measure, I must go digital. I’ve resisted for years, only because prices kept coming down and pixels kept going up so fast that I never found the right moment to take the plunge. (Also because I’m stubborn: I think I bought the last 35mm point-and-shoot sold in the U.S., and I was determined to use it.)

What I need now is advice. I want to maximize pixellage, storage, and ease-of-use, and minimize cost and aggravation. What do you have? How do you like it? What do you covet? Why?


*This is not an exaggeration, and is indeed the reason why I should never have been allowed near a film-based camera. But I got to spend last night reliving happy memories of 2003’s trips to Amsterdam, Prague, and London, and to see evidence that I really did lose 20 pounds last year.


  1. Do you know about how much you want (or are willing, anyway) to spend on a camera? I can make some recommendations, but it would be helpful to have a ballpark figure in mind.

  2. I suppose I’m willing to up to $400. Which seems, on cursory looking-about, to cover pretty much anything except an SLR. If I can keep it down closer to $300, though, that’d be ideal.

  3. There are several great cameras in the Canon PowerShot series that fall within your price range. If you did a bunch of shopping around, you might be able to find a PowerShot S60 for under $400, though it would be tough. Still, it’s a great 5-megapixel camera. The PowerShot A80 is a 4-megapixel camera that might also be good choice, and you should be able to find one of those for under $350 (no more than $400, certainly). The PowerShot A75 is a versatile 3-megapixel camera that you could probably buy for under $250, and chances are that it would do everything you needed it to do. I think people focus a little too much on megapixels sometimes, but really, unless you need to be able to print out high-quality photos larger than 8×10 or so, you don’t need a particularly high megapixel count.

    I am also a big fan of the Nikon Coolpix series; my own camera is a Coolpix 995 (which they don’t make anymore). Unfortunately, I have heard people grumble about the low-light performance of some of the lower-end Coolpix cameras. My mom has a Coolpix 4500 and loves it. The 4300 might also be a good option for you. However, I would probably choose a PowerShot over any of the Nikons in the 3000 series, and I’d definitely choose a PowerShot over any of the Nikons in the 2000 series.

  4. Agreed on the Canons. Also consider the “Elph” Canons, like the S500 and S410–you’re more likely to carry around a smaller camera. Just be sure to get your hands on the cameras you’re considering before you buy, to see if they feel right to you, and if you like holding and using them.

  5. If you’re buying a camera for photoblogging, you don’t need 5 megapixels. I just spent about $130 on a 2 megapixel camera, because it’s small, the image quality is adequate, and if/when I break or lose it I’ll just be out $130.

    That said, if I wanted to use it for important images I might ever print out on big paper, I would deeply regret not going for, at least, a 3 or 4 megapixel cam.

  6. Thanks, all, for the suggestions. A pal of mine is letting me play with her camera over the weekend, so I ought to get a feel for what I like and don’t like about it. I’ll keep you posted…

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