Monday, October 29, 2007

Dead Media

Last time, as you may recall, I posted pics of the 2007 Richmond Zombie Walk, which was absolutely fantabulous, a complete and total blast, and something I may actually participate in next year--hey, I've already got a genuine body bag, a certain amount of greasepaint, and a reprint of Dick Smith's Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook; the only thing stopping me is/has been laziness on my part.

But anyway...

My camera is an Olympus Camedia D-380, a two megapixel minimally-frilled device that was quite the bargain when I bought it back in--2002? 2003?--and it has served me well for the kind of occasional (very occasional), grab-'n' go photography I do these days, but photographing a bunch of zombies with an eight megabyte memory turned out to be distinctly limiting, since 8mb translates to about maybe 15 images. Obviously, I need additional, larger memory cards.

You know what's coming, don't you? You can smell it.

Yeah. The D-380 uses SmartMedia, an obsolete flash memory card, very difficult to find these days and, as you might suspect, the Olympus website had absolutely no redirects to current sources since they're long out of production. Well, "long" in digital terms, which can mean "minutes" in this ever changing world in which we live in.


Leave it to me to be a piss-poor consumer and not upgrade all my electronics on a regular basis. I have an Olympus OM-1n 35 mm. film camera from the late '70s that's pretty much a high-tech paperweight because it uses mercury batteries, which are no longer sold legally in the U. S. and for which there are no satisfactory substitutes. I have a cassette deck as an integral part of my stereo system, a VHS player in the closet; hell, I still have a Super-8 movie camera and a vacuum tube Yaesu FT-101ZD HF radio transceiver. Oh, and a working (last time I checked) but no longer used Mac 512Ke.

I'm an Analog Zombie from the Dead Media Project.

Well, this is where eBay comes into its own and, yes, I found SmartMedia cards for a reasonable enough price, but still, it saddens me to think that my apartment is becoming a monument to obsolescence.

Cautionary Tale: When my friend Anne got married of course I took my trusty D-380 to her pre-wedding party and at one point during the evening I had to make a mad dash for the bathroom (imminent diet soda/bladder emergency) and left it in the care of several friends, one of whom happened to be Bill G.

I should have known better.

At the end of the evening I came home, fired up my editing software, downloaded my pictures, and noticed one of them was a bit... odd: a little out of focus, strangely underlit, possessed of a mysterious abstract nebulosity, certainly not something I remembered taking (I'm not that artistic). A few minutes of digital fiddling solved the mystery--Bill G. had shoved my camera down the front of his pants and produced a post-modern portrait of his genitals.


anne said...

I think you've had the camera even longer than that -- I bought one just like it with my wedding money in September of 2002 and I'd been coveting yours for what seemed like forever!

I love mine. Love love love. But I will probably need to buy a new one soon for high res real estate photos.

G. W. Ferguson said...

You may be right--I don't recall exactly when I bought it, but man! I do love it, obsolete SmartMedia notwithstanding. Compact, simple, surprisingly rugged, and just plain fun!

These days 2 megapixels is nothing so, yeah, for real estate photos you're going to need higher resolution. On the other hand, since it would be a job-related expense it just may be tax deductible!

Cathy VanPatten said...

I love my little Casio--it has 7.2 megapixels (although I rarely shoot at more than 5), which is also not much these days. It was less than $200...

And yeah, GW--the problem at the art show was, indeed, dead batteries.