Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/10/17

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Is digital photography necrophilia?
From: Alastair Firkin <>
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003 14:51:42 +1000

So, take one of each, hope for the best -- it will probably work, and 
carry a spare M6 and film: it will at least provide back up for all 
that other gear ;-)

On Saturday, Oct 18, 2003, at 04:16 Australia/Melbourne, Jim Laurel 

> Dante Stella wrote:
>> 1. The true nature of the paradigm shift
>> In the old days, your PJ could wander around with his Leicas and
>> whatnot.  A couple of years ago, American Photo did a layout of the
>> absolutely massive amount of equipment people were taking to Iraq - it
>> was something like two D1xs, battery chargers, inverters, microdrives,
>> laptop computers, and full chemical gear.  That makes an F3 with MD-4
> It's actually much worse than that, Dante.  I've learned from 
> experience on
> digital assignments that the technology is never to be trusted.  A 
> simple
> damaged cable can be a showstopper.  So, make that TWO battery 
> chargers, TWO
> 12v-120v inverters, TWO 220v to 120v inverters, TWO of every possible 
> cable
> and adapter you might need, TWO laptops along with extra batteries, 
> and TWO
> of every cable they might require.  Also, you will need installation 
> CDs for
> ALL the OS and application software you use, along with any serial 
> numbers
> or installation keys required.  Don't forget TWO of every electrical 
> adapter
> you will need, as well as 220V compatible powerstrips to plug 
> everything in.
> If you're depending on a Mini M or Iridium satellite phone to upload 
> your
> images, you need TWO units, and TWO of all the associated cables and
> chargers.  If you're away for a long period of time and you need 
> external
> firewire hard drives, you need TWO and TWO cables for them.  If you've 
> ever
> been in a situation where you're frantically trying to salvage 
> gigabytes of
> irreplaceable images from a squealing hard drive, damaged by shock and
> vibration and ready to fail completely, you may not think digital
> photography is so wonderful or convenient.  Back them up to DVD, you 
> say?
> Great idea.  If you shoot around 4gb of stuff per day, then you are 
> burning
> a DVD per night, which takes an hour on a Ti Powerbook.  And of 
> course, they
> are easily damaged, so you need to burn TWO.  That's two hours.  And 
> that's
> after you've spent 3 hours downloading images them from the CF cards,
> editing, resizing, cropping, correcting, etc., for submission.  And 
> all that
> after waking up at 6am to start the day and shooting through 7 or 8pm.
> Lovely, huh?  Oh, and by the way, be sure to bring 50% more DVDs as you
> think you'll need.  You always end up using more than you expect.  So, 
> if
> you are shooting for 30 days, that's 30 DVDs, plus another 30 for 
> backup,
> plus at least another 30 for good measure.  That's 90 altogether.
> You need alternate ways of doing things in the field.  For example, if 
> you
> are working as a part of a team, it's not enough to say that you are 
> going
> to transfer image files via wireless on your Powerbooks.  You need 
> backup
> methods, such as firewire cables to do target firewire mode for file
> transfers, null modem ethernet cables to accomodate co-workers who are 
> using
> Windows notebooks, and CF PCMCIA adapters as a last resort.  And of 
> course,
> you'd better have TWO of each.  All this little stuff adds up.  You'd 
> be
> surpised.  I have been in situations where I was forced to use my 
> "Plan C"
> plan for doing a particular thing in the field, then find out that one 
> of
> the cables was damaged due to being crimped by a Pelican or Porter 
> Case or a
> PCMCIA CF adapter got bent.  Now you're down to Plan C with the backup 
> cable
> or adapter.  Not a good feeling.
> Digital photography makes some assignment work possible that was 
> difficult
> or simply not possible at all before.  For guys traveling through the
> desert, embedded with a military task force, it's the only alternative 
> to
> get images out daily.  And it's great for shooting around home, where 
> you
> are close to power, your computer, and plenty of resources.  In every 
> other
> way, it is a great big PITA.
> --Jim
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