January 23, 2005

Canon Digital Rebel - Costco versus Amazon

I confused myself. Here's the final analysis:

Costco MVCostco onlineAmazon
Std Digital Rebel with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens package949.00949.00899.94
Extra battery pack BP511includedincluded69.99**
Carrying caseincluded59.9459.94
Shipping and handlingincludedincludedincluded
Tax (CA)80.67n/an/a
Rebate-50.00*-100.00-100.00
Total979.67908.94929.87

*You can probably use the online rebate form to claim the $100 for the in store purchase, but I'm not absolutely sure.
**Many generics are available for substantially less - more like $20-30.

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January 22, 2005

Canon Digital Rebel at Costco - an update

I checked on the Costco website (for the Canon Digital Rebel) and I think what they are offering online is what they are offering in the store. Note that the website rebate matches the Amazon rebate - $100, but that the base price is $949.00. So what's different?

CostcoAmazon
EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lensyesyes
Battery charger CB-5Lyesyes
Battery pack BP-511yesyes
Additional battery pack BP-511yesno
Interface cable IFC-300PCUyesyes
Video cable VC-100yesyes
Wide strap EW-10DB IIyesyes
Date/Time CR2016 lithium battery yesprobably
Eye Cup Efyesno
EOS Digital Solution CD-ROMyesyes
Adobe Photoshop Elements CD-ROMyesyes

You know, I think the Costco store version also has a carrying case, which might explain the $50 less rebate. You can probably print out and use the $100 online rebate form. Notice that none of these cameras have any sort of memory included. The extra BP511 battery lists on Amazon for $50. Sunpack makes clones of the BP511 for $21.99.

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Canon digital rebel

Costco Mountain View carries the Canon Digital Rebel (Canon EOS 6.3MP Digital Rebel Camera with Lens 18-55MM Lens) for $899 after a $50 rebate. It includes some accessories, 2 batteries, a carrying case and some other stuff. If you are getting one, you might consider getting it at Amazon. The camera is $899.94 before a $100 rebate. You can shave another $30 if you sign up for the Amazon card. That's $769.94. Be very careful about what is included in the package - I've noticed that the camera manufacturers are starting to get quite tricky what they include where. Some people price the Digital Rebel without the lens, for example. Here's the Amazon description:

This package includes the EOS Digital Rebel digital camera with 18-35mm lens, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack (BP-511) and battery charger (CB-5L), USB and AV cables, and a wide neck strap. It also comes with Adobe Photoshop Elements and Digital Camera Solutions CD-ROMs with imaging software and USB drivers for Windows and Mac.
I only see one battery, and no carrying case.

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October 28, 2004

I want a Draganfly Predator

predator.jpg
What if I told you that you could do overhead video at 8000 ft. for $750? This month's Fortune has a facinating article on surveillance cameras all around us. Of particular interest? Draganfly Innovation's Predator with optional eyecam.

Draganfly Innovation's scaled-down Predator looks just like the Predator B you have seen on CNN. And, like its full-size cousin, the scale Predator is flown by a radio system from the ground while it transmits real-time color video and takes high quality still photos. Designed with a low-drag fuselage and V-tail, the Predator is configured to extract the maximum power and endurance available from the flight battery.
Now I wonder if I can use it to do aerial topography mapping? The radio has a 1 mile range. Flight times are up to 1.5 hours with the lithium-polymer battery (an additional $110). You can even get GPS for pre-programmed flight routes - 20-mile range. I found some old pricing - the GPS adds about $7500 to the the total cost. Hey, maybe this can be used to carry express mail. DraganFly Innovation was started by Zenon Dragan (is that his real name?) in his basement in 1998. Here's a profile of the company.

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August 23, 2004

Konica Minolta Dimage A2

I saw this baby at Costco this morning. It is nice - especially the anti-shake feature. If you are interested, you should take a look at Amazon, it goes for $760-some. It says "too low to display" for the price, probably because the Amazon price is even lower than the used price. At Costco it was nearly $1000. I have to say though, that the Minolta site is really poorly designed. It took 10 minutes before we actually located the sample pages. Once you get a sample image, if you don't have the toolbar, you need to point your mouse at the white boarder and right click on Back. (If you use my 'sample pages' link you shouldn't have this problem, but you will have it if you go through the Minolta link. You then click on 'Take a Tour'.)

The A2 anti-shake is neat because the adjustment is made on the CCD position rather than on the lenses. That means that it'll be in operation no matter what lens you are using.

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July 30, 2004

Nikon and Coolpix and 5700

I like this one. Check out the reviews and accessories for the Nikon 5700. I saw a floor model for sale for $600 at Costco the other day (regularly $799). I'll have to admit, I was pretty tempted despite not really having the money. Fortunately, I saw it for less online with extra accessories... so no hurry. :)

I had a Nikon Coolpix 990 for about a year. I liked the color and I liked the macro mode, but the size what not very convenient. I found myself leaving it at home to avoid having to carry it. Make special note of the Nikon MB-E5700 Battery Pack.

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May 19, 2004

DCR-HC1000

As you can see, the DCR-HC1000 isn't a camera, it is a camcorder. A 3 CCD camcorder. Robin Liss reported early last week on Sony Japan's release of the DCR-HC1000 at 176,000 yen, or approximately $1,554.50 as of about now. 3 CCD camcorders (and cameras for that matter) have three imaging sensors, one each for red, green and blue allowing for much richer, vibrant and accurate colors. Each imaging sensor on the DCR-HC1000 is a "1/4.7 in. 1070K pixel CCD, with 690K effective pixels for video". Incidentally, these are the same CCDs as the ones in the DCR-TRV950. Here's the brief press release.

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May 9, 2004

Pros get digital prints at Costco

I had photos from our PowerShot S300 printed at Costco this morning as a gift to Sonja for Mother's Day. I'm happy to report that the results were quite pleasing. I dropped a CD off at around 11 and picked up the prints at around 2. They had quoted me 5 PM which I negotiated to 3. The charge? 19 cents a piece.

Here's the skinny on the setup. Digital prints at Costco Mountain View (Costco #143) are made using a Noritsu QSS-3101 on Fuji Crystal Archive Paper. The machine is calibrated daily and profiles uploaded to Dry Creek Photo. Costco will print your images as is. That means that if you do not Photoshop your photos, you may get some prints that aren't as pleasing. It also means, however, that if you do Photoshop your photos, you'll get exactly what you want. How? Profiling. Profiling means that someone, Dry Creek Photo, has gone through the trouble of measuring the color output and producing a Photoshop profile so that what you edit will be what you print. That's why the pros use Costco. It is as good as any other place. Here's a relevant thread from rec.photo.digital.

Update
blog^2 has a great post comparing online photo processors, but even more importantly, a related comment from James:

"If you use a custom ICC color profile to pre-process your photos before taking them to Costco, you'll find that the results are the best you'll get for non-pro lab processing. Go to http://www.drycreekphoto.com/, use Photoshop or Qimage to convert your photos from sRGB to the custom ICC profile for the Costco where you live. Reprint your best 5 photographs at the Costco by you with the best equipment(latest model numbers on Noritsu or Fuji Frontier equipment) using the process detailed at the drycreek website. For the $1.00 you spend on 5 4x6 prints, your jaw will drop at how accurate the colors are especially when you compare them to the amateur ofoto prints. I've used ofoto and shutterfly, along with imagestation and several other online services, but they don't compare since none of them provide ICC color profiles for their machines."

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Costco digital prints

I've gotten 4x6 digital prints at Costco (Mountain View, CA) several times over the past few months have had pretty satisfactory results. I haven't compared them head-to-head with pro photo shops - and was hoping someone online had done so. I've yet to find a review like that. I did find, however, an interesting article by a pro who gets his prints done at Costco. Note that this is the store, not the online service, which probably outsources to the same gig that Ofoto, etc. use. The gist of his article is that despite what people say about how you get what you pay for, Costco's equipment, paper and color calibration appear to be top grade. I'm gonna get some done today, and will report on exactly what they are using.

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April 25, 2004

Kodak DX6490

I've been thinking about getting a DX6490.

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