CameraMate helps move large digital photos to computer...


January 03, 2002|By Kevin Washington

CameraMate helps move large digital photos to computer

Bigger pictures from better digital cameras have left digital camera lovers in a quandary. How do we move them quickly from digital media cards to computers for editing and printing?

After all, some cameras offer modes that will shoot detailed 15-megabyte and 17-megabyte images. Take 20 pictures like that and you're in for a long download.

Microtech International has answered our prayers by offering the Firewire CameraMate Digital Film Reader ($100), a Compact Flash card reader that uses the IEEE 1394 standard, popularly called Firewire or iLink. That means the FireWire CameraMate delivers images at connection speeds up to 400 megabits per second, while the USB CameraMate pokes along at 12 mbps.

Compact Flash Type I and II cards as well as IBM Microdrives can be read by the Firewire CameraMate, but SmartMedia and MultiMedia cards cannot. The device can be used with PCs and Macintosh computers.

With Windows XP, I didn't have to install software to get the Firewire CameraMate up and running. Installation was a true plug-and-play experience.

Information: 800-220-9489 or

Epson's Stylus Photo 820 works well at low cost

Several great photo printers can be bought for $200 or more, but Epson's Stylus Photo 820 won't set you back more than $150 - making it the best buy for a six-color photo ink jet printer.

The Stylus Photo 820, with a maximum resolution of 2,880-by-720 dots per inch, uses the same Advanced Micro Piezo ink jet technology found on Epson's higher-end consumer printers. The nozzles on the inkjet spray fine droplets of ink on your photo paper to produce clear, good-looking photographs without the tiny tell-tale dots seen in images proofed on older inexpensive inkjets.

Epson's printer also makes borderless prints that are reminiscent of the kinds of prints you get from a photo finisher.

The Stylus Photo 820 prints a respectable 12 black-and-white pages per minute in economy mode. Photos take longer, of course, with a 4-by-6-inch photo print emerging from the printer in about 50 seconds and an 8-by-10-inch print in about two minutes using the fine setting. Text printed on regular paper appeared a bit soft, but certainly was acceptable for most uses.

If you've got a little extra money to blow, however, the Epson Stylus Photo 890 or Canon S800 Bubble Jet printers produce higher-quality prints with slightly better color and sharper details, but dollar for dollar, the Stylus Photo 820 amazes.

Information: 1-800-463-7766 or

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