Digital camera with Windows software and docking station Pounds 799.
In the past, digital cameras have suffered from combinations of three general faults: poor image quality, slow download time to computer and limited storage capacity. Canon, whose Ion video camera first brought photography to school computers, has taken these shortcomings to heart and produced a product that sets a new standard. The PowerShot 600 has stunning image quality, downloads in less than 10 seconds to a standard PC and, with plug-in PC cards, the capacity of the camera can be extended to over 1,500 images (all files are standard JPEG images - ideal for Web work or printing).
The camera has the look and feel of a chubby 35mm camera. Images are stored in the camera's digital memory or on a PC card. The hard disc version, available as a Pounds 400 extra, has a whopping 170 megabytes. With this PC card you can store around 1,500 photographs - the whole school on one card! A smaller, 4-megabyte PC card is also available for up to 38 images. Without either card, the camera can only hold nine normal images. As most notebook computers have PC-card slots built in, images can be transferred instantly even in the middle of nowhere.
The camera even allows you to record sound to annotate each image, and this can also be digitised. There is no zoom lens but the macro facility is very impressive for close-ups. A wide-angle lens is available as an extra, and the camera has a maximum resolution of 832 by 608 pixels.
The PowerShot 600 is supplied with a docking station which connects to a printer port. File transfer is speedy - large images taking less than 10 seconds.
At present the camera is only available for the PC but any computer with a PC card reader can use images from the camera. Image management is excellent with software provided for editing and compiling image databases - thumbnails of all saved images may be searched.
"For the first time in my life I am using a camera which gives professional quality images," says Brian Richardson at Cambridgeshire Software House. And they are writing some software so that the camera can be used directly with the Acorn Risc PC.
If schools want print quality images, this is the camera to go for.
* BETT CONNECTIONS
Canon stand 460. Tel 0181 459 1266 Cambridgeshire Software House stand 313A. Tel 01487 741223