Sunday, September 25, 2016

the path from obsolete to vintage

hey there

the pain across my back and the tale of retrieving The Blues Brothers in its DVD form tell you all that you need to know, look you see, of my efforts in going through yet more boxes of stuff as recently as yesterday. as would normally be the case, as i sought out that what i wanted i also found other items of curiosity. these i have kept to one side, rather than rebox, and the more interesting ones shall feature here.

like, of instance or if you prefer for example, this one.

if you're wondering what that is in the pouch then in all frank honesty thank you very much indeed for actually reading what i write and not just scrolling through the images to see what, if anything, the point of me taking up valuable internet space is this time.

what it is, as it happens, is if not a "first generation" then at the least exceedingly early type of digital camera. which is to say a sort of traditional looking camera what elected to use digital storage rather than the conventional film in order to record images.

what sort of digital camera is it? and we shall call it a digital one rather than digital or "digital" or any other such variation of smear, for that is what it is, by the way. it is a, according to what you can see in the images, Jenoptik JD 350. on the camera this is subtitled "jendigital", and it also has the word "entrance" on it, which i think means to imply that it is intended as an entry level contraption.

provenance, cost and age? these things tend to get lost as time passes by. if i remember right, my (considerably) better half and i, in those days before wedded bliss, picked this up on a holiday or if you like sojourn to England, most probably September 2001 but also possibly December 2002.  in respect of cost, two numbers come to mind, so it was either £35 or £49.95. in either eventuality, we were quite excited by the low price, as such technology back in Johannesburg cost (literally) several times more. so, we got it. and have, as you can see, now brought it back.

the above is the USB port that one connects it to a computer with. below it is one of them "AV points", the thing that looks like a headphone cable at one end, yet leads off to two or three RCA connectors so that you may plug it into a television. it is very much a first generation USB port; as point of fact it comes from a time when no one used the term "USB" and instead simply saw the wire as another type of computer cable. who knew it would become the only sort of wire everyone uses any more, except of course for them Apple things.

no, there is no slot for a memory card because when this thing was built there was no such thing as "flash" memory, SD cards, etc. what you got was all you had, with no way of expanding it. this approach to memory is, now that i think, a weirdly antiquated one which "progressive" Apple for some reason cling to, as they are the only present day company that steadfastly refuse you to add as much memory storage space as you want.

how much memory does the camera have? i do not remember, but it is not a lot. it can probably be measured in MB, and it will be 8, 16 or 32. my money shall be on the lower.

in what way was data transferred between computers then, then? as we only had 56k modems, not really by the internet. also, no wi-fi. you used them 1.44MB discs to move data, or if you were flash and fancy you recorded ("burned") to a CD-R. otherwise, data just stayed on the computer it was on and you used it there. yes, we did manage and yes we did cope. 

right there above, assuming this text appears below, you can see the "display" details. that LCD screen shows you how much battery you have left, what quality of picture you are taking (standard or best i think the only options) and how many more pictures you could take.

no, no LED display with this one - as i said, it was basically shoving digital recording onto a standard camera as it was known then. you did indeed need to use the viewfinder to frame and take your picture, and hope for the best when you downloaded it to a computer later. no means of reviewing, checking or deleting at the time.

what was the quality of the pictures like? mostly, from what i remember, awful. i have no idea what they official quality was supposed to be, but it will be well below this 1MP business of today. but, you know, back in 2001 or 2002 this was a brave and bold new technology, it just seemed awesome.

does the camera still work? maybe. so commonplace is USB as a form of cable in our lives today it turned out that i no longer have the right cable to connect this camera to a computer. what i need is the "standard" USB to "standard" USB, which is to say a standard, first generation "A" to "A" cable. before ordering one, then, i thought it best to put some batteries in to see what happened.

yes, quite it still comes on, then. the display of a number, possibly relating to how many images are left, indicates that it still works too.

the above image also highlights another problem, or if you like drawback, to this early version of a video camera. it was a proper hungry one in terms of power. even if one allows for the fact that the batteries i used are of the finest what Poundland has available, this thing just drains the juice out of any form of battery.

when you add together elements such as limited battery life, a pretty poor quality of image and the fear of damaging it as we would not (at that time) be able to have it repaired or replaced with any ease, it might come as no surprise to learn that this camera was seldom used. also, that combination suggests that this camera meets the criteria of basically every Apple product since they moved away from the proper, "classic" iPod.

so, i have ordered the cable then. how much did i spend? slightly north of £1, but also south of £1.20. what images am i expecting to find apparently stored on this camera when i plug it in? should i remember right they will be of some sort of verk function, probably from around 2002 or, at the latest, 2003.

should we pause for a moment, it is worth noting that the fact this ever existed will probably baffle the current generation. this is meant as no criticism as such, just an observation. this early version of a digital camera came along a good while before anyone thought to weld a camera onto a phone - in fact it was probably an important, early development stage of that. with the astonishing quality of image it is now possible to capture digitally on modern phones, one would wonder why anyone would purchase a non-professional digital camera that only took pictures.

is there any value at all to this camera? i have not looked it up, but i would doubt it. as the title suggests, this camera is rather obsolete in practical terms. can something 15 or so years old be considered "vintage"? maybe, i guess. the only value i can think of in respect of this is that it's an early version of digital picture taking that led us to where we are today. a value more of curiosity than financial, then.

as and when i find a supply of batteries that allow for me to take off whatever pictures are still on this camera i will share them here, so long as they're not cheeky or saucy. i doubt this will be the case, what with my incredibly prudish and puritan approach to the world, but no matter. also, i might take some new images with it, just to see how they look, what file size they are, etc.

most happy day if this has been of any passing interest or use to anyone!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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