Casio's QV-3500EX Digital Camera
Earlier digital cameras, with their low resolution, were best suited for Web pictures and professions like insurance claims adjusters, for whom instant images were more important than quality. However, digital cameras have reached a quality level where they have real educational potential. The ability to take a high-quality image and project it in class using an InFocus projector, or upload it to the Web for student viewing, can bring color to traditionally black-and-white photography courses. The instant gratification and not needing a developing lab and its messy and toxic chemicals is also a real plus. Teachers in other disciplines can quickly and easily bring images of everything, from factory tours to museum exhibits, into the classroom. The resulting images can be stored on a CD and easily copied for other teachers.
The Casio QV-3500EX is a 3.3 megapixel camera. At maximum resolution, images contain 2,048 x 1,536 pixels - enough information that 8" x 10" prints look as sharp as prints from a film camera. An optical zoom lens lets you get close to your subjects without losing image sharpness. The bundled 16 MB CompactFlash card can store about 10 full-resolution images, depending on compression. You can use a variety of lower resolutions that allow the camera to store more than 64 images. You can also substitute a higher memory card to store more images or replace the memory card with a hard drive for practically unlimited storage capacity. In addition, photographs are easily uploaded to a PC using a USB connector.
The Casio QV-3500EX has a full range of exposure controls, including shutter and aperture priority, and is com-pletely automatic and fully manual. A Best Shot feature preprograms the camera to take portraits, scenic shots and other common pictures. For example, for the portrait Best Shot, the camera shows an outline of a head and shoulders in the display. You simply position the camera so the subject roughly fills the outline, and the person is sharp in the image while the background is automatically less sharp, just like a 35 mm camera set for shallow depth of field. More specialized Best Shots can be downloaded from the Web or you can create your own. Images are razor sharp with accurate colors and proper exposure. Every bad picture I took was my own fault.
The Casio QV-3500EX d'es have a few significant drawbacks. For instance, there is no printed manual included with the digital camera, you must read it from the CD. This can be a real problem in the field since some of the less frequently used menus are not very intuitive. Other drawbacks are that the only image-editing software included is shareware, which you must buy separately, and the camera's battery life is very short. But overall, its low price, high image quality, and ease of use make the Casio QV-3500EX an excellent digital camera for the education market.
To see previews of some of the pictures I took with the Casio QV-3500EX, visit www.spsu.edu/tmgt/richardson/Photos/.
Ronny Richardson, Ph. D.
Associate Professor of Management
Southern Polytechnic State University
This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2002 issue of THE Journal.