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In addition to all of your camera gear, you may want to take a computer of some kind, and these days you've got a lot of options. The tricky thing about the whole computer question, though, is that you use the computer for more than just your kind of digital darkroom things. When you're traveling, you might also want a device that lets you send email or browse the web. It can be a really valuable resource for trip planning on the road and that sort of thing. So, what you should take in the way of computer is a little bit of a tricky question, because you've got to think of all the things that you might want to use it for, not just your photography applications.
So of course the first thing you could do is take a laptop computer of some kind. This is certainly the most versatile option. It gives you a lot of storage for offloading images. It lets you run possibly the image editing software that you're used to using all the time anyway. So for example, I can run a full version of Photoshop on this computer and have all the image-editing power that I want, including all the plug-ins that I might use, and that sort of thing. It also gives me web browsing. It gives me email. I can manage my iPod. I can watch movies on it. So this is a really versatile option.
The downside to this is even though this is a very small, light computer, it's still an extra 3 or 4 pounds that I have got to carry. It takes up some space, and it's possibly a little fragile. This has to go in a very particular kind of bag, and I want to be careful about what I put on top of it and that sort of thing. So there are some trade-offs here for taking this amount of power. We are now in the era of the tablet of course, and what's great about a tablet is it's really indestructible. It's not going to flex. There is no keyboard that's going to get dirty and that kind of thing.
The downside to a tablet is storage is limited. I'm not going to probably going to use this for offloading images, unless I'm shooting in JEPG mode. I do get web browsing. I do get email. I do possibly get movies and music and all that other stuff, but I don't get the image-editing software that I'm used to using. Now there are--this is an Apple iPad of course-- there are some great image editing applications out there. They all have their trade-offs compared to full desktop image editing software. If I don't need to do a lot of editing on the road then a tablet may be a good way to go. It doesn't take up as much space.
It's lighter, but it still gets me the other applications that I might want, computer applications, the other navigation and web surfing and that kind of thing. This is another computer option. This is an inexpensive netbook computer. This only weighs a few pounds. It's a very small. It's very light and only cost $200 or $300. What I like about the netbooks are they-- they don't cost very much, they don't weigh very much, and if I drop it in a river, I'm not out that much money. This is a small Dell mini-netbook and one nice thing about it is it can be made to run the Mac operating system.
It's a violation of your license agreement, but if you're a Mac user, this is a nice way of getting an inexpensive, really small Mac that you can take with you. If you're taking a smartphone with you, you've got email and web and all that other stuff that you may want. You've even got a camera and some image editing software if you want. Is this a full computer replacement? Well, it gets kind of tedious typing with your thumbs if you need to send a bunch of email, but you can take a keyboard with you. Really, the way to go for a keyboard is something like this. This is a Bluetooth keyboard.
This is like my little James Bond keyboard. It folds out and I have this full-sized keyboard and I can just stick my phone on right there. It's a Bluetooth connection. I can type email just as if I'm sitting on a normal computer. This thing will also work with the iPad. So, if you really want to travel light, this is a nice way to go. It doesn't get me a lot of photo capability, but it maybe gets me the other things that I was going to take a computer for. So those are the issues that you need to weigh and think about. There are some trade-offs to each of these and to get to the bottom of what the right choice is, you first need to identify how much photo editing do I want and what other applications do I need to be able to run?
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