Digital Photo and Picture Frames

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Many of us now have digital cameras, whether they are the straight forward camera or are cameras on other devices such as mobile phones. The rise of digital cameras has also heralded the rise of huge storage issues as we try and store all our digital photos. Now though the next generation of innovation is arriving as digital photo frames allow us to display the best of those photos in the surroundings that we treasure the most, our homes.

2008: The Spread of the Digital Photo Frame

The concepts and ideas behind the digital photo frame are not hard to find. Science fiction movies and books are littered with references to pictures that change. What does any self-respecting starship captain have on his desk but a picture of the girl or family back home? Products such as the Polaroid PhotoMAX Digital Picture Frame have been around since 2001 but technology and price were still a major issue. 2007 was the year that this concept went from science fiction to affordable reality. Now in 2008, digital photo frames are multiplying. There are new manufacturers, new finishes and new features. Digital picture frames will be appearing in a house near you.

How you rank these items will influence your buying decision.

Quality

Perfection Digital Photo Frame

Just like with hardcopy prints there is a variation in picture sizes available. Most models range from about 5.5 to 10.5 inches diagonally across the screen. This also has a bearing on the pixel resolution.

Memory

There will usually be a fixed amount of memory that the picture frame itself holds. Some of the frames undertake automatic resampling to get down to an optimum size for the size of the screen. Those that have card readers can use the flash memory on flash memory cards to store extra images.

Memory Cards

There are a number of different memory card formats on the market so check that the digital picture frame you are interested in is compatible with the memory card that your camera uses. You can get around this with memory card readers.

Power

Well, the most obvious difference between the traditional frame and the digital frame is the use of power. Check how the frame deals with this and the battery life that it might have. If it is permanently attached to a power card then it makes hard to pass the frame around. Also if the battery only lasts a short time this can be annoying.

Ports

You have to transfer your digital media to the frame in some manner and this is where the connectivity is important. Some frames have slots for taking memory cards as mentioned above but look out for USB ports as well, since they have become the standard connectivity port. Some frames also have internet connectivity, the most useful is probably a WiFi connection since this can help with downloading directly from photo storage sites.

Placement

Consider where you are going to place your picture frame. Some of the screens seem to only consider that they would be placed on a surface. The support can be swiveled to allow the device to be viewed either vertically or horizontally (landscape or portrait). However, in our house we also have photos hung on the walls. Not all digital photo frames have holes in the back to allow them to be hung from a hook on the wall. Trying to attach them with tape or some other method can be a real put off.

Size of Photo Frame Screen

There is no doubt, as with most electronic screen products, that the larger the screen the more expensive the photo frame. There are some very large frames out on the market. For example, the Powervision Photo Frames comes in at a huge 40″. The only downside is that it has a price tag to match. If you are looking for a larger screen then consider something like the Perfection 15″ Frame from Perfect Technologies or the 15″ Pro Image Frame from Pro Image.

The Surround: Wood, metal or plastic frames

Finally, there is the aesthetic quality. Are you looking for an uber-modern metallic design, an Apple clone or a deeply traditional wood effect? Most choices are catered for and there are a number of manufacturers who are creating bespoke items to order.

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