From the May 1999 issue of Startups

All right, we know a lot of you are tech junkies. You've got your zooming 400 MHz processor, a 21-inch monitor and a cranking Zip drive, and you list "surfing the Internet" as your favorite hobby next to "collecting e-mail postcards." So now that you want to get your business revved up and running at the speed of technology, what else do you need? How about a digital camera? Trust us, they're not just for family reunions anymore.

From Web pages to presentations and newspaper advertisements, having a digital camera in your arsenal can be a real boost to business. Got a prospective client wondering what your product looks like? Send a snap piggybacked on an e-mail. Slap a flattering shot of your smiling mug in your next brochure for a personal touch. Go out into the daylight, and get some pics of satisfied customers, happy clients or your products or services at work in the real world.

There are a lot of digital cameras on the market now, so we're going to help you narrow the field. The cameras we've chosen all have megapixel technology, which means very high resolution. They output, at minimum, 1,024 x 768 pixels--so no more grainy blobs. The downside is that high-resolution snaps take a lot of space to save. Fortunately, you can choose to save your pictures in resolutions that range from low to very high, depending on your needs.

These cameras are also cross-platform so they'll work for you whether you're a PC user or a Mac enthusiast. The ones we've looked at come bundled with software so you can bring all your digital photography back home to your computer. All packages include the correct drivers and at least one image-editing program.

Fujifilm

Model: MX-700

Resolution: 1,280 x 1,024 pixels

Street price: $599

Bundled with: Adobe PhotoDeluxe 2.0

Phone: (800) 800-FUJI

Web: http://www.fujifilm.com

This under-10-ounce camera comes with a 2x digital zoom and an RGB color filter design, which is an image-quality enhancer. The macro mode allows you to snap objects as close as 3.5 inches. (That's enough to make a fly look the size of an elephant.) Good lighting, bad lighting or even no lighting at all are no problem with the MX-700's four flash modes: on, off, auto and red-eye reduction. Red-eye reduction is particularly handy so you won't come out looking like a creature from the nether world on the "About the Founder" page of your press kit. Storage is in JPEG format on SmartMedia removable cards.

Sony Electronics

Model: Digital Mavica MVC-FD71

Resolution: 1,024 x 768 pixels

Street price: $799

Bundled with: ArcSoft PhotoStudio

Phone: (800) 222-SONY

Web: http://www.sony.com/mavica

This camera's most highly touted feature is its floppy storage system. Transferring your pictures to your desktop or laptop is simple with the built-in 2X floppy-disk drive that transfers data at speeds of 300 Kbps. The MVC-FD71 comes with a 2.5-inch color LCD screen for an easy-to-read menu display. The InfoLithium rechargeable battery is good for up to a whopping 950 shots per charge. A 10x optical zoom with both auto and manual settings helps you get up close and personal with your target, whether it's a new line of jewelry for your online store or the tri-colored blackbird outside your office window.

Ricoh

Model: RDC-4300

Resolution: 1,280 x 960 pixels

Street price: $599

Bundled with: Kai's Power Show, LogoMotion, ArcSoft PhotoBase, PhotoStudio 2.0, Enroute QuickStitch

Phone: (800) 225-2899, ext. 1622

Web: http://www.ricohcpg.com

Accurate arms-length self-portraits are now a reality with the RDC-4300's 180-degree rotating lens. A 3x zoom and 3.2-inch close-up macro capability add up to even more picture-taking flexibility. Beyond the visuals, the Ricoh allows up to 8 seconds of sound to be attached to each image for notational purposes, multimedia presentations or e-mail attachments. Pictures are stored on a 4MB SmartMedia card. The RDC-4300 has built-in video output and NTSC ports so it can be hooked up to a TV for instant gratification playback.

Epson

Model: PhotoPC 700

Resolution: 1,280 x 960 pixels

Street price: $499

Bundled with: Sierra Imaging Image Expert, Epson Photo File Uploader

Phone: (800) GO-EPSON

Web: http://www.epson.com

Storage space always seems to be the scarcest commodity with a digital camera. High-resolution pictures hog memory. The PhotoPC 700 helps ease the crunch with its Fast Erase feature, so you can quickly and easily dump the images you don't want to keep. The Tiffen lens adaptor allows the photographer in you to attach standard 37mm lenses to expand your picture-taking options. Picture modes include full-sized (1,280 x 960 pixels), macro, panoramic and 2x digital zoom. If you already have an Epson color inkjet printer, you can take advantage of the included Direct Print software and cable to print directly from the camera.

Toshiba

Model: PDR-M1

Resolution: 1,280 x 1,024 pixels

Street price: $449

Bundled with: Sierra Imaging Image Expert, Picture Shuttle, EZ Touch

Phone: (800) 550-8674

Web: http://www.toshiba.com

The PDR-M1 not only has a 2x digital zoom, but also a time-saving 4x playback LCD zoom so you can preview a picture you've just taken, enlarge a specific area and then save the picture as you want it to appear. The 4MB removable SmartMedia storage cards can hold up to 40 images in basic (640 x 480) resolution mode. Four AA batteries power the PDR-M1. Toshiba offers an optional floppy-disk adaptor, the FlashPath ($79), that holds the removable SmartMedia memory card, allowing you to transfer images to your computer as if you were using a standard floppy.

Kodak

Model: DC210 Plus

resolution: 1,152 x 864 pixels

Street price: $500

Bundled with: Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Adobe PageMill, Picture Easy 2.0

Phone:(800) 23-KODAK

Web: http://www.kodak.com

If you're not as talented as Ansel Adams, and you don't have extra time to play with parameters, options and other features, just let the DC210 Plus automatically take care of the exposure, white balance, flash and more. You'll need to purchase a separate connection kit accessory for $24.95, however, if you plan to use this digital camera with your Mac platform. Its removable 4MB Kodak Picture Card will hold up to 60 of your shots. IrDA compatibility makes the DC210 Plus ideal for file-transferring with an infrared-equipped computer.