Workable hobby pc set-up : LUSENET : Black and White Photography: Digital Printing : One Thread

Apologies if this question is redundant. I am trying to figure out a good hobbist-level b&w digital set-up.

PhotoDeluxe (hobbist's Photoshop) $50 Agfa Duoscan T1200 scanner $550 Epson Photo EX or similar Alps printer $400

Where I'd like some advice is in configuring a new pc. In a new pc from Dell/Gateway, what specs would make a workable digital photo printing and manipulation hobbist machine? Mhz? RAM size? Hard drive capacity? USB? I am not looking for a 'dream' machine. 95% of my pc use is email, surfing, and modest wordprocessing and spreadsheet use.


-- John Abbott (, June 28, 1999


You may not like this answer, but if you want to get consistent results you're going to need:

MHz - The faster the better. Minimum 400MHz with 512k cache Windows NT $150 (yuck, but you specified a Dell/Gateway) Color calibrator $400 Monitor capable of keeping a consistent calibration $450 Minmum 256MB RAM $200 12GB+ hard drive $200 SCSI card for scanner $50

Forget USB for anything other than keyboards and mice. The througput is simply too slow.

I know I just added $1,000+ to your budget, but that's what it takes. However, if you compare that with the cost of a modest darkroom it looks much cheaper.

-- Darron Spohn (, July 09, 1999.

Since you specifically state that you are not looking for a 'dream machine' and that 95% of your use will not be with photos I have to disagree with the previous response.

You can do quite well with a PC with a 266mhz Pentium II or faster -- most PCs being sold these days are faster -- naturally faster is better. I recommend 128mb or more RAM and a hard disk that is 4gb or larger -- these days most new systems seem to come with 6.4gb or larger disks. A CD-RW drive will come in very handy for saving multi- megabyte images so that you can free up space on your hard disk and also for when you want to print out one of your images at a service bureau.

You also want to make sure that the video card can handle 16 million colors at the desired resolution. Generally that means 4mb or more video memory. These days almost all systems have 4mb or more. 8mb or 16mg is better. A good 17" or larger moniter would be best. Don't bother with a 15".

I think you will want a film scanner too -- isn't the Agfa you mention a flatbed? Will you be scanning from 35mm? If so, there are several fairly inexpensive film scanners that are available for less than $800 that while not quite up to the same standards as the much more expensive ones are good enough for most hobbyists that don't want to spend a whole lot of money. HP Photosmart S20 (USB), Canon 2710F (SCSI), etc. I haven't used them personally so you should check around if you decide to buy a film scanner. You can also have PhotoCDs made instead and then won't need a film scanner.

-- Henry Richardson (, July 11, 1999.

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