Digital camera without owning a computer?

“Can I use a digital camera even though I don’t own a computer?” Many people ask me this question because it is getting very difficult to find a store that sells and develops a roll of 35mm film. For many who ask this question, my answer was not what they expected ...

As I always remind readers, the disruptive innovation called the internet has changed everything. Although humans have been tinkering with photo capturing contraptions since the 1600s, let’s just say practical photography, i.e. preserving and curating your memories as photos of "that moment,” started in the mid-to-late 1800s. For over a century there were evolutionary changes to photography, although to me Polaroid Instant Camera was one innovative product to hit the market. Then technology gave birth to digital cameras and the internet further pushed the photo capturing capability to smartphones, tablets and now “wearable” technology such as Google Glass.

Digital cameras do the same thing as film-based cameras: take photos and capture the moment forever. Your 35mm camera uses film to record those moments. In a digital camera, a memory card takes the place of film. The advantage here is that the photos captured on a memory card can be transferred to a computer and subsequently printed, emailed or just stored for later viewing on the computer screen.

But what if you don’t own a computer? Are your photo-taking days over since the other alternative of using a film-based camera seems unsupported in the digital world?

My answer is no. You can still own a digital camera, take photos and preserve your memories in a photo album that you can leave on your coffee table without owning a computer. Remember that the memory card in your digital camera is akin to your 35mm roll of film? Once you are done taking pictures of an event, take the memory card out of your digital camera and head down to your neighborhood pharmacy such as CVS, Walgreen’s or Rite Aid to use their digital photo processing kiosk; places like Target and Walmart may also be equipped with similar kiosk machines.

These kiosks contain specialized computers that you can use through a touchscreen or keyboard. Store staff or posted instructions will lead you through inserting your memory card in the slot, have the machine show you the photos you took on its screen, let you pick and choose the photos you want to print, and print them out for instant gratification.

Depending on the kiosk machine, with familiar brand names such as Kodak and Fuji Film, it may even give you an option to create a photo CD to digitally preserve your pictures that you can transfer to your computer if you do decide to delve further into the digital world and get a computer at a later date.

The nice thing is that after you print the photos, you can erase the photos on your memory card, and start taking more pictures. Now try doing that with a film-based camera!

Next week’s topic: Tips on shopping for a digital camera



Am I immune from the “nasties” by using Macs instead of Windows?

A long time ago that may have been the case. These days I consider it an urban legend if you believe that using a Mac makes you immune from the nasties of the digital world by default. Although more computer viruses for Windows are still prevalent, another classification of nasties referred to as “malware” is becoming device agnostic. Whether you use Windows or Macs, building good computer usage habits – aka Internet Street Smarts – can reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

Have a question for Tak about computers, software or other technology? Send it to

Tak Sato

Business and technology strategist/consultant with 20+ years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and MBA from Cleveland State University.

As founder of geek with a heart, "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps Individuals, Seniors, Families, Small Businesses, and Non-Profits utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

Read More on The Digital World
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 9:39 AM, 05.13.2014