iPod in your car, switch from Nikon to Canon when going from film to digital?

Week of December 4, 2005

Q: Recently I purchased a iPod Mini. I love it, but I cannot play it in or through my car audio system; a 2000 Toyota Camry. We have looked at various device, most seem to operate on a FM band, akin to the old FM converters of the late 1970’s. Can you suggest a system so I can enjoy me IPOD while in my car? Thank you.

-Clarence Richey, Pittsburgh, PA

A: If your Camry has a cassette deck in its head unit, you can get a cassette adapter that will send the audio signal into a dummy cassette. This yields better sound quality than the FM devices (called modulators). The best cassette adapter I have seen is the Griffin SmartDeck, which allows you to control the iPod through your car stereo controls. You can see the SmartDeck at www.griffintechnology.com.

If your car does not have a cassette deck, you may want to get a more modern head unit with an auxiliary input to connect your iPod for better listening.

Q: I’m an old time 35mm SLR user. I’ve had the same Nikon EL with a 50mm Nikon lens for over 20 years. I still get great results with prints and slides, although slides are few and far between. I do change lenses for close-ups and telephoto shots. It’s hard to give up on my old, black body, Nikon; BUT, lately I’ve been thinking about going digital. I’ve looked at the Canon EOS 20D SLR and have been told that this is really a great camera. I know there are great benefits with digital, e.g. instant results, sharing photos with friends and family, etc. but I’m not sure these benefits override my current use of 35mm format. If I do go digital, is it worth spending the big money for the Canon EOS 20D?
-Tom Levenson, Pittsburgh, PA

A: If you have had the same camera for 20 years, it is worth investing in a great camera now! The 20D is certainly worth the money; I own one myself. As for the benefits of digital, as a long-time SLR user I was hooked immediately by my first digital SLR and I think you will be, too.

If you are a Nikon man, you may want to wait for the Nikon D200, which will be available in mid-December. The D200 has 10.2 megaapixels vs. the 20D’s 8.2, and it can use your existing Nikon lenses, though depending on the vintage of the lenses certain features of the camera may not be available to you. The D200 will retail for $1,699. If that is a bit too rich for you, wait a little while- prices are sure to come down, and if you have enjoyed your Nikon EL for 20 years a few more months probably won’t bother you much!

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