Submitted by Eric Daniel
In the six months I was in SW Asia for Desert Shield and Desert Storm I fired off close to 40 rolls of 35mm film. High speed, low speed, B&W and color. Not only did I have to wait until I got back to Europe to develop the film (and at the time we had a SERIOUS problem with pictures coming up missing (i.e. the folks at the photo lab were stealing them) but when all was said and done, about 70% of the pictures were "crap" and not nearly as interesting as I thought they'd be when I took the picture in the first place.
Such is the reality of print photography; you take a lot of pictures hoping to get one or two "keepers."
Thanks to digital camera technology however, taking pictures got a whole lot easier. When I deployed for OIF III in November of 04, I was given a Canon Power Shot A75. It is a neat little camera. It has a 3.2 mega pixel image capability (which is pretty tiny by current standards) automatic flash, 3x zoom capability, and is capable of making movies.
While it isn't nearly as flexible as my Canon AE-1 SLR 35mm camera, it is significantly more durable, reliable, and combat friendly. While on patrol the A75 gave me the capability of taking a quick picture of anything I thought militarily significant. Someone give you the "evil eye" while on a patrol? No problem. Take their picture and store it for review later. See a car or truck that you remember from somewhere? No problem, take a picture and compare notes when you get back to base. Furthermore, because the images are stored digitally, they're easy to transfer between devices, and it's no big deal if you end up deleting 99% of them. Lastly, carrying additional memory cards, which are pretty tiny and don't take up a lot of space, gives you the capability of taking a lot of pictures (or movies) if the situation requires.
While the A75 is dated and there are definitely more capable cameras out there, mine still works and it was free.