October 07, 2006

Val McClatchey's camera identified, contained editing software

In a recent article about this Flight 93 photo fraud controversy from the Tribune-Democrat, they included a new photo showing Val clutching the digital camera that it is assumed to be the one she used to take her "End of Serenity" photo with:

The camera she is clutching has been identified as a Hewlett-Packard Photosmart 315:

This digital camera comes in two versions, HP315 and HP315xi, and had a MSRP of $299. The "xi" version seems to be the exact same camera, but includes extra editing software (at this time it is unknown which version Val has):

HP Photosmart 315 digital camera / C8452A
HP Photosmart 315xi digital camera / C8455A

Product description
The simple-to-use HP Photosmart 315 series digital camera takes high-quality photos you can share with family and friends on the Internet or via e-mail. It comes with HP software for manipulating, storing, and printing photos.

Sensor - 2.1 MegaPixel, 1/2.7 inch (15 mm) CCD
Color depth - 30-bit (10 bits x 3 colors)
Resolution - 2.1 MP (1600 x 1200)
Zoom - 1.5x, 2x, 2.5x variable digital zoom
Date and time stamp - Not available
Interfaces - USB to PC or Mac; Standard tripod mount
Minimum system requirements PC:
* Windows 98, Me, NT 4.0* or Windows 2000 Professional
* 166 MHz Pentium(R) processor or equivalent
* 32 MB RAM*
* 150 MB free disk space - 800 x 600, 16-bit color display
* CD-ROM drive
* USB interface - Sound card and speakers recommended
* NT 4.0 requires 64 MB RAM and does not support USB. Compact Flash card reader required instead. (Card reader must be purchased separately.)

HP Photo Imaging software (PC only)
Arcsoft PhotoImpression 2000
Arcsoft PhotoMontage 2000 (315 and 315xi only)
Adobe(R) PhotoDeluxe Business Edition 1.1 (PC 315xi version only)
Adobe PhotoDeluxe 2.0 (Mac 315xi version only)

There are three interesting things about this camera: (1) it does not have an optical zoom -- only digital zoom; (2) it did contain editing software in which a Post-Gazette article said that Val did not have access to any editing software on 9/11:

"Mrs. McClatchey acknowledged that a lot of people are alleging she fabricated the photo, but she stands by its authenticity. Days after Sept. 11, neighbors saw the image, still in her camera. The camera and computer were new, and she didn't have access to Photoshop or any other photo-altering software." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (08/06/06)

Let me make it clear that I'm not saying Val lied about not having photo editing software. I am just bringing up the fact that her camera did come with editing software. Also, I do not know at this time if the editing software that came with her camera could be used to photoshop a smoke plume on her photo and I do not know if Val, or her husband have photoshopping skills.

Also remember that Val said her and her husband were in severe financial trouble right before 9/11, yet she buys this camera that had a MSRP of $300 a month before the attacks along with a new computer. It is not known at this time how much she paid for this camera, or how much her new computer cost, but most new computers back in 2001 were over a $1,000. This seems like an expensive purchase for a them to have made during their financial crisis. The purchase of her new camera and computer right before 9/11 could have been for her new career in real estate, but as for as I can tell, she did not start taking real estate classes until sometime after Christmas:

"I’d had some health problems. Gall bladder surgery and during the testing for all the gall bladder problems, they found a tumor on my kidney and lesions on my liver, so day after Christmas, I had my gall bladder out. Right after there I went right into taking real estate classes to start a new career to help support my family." - Windsor Park Stories

(3) It was mentioned that the reason Val only took one photo of this smoke plume was because after snapping her shot, she dropped her camera and the battery was jarred loose:

"I didn't even aim. I was just like, 'Oh, my God,' " she said. She dropped the camera, jolting the battery loose, then tried in vain to call her husband, son and daughter. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (08/06/06)

However, her camera does not have one battery as the article implies, but four AA batteries:

See also:

(Update 08/31/11)

A StarTribune article confirms the camera was an HP 315:

McClatchey is president of the Keystone Camaro Club, so she usually has her Hewlett-Packard 315 point-and-shoot camera handy for car shows.


mgldzcrr said...

Hey KT! Be aware, HP's '01 cameras' "editing and manipulating" software was nothing more than brightness/contrast, auto-levels, margin cropper, date stamper, etc...

Just thought worth mentioning before your ass was flamed up :P

Keep up the great work, cheers!

Spooked said...

also quite possible is that she's lying about that being the camera she used-- particularly in light of the battery lie

christina said...

Hi Killtown, the HP 315 came out in 2000 (as shown here at dpreview) DP Review Timeline of Cameras in 2000
and the specs for this camera:
Specifications on the HP315
as of May 9, 2006: "CompactFlash cards have an operating shock rating of 2,000 Gs, which is equivalent to a 10-foot drop. With typical usage, a CompactFlash card can be used for more than 100 years with no loss or deterioration of data." Now if it is true that in 2006 the operating shock rating is only ten foot, then it makes me wonder if the ten foot drop wouldn't be something like a four foot drop...back in 2001. I also have another complaint about the facts that she is claiming. If she did in fact drop the camera right after taking one single picture, chances are in a 2.1mp point and shoot, the image would still be writing to the flash card, as stated in an article found on the lexar updates (this particular line is from the introduction of a newer, faster flash card coming out on november 1, 2001...which will be 4x faster write speeds than those already on the market--otherwise, the card that would have been in the hp 315 used to take the photo of the smoke plume)"A 1x Compact Flash card is capable of transfer speeds of 150 KB/sec" Now, with this information, it is identified that the hp 315 image file sizes are approx. 450kb (as stated by a user on dpreview)...now there is also at least a five second wait between taking pictures (as it writes the image to the flash card)..so if the camera were dropped (and I've read reviews of this camera by people who bought this camera --cheap plastic seems to make up quite a bit of this camera) while still writing the image files, then I have to say that it would damage the compact flash card..damage it so, that while the image is being written to this card, added to the possible operating shock rating of-if you are lucky; half (technology has changed significantly since 2001-especially with digital cameras)of the 10 foot drop that it is now (explained near the top of this post), it would have to be next to impossible for this image file to be saved without corruption, especially with the power supply cut off when the batteries supposedly cut off. My guess is (and I have a couple digital SLR's and film SLR's) that this image could not have been properly saved on the compact flash card with the lack of technology toward digital cameras/compact flash cards. I think this image is a photomanipulation-not right from the camera real to put it short and sweet.

Anonymous said...

You know, now that I think about when I first started taking photos, I tried adobe photoshop for free they let you download a thirty day trial right from their website...it only takes about a half an hour all in all to download and install the program before it's up and running! So I'm sure it was fairly easy to manipulate an image while claiming that the camera didn't have any editing software, besides, I don't think you'd be able to do all that you could (manipulation wise) with such a cheap camera and I'm sure just as cheap editing software! Hmm, lets think for a moment..HP editing, or Adobe Photoshop? Thats a no brainer! LOL

remdem said...

"does not have an optical zoom -- only digital zoom"

Most digital cameras are like that nowadays. It's less moving components in the camera itself, so it's less likely to break. Plus, digital can 'outzoom' optical any day of the week, so it's sort of redundant to have both on the same camera.