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As quality zooms, photo Web sites snap up business
Thu Jun 27,10:20 AM ET

Jefferson Graham USA TODAY

Catherine Lee's parents live in Miami and her husband's folks are in Montreal, so they don't get to see as much of their new grandchildren as they'd like. The triplets' San Francisco-area mom is making it up to them by taking lots of digital pictures and sharing them online.

''I'll take a set of photos, upload them to the computer and to (photo site) Ofoto,'' says Lee, 35. ''Then I send out an e-mail inviting everyone to see the pictures, with a link to Ofoto. If we didn't have this option, we probably would be five or six months behind in terms of sending out photos. This is such a great way to see the babies as they grow up.''

Digital photography is one of the hottest consumer products, with Gartner Dataquest predicting that 17% of us will own a digital camera by the end of this year, and half of us by 2006. The quality of the images has increased dramatically even as prices have plummeted. And consumers love not having to pay $10 or more a roll to see their developed images. ''Digital photography is allowing people to shoot more pictures than they ever have before,'' says Sony's Jay Sato, who oversees the sharing site.

Many pictures never make it into hard-copy photo albums. Instead, digital camera owners such as Lee upload them to such Web sites as Ofoto and ImageStation so they can be shared virtually

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