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newby trying to go debian

hi all, i would like to go linux, have heard that debian is a good
compilation, and want to give it a try. my system is a amd athlon 64
3500 currently running windows and with an empty partition for linux.
i have a few questions one might be able to help.

1. this 64bit thing, does it mean i cant run 32bit apps?
2. is there a specific distribution better than debian for those
interested in image processing (raster and vector) and video
3. can i install it in a way that windows may boot as well? this has
something to do with a swap partition as well as the linux one, isn't
4. noticed that there are two main compilations for 64bits, one only
is official though. which one should i go for?

i have already googled these questions and found a couple of facs
dealing with them, but because of my newby condition, it all looked
vague and complex for me. it would be great if someone could spot me
clear resources on these issues. many thanks in advance!


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