Sep 3, 2010

A New Camera!

No, not a new SLR or anything overly special ;-).   Don't have the money for a major upgrade just yet and when the day comes I'll have to figure out what to do, stick with DX format as most of my lens are DX or sell it all off and go FX.  Big bucks to do that!   Or even scarier, switch from Nikon to Canon to get the amazing landscape quality of the 5D mk II?   

But as I have said many times, and I still believe it, "it's not the camera that makes the picture, it's the turkey behind it".   Words I live by.   

The problem is, I haven't been taking pictures.   Why would I get a new camera when I'm not using the one I have?  Well the problem is that I just haven't had the time or ambition to get out there and shoot.  You all know that I've gone through a separation this year, a rough patch with a former girlfriend and now I have Jennifer in my life.  It has been a year of transition.  But my life is on track now and I am starting to feel the bug to get out there shooting again.

Many of the best shots that I have been seeing this summer have been while I commute to work and I kick myself for not having a camera with me.  I have loaned my Canon S3 to my son, Keaton, for a photography class last year and he has continued to shoot.  Instead of taking it back, I want him to keep it and continue to explore.  Maybe he can become a more serious photographer then I have been, he has more artistic talent then me in other areas, so maybe.....

So no small camera to keep in the truck and taking the SLR to work is just not an option.  I can't bring it inside my work place (rules) and I'm not comfortable leaving my expensive toy locked in the truck, not to mention the extreme temperatures of Canadian summers and winters.   We have a lockup for electronics at work but the SLR will not fit in the hole.   

But I had noticed that todays point & shoots seem to be taking some wonderful pictures.  So I started doing some research to see if I could find something small that would give me good landscape shots, something cheap so if it get stolen I won't be heart broken and something more practical for having in the boats.   I started with the Nikon and Canons given they are the big names, then did some research on the Kodaks and Samsungs, then I found a little gem made by Panasonic, a Lumix FH20.

The more I researched the more impressed I was by this little camera.  14 megapixel, a wonderful little sensor and very easy to use.  The reviews all pretty much say the same, this is a wonderful camera;

So I took a run up to Henry's Camera, which is wayyyyyy to close to where I live, and put one in my hands.  OMG is this thing ever small.  It is loaded with features, 8x zoom, 14 megs, HD video, a billion scene modes etc etc...   But the price blew me away - $199.99 Cdn.   

I figured I had nothing to lose so bought one and a 4gb SDHC card (boy have these ever gotten cheap since I last bought one) and took it home.   Charged the battery up and took it out to a party that afternoon without reading the manual or really playing with it.

I found it pretty straight forward.  Not much for the full manual crowd out there, you can force the ISO, change the exposure value and do a few other adjustments but that's about it.  It's a point, shoot and forget.  And you know what?   It does a pretty decent job of it.

For straight snapshots it has an IA mode where it will guess the scene or portrait and just switch itself.  I found it pretty good with people but a bit shaky when it came to sunrise/sunsets.  Time will tell how it works on landscapes etc.    I did find a bit of fiddling with scenes gave a better image but they are easy to access and I think they will be pretty consistent once I figure out which is the best for what.

But for something that is 1/40th the size of my SLR and 1/15th the price I can't complain much.  So into the truck it went, caught this sunrise on the way to work yesterday.  Very little post processing done to these images, a bit of a bump in the curve and straightening, some are lighter then others as I was playing with the different scene modes;

Just before sunrise, looking down my driveway

Stopped on the side of the road to catch the sun coming up over a field

You can see where the exposure is taking a beating on the sun itself

A sample of portrait work, my daughter Toria in the pool last weekend

Toria with a friend ;-)

So for 200 bucks I'm not complaining.  I now have a backup to the SLR and something I can have with me everywhere I go.   Now I can capture those little moments where I don't typically have a camera.  Fits nicely in my pocket and I never know it's there.   

Long weekend coming up so hope everyone enjoys themselves.  Weather is suppose to be poor but we'll see if Jen and I can get the cameras out and do a bit of shooting this weekend.  


  1. Congrats on the new cam! I remember you mentioning that about not having a camera handy on your drives and now you'll be able to capture those scenes. Yay!

    It looks like a great little camera from your shots. Actually, it has a Zeiss lens doesn't it? Ooooh ... Zeiss lenses ... ;-)

  2. Oh I wish! Actually the high end Lumix use the Leica lens, this one is badged as their own but I wonder?

    Not as good as the SLR but better to get a shot then none at all.

    Been getting my motivation back and have my lens and cameras all over the place, nice to be looking for images again!

  3. Nice to see posting back again bud! I am thinking about getting a PnS as a walkaround cam too but then, I am moving to Nikon FF early next year and it will cost me a bomb!

    I'd like to stay with Canon but then the designers and engineers there are too blind and stupid to upgrade the 5dmkII AEB to 9 or at least 7.. so good bye Canon, and Hello Nikon for me :-)

    Take care bud!!

  4. I hear ya, I would like to go to the FF as well. So how many AEB's does the Canon have? 5? I know with my D200 I see little difference in using 5 or 9 AEB. In fact I still think sometimes that my old S3 did a better job with jpg's and 3 shots.

  5. Only 3 Scott, only the 1D and 1Ds have 7.. and that pisses me off a lot :-) Trust me Scott, you wouldn't want to do HDR in 3 exposures - it's too rough and crude, at least in my eyes :D