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I am a camera, with - [Sep. 22nd, 2009|09:27 pm]
- with a viewfinder, actually.

I've been on the verge of buying a new camera for some time. I might have asked durham_rambler for one for my birthday, in the spring, but I decided that actually a litle notebook computer would be a more useful toy to take to Iceland. And that was a good choice, and I love my little notebook.

Nonetheless, the need to upgrade my camera has been growing more pressing, in a sort of pincer movement. On the one hand, I increasingly want to take pictures that my camera (a basic point and shoot model) can't cope with: I can't get close enough for the macro I want, I can't control which part of a framed shot is in focus, and I'd like to explore HDR (as seen on Flickr). On the other hand, the camera is increasingly temperamental about taking even those pictures it is capable of. In what ought to be a very nifty piece of design, the on switch is the lens cover: slide it back and the lens pops out, nudge it in and the lens retracts and is securely covered, so that I feel quite happy carrying the camera in my pocket. And this has worked pretty well for several years, but has grown increasingly temperamental, until I had to hold the cover open all the time, or it would close and switch off. My fingernails were broken down to the quick from clawing the cover open, and I was grabbing pictures that were sort of OK, instead of taking my time framing my shots. I had, in fact, reached the point where I wanted a new camera before I went on holiday again.

durham_rambler threw himself into research, and e-mailed me reviews of highly recommended cameras, running to multiple pages of technical detail, which had the temporary effect of freezing me in indecision. Then I realised that the description I was reading didn't mention a viewfinder - and that the pictures of the camera from every conceivable angle made it clear that this was because it didn't have one. Now, my very first camera didn't have a viewfinder, in that sense: it was a box Brownie, passed on to me by my mother (and while it surely can't have dated back to 1919, it looked very like the one pictured here. You composed your picture in a little window in the top of the box, and it was hard work. Every camera I've had since has had a viewfinder you hold up to ypour eye, and I'm comfortable with that arrangement: emotionally, I feel the camera as an extension of my eye, and practically I brace the camera steady when I shoot.

Durham has two camera shops. I went first to the independent, and told the man that I wanted to upgrade my digital camera, and what my budget was: "The world is your oyster," he said. I told him that I wanted a viewfinder: "No," he said, and talked me through the features of a nice little camera.

I said I'd think about it, and went to the branch of the major chain, there whe assistant showed me a number of cameras with viewfinders, marked up a copy of the catalogue for me to take away and think about, and talked me through the features of a camera that does almost everything I want. It isn't quite as compact as I would like, and the zoom, though better than I'm accustomed to, is not as impressive as durham_rambler's. But it has a viewfinder, and macro down to a centimetre from the subject, and the choice of auto point-and-shoot or what will probably be total control if I ever work out how to set it.

Because obviously, I went back and bought the Canon PowerShot from shop number two.

[User Picture]From: athenais
2009-09-22 11:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, hurray! I thought you must have a very basic tool with no way to affix a filter or adjust the manual settings based on some of the weird stuff that occasionally afflicted your photos. It was so clearly the camera, not you. Now your gear will let you run wild!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2009-09-23 08:18 am (UTC)
I'm flattered by your confidence in me - but rather alarmed, since now I have no excuses!
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-09-23 03:33 pm (UTC)

new camera

Canon Powershot? - good choice! - I have 3, of various vintages.
My latest (G10) is superb. Resolution, image-stabilisation, low-light/high-ISO capture, all brilliant. Only control of depth of field is missing, as ever with compacts.
Looking forward to your even better pictures.
- Bob (bolder)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2009-09-23 04:02 pm (UTC)

Re: new camera

G10 it is, Bob, and I'm glad to hear good things about it! But it may take me a while to catch up with (half of) what it can do!
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