The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Camera Shopping

Oh, I know, you see that title and think....what is she doing?  Is she buying ANOTHER camera?  No -- not yet anyway.  Many people ask me what type of digital SLR-type camera they should buy.  Some of them had the whole set up with film SLR cameras, years ago, but now they wonder what to do.


Years and years ago my husband had a Canon SLR and always liked it – but he always wanted a Nikon.  One year, for Mother's Day, he bought for me a Nikon 35mm SLR and a couple lenses.  I loved that camera – it has always taken wonderful photos.  The back of it won't stay closed now – so I am left with the dilemma of do I fix this? Or not?  Even though it takes wonderful photos – I am so into digital now I don't think film is where I want to put any more of my cash.  So now – the only use for those two SLRs are bookends on the shelf.


Like many people, my first digital camera was a tiny, pocket-sized point and shoot.  It happened to be a Canon.  I loved it – loved the instant feedback of digital.  It died an early death when someone in the house splashed Coke onto it.  I suppose a tiny drop of Coke happened to seep into the wrong spot and poof – no more digital camera for me!  I have to bring up that Olympus has a digital camera that you can take underwater without the need of the special plastic housing – how cool is that?  Thank you Target for placing these on an endcap, making me notice it, and (of course) making me want one!


By this time, I was hooked and have to have another – I could not wait and did not really stop to think – much.  I did not think beyond another simple point and shoot.  Also, my memory went to a great little 35mm point and shoot that I had, loved, carried everywhere (until the battery leaked and killed it).  Big plug here for Duracell – they were wonderful about the leaky battery – they sent me a check for a new camera!  But the one I had, and loved, and carried everywhere was no longer made.  The new one – I did not like as much (sigh).  But – I looked at the Olympus digital cameras and got one – and loved it – and carried it everywhere!  I still have it – it still works – but boy, oh boy, does that camera make an incredible grinding noise when you slide the case to start it up for the lens to extend!  It started sounding like that years ago – I thought it was soon to stop all together. So, I had to have a back up for when it stopped.  Which I thought was coming soon, very soon.  I was so hooked on digital photography I did not want to be without a camera for any period of time.


After playing with the new Olympus so much – in the yard with all the bugs and flowers – I found that macro was my big interest.  And, to my advantage, I still had a working camera (although loudly) and was not pressed to make a quick decision.  I actually shopped for my next camera based on my interest!  Wow, what an idea!  I visited and daily looking up diff erent cameras and trying to see what best fit my needs.  These are great sites for reviews on just about any available camera – and in-depth reviews on many of them.  I wanted something that was great for macro – super macro! 


I found this with the Fuji S7000 zoom.  I still have this camera.  It takes great photos – very sharp!  It also has a great macro feature – "super macro" – with a minimum focus distance of 1cm.  This camera allowed me to take awesome photos of flowers – with the lens touching the subject!  It was great.  Also it had an adapter tube that would fit to the front giving you the option of using filters with the camera.  It had a big zoom, and even gave you the option of jpeg or raw image files.  It was very advanced for the time.  Using this camera really got me more into macro.  Then I started thinking, what if something happened to this camera?  I need a back up.  Not just any backup – but one with great macro and a bigger zoom.  So I started shopping again – taking my time – months, in fact, to find another great camera.


This time something interesting from Canon caught my eye.  The S2IS.  Image stabilization – wow – that would be great!  It had a big zoom – and a super macro mode just like the Fuji.  It also has another interesting feature.  When I show this to people – they immediately say "what kind of camera is that?  I would buy it for that feature alone."  It has "Color Accent."  Choose a color in the frame – only that color shows and the rest is in black and white.   The only problem with wanting this camera – it was not available for purchase yet.  So I waited and waited and waited.  Finally when it came out – I got one.


Now you all know from reading the blog that I have a Canon XTi – I got it last year.  I love it.  But – most of the time when I go out to shoot.  I take along the S2IS.  Like I have said before, sometimes your best macro lens is a whole 'nother camera.


So when people ask me what kind of camera to get – if they ask only about the SLR I will tell them a Canon.  I tell them I chose the XTi for the size of it – it is smaller than the other models.  And – not having any lenses that would work with it, I chose a Tamron 18-250 zoom that is a wonderful lens.  I feel that you could get the XTi (or newer XSi) and the Tamron lens – and be very content – for a while. 


But I like to ask people – what do you like to do with a camera?  Do you want to get into the whole lens thing with an SLR?  If not, I always recommend the latest version of the S2IS that is out there.  Right now that is the S5IS.  With this camera you get the super macro mode plus a zoom equal to a 400+mm lens. 


I have not visited dpreview or Steve's Digicams much lately – I am afraid if I do I will find something new that I have to have. 


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