Thursday, February 01, 2007

Camera Lust again!

Even though I'm not very good at photographing plants, flowers and bugs, I tend to blame it on the camera rather than on my nascent skills. I was in a big box electronic store the other day and I looked at a Canon A630. I was interested in the macro capability of the camera which I read about in several online camera review sites. Apparently it can focus down to 1cm which is less than 1/2 inch, about .4 inch, which is very close to the subject especially if it is very small. I find it satisfying to photograph the minute but my current photos of bugs and flowers are not as close as I would like as my camera focuses down to only about 1.5 inches.

Anyway, I got to try the camera as they actually had power to it and I was amazed that it actually did focus to 1/2 inch. And it did it quite rapidly. Some of the other cameras I tried took a long time to focus down or couldn't manage to focus at all in the muted light.

So now I have camera lust again. The A630 is 8 megapixels and it's sibling the A640, 10 megapixels are current picks. I guess I'll have to sell off some of the old 3mp cameras. It is interesting to note that we think the more megapixels the better as if resolution is the only factor that determines the quality of a camera and the camera companies would have us think so too as they incrementally up the pixel count. 6 mp is pretty much standard now and you start to see point and shoot cameras with 10 mps which will probably the standard in a year or two. However I was looking through a catalog and noticed that it takes more than 16 megapixels to double the size of resolution of a 5 mp camera. More importantly the software the different camera companies use to sharpen the image or suppress noise seems to be more important in choosing a camera. I was always put off by the soft images the Canon cameras seem to produce and preferred the Nikons but apparently this was because they favored noise suppression as opposed to sharpening.

When will it end?


Blogger Anthony said...

Ah yes, camera lust. I know it well. Right now I'm lusting for a Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR. Not in the budget though. :(

I completely agree with your megapixel observation. Everything thinks that it's all about megapixels but I think it's more about the lens. I think it makes a big difference.

Most of the images on my blog, including the macro shots are with a 3.1 MP camera but it has a Carl Zeiss lens.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Anthony,
Now, a DSLR with a physically bigger sensor is a different animal altogether. Apparently it makes a big difference compared to a point and shoot with the same pixel count, producing images with much less noise.

I would like the capability of a DSLR but the physical size and weight put me off. And it has so many features I would never use in a million years. So I'll stick with the P&Ss even with the limitations. I like the fact that I can just easily stick it in my pocket on dog walks and don't have to carry a whole bagful of accessories.

I recently started to use a tripod and monopod and it make a world of difference in the quality of the photo. I didn't realize that the handheld photos that seemed sharp were actually a bit blurred when enlarged. The tripod takes too much time to set up so I'll use the monopod more in the future.

I'm sure Ansel Adams could take wonderful photos with a 1 mp digital camera if he was still alive, as his photos with a pinhole camera demonstrate.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

Aw, just go ahead and get the better camera. ;-) Your right about the MP/resolution issues. I like to have extra for large printing and cropping. I agree with Anthony that the lens is one of the most important aspects of the camera. Glad to see you are using your tripod. Once I got used to using it I love it.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi, dfp. I'll have to wait until I get rid of some equipment before I buy another camera but hopefully before the late Spring/Summer flowering. I found the tripod to be a bit cumbersome as the legs got in the way of getting close up shots of flowers in a shrub. The monopod with the single leg seems to be a good compromise and much faster to set up. One more thing to slow me down compared to handheld but that's good as I think I need to comtemplate the shot and get out of the snapshot mindset.

4:47 AM  

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