Monday, July 04, 2005

Camera Shopping

I have no idea how but I seem to have lost my digital camera :-( Its last known sighting was Monday, June 20 and I have been looking for it since the same Friday. As of last Friday, which marked the end of 2 weeks of the search, I officially upgraded the status of the camera from 'misplaced' to 'lost'. It is a particularly bad time since Karthik is offering quite a few new photo ops almost everyday and grandma and grandpa back home are clamoring for new pics of him too. So I have started looking for a new digital camera.

I spent a lot of time on research when I bought my previous camera and finally settled on an A70. I absolutely loved it from the moment I took it out of the package from Amazon. The pictures were amazing with superb clarity, vivid colors and perfect brightness. I was particularly impressed with shots taken in low light and macro shots. It had an impressive array of manual controls like aperture, white balance, shutter speed, etc. (considering that it was a point-and-shoot camera) and so was perfect for the budding photographer in me. The Auto mode was perfect for spontaneous shots of Kavya while I could experiment with the manual controls for other shots. The only problem I had with it was a weird E18 error sometimes when shutting down but that never interfered when actually taking photographs.

So I have restricted myself to a Canon this time around to cut down on research time. My dream camera I guess would be the Powershot S2 IS. I was looking at the Powershot S1 IS even before and the S2 seems to have improved quite a bit on that. But at $499, the S2 is over the budget set for me (the budget's been set even lower than usual since I am deemed responsible for losing the old camera!). So over the weekend I have narrowed the field down to three candidates - the A510, the A520 and the A95.

At this point I am leaning towards the A510. It provides the same features that I came to love in my A70 - the low-light focus lamp, the extensive manual controls, a nice macro mode, the stitch feature, etc. It has also made an already good product better by being smaller, providing a 4x optical zoom and taking only 2 AA batteries. So I think I'll have a brand new camera in my hands by the end of this week. I'm just sad that I missed my annual tradition of the shaky, blurred shots of our local 4th of July fireworks show! Then again, the A510 has a preset 'fireworks' shooting mode. So maybe my shots next year won't be so bad after all...

21 Comments:

At 7:14 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Balaji, I just bought a A70 and am pretty new to shooting images itself. Any suggestions on power conservation with A70? How long do the 4 batteries last roughly, assuming I dont use any power saving mode? Also did you buy any accessories for faster transfer of images from flashcard to PC?

As an aside, The thing that I hate about digital cameras is all the accessories(flashcard, battery charger etc.) that add up to more than the cost of the camera itself. And you have to carry them all wherever you travel.

 
At 7:20 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Also, being a newbie to shooting, I was a little overwhelmed with all the feautures. Have to do some practice shots in order to get accustomed to all the fautures.

 
At 7:48 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Balaji, sorry for asking too many questions , but is

1. the LCD monitor protector necessary? I removed it by mistake. Can I get a replacement for cheap somewhere or is it not all that important?

2. Regarding flashcard usage - is it true that downloading images often from the card to PC could cause some wear&tear? Do you wait until you fill up your card in order to transfer images? Also do you really need a card reader?

 
At 7:51 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Balaji, coincidentally I inaugarated my A70 yesterday for the july 4th fireworks. Not an ideal situation to begin using the camera :-) Shooting fast moving fireworks against a night sky. I think I got a few without any blurring. Used night scene option. I guess you need something that combines night scene with fast shutter.

Good luck with your new canon!! I am guessing by your travel photos that you are probably an experienced shooter.

 
At 8:22 AM, Anonymous F e r r a r i said...

Balaji,

I purchased Canon IXUS 430(Guess its called S410 there) in Thailand 3 months back. It is amazing. The clarity, battery life time and features are amazing. I suggest you go for it. Even Merino has the same model. Do do check it out. I will ask Maverick to fish out some links for you tomorrow(He has a S500 if am not wrong)

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger ioiio said...

vijay..oru guest blog pottutteengaley.. Karthik Kannukku oru comment kiss.. pudichi sorry padichi pass pannidunga :)

 
At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

Read your manual people. You will find a lot of goodies that will save you a lot of time in the future. Here are some tips to address issues posted so far:

1. If you think that you don't need to use the Flash such as in late evening or in a lighted indoor setting, using Automatic mode might still fire the Flash. Using Program Automatic or one of the manual modes, you can prevent the Flash from firing and prolong battery life (read manual on how to force Flash to remain off). You might want to increase exposure compensation or ISO to prevent images from coming out dark though (once again read manual on how to do this).
2. I would format my card after I've downloaded all the images.
3. Night mode isn't always the ideal setting for fireworks. It is better to use a faster shutter, very high ISO and some sort of flash.

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

vijay, the a70 is defly a great camera but if u just bought a camera, why didnt u opt for a new model like the a85 or the a95? just curious...
nope, no accessories whatsoever. i just used good ol' USB...

the ability to click those practise shots with no concern about wasting film is probably the best advantage of digital cameras. i've taken so many night shots and action shots to test out those manual controls...

i took out the protector the day i got the camera. causes the images to look soft on the lcd and i didnt like that. and as long as u have a good case and handle the camera carefully, u can keep out those scratches...

not sure about the card wear&tear... i always upload images right away... instant gratification :) and i dont think a card reader is really necessary...

i've gotten some good shots. but have ways to go before i'd call myself a good photographer :)

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

ferrari, i'm guessing u're talking about the s400. those look great and r really small but don't offer as many manual controls. and i think they also have proprietory batteries and not AAs right?

the SD400 is actually newer and uses the newer processor and USB2 for photos xfer. but again, the manual ctrls r making me lean towards A510. and ofcourse the 4x optical zoom...

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger IBH said...

coincidence...:) we just bought a Nikon D50..it costed a bomb..buit then worth the buy....

I am working with Canon A510...and the camera is damn good i must say...ok! what I meant by working Canon A510 is that we are doing a project for an insurance company where in the images are stored in our application..for which the agents must use Canon A510...earlier model was A70....

so both are good!

 
At 7:28 PM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

Balaji; as long as its CANON, ITS ALL GOOD! =P


http://www.steves-digicams.com

that site is good... i found great reviews... it helped me buy my camera & my photo printer :)

 
At 11:19 PM, Blogger Sundar Narayanan said...

my powershot S30 (purchased 3 years ago on july 5 !!) has lasted me over 6000 files. assuming i have 200 or so video files (which count twice because each file has a thumbnail i still count ~5800 files in that Image folder. I did have a problem with the SET button two months ago probably because we were taking pictures in extremly high humidity conditions in monterey. but canon (goodguys) fixed it like brand new (thanks to the 65 $ three year warranty i had purchased). think this camera will last another year or so.. maybe you should consider the S series ?

 
At 5:04 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

Also check out Ken Rockwell's site (especially his article on why the camera does not matter):

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech.htm

Ken sounds like the Balaji of camera reviews (meaning I simply prefer Ken's writing style). He seems to be a Nikon person that is not a Canon-basher. My photography skills improved considerably after going through all his articles.

 
At 7:00 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Balaji, thanks for the points. Actually I didnt buy it recently but started using it only recently. It was a slightly used model bought off ebay quite sometime back and was safely lying in its package for a long time. I was using regular Canon now and then and finally decided to switch to this.

 
At 11:10 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

ibh, me envy u for the d50 :) and looks like the company has the same idea as me wrt a70 -> a510

merino, the sites i frequent r dcresource.com and dpreviews.com. amazing amount of info!

sundar, the new ones in the S series i see on the canon site r s60 and s70. both those r way over budget :( but the improved lenses r sure tempting :)

gopi, grt site. going on my bookmark :)

vijay, makes sense now. when u get a chance, do test out the stitch feature. i was amazed at the sw's performance on that one.

 
At 1:51 AM, Blogger Sriram said...

hello all,

ive bought A95. Its awesome!

 
At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Maverick said...

I was about to refer you to www.DPReviews.com

 
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