Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New camera, new things to learn

I'd been thinking about getting a new camera for a while now, after noticing that the auto-focus on my Kodak was just not that sharp anymore, nor was the color so crisp and wonderful, and after getting tired of not having the LCD (it took some sort of impact in CA and went black).

So after asking around, and pricing things on Amazon, and trying some cameras in the stores, I ended up with a Nikon Coolpix 100. I like it so far! The macro mode is pretty awesome:The macro mode on my Kodak never worked well at all. With this camera, like my old Nikon Coolpix 4800, the macro lets you get right up in the nostrils of your subject.

It also has (get this) 26x zoom!!!! Holy hand grenade, I was zooming all over the place on Saturday morning when I went birding! I got a photo of this Red-eyed Vireo who was wwaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy up there in a tree but unfortunately half-hidden behind a branch:But I would've gotten him had he not hidden!

I didn't see too many other birds that day; that's what happens when you go looking for warblers at around 11 a.m. Seems I recall something about an "early bird," but whatever. Tra la la!

I also saw this little damselfly:Looks a lot like that slenderwing I snapped a couple of weeks ago.

I also took a photo of the tiniest little cicada EVER:At least I think it's a cicada. It could just be some sort of fly. But it looks cicada-like!

Speaking of cool-looking bugs, look at this one:That's some very vivid coloring!

Now the focus on these macro shots is not as tack-sharp as I'd like; I think I need a little more practice on that. Plus I find that as I get older, I'm a lot shakier than I used to be. Maybe I should use a tripod for these kinds of shots?

Here's another macro shot: a photo of a daisy from the courtyard garden at our apartments. The gardener is a crazy lady who lives in the next apartment; she's one of those 70-ish "spinster" women who never got married and have no friends and who's been alone wwwaaaaayyyyy too long and thus cannot interact with others in anything resembling culturally accepted ways. She once asked me why I was picking dandelions out of the yard; I told her they were for my rabbit. That evening, we got a note taped to the door, stating unequivocally that rabbits in the yard were completely forbidden according to our lease -- which she then quoted extensively!-- despite the fact that Niblet NEVER leaves the apartment, much less wanders around the yard eating Crazy-Lady's plantings. The next day, she accused me of breaking her morning glory vines, claiming she'd "seen me" in the yard. Well, you know what a plant-hating vagrant I am! I told her I didn't touch her vine, wouldn't break her vine ever, etc.--she said, "Oh I know it was you! I saw you!" Wow. So I just said, "hey, think what you like. It wasn't me," and walked off.


She also plays her TV at FULL VOLUME every single morning from 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Sometimes, I just want to leave her a note quoting our lease and stating that I'm legally allowed to kill her if she doesn't turn down that damned TV. I figure if I put it in quotes, she'll take it seriously.

Anyway -- sorry to get off on a tangent! Back to the camera. I'm not sure whether I like the quality of the autofocus. Is is me, or is the focus on this shot of mallards a bit soft?I wasn't zooming much at all here. This is cropped but not otherwise edited. The focus looks a little soft to me. Or am I just going blind? It's also possible that the focal point (which you can set on this camera) was just too small or whatever. Or too big.

I need to shoot some more tomorrow (somewhere in there between working and working) and make a final decision on whether I want to keep the camera. The place where I bought it has a 14-day return policy as long as nothing is wrong with the camera, so I've been very careful during my testing process.

If this one doesn't suit me, I will probably just buy one like Mary's. Her photos are always incredible, and I'm hoping some of her magic will rub off on me.

If anyone else can suggest a good medium-priced ($250-400) point-and-shoot that (1)isn't just one of those little snappy brick-looking ones (i.e., this) and that (2)has a manual mode so I can pretend I know something about f-stop, etc. -- please suggest in the comments! And it's (3)gotta have good zoom and macro modes!


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Julie Z is liking her Canon G-11 point and shoot. Maybe you should check it out.

And QUIT breaking my petunias!

(i saw you)

Elizabeth said...

You're so funny! If you email me what town you live in (elizabeth@avianexplorer.com), I can research the local statutes regarding noise. I might be able to find some serious language. You could quote that to her.

I bought a Nikon d40 for around $400 with a basic 15-50mm lens. Right now it's listed for around $600 on Amazon, though. And dSLRs are dangerous because you keep wanting to upgrade. Now I have two bases and four lenses.

John said...

The damselfly looks like either Spotted Spreadwing or Common Spreadwing. I lean towards the latter since the stripes on the thorax are so thin, but I'm not entirely certain. The leafhopper (photo 5) looks like a Candy-striped Leafhopper.

I've enjoyed my Panasonic FZ-35 so far. There are two new models in that series out this summer, so they would be worth a look if you decide to try a different model. Feel free to email if you have any questions about my camera.

Susan Gets Native said...

So it WAS you! YOU'RE the one who broke my clematis! I SAW YOU!
OMG...save us from the crazy ladies.

I was wanting a new camera before NJ, but it's not in the cards. Hopefully this one can limp through ONE MORE Cape May excursion.

dguzman said...

Lynne, I tried that one at the store and just didn't like it. It had a lot of buttons and seemed very complicated. And oh my gosh, you made me laugh!

Elizabeth--oh it's hopeless on the noise ordinance: you should hear the motorcycles that parade up and down our streets downtown at all hours, and the cops just look the other way. Besides, I'd rather just hate her in silence.

John--your camera seems a lot like mine in terms of what it can do. I think I'm gonna stick with the Nikon; I'm comfortable with it, and I'm sure I can learn enough to get some good pics. Thanks for the bug help!

Susan--you can try my Kodak if you want! I'll bring it to Cape May. And NO I DID NOT. Think what you want, you old bat!

mgstarboard said...

Oh Delia - your photos are lovely.
Thanks for the nice compliment but alas I long for another camera as well. The lesson - be content w/what you have. But actually, I'm glad you got a new camera. You kind of needed it and again, the quality is fantastic. love mary