This Christmas I asked for a new camera. My old stand-by had developed something (dirt? flakes of interior housing??) that show up as dark blobs on most photos. Ruining them, basically. (It may be possible to get the camera cleaned, but I was reluctant to go that route if it would just as quickly reoccur.) As a result, I’ve been borrowing a camera when needed for the last few months. It was past time, actually, to have my own reliable capture device
I was slow to go new as my previous model was a pocket-sized digital with a few newer bells and whistles and a view finder. A view finder, for those who are young, or have already forgotten, lets one line up photos by eye, which has some advantages. (Always works, even in bright sun. Conserves battery life over screen display. Puts some photo subjects at ease. Takes some shots more steadily, thanks to bracing off one’s face – one of the few times my sizable nose comes in handy!)
After a bit of on-line research, I concluded it was possible to get a (few) models of pocket digital cameras that still come with a view finder. But they’re on the costly side for something that goes everywhere, gets banged around and could be lost.
Case in point: a few winters ago, while getting a story on Parliament Hill, I fumbled the usual juggle of digital recorder, note pad, pen, gloves and camera. The camera hit the icy sidewalk bricks with a hard metallic smack, popping open the hatch and sending the guts spewing. Guts in that case being the rechargeable battery and the memory card. One corner took the full impact, and it was slightly caved in. Miraculously, once reassembled, the poor camera still worked. (Still does, in fact, except for the grainy shumtz blobs). So, I have real affection for some of my long-suffering devices. But I don’t want to be dropping a small fortune on the next set of bricks.
Anyway, the new, mid-range camera is here. What can I say? Without naming brands…wow. And wow again. That technology just keeps getting better and better. I think I might learn to live without a viewfinder in exchange for the huge jump in megapixels and optical zoom capacity, the better low-light response, etc. (It takes excellent movies too, though I have no idea how to post those yet.)
I’ll never claim to be a real photographer. I barely know about essentials like ISO, aperture and all the technical foundations. But it’s just plain fun to mess around, even in my slap-dash manner. With so much of beauty and interest all around us, trying to capture some of that can be quite engrossing. Happily, just by taking masses of digital images some of them will usually turn out OK. (And no need to pay for developing the duds!)
Yes, these are good times for photography and amateur shutter bugs. With luck, improved shots will be showing up in my NCPR submissions from here on out.
Did you get something for Christmas that you are looking forward to using?