Thursday, June 01, 2006

My digital camera

Some of you have inquired about the digital camera (DC from here on) that I am using for the pics that I’m posting here. It is an Olympus Camedia C-765 Ultra Zoom. Here is a link to a review of the camera in PC Magazine.

I think my camera normally goes for about $250-$300, but I got it for about $135. I got it at that price because it was the store’s last one, it had been on display, AND it was not going to be carried anymore by that store. My timing, in other words, was impeachable. ;-)

Having used film cameras all this time, I was used to all the control that I had over taking a photograph –especially since I used a 35mm SLR with a zoom lens. This DC lacks some of that control. However, the other features that it has more than makes up for what it lacks. What I’m about to say next is rehash for those who have DCs, so I’m sorry for that, but some of my readers are considering switching over, and they need to know of the benefits of using a DC.

One big bonus of using a DC is that there’s no film to take to a drug store for developing. That saves the cost of developing the film AND the gas that is used both to drop the film off and to pick up the developed pictures. Also, I know immediately how the pics look right after I take the pic, and I can delete the ones that I don’t like. I also save the cost of making reprints to give to others. I simply e-mail them to others who want copies, and if they want to get prints made, they can do it themselves. Unlike regular film, which has rolls of about 24 or 36 pictures, my DC can take well over a hundred, or more if I select pics with a low resolution. Even at a very high resolution, it’s still more pics than a 36-frame roll of film.

Not only that (and as you have seen here in recent days), taking pictures in black and white or sepia does not require a separate roll of film. It’s just a simple matter of programming the DC to switch to these features, and then to switch them back to color once I’m done. If you’re new to DCs and want to be able to explore some of what a DC can do, then I’d recommend something like the camera I have.

When it comes to shopping for DCs, a good rule of thumb is to pretty much forget those that cost less than $100. They are usually lacking many of the features that make having a DC worthwhile, and they’re often pretty crappy anyway. Expect to spend at least $200 if you want a DC that’s worth your hard-earned money. Make sure it has a view screen for viewing your pictures (Very important!). That way, you can see the pics that you’ve taken, and you can delete them if you don’t want them. Most DCs at that price range also have some sort of zoom feature, which can be very handy.

One feature that you might look for --and that my DC lacks-- is the ability to connect to an external flash (usually there is a jack somewhere on the camera body that allows for this connection). The flash on my DC is rather weak, so if the subject is too close, then there is a lot of glare in the photograph –but if the subject is too far away, the picture then comes out dark. Plus, the flash is rather focused in its light, and an external flash that allows for diffused light will give the needed light without the glare.

Also, my DC lacks a remote control for taking pics without having to be at the camera to press the shutter. With a remote control, you can be in the pictures, too! Yes, I know that I could just use my DC’s timer, but the remote feature is still a handy feature to have. If you get a DC with these extra features, then it will most likely add to the cost, but then you'll also be getting all the camera that you'll probaby need for the time being anyway.

Eventually, I want one of those DCs that work like a 35mm SLR film camera, but those babies run over $800 or more –t’ain’t cheap, in other words. Right now, I just want to master what a DC can do, so that when I get one of those fancy jobs, I’ll have a better idea on how its features work.

If you have any other questions regarding DCs, drop me a line and I’ll try to help you if I can.

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