Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Getting used to the cameras...

(a post I made on another forum)

Some of you know I was a professional photographer for 32 years, before we retired.  We were early adopters of electronic imaging (digital), including a full digital lab.  With colleagues, I used to joke, "One day, there will be cameras that have three lights that pop out to give you perfect narrow lighting on your subject.  The camera will shoot when the subject has the best expression.  You won't have to know a thing about technique to get good images..."

And, we all laughed.

Since retiring, I shoot most personal photos with a pocketable point & shoot camera with a decent zoom lens.  I go through them about every two years; wear 'em out.  I understand that they are made to a price point and not designed for heavy use.  I wore the last one out earlier this month (lens cover blades bent, focus getting slow, lens movement chunky), so it was time for a new camera.  Joan suggested I take along the Nikon DSLR I bought a couple years ago to see if it had any trade-in value.  I had narrowed (looking at specs online) my choice to a Canon G3x or a Panasonic Lumix ZS100 - two very different cameras.

The G3x has some heft - it feels good in your hand.  It is in no way a pocket camera.  A very capable (25 - 600) zoom lens.  Available with an optional electronic viewfinder (that turned out to be a [i]really[/i] hot deal).  A 1" sensor (bigger than any of the pocket cameras I've had).

The Luix ZS100 is kinda pocketable... a jacket pocket, maybe.  A decent zoom lens (25 - 250), but the smallest camera with a 1" sensor.  And, SO MANY features.  Truly, this camera is beyond amateur capability, or occasional use.  It takes advantage of the 4K video technology to allow you to "post focus" (shoot first, then decide what you want in focus), as well as other amazing abilities such as: the ability to start a photo burst one second [i]before[/i] you press the shutter button!  Yeah, it uses a lot of power for that function, as well as generating some heat.  Somewhere around a gazillion settings including "intelligent automatic" where the camera determines if you are taking a portrait (softer colors), kids (faster shutter speed), sunset (more vivid colors), etc, etc.

I think we are to that stage where the shooter is more of a camera resource manager than a photographer.

Long story even longer: I traded the Nikon and a couple lenses towards the Canon and also bought the Lumix (to replace my worn out Canon pocket camera, an SX700).  That is a lot of different technology to try to learn all at once.  I have taken each camera on the whale watch boats, but don't really have the time to dedicate to photography while at the helm.  I have been using one camera one day, the other the next day.  Very different cameras, but both very capable.

If I were only going to have one... well, tough call.  The Canon G3x is more comfortable to use (fits my hand better) and has a great zoom lens.  The Lumix ZS100 is smaller, with a lot of buttons (and features) on it.  Neither of these are a true point & shoot, although each could be used that way.  Both have a 1" sensor (the chip inside that actually captures the image).

For the amateur who just wants to take an occasional photo, these are over-kill.  For someone who wants some control and input into making an image, either of these would be a good option.  The true point & shoot market is flat - people who just want an occasional photo use their smart phone... camera manufacturers are almost forced into advanced capability so the small cameras are much better than anything available in a phone.

Smile recognition.  Blink detection.  Facial recognition.  Scene detection.  "Intelligent" automatic (Is that an oxymoron?).

It is getting close to the scenario I mentioned at the opening of this post.

No comments: