1 EAGLETON NOTES: A Camera Decision

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A Camera Decision

For the last couple of months I've have Gaz's DSLR Canon EOS7 and assorted superb Canon lenses available to use. The reason was to help me decide whether I was going to continue using a bridge camera or go for a DSLR having abandoned the format when I started travelling so far away by plane where carrying a heavy DSLR with the lenses I would want just isn't practical.  There are a lot of pros and cons for each format but for me it came down in the end to my principal use of the camera, its versatility and it's portability.

What few people seem to realise (because few read the small print) is that any camera and suchlike equipment carried in the hold of a plane is not insured either by the carrier (because most carriers forbid its carriage in hold luggage) nor by most travel insurance policies.  Thus it has to be hand luggage.  Gaz's camera bag is designed to meet international travel flight sizes.  However it can't be carried on the FlyBe flights to and from the Island because it is too large and the weight limit is 6 kilos.  International flights I use usually allow 7 kilos.  Gaz's camera equipment weighs 14k and that's without his laptop etc.

My principal camera use is for my blogs and for photos of record.  I don't want to print A3 size pictures.  I do want to be able to photograph a landscape one minute and a buzzard flying above me the next.  It goes without saying that I want a comfortable body (don't we all), a good lens and the ability to shoot in RAW.  After that  Versatility is everything.

So my latest camera is another bridge camera but this time, as Sony have dropped their main selling point (imprinted GPS positioning on the metadata), I've switched to Canon and their 1200mm equivalent lensed SX50 HS.  So far I'm well pleased.

These shots were taken on a dull afternoon at full zoom with the camera hand held.  The buzzard is 244 metres away from me.  The images are not perfect by any means but they certainly serve their purpose for identification.



This picture of a robin taken through my kitchen window does show what the lens can offer in terms of clarity:


21 comments:

  1. Seems to me like you made a good choice. (Says she who wants her camera to fit into her pocket. Mine weighs about 430g.)

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    1. I hope so Monica. So far I'm pleased. 6 months in NZ will be the real test.

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  2. Congrats on your new camera!!!
    I'm sure we're all in for a treat of more glorious pictures as you continue to photoblog.
    I believe too that Adrian will approve your choice.
    Like Monica I love a small camera, and thank goodness mine fits quite neatly into my pocket.

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    1. I'd like to think so Virginia. Time will tell.

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  3. Your Robin shot in particular is stunning - considering that was through glass as well, just gorgeous! I'm currently shooting with a Canon 40D, which I love, but as you say it's the lenses which cause the weight problems. I wouldn't even consider putting camera gear in the hold of an aircraft - not for a moment, although should people need to specialist photographic insurance will cover it so long as your bag meets their requirements etc.

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    1. Robyn a professional photo-journalist friend who carted his cameras around had such insurance but, if I recall what he told me correctly, it was out of price range for the average tourist. Immediately after 9/11 one had no choice because all luggage of every sort had to go in the hold. Luggage that size has to go in the hold to and from Stornoway as well. For the time being I'm well satisfied with a bridge camera. However much the heart yearns the head rules!

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  4. Weird that Sony aren't doing GPS on the cameras you looked at. It's only a few months since I bought a new Sony camera and one of the reasons I bought it was the GPS.

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    1. Mark I seem to recall you got the HX200. That's now become the HX300 (50X magnification). They've dropped the GPS. I had hoped to use my Sony separate GPS unit (GPS CS3) with the Canon but it doesn't seem to be compatible which is unfortunate. I may simply go mad and take a location picture with the HX100 when I feel I need to in a strange place. When I'm in the car I'll usually have both cameras anyway. I should add that a remote radio shutter release is available on the Canon which was another factor in my decision.

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    2. Your memory is better than mine as I had to look at the camera to remember the model number! It really does seem a strange feature to drop. I must admit though that I am missing the option of a camera trigger for doing macro work so maybe you've made the right decision.

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  5. Oh, GB - you put me to shame. I can't even figure out my small digital camera, and would love to be able to take photos like yours.

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    1. It is, as, of course, you know Frances, a question of what interests one sufficiently for one to take the time and invest the effort. Writing interests you. Cameras don't interest you sufficiently: if they did you'd master them. The difference is one can learn to use a camera but to write like you do is an art not a science. (Thank heaven i'm not back at Uni when the last sentence would have been followed by the word 'discuss'.)

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  6. Wow, lovely. And I don't even know what a 'bridge' camera is. I should google it but must get dressed and mow the lawns before it rains.

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    1. It's simple Katherine. It allows one to travel between two places: The village of Point and Shoot and the city of DSLR.

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  7. Oh that's the camera you were talking about. And you could have got an old slr with a long lens for 2/6d!
    Thanks for the company today. Enjoyed it. Look forward to more smashing images :-)

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    1. Andrea I have an old Pentax and long lens but I'm too occupied with other things to invest the time and effort needed and I couldn't go back to the darkroom. I shall continue with my images of real life but you are inspiring me to be a little more adventurous and try and break the rules sometimes and be creative. In the meantime I shall take pleasure from your Boxes and Bellows. Thanks for the coffee and the chat. I, too, thoroughly enjoyed it. I'll be back next May!

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  8. The 7D is a great camera. I think quality is important to, even if it's "just" for your blog. :) I think that's more of a reason to get it. But i guess this is the enabler talking out of me :D

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    1. Yes Mersad quality is important I agree. To be frank as I don't want to enlarge my images greatly I think the quality is quite adequate for my needs. That doesn't mean to say that when I stop travelling so much I might well get a good DSLR. I think, though, that a bridge camera would always be the camera that would be within reach for those surprise opportunities. A DSLR is just not versatile enough.

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  9. These images are more than acceptable.
    It's not just convenience or durability. A Rangefinder would be perfect but the lenses alone cost several times the price of a bridge camera. If Gaz is interested the split image focus screen for canon is great to use with manual focus lenses.

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    1. I'll tell him Adrian although his lenses all looked as though they had enough Canon hardware to have autofocus as a minimum. Yes a bridge camera is basically a disposable camera. Wiithin two years it will be obsolete and any repair needed (I've only ever needed one repair and that was some years ago when i dropped my Olympus and knackered the lens mechanism) will be uneconomic. The first and second ones I bought (12 and 10 years ago respectively) still work though. Apsrt from the Olympus I have always passed my camera on when I've upgraded. I could have bought and EOS5 and still been in pocket. But I'd never have had the portability, convenience nor versatility of the bridge cameras.

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  10. Well done on your new camera and a great choice of brand, not that I'm biased or anything!! ;) I absolutely love my Canon 7D.... It is quite heavy though. I think you've scored yourself a wonderful bridge camera... I might look into that for my hubby to upgrade from his little point & shoot!

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    1. I've had a lot of bridge cameras Liz: each one an improvement on the next as lenses and anti-shake software improve. The last two were Sony and I was well pleased with them too.

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