Don's Digital Photography Passion

Cameras

Everyone's first camera seems to have been a small inexpensive film camera. It wasn't until our children were born that we moved up to some of the 35mm film models and used slide film quite extensively. These were great, but limited in their ability to be shown, shared, or enjoyed.

Digital cameras first became "affordable" about 2002 when Largan introduced a low-cost camera at Comdex (Las Vegas). It was a hit of the show, and so when Mrs. Santa Claus came hinting around about Christmas, getting one of the first digital cameras that were for general use was high on my list -- and it was also in the stocking too!!

Since then digital photography has come a long long was - going from a VGA (640x480) picture to multiple mega-pixels. Now several years later, I am on my fifth digital camera, but in this case a much high 12-megapixel version which we've been using for about 2 years, as well as others too. In fact, all are ready for use, depending on the need..

 

Largan Lmini 351

 

640x480 VGA resolution
2-meg internal flash

24-30 VGA picture capacity

 

 

Fuji FinePix 4800Z

 

4-megapixel max. resolution
SmartMedia to 128MB

Review

 

 

Sony DCR-DVD403

 

3-megapixel max. resolution
still image, video cam

Recordable 1.4GB miniDVD

Review

Largan Lmini 351

I was quite thrilled when I got my Largan camera. The ability to take pictures direct to my PC was great. Most pictures weren't all great, but every once in a while a real good one popped out. That's how I learned the secret of great photographers -- take lots of pictures to get one or two good ones.

Largan was quite supportive when I thought I had a problem, and the camera gave reasonable pictures.

My biggest gripe was how it ate batteries. Even when off, the batteries drained in about 1 week. You literally had to take the batteries out when not in use, even for a short period! At $10 Canadian a piece, the batteries were a real negative, until I found that I could get really cheap ones via eBay where I picked up about 10 at $2.50 each.

Right now, the Largan has moved on to being used by our children who are learning what I had learned all over again.

Fuji Finepix 4800Z

After the Largan, the 4800Z arrived in the Christmas stocking. Mrs. Claus really broke the bank on this one, because even at that time it was at its peak in pricing. But Mrs. Claus knew what she was doing.

What a camera! The features were absolutely amazing, picture quality and colour spectacular, and the capacity for taking pictures on 128MB SmartMedia cards seems unending. With video, audio, multi-shot, a wide variety of picture sizes and quality, and more -- this camera really captures the heart.

Its cool too, because unlike many cameras like it, the lense cover is fully automatic and snaps open/shut as the unit is turned on/off.

While the camera is a bit on the wide-side, it does a fabulous job creating pictures. The number of pictures possible greatly increased the "keepers" to the point where >75% are worth saving, and several out of every hundred are near professional quality.

I initially used the camera at 1 mega-pixel and was quite happy. Now I usually use 2 mega-pixel as a tradeoff on picture capacity vs. quality. For photographs, the difference is hard to tell including when going to print via our local online photoshop. As well, the original 16 MB SmartMedia card quickly got replaced with 128 MB.

Since buying the camera, SmartMedia cards have become obsolete, so I'm glad I have several. The 128MB capacity isn't all that hot any more either, but the camera still works well excepting on occasions when the card reader has problems. I took it to Fuji once for service, but the net result was nothing significant.

Sony DCR-DVD403

Christmas was a welcome time for the arrival of the Sony video cam. We had looked throughout the market when we bought it and the choices ranged from DVD to Tape to Hard Drives to Semiconductor. We settled on the DVD version as it posed the greatest potential for the largest number of recordable pictures on an extended trip where we would not need a computer for uploading.

The 3Mp still camera definitely gets the most use. It provides excellent quality pictures. The video cam is not something we use as often, but we value having it for important family events like the children's weddings. It did yeoman's service for those weddings, and we were happy we had it because for one wedding we had to do it by candlelight because of a major storm and hydro outage (the storm of the decade, I think).

While the quality is great, the speed of the camera leaves a bit to be desired. The writing to DVD does take a bit of time, and so rapid shots in succession are not going to be on the menu for this camera.

All that being said and done, we are glad we bought it and the Sony continues to serve us well.

One recommendation is to be sure to have a second battery (and portable charger). This makes all the difference when traveling as batteries notoriously always run out at the wrong time, and a spare can be a real lifesaver.

Favorite Pictures

Here are some of our more favorite pictures on their own links. Enjoy!

New Zealand Pictures from 2004 - Fuji Finepix 4800z

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Last Updated: 2011 January 7

 

Canon Rebel XSi













12 megapixel resolution
using 4GB high speed SDcard

Review

 

 

Casio EXILIM EX-Z29











 

10.1-megapixel resolution
using 4GB high speed SDcard

Review

 

Canon Rebel XSi

Finally it became SLR time, and the timing was great because we were planning a Polar Cruise. This 12 megapixel camera when using professional-speed Sdcards is outstanding. We got the version that allows changing lenses, so also picked up a 300mm telephoto lens that really made a difference on those long shots for wild life. A bit bulky by comparison to many new cameras, the SLR features are great and we’re still learning.

At this point, the Rebel is our camera of choice when we want to get the best quality possible.

Casio EXILIM EX-Z29

With a full-feature Rebel in-hand, it became apparent really fast that for motorcycle travelling it wasn’t the ideal camera. Too much into and out of the saddle bag action led to getting this tiny high-rez camera to take those momentary shots while on the road.

This camera tosses nicely into a pocket (including sleeve pocket). Even with bulking gloves it’s possible to turn on the camera and get a shot relatively quickly, and the results are more impressive than I had expected.

Let’s just say that as the new year starts, and the call of the road is heard, that this little camera will best in my pocket ready for great scenery and action wherever two wheels may take us.