A Camera Tale of Woe

Woman with Camera from the George Eastman House on Flickr The Commons.  There are no known copyright restrictions.

Woman with Camera from the George Eastman House on Flickr The Commons. There are no known copyright restrictions.

If  you have followed or browsed my blog you know I like to take pictures.  This is partly because I have no talent to draw something, but I can take a picture of it.

I’ve been doing photography for years.  It all started when my parents built a darkroom in the basement for printing black and white photographs.  I became my high school’s photographer.

Over the years I’ve dabbled in and out of it but honestly it took the digital age for me to really enjoy it.  In those intervening decades from basement darkroom to paintshop I developed a few things I like in a camera.  I actually developed two types of cameras I like to use.

Praktica Super TL2 by Cezar Popescu from Flickr The Commons with no known copyright restrictions. This camera looks very much like the first SLR I used and learned about photography using.

Praktica Super TL2 by Cezar Popescu from Flickr The Commons with no known copyright restrictions.
This camera looks very much like the first SLR I used and learned about photography using.

The first one is the SLR with fully adjustable settings – I can do what I want with this one.  I like the feel of focusing, playing with depth of field, using sensitivity (ISO used to be ASA)  and aperture to get the effect I want, and controlling shutter speed.  All these are factors in creating the image I want to capture the moment.  The digital SLR I have I saved for it over a year with discretionary income.  I love it.  It’s what I take with me when I go out to shoot photos most of the time.  Alas here is where the WOE comes in – The battery for it no longer holds a charge.  **SIGH**  Yes I know get a new one.  I will I promise and soon!  But plate full thing and even though I enjoy it – it is winter with below zero temperatures so there’s no rush as I’m not going out to make pictures any time soon.  Heck I’m not going out unless I HAVE to do so.

Cameras by Jeff Youngstrom on Flickr.  I use it under his gracious Creative Commons Attribution No Commercial Use License

Cameras by Jeff Youngstrom on Flickr. I use it under his gracious Creative Commons Attribution No Commercial Use License

Second the compact but versatile point and shoot.  It only takes one day of wagging around a big SLR at a theme park to wish for a small light camera you can tuck into your pocket. (Yes, yes I know phones have good cameras today but I don’t like them – more on that next. )  Except I don’t want to give up some adjust ability.  So I look for ones with settings – Image stabilization is a must on these.  First off the viewfinder has all but disappeared from point and shoots.  This takes away a very stable body position for making pictures.  Yes holding a camera to you face to look through that tiny hole had a purpose – it brought your arms in and braced them against your head and possibly your body thus giving the photographer a more stable stance / less shake.  Sadly it is now only the pervue of the upper end models not ones you want to take on the roller coaster at Universal.  Also if I’m going to spend that much I want an SLR where I look out the actual lens rather than an above the lens where there is the issue of parallax distortion.     BUT for snapshots and fun photos that’s not a concern.  Bonus is that in an affordable model I can get the same quality as far as megapixels and processor speed as I have in my SLR. Also they have enough body weight to help with stabilization and give this old photographer a sense of the shot  I’m taking.  Also the weight of the body suppresses the camera’s susceptibility to shake from the photographer’s natural breathing which would start to show up at 30th of a second or so for me on these (more sturdy SLRs it’s a bit slower – psst lean on a wall with camera to the face to help with this when at slow speeds). So it’s photos for quick fun where the camera thinks and I just point and shoot.

Now for another tale of WOE – my point and shoot after years of faithful service has given up the ghost.  It turns one zooms then makes various chirping and tweeting sounds and dies.  It is the fourth one I have literally worn out.  BUT not to fret a new one is ordered on Christmas gift money (Thanks Mom & Dad, still supporting my photography habit after all these years) and will be delivered soon.  If the snow storm doesn’t delay it.

Camera Phone by Kimberly Gauthier in Flickr.  Used under her gracious granting of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Camera Phone by Kimberly Gauthier in Flickr. Used under her gracious granting of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Finally my take on cameras on phones – Okay in a pinch.  I don’t like how they feel in the hand – too light too subject to photographer shake from even natural breathing.  Also adjustments on the screen so again more prone to unwanted movement.  Finally no viewfinder only LED screen that when you get in sunlight turns black – also a downfall of the newer point and shoots.  This as become the most frequent reason I have my SLR with me and set on automatic – I can see through the viewfinder in bright light.  So for me the lack of knobs/buttons, the screen issue, and the extreme light weight of it are all reasons I shun using it except in a pinch.  It’ll do and the processor speed/megapixel quality has improved greatly – yet to this old dog it still doesn’t FEEL like a camera.

So for now I’m reduced to the phone which means I do little to no photography this holiday season.  But soon – yes soon – I’ll have a new camera to play with in my spare time  that is currently used to sit – stare into space while eating bon-bons.  Yeah like I got LOTS of that time – pfft.

Until next time which will hopefully be sooner rather than later!

2 thoughts on “A Camera Tale of Woe

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