Quarter Life Crisis

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Cameras, digital

970 words on

After my rundown of the analogue cameras I used, now comes the step to the digital age. That age started back in 1995 when I could borrow a QuickTake 150 from a company I worked for at the time. Gosh was digital photography all new and exciting back then! (And Oh-My-God! did the camera just mount in the Finder in those days, letting you drag photos with more reasonable and less cryptic names than they have today to anywhere on your hard drive. No need for any helper applications that only let you download all of the photos in one go in the mid 1990s!) We ended up using those photos for a school project we did back then. [Should we add a little hooray for stuff like HTML and JPEG here which are still usable without problems after more than a decade?]

Then came a long time without digital cameras and the next one I remember using was my mum’s Canon Digital Ixus 330 which I made many photos with by now. While its 2 megapixel resolution isn’t too exciting from today’s point view, it seems to have a decent lens and the photos it takes are generally OK. It could be a bit better in low-light situations, though. [gig photos, holiday photos]

Next I found a friend’s Pentax EI-2000, a slightly bigger camera with a reasonably large lens that I used for the memory game I made. That one was quite good, having all sorts of manual setting for aperture, focus and so on which you frequently don’t find on smaller cameras.

Being the Canon-kid that I am, I was pleased when my flatmate got himself a Canon Powershot G3, one of the bigger Canon viewfinder cameras. It has a decent lens and all sorts of manual settings, along with the ability to use external flashes (including my early 1980s Canon Speedlite but not including the mid 1970s one, in case you wondered…) A common theory in the flat is that I have used it more than he did. While this may not be entirely true… there’s a certain point to it. It is quite a good camera.

For a little bit of junk in-between, I’ve used the camera in my brother’s Sony T630 phone. It’s a pretty bad one. Then we used our department’s Sigma SD-9 for our first running dinner. All the geeks say it’s a great camera. But either they’re wrong, which wouldn’t surprise me when we’re speaking about people who care more about pixels than about photos or – even more likely – the damn thing was just broken and put irregular yellow shades over all images. Bummer!

Other recent shots include Po’s Canon Digital Ixus i which is a really tiny device that’s not particularly fast or brilliant in the dark but pretty much OK considering its size and got good use when we saw Patrick Wolf, and a Casio EX-Z3, one of the nice and slim cameras with a really flat outline and a huge screen (which I tend to hate when people in front of my use them at gigs as the screen makes it really distracting) that I used to take photos of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The camera isn’t too good in the dark, unfortunately.

I also took photos with a device called VQ DigitalCAM of our Zwischenmieter which was about the slowest and hardest to focus camera I can remember using. And while it probably has more pixels, I suspect that camera was even slower in taking photos than Birgit’s Nokia 6320i or Ansgar’s Sony K750i phones. But even with seven digit numbers of pixels those phone cameras remain crap. Basically half of the image seems to be noise (meaning really bad compression and large JPEGs for bad quality). I’m pretty sure half the pixels with half the noise would make better and smaller photos.

And to top things off, I also took a few photos with Jan-Philipp’s Nikon D-70, a seriously nice toy, and a decent number of photos with my dad’s Canon EOS 350D, which is equally nice. My guess is that both of those cameras are about the same, but being the old Canon fanboy that I am, I found the Canon more comfortable. With those digital SLRs the digital cameras finally arrived technologically where analogue cameras had been for decades: In a state where you press the button and the camera shoots just then without endless whizzing and waiting in between to make sure what you wanted to take the photo off moved to another planet…

There are a few more cameras which I played around with but didn’t really take photos with, like Dan’s old Olympus C-1Z or his very pretty new and black Casio EX-Z500 which looks even better than the Z3 but could still do better when taking photos in the dark. There are also a number of nice phots we took with Richard’s dad’s Sony Cybershot something which did reasonably well in the dark.

And at this stage I guess the relations from me to that camera start being too complicated for me to list or even remember them properly. Needless to say, with photos being frequently sent around these days there are plenty of photos from other cameras present in my photo library as well.

Menu listing all the cameras my computer knows about from the photos it takes care of

Of course one might wonder why I didn’t buy a camera for myself after reading all this. I think it’s their price combined with the fact that every digital camera is a compromise. Either it’s nice and small, or it takes good photos. So there the problem starts… a difficult decision to make and one that’s easy to postpone if so many other people have digital cameras.

February 11, 2006, 0:23

Tagged as photos.

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