Monday, September 1, 2014

Cameras: buy 'em good and keep 'em forever

My Canon S90 is aging. It has been dropped, its lens has been touched and cleaned numerous times, its batteries no longer keep a good charge, but it still takes good pictures.

I believe the direct descendent of my old workhorse is the present Canon S120. The lens now opens up to f/1.8 when set to wide angle (24mm -- 35mm equivalent). The processor is now a DIGIC 6. The autofocus is faster, although I never found it all that difficult to live with before, and the frames per second rate is hitting 9.4. Warning: The S200 is a lesser camera and not an upgrade from the S120.

Before buying a camera, ask yourself what you will be shooting. Do you like to shoot available and steer clear of the on-camera flash? If so, make sure the camera you buy has a fast lens; The faster the better. And don't forget to check the lens speed when the camera is zoomed out to a longer lens setting. The only point and shoot I know of that doesn't lose lens speed as the lens is zoomed out is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 with its constant f/2.8 throughout the zoom range.

I was careful when I retired from The London Free Press. As a photographer put out to pasture, I found myself without a camera for the first time in my life. As a retired fellow forced to accept a reduced pension, buying a kit similar to the one I had at the paper was financially impossible. I looked over the point and shoots and committed myself to working within the limitations of the decidedly amateur equipment.

I can't do all I once could but I'm still shooting pictures and that keeps me happy.

If I were buying a camera tomorrow, I'd get two cameras: A Canon S120 and Lumix FZ200. The Canon with its f/1.8 wide angle is great for shooting available light. Take it to birthday parties and the like. It is a wonderful piece of equipment.

The Lumix with its constant f/2.8 all the way from 25-600mm is damn close to my old constant f/stop professional lenses.

Both cameras will fit into one very small camera bag. Add a spare battery for each and you're ready to rock an' roll.

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