Thursday, August 19, 2010

Aspiring Amateur Photographer

On the weekend, I splurged on a super nifty camera! It has so many cool features to learn and play with, but it's most definitely going to take some reading and a lot of practice to get comfortable using any setting other than 'auto'. Fortunately some of my university photography courses may come in handy, as many functions of digital SLR (defined below) cameras have the same basic applications as manual film cameras do... I say 'do' here because to my surprise they actually still sell film cameras.

In a new segment to my artful blog... I will share my trial and errors as I learn the different features of my camera. Today, I'll share a bit about my camera history and the basics of my fancy new digital SLR.

For starters... WOW! Digital cameras have come a long way since my last camera purchase. A few years ago my 3 megapixel, 3x optical zoom Pentax Optio 330 camera was stolen from my car. Can you believe that when I purchased this camera in 2002 it was one of the best compact digital cameras available for between $500.00 and $1,000.00? It has now been obsolete for years. I don't even think they sell anything under 10 effective megapixels anymore. A review from 9/22/01 on Steve's Digicams states...  

"The Optio 330 is billed by Pentax as "the world's smallest and lightest 3 megapixel, 3X optical zoom digital camera available on the market (compared to all other 3-megapixel digital cameras with a 3x zoom as of June 28, 2001)." 

In 2001 small measured 3.6" wide, 2.3" high, and 1.2" thick and weighing in at 8.5 ounces which today would be clunky for a compact point & shoot. 

Shortly after my camera was stolen, my dad upgraded his camera and passed on his Canon PowerShot S2 IS, 5 megapixel, 12x optical zoom camera to me. At the time, an even better camera, also now obsolete. The print resolution from 5 megapixels is great up to at least 8x10 and the zoom was so much fun. I used this camera on several trips and at the gallery for recording artwork for the website. 

My weekend splurge: Canon EOS Digital SLR Rebel T2i with 18-55 mm IS lens. states "...Canon EOS Rebel T2i brings professional EOS features into an easy to use, lightweight digital SLR that's a joy to use. Featuring a class-leading 18.0 Megapixel CMOS Image Sensor and increased light sensitivity for low light photography, the EOS Rebel T2i also has an advanced HD Movie mode for gorgeous Full HD movies. Able to capture up to 3.7 frames per second, it's ready to go the minute it's picked up.... With some of the most advanced features of any digital SLR, it's simply the best Rebel Canon has ever created."

There are several differences between a digital point-and-shoot camera and a digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera, many of which I will learn and re-learn with research experimentation. The first difference is in the name... Single-lens reflex refers to a mirror system allowing the photographer to see the exact image that will be recorded on the digital imaging system. A point-and-shoot camera has a separate viewfinder and lens so there may be a slight displacement between what is viewed and exactly what is captured. For most everyday uses, I don't think the added features of an SLR camera will be significant. Nevertheless, I took the plunge and now I am challenging myself to explore them and do my best to take some great photos that may not have been possible with my previous cameras.

Wish Me Luck!

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