Friday, January 11, 2008

Compact cameras

I take the majority of my images with a DSLR camera. My choice is Nikon - largely a carry-over from the days of film when I had Nikon 35mm SLR cameras, and having some compatible lenses made the choice of a digital body fairly easy for me.

I have been interested in photography since I was a teenager. I bought my first SLR camera (a Pentax Spotmatic) in my twenties, my first Nikon SLR in my thirties and my first compact digital camera in my forties. It makes me wonder what sort of gear I'll be buying when I reach my nineties! (Still a long way off, btw!)

But I don't always use a DSLR camera. Sometimes it's not practical to carry a camera and a bag of flashes and lenses. On a trip to Europe a year ago, I knew I would be travelling in a relatively small vehicle with five other people and their luggage, so space would be a premium. I took a point-and-shoot digital camera and happily recorded the whole trip, including a wedding, and didn't miss a beat.

Sometimes people can be intimidated by a large camera and a long lens being stuck into their life. I try to be sensitive to other cultures, and whilst I like to take photographs of people in their own environment, I won't do so if I feel that it will annoy or embarrass them. Often in these circumstances, a simple camera is less intrusive than a DSLR, and less likely to cause offence.

But I have noticed a it of snobbery around cameras and photography in general. It seems that some people don't rate an image if they know it has not been taken with the latest and greatest (and most expensive) DSLR. Some people think that they will become a better photographer if they buy the newest and best gear. However, it's not about the equipment - it's all about the imagination and skill of the

Recently, my wife (hereinafter referred to as "The Patient One" or TPO) and I went to visit some friends in Thailand, which is where I took today's image. Part of the famous history of Thai silk is the American entrepreneur, Jim Thomson,
who pioneered the industry in Thailand.

His house is now a major tourist venue in Bangkok, and a guided tour provides a terrific insight into the way he lived, Thai architecture and local customs.

Outside the house were these delightfully coloured water-filled pots, with Thai orchids of various stages of maturity floating on the top.

This photo was taken with a Point and Shoot camera, a Canon A620. I had this camera with me, rather than my DSLR, because I knew that I wouldn't need telephoto lenses or multiple flashes during this visit.

As you can see, it has done a perfectly adequate job for me. This model camera has a viewfinder as well as the LCD screen. I still find composition easier with a viewfinder, whereas TPO, who also uses this camera, would rather compose the shot using the LCD. The camera is a 7.2 megapixel model, and the only thing missing that I would prefer to see is the ability to produce RAW files. Some of the more recent models now have this feature.

EXIF: Canon A620; ISO 200; 1/60 sec; f3.5


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