Among the things I planned to do over my little holiday vacation, I managed to do at least one of them today, which was camera shopping with our middle daughter. Chelsea and I share several interests, including photography. She has had a succession of film and digital point-and-shoot cameras and had the use of a Canon dSLR for the two years she was high school yearbook editor. Looking ahead to a semester abroad in Ireland or Scotland next fall, she wanted to find something more capable and have time to learn how to use it.
Buying another point-and-shoot, though technology has continued to improve, would have been a lateral move – a better version of what she already had (by better, I mean faster, and better image quality). Digital SLRs are still pricey, especially for a college student who’s been saving up. Even the mini-dSLRs or compact system cameras can still be a little hefty on the budget, but there are many good “bridge” or advanced point-and-shoots out there.
I have never been an early adopter of technology and finally gave in to digital in 2004 (though I still have my 1982 Minolta XG-M). My choice then was the Fujifilm FinePix S5000. It’s been a good camera to make the transition from film to digital, but it’s also getting a little old. And it’s always been slow. Slow to boot, slow to shoot. Just. Plain. Slow. Shutter lag, the bane of digital cameras everywhere, was less on the S5000 than others in the same price range at the time. But the new cameras we looked at today were soooo much better.
After looking at several cameras in different price ranges and capabilities Chelsea chose the Nikon Coolpix P500, a definite step up from her first Coolpix several years ago, and her more recent Fujifilm FinePix pocket camera. We also had a much better time camera shopping at Photo Market than at Best Buy (and the salespeople at Hunt’s were helpful, too).
We took advantage of the last mild weather we’re likely to have for a while, took a walk part-way around Back Cove, and shot photos of downtown Portland. No doubt thousands have done the same thing, but it was fun to walk, and talk, and shoot. For comparison, here’s one from my camera (click for full size):
And a similar one from Chelsea’s camera:
P.S. This one is my favorite: