What a Girl Wants

I have decided that I need a new camera. To be precise, I need a much better camera than the one I typically use. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my little Olympus FE-340 digital. It takes “good enough” (i.e. “snapshot”) pictures, and is compact enough to take just about anywhere. I have 2 extra batteries for it, and the XD card holds about 1,000 photos at a pretty decent resolution.

My cute little red Olympus camera
My cute little red Olympus camera

It even has a place for attaching a tripod, and a self-timer, so you can put yourself into the shot. And you see that handy wrist strap, right? And it’s RED!

So, what’s not to love?

First of all, the “wide angle” setting isn’t really all that wide. Sometimes, you need a wider angle than what you get with a little pocket camera. For instance, I love taking big photos of landscapes, seascapes and skies. This little thing does OK with those, but not always perfect.

Also, the “zoom” on it doesn’t always get close enough to what I want to shoot. It’s very frustrating not being able to get the shot I want, knowing I’ll have to crop it much smaller than I wanted, which will prevent me from being able to print it very large. I hate looking at a small image, and asking “What is that, anyway?”

The manufacturer claims a 36 – 180 mm “equivalent” focal length (as compared with a 35mm lens). Not bad, but I could do better with a DSLR with multiple lenses. Or even one really great zoom lens.

Did I hear you say “F-stop”? Try F3.5 – F5.6. Not so great. I could also do much better with good lenses.

Sometimes, the camera takes too long to “recycle” and take the next shot. I hate missing great shots by 1/2 second because the stupid camera just couldn’t shoot that fast.

This camera has no “night” setting. I took the Child Units to the fireworks display a few nights ago, and I had so much trouble getting good fireworks shots, because the flash kept going off, which screwed up the exposure timing and autofocus. Which, in turn, made the burst of color look like bokeh effects. Not what I had wanted. At. All.

Unintentional bokeh effect
Unintentional bokeh effect

[Edit: OK, I took this photo and the others that night with my phone, not with my Olympus. Same thing happens with my camera. I need a better one.]

Oh, and let’s not forget about not having a way to set a “timed exposure”, like 1/2 second or 1 second, or even one minute, if I wanted. The camera decides for me how long it will keep the shutter open. And I had the same problem with the Super Moon photos I tried to take.

Don’t even get me started on autofocus or macro. The camera focuses on what it wants to focus on. I have sometimes had to take 20 shots of something just to get the camera to focus on the right thing. SO frustrating!

Finally, it has no viewfinder, just a screen across the back of the camera to view the scene. That’s fine in most lighting conditions (as long as I’m wearing my reading glasses, so I can see if the image is in focus or not), but in bright light, it’s almost useless. It’s also useless if I don’t have my readers on.

Now, I’m no Ansel Adams, but I do enjoy photography, especially when the results are as good as I’d hoped. And I realize that a great photographer can take a pin-hole camera, and make amazing images. Also, timing and “being in the right place at the right time” can make all the difference between a great photo, and a mediocre one (or a poor one). It’s amazing that what I see doesn’t always make it onto the image the way I “saw” it. And I know all about the ratio of photos taken to useable shots.

So, while I love the fact that my little camera is so compact I can take it with me just about anywhere, I have to admit that I would much prefer a bigger DSLR with multiple lenses and external flash so that I could have the control I want/need. Then again, I could simply take the Spousal Unit’s nice EOS and play with it some. It’s larger and heavier, but maybe it will be closer to what I want. And the one he has also has interchangeable lenses, which helps greatly for different kinds of photography.┬áThen again, I’ve heard that there are newer models out now that have even higher resolution and more features. And I have to admit, I love playing with new toys.

Guess I’ll be doing some research into camera models in the coming weeks. Sounds like a Christmas present idea to me….

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