I’ve always loved photography. Back in the day though, taking regular photos was just a pain in the backside. When I was preparing to come to Canada, there was lots of stuff I had to get rid of, being too impractical for me to bring, namely my vintage computer and console collection, which I sold on eBay for £700. One of the things I promised myself once I sold my collection, was to pick up a new fangled digital camera. Remember this was back in early 2000, so digital cameras were pretty expensive and also nowhere near as good as they are now.
I didn’t want to blow all my money on something overly expensive so settled on a Samsung Digimax 800K, for which I paid something like £120. This was a very small camera. Looking back on it, the resolution was also pretty pitiful at 0.8 megapixels. That being said it still took pretty decent pictures, with a decent dimension of 1024×768 pixels. Even though the camera had a flash, it was very harsh, so the best results were gained in natural light. Taking pictures was also a bit of hit or miss, as there was no rear LCD display. On the plus side though, because of this, the two AA batteries lasted quite a while. If I remember correctly the camera came with a 2 Meg SmartMedia card. SmartMedia was very similar to SD Cards, but were very, very thin. On a 2 Meg card you could get about 90 pictures, which was more than enough for my needs back then.
Although I used a digital camera, it was by no means my main camera, which was a Pentax regular film camera. I rolled that out for all the main occasions, using the digital camera, mainly for snapping and as an additional camera. You know that you’re not getting the most out of your photography though, when you discover a bag full of undeveloped films.
Sometime in 2003, I made the transition to digital photography full time, when I purchased a Pentax Option 33L. I didn’t buy this because of the film camera I already had, but as a result of researching the best in my budget. The camera took some really great pictures, but there was a noticeable lag between snapping a picture and it saving. It also had a cool feature where the LCD screen could be turned and flipped out, for taking awkward pictures. The camera took 3.2 megapixel pictures, which were far and away better than the Samsung, but you still noticed they weren’t as good as a film camera when getting the photos printed, especially if you wanted anything bigger than the standard 4×6. It was also the only camera I’ve had that took Compact Flash storage cards. The camera worked great until just before my twins were born in 2004. For some reason the camera kept failing to focus properly, resulting in blurring pictures, more often than not. I managed to borrow a camera for a few weeks, to take all the early pictures of the twins, but sorely needed a new camera.
In between work and cleaning up the various substances emanating from children, I did some more research on cameras and finally settled on the Casio QV51. For some reason I really loved this camera. It took great 5 megapixel pictures, was nippy and performed faultlessly. Unfortunately a piece of plastic from the flap covering the batteries and the SD Card slot, broke off. I tried securing it with tape, but it would only work for so long, before popping open. Also I found myself wanting to take more and more videos, but the Casio only took video without sound. The time had come to move onto yet another camera.
In the Summer of 2007, with a little extra money, my options for digital cameras were expanded somewhat. I don’t think I’ve ever researched something so much. I finally plumped for another Casio camera, this time the Casio Exilim EX-V7. Unfortunately the camera didn’t live up to the specifications. I mainly plumped for this camera because of the high quality video mode, but the resulting video was choppy and grainy. The pictures also suffered from very bad focusing. Now it could have been a duff camera, but I find that if something doesn’t feel right it’s better to go with you gut. Another thing that had nagged me, was the Casio didn’t take regular batteries. So I took the camera back and exchanged it for a Canon Powershot A640. So my love affair with photography began. The Canon was an amazing camera. It took 10 megapixel images, but there was something about the resulting pictures that just screamed of quality and put them way above par compared to the other cameras I had. Although it took 4 AA batteries, they lasted quite a while, but also gave the camera a nice weighty feel in you hands. The LCD screen also swiveled out, which was useful for taking self portraits, or for taking shots from an awkward angle. I took thousands of pictures with that camera, but last year I somehow misplaced it, after going on a family picnic.
During this time I also purchased a HP Photosmart M525 camera, as I went back to the UK in November and wanted to leave my wife the Canon. It was a 6 megapixel compact camera, that spent most of it’s life in my pocket. This camera also somehow disappeared. I’m beginning to think that cameras have legs. It took fairly reasonable pictures, but wasn’t a patch on the Canon, but then I only paid about $70 for it.
So last year I found myself without a camera. We were due to go to the beach in summer and I couldn’t go without having a camera, so back on-line I went to see what I could pick up for about $100 or so. I actually decided on a new Nikon camera, but when I got to the store found out it didn’t take AA batteries. The only other option was a Fuji AV150, which seemed on paper an OK choice for the money, taking 14 megapixel pictures and also 720P video. There’s something hard to quantify about the relationship you have with a camera. While the Fuji takes OK pictures, there’s something about the operation of the camera that just feels not quite right. This has resulted in me not taking half as many pictures as I used to do.
And that is my digital camera road trip. While I do hunger for a nice Canon DSLR camera, finances mean that will have to wait. I will probably pick up another Canon camera that’s similar to the Powershot A640 that I had, but will for the moment put up with the Fuji.