Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Hate My Camera!

When people look at my sheep website, horse website, and this farm blog, they often admire the photos and ask me what kind of camera I use.

So I'll tell you: I use a Canon Powershot G3. And I HATE it! The majority of nice photographs I get are IN SPITE OF the darn thing, not thanks to it.

The response time when you push the button to take a photo is just laughable. I have missed thousands of great shots because of this. It literally takes 3-4 seconds, sometimes before the stupid thing will actually take the shot. Which means that by the time it takes the photo, that beautiful horse I'm trying to photograph prancing towards me is already passed and gone to the other end of the field, and the only image I've captured is her distant rear end as she gallops away. It's so frustrating!

The other thing I hate about this camera is its complete inability to deal with anything other than super high light conditions. Even a moderately overcast day will cause all the photographs to come out blurry, even the still shots!

That's what happened to me today. I went out and took a whole bunch of photos of the horses playing in the field. Despite the slow camera response time, I managed to luck into catching quite a few really nice action shots. But today is overcast, so when I came back inside, fully 90% of the photos were completely blurry.

GRRRRR! What a waste of time and effort. I had also taken several shots of the sheep standing still in the yard, and more than half of them were blurry too. They were just standing there---it's not as if they were fast-moving targets. And it's not that dark out, just a high, bright overcast cloud cover. It's ridiculous that the camera can't focus properly in these conditions.

I'm not a technically advanced photographer. My needs are pretty basic: I don't want to mess around with special camera settings, I just want to be able to "point and shoot" and be able to trust the camera to get a decent basic shot. To me, the whole point of having an "Automatic" setting on the camera is that it is supposed to automatically adjust to the current conditions and still take a decent photo.

The vast majority of my farm income is derived from business that comes in over the internet. Which means that good photos are crucial to my business. I've managed to make do with this camera, because it's what we've had, but I would never buy one again.

When we bought this camera several years ago, we didn't really know what specific qualities we were looking for. But someday, when I can afford to buy a new one, I'm going to have a much more exacting list of what I need.


farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

O.k---if your looking for a "low budget" digital camera then I like the sony cybershot (still about 200 though) and you can get add ons like zoom lenses. However it doesn't do fast fast action so...those are much more expensive.

Nancy Chase said...

My requirements for the next camera I buy will be:

Quick response time

Excellent at capturing fast action

Better able to handle moderate-light conditions without blurring

Excellent zoom capacity

Able to take short video clips (my current camera does this, but is unable to zoom at the same time)

High enough resolution to produce good prints, if necessary.

Able to do all these things fairly automatically without me having to mess with too many complicated settings and controls.

Given all these requirements, I accept the fact that my next camera won't be an inexpensive low-end one. So I have to make do with my current one for a while longer.

QuiltedSimple said...

I have a Cannon A540 - it's 6.0 megapixels and takes awesome photos - no light, low light or bright light. The only thing I can't figure out (after 1 1/2 years) is if it takes movies, I think it does but I'm not sure. Lots of buttons and setitngs, but I tend to leave it on auto. I've seen them now for under $300.


Nancy Chase said...

That sounds pretty good. I'll have to keep it in mind when I finally go shopping for a new one.

Nataraj Hauser said...

Boy, do I know this song, Nancy. For a "throw it in the motorcycle jacket pocket" camera, I bought a Canon A300 (internet, untried). It's total crap. The menus are not intuitive, and the functionality is awful: lousy low light ability but an anemic flash. Even on a bright, but overcast day, the pictures were marginal (better than old 110 film, but not much better than 126). I already had a decent Fuji Finepix S602, so I was used to dealing with digital camera jargon, care and feeding, etc. And the supposed megapixel rating was the same: 3.1 mp. I got great shots with the bulky Fuji. The Canon A300 is worth less to me than the 2 AA batteries in it.

So, how to not get burned? Damned if I know for sure. But I'd start by reading reviews at DPReview.com. I'd ask to take sample photos with friend's cameras, and I'd ask if they like it and how they use it: Be specific, or you'll get, "Fine." as your answer.

FWIW, Reena has a 7.2 mp Panasonic Lumix (forget the specific model) that was around $250. It takes surprisingly good photos, and rather than simply "Auto", it has an easily selectable array of scenarios to choose from that really do set the camera appropriately for the situation. I'm pretty amazed at what it can do. I don't know if it does video, I've never seen Reen try, but I'd guess it does. Most of the point and shoot still cameras don't zoom during video. Look carefully. Reena made a sales guy earn his sale, by making him tell her a lot, and SHOW her, about the camera.

My Nikon D40 is not a point and shoot, and does an OK job on "Auto", but I almost never set it there. It's seldom better than I am at my intuitive best. There are days when I long for a shirt pocket camera. Maybe Reen will let me take some pics with her camera when we're on the bikes!

Good luck!

P said...

I love our Cannon Powershot S3IS-- it's great at quick shots and very easy to use, a great all around medium end camera. However, it just crapped out on us after 5 months! (Hopefully the company will fix it for us...)