A New Era

You know how I’m always bitching about not having my “real camera” when I share pics captured with my phone and/or point-and-shoot camera?

I finally bought a new camera!

There’s a reason I don’t always carry my “real camera” – a digital SLR (Canon Rebel XT). It’s big, bulky, and I can’t really use it well during motorcycle trips unless I remove my helmet since it doesn’t have a screen-type viewfinder, only the old-fashioned optical viewfinder, i.e., little hole you have to look through.

In case you don’t know the biggest difference between point-and-shoot and SLR cameras… a point-and-shoot camera has a built-in lens that can’t be removed/switched-out. SLRs use interchangeable lenses.

Not only is the Rebel itself bulky, there are four or five lenses I like to carry, too, for zooming and wide-angle shots. Three of those lenses are bigger than the Rebel camera body. Newer version of the Rebel are smaller and more-advanced, but I’d still need those other lenses.

The point-and-shoot I’d been using — a Nikon Coolpix L20 — captures decent images, but the viewfinder sucks. It’s not nearly as clear as I’d like, so it’s next to impossible to determine while shooting or even after you’ve captured a shot whether the thing you wanted to be in focus is actually IN focus. Granted, that’s an old camera, too.

While the phone does capture decent images, it has its limits. It could be that I haven’t spent enough time figuring out how to use all of the camera’s features. It could also be that I don’t have the latest-and-greatest phone.

Anyway, most of you would be bored by the technical pros and cons I weighed (and there were many!) when finally deciding to get a new camera. So I’ll keep it simple.

One of the biggest factors in choosing a new camera was size. Here’s the new point-and-shoot compared to the old dSLR with the SMALLEST lens attached. And that “small” lens is a fixed lens, which means it doesn’t zoom at all. You want to get closer to something, you use your feet.

New vs Old
New vs Old


One of the biggest problems when shooting with any auto-focus camera, as evidenced in my image above, is making sure the camera is focused on what you want it to focus on. It wasn’t, which is why those pics are blurry. My new camera has manual focus capability. Yay! And several manual shooting modes, just like my dSLR. Double-yay!

Anyway, I promised not to bore you, didn’t I?

After agonozing for DAYS over which camera to buy, I actually went and bought the thing yesterday. Here are a bunch of snapshots I captured yesterday. They are all straight-out-of-the-camera, unedited images. And all were captured using the basic AUTO mode. (I have a ton of reading to do to figure out how to use all the features packed into this relatively small camera body.)

The First Shot
The First Shot (through windshield while sitting still in mall parking lot)


Captured while moving down the highway.
Captured while moving down the highway.


Through windshield while stopped at a stop sign.


I actually pulled into a church parking lot to capture the next three images.

Fauquier County Farm


Fauquier County Landscape


Zoomed in on the cows.


Once I got home, I had to charge the battery (batteries are rarely fully charged in the box).

Here are some other test images.

Accidentally in a row. 🙂


One of my biggest complaints with the camera phone has always been that it is low-light challenged. This new camera seems to do a pretty good job capturing shading even in low light while being pulled along behind three impatient dogs.


Quick snap of the Red Truck Bakery. (It would have been even better had I paused and fiddled for a second or two.)


Sunset, zoomed in.


Sunset with little, if any, zoom.
Sunset with little, if any, zoom.


Statue (no flash)


Store Window (no flash)


Cutest little quilt shop in Warrenton (no flash).


Church Steeple (WITH flash)


I think I chose well. Some of the images (like the dogs) are a tad grainy, but considering they were captured without flash, I think they’re damn good.

I’ll try to do some test shots in brighter light today.

Something tells me you’ll be seeing a lot more pictures here. 🙂

12 Replies to “A New Era”

  1. Cool! I have given up my camera and usually just take everything on the iphone. All of my camping pictures are on the iphone, it just seems to be the thing that is in my pocket all the time. I think you chose well.

    PS – I am glad you like my new blog header photo, it certainly is colourful.

    1. I always carry my phone, especially when walking the dogs. It does take good pictures, but I was never happy with the way it handles low-light. And since I’m a sky watcher, especially at sunset, I wanted something better. The new camera won’t fit in my pants pocket, but is light enough that carrying it around on the strap will work just fine.

  2. Congrats on the new camera. From the pics it looks as though you chose well. I was impressed with the low light no flash shots, especially the store window.

    Our older Canon was a favorite and died many moons ago. Nothing since has been as good. We called it the brick because it is larger than our two current point and shoots.

    1. I do really like Canon products. But I weighed it carefully against a Sony, which is ever more compact. From what I’ve seen just shooting auto on the run, it should work out well.

  3. Hey, happy new camera, Toadmama! New gadgets are always a good time.

    A few years back I picked up a Lumix GX1 because I wanted to expand my photographing capabilities. And though I might have been a bit hasty about giving away my old Coolpix, I certainly do not regret upgrading. I have yet to obtain other lenses, as I haven’t yet mastered the stock lens, but I like knowing that I always have that option.

    Lookin’ forward to all of the great photos you’ll take.

    1. I considered a system camera, but didn’t want to be tempted by lens add-ons. Not to mention that I really wanted the convenience of all-in-one. I have 30 days to really put it through it’s paces. I think the mega-manual will arrive later today.

  4. Is that a diaper bag in the store window? Too bad, because those owls are super cute!

    I still haven’t replaced my camera (the one that was water damaged, not the stolen one that was Amy’s). I think I’ve realized that I really just go photo takin’ crazy when I’m traveling, so until I take my next big trip, I’ll stick with using the phone camera.

    1. Shan, I’m not sure if that’s a diaper bag. I’m thinking maybe a cooler-type bag. I’ll look when I walk past tonight.

      A lot of people rely solely on their phone cameras. Phone cameras do take decent pictures, after all. Samsung even has a camera out that looks like their Galaxy phone but with a lens bulge.

      The longer you wait to replace your camera, the cheaper it will be. It’s amazing how they come down in price. Depending on what features you want, that is. 🙂

      1. Yes, Samsung has a camera…which is why my Samsung Galaxy phone takes way better pics than an iPhone. ;p I’m just sayin’!

  5. I’ve fiddled with a G9 and a G11 and those were great cameras – that G16 must be really nice.

    And I used to have the problem about carrying multiple lenses on my SLR as well, until I stumbled on reviews for Tamron lenses. Cheaper than Canon ones, and this one replaced 4 of my lenses:

    A little bit pricy, but you get to walk around with only 1 lens that has a pretty big range. The motor isn’t as quiet as the USM canon lenses (like the 18-135mm) but it takes pretty nice pictures.

Comments are closed.