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Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, June 28, 2013

Testing out my new purchase and a decision for the fall

The first reason I went to Fargo yesterday was to find a Best Buy store.  I finally reached the point where I wanted a much smaller camera for special circumstances.  I’m very happy with the two Canon Rebel SLR cameras that I have, but they are rather big and bulky to carry around.  I thought I’d be going on a wildlife adventure today at the refuge where it might not be the best idea to take my SLRs along.  Turns out that assignment got cancelled due to the windy weather, but is rescheduled for several days next week.

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I wanted a camera that was compact enough to slide into the pocket of my life vest should I find myself out canoeing the sometimes unpredictable waters on the refuge.  This is what I chose.  It’s a Canon PowerShot SX280 HS, and when the power is shut down the lens and flash retract.  It’s small and compact, and a challenge for me to learn how to use.

I’ve always had a viewfinder to look through in all the cameras that I’ve owned in the last fifty years.  It’s hard for me to get used to looking at a screen with my arms extended rather than lifting the camera to my eye.

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After charging up the battery overnight, I decided to give it a test run this afternoon when the overcast skies gave way to partly cloudy conditions.  I was rather pleased with this shot of tiny mushrooms in my front yard.  That’s a clover blossom on the left to give you an idea of how small these were.

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The pic on the left is with the new camera, and the one on the right is with my Rebel with the 300mm telephoto lens.  These cliff swallow nests are located under the eave of one of maintenance buildings.  The reason the photo on the right has birds in it is that I could stand further away with my Rebel and hold it stiller for the shot. 

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Once again, new camera on the left and Rebel on the right.  I like the shot on the right better, but I’ve got a bit of a learning curve with the PowerShot to learn how to use it best.

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                                Landscape scenes seemed okay, but I missed my polarizing lens filter.

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It didn’t do a bad job on this showy Lady’s slipper, but like I said, I still need to figure things out on this camera.  I must have hit some button wrong because no matter how bright it is outside, the flash always goes off.  I finally just covered it with my finger.  I’m going to have to figure that out soon.  Of course, the instruction booklet only covers basic setup to get the camera working.  That means I’ll have to look at the CD that came with it to further figure things out.  I’d rather have a paper book in my hands.

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Hands down here, I think I did better with the Rebel, and this was using the macro setting on the PowerShot.  I had expected the background to go more out of focus.  Overall, I’ll not be giving up my Rebels very soon, but the added heft of them probably helps me keep the camera more steady for shots.  I’ll keep practicing.  I do know that the PowerShot will have its place, and I’d much rather lose that camera in a possible tip over in a canoe or kayak than lose one of my big cameras.

I got an e-mail today from the volunteer coordinator at Bayou Cocodrie NWR in Louisiana.  This refuge is about 13 miles west of Natchez, MS.  Looks like that’s going to be my next volunteer assignment for this fall.  They have never had RV volunteers before, so I’ll be happy to break them in.  Winking smile

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I’ll leave you tonight with these pics of a mama loon with her three chicks on Pine Lake.  They were way off on the lake, but I’ve always wanted to see how the young get transported around on the back of a parent.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

37 comments:

  1. I loved seeing the comparisons between your two cameras like that. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I sure agree with you on having a paper manual, ages us doesn't it? I am also one that has to have an optical viewer. Shooting mostly outdoors I find the LCD screen washes out too easily.

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  3. Nice pics with the new camera. Once you get used to it I'm sure you'll find in real handy for carrying around with you wherever go happen to go. If this Canon is the same as mine, the 'flash' can be configured simply by pressing the arrow just to the right of the Func. Set button right in the center back display. That should give you options for 'no flash', auto flash' or 'flash always'.

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  4. Nice job on explaining your thinking for a new camera and then comparing it to your big camera. Your next position in Louisiana should be interesting. I Know you will train them the right way.

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  5. I agree with Shoeless Joe. I have a Canon Powershot 210 that I carry on my belt in a case. It's convenient. Don't give up your bigger camera......................

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  6. We do all of our pics with a small compact similar to your new Canon. Only because of the convenience when we're traveling. They are very limiting though, and because you can't vary the aperture setting, it's very rare that the camera would automatically choose a setting that would give you the fuzzy background that you're looking for on the ladyslipper photo.

    Having said that, there's no way we're doing our Africa trip without a better camera, but we'll be bringing our little compact along as well.

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  7. I hate the cd instuction manuals... even worse is the online manual. It is much simpler to find what you are after in a paper model. Interesting that technolgy is suppose to make life simpler. HA!!

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  8. I add my "Amen" to the preference for a paper manual. I printed a 156 page online manual for my latest camera and can never find what I need in it. I really appreciate the viewfinder although there are times when I switch over to the screen. How long will you be in Minnesota? I will probably be driving in the vicinity in Aug and was hoping to stop by and see you. Of course, that's if I make it that far!

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  9. I use the Canon point and shoot cameras exclusively. Getting them to focus on an item with stuff in the background is very difficult. I tend to use the P setting to have the best results for close things.

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  10. I too have a Canon Digital Rebel. It takes great photos, but when I'm hiking I depend on my Panasonic Lumix.

    The flower photos are the deal breaker for me. I don't think you can get the bokeh (out of focus area) with a point and shoot. If I have the time and energy, I carry my "big girl" camera with a tripod and all the lenses.

    You're a wonderful photographer, so when you get it all figured out - TELL ME! :-)

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  11. Nice comparison with both your cameras. I'm happy with my little point and shoot camera, I can't count how many pictures I would have missed with my big Pentax camera, because it doesn't fit in my pocket. It's so easy to carry the little one in my pocket for those just in case times.

    Now if I could just find as many interesting subjects as you do!
    Nice to hear you've already got your winter planned out. Exchanging ticks for gators. :c)

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  12. Very Interesting.... I have a Canon Rebel with several different lenses... and a Canon Powershot SX 230 with a 14X zoom. Recently bought a Leica .... use all 3 cameras and am constantly comparing quality, user-friendliness, etc. Am still thinking of buying a 500x lens for my Canon. Since photography is one of my main interests I want to find what works best for my needs.. what do I want? what do I expect? what do I want the end result to be? ...... I still don't know the answer and love reading blogs such as yours to help me. Mark (of Mark & Teri) is a camera aficionado... and frequently writes of his camera purchases etc.... Quite an interesting topic....

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  13. Great shots!!!
    Getting ready for that NGS article???

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  14. I am having difficulty also getting used to a screen vs looing thru an eyepiece
    and I cant hold it as steady.

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  15. I have two idiot cameras a SX160IS and a SX110IS. I am a Canon gal! I prefer my Rebel but there are times I like to tuck a camera in my pocket during the summer or parka in the wintertime. Great comparisons..although you will get better with the point and shoot. Practice! I think you can print out a manual. Great loon shots..I got some far away ones today with my idiot camera.

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  16. I have the Panasonic Lumix point and shoot and that is all I'm ever going to learn to use. Jim has an SLR or whatever that is but he doesn't know how to use it all that well. So I just point and shoot. LA is lucky to get you this Fall. Do we need to write and tell them that?

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  17. I have a Power Shot 10x Canon I love this camera but I always think about a new one with more zoom. It really is easy to use. Yes you can print a manual from on line. Enjoy the camera.

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  18. I have a Canon Rebel and also a Canon PowerShotSX200 and not having a view finder on the powershot drives me crazy.

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  19. I have a Son Cybershot and love it. I, too, had to watch the video. When you get a chance, do watch the video. Sure did answer a ton of questions for me. I would never have found a few of the features on my own. Good luck.

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  20. Your pictures all turned out well. It looks like it will be a good camera for you. When I put it in the automatic mode, my big Canon always flashes. Drives me crazy, so I just don't use automatic.

    I can't use a camera without a viewfinder. I don't find I can compose my photos well and the glare makes it difficult to see in the daylight. Of course the only camera that I've used that doesn't have a viewfinder is my Droid phone. It takes decent pictures, but I just can't compose them the way I would like.

    Glad you found a new place to stay for the winter. Too cold for me, but it sounds perfect for you.

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  21. Nice comparison with the photos. Getting the best our of my camera still challenges me...constantly learning new things, mostly through blogs like Bayfield bunch.

    So glad to hear you have a new assignment.....might see you in that neck of the woods!

    Have a great weekend...

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  22. Great pictures in general and the comparison is nice to see. I've no doubt that your "point and shoot" pics will soon be just as good. The hardest thing for me is not having a viewfinder. Makes the experience so different.

    I really LOVE the loon pics. I've never seen that before.

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  23. I sure hope Canon doesn't stop using viewfinders on ALL its cameras--it's why I've not gone the Nikon route. Boy that refuge is in for a treat :)) having you as their first volunteer!

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  24. I think for a little pocket camera it does a darn good job. And with a little getting used to, you'll have that camera 'singing'!!

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  25. I can definitely see the difference in the pictures. That Rebel is really fine. Your new one takes pictures about like mine, they always seem a little washed out although distant landscapes and very close ups are sometimes true to color. But I'm sure it's because I don't know what I'm doing so perhaps when you learn, you'll teach me. Those Loon pictures are just fabulous. Here I am in New England and I've only heard one. I can't imagine seeing what you saw. What a great place you are in. Mississippi in the fall sounds like a great plan. Can't wait to go with you.

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  26. Judy, your new camera has Aperture mode which will help you to get the blurred backgrounds you want. The lower the number of aperture, the more blur. To help, try to pick a subject that is a few feet from the background, like the pink flower. Stand back and zoom in and the blur will be even better. Also, if you can, switch the camera to "spot focus". In that same picture, notice that the background and not the flower is in focus. That's because digital cameras will pick the sharpest edge they can find to focus on. With spot focus, you pick the subject, half-press the shutter, hold lightly and then reframe and fully press the shutter. Takes practice but I think you will like the results. Hope this helps.

    Rosemary in PA

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  27. Thanks for the testing Judy, I'm looking for a new one too but instead of a smaller one I'm looking for bigger. I have a Panasonic Lumix with only 8x optical zoom and would love to have some more but there's another absolute must for me on the next one .... it needs to have a viewfinder! I just cannot see things well enough on these screens and trying to catch a moving target is just about impossible.
    But yes .. a very handy size, I agree!

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  28. So many new things to learn on a different camera. I went through the same learning curve, and then my new Lumix died and I'm using a different pocket camera with different settings; they are similar, but you get to them from a different angle. On that flash, you probably hit the button leading to "Forced Flash."

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  29. I think you did a great job with the new camera. I envy anyone who can get great shots. Yours always look perfect. I'd like to upgrade to a new camera, but I'm still not sure that would help my skills. I just don't have the "eye" for capturing a great picture.

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  30. Now you will have the chance to influence the set up of a volunteer program the way you would like it:)

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  31. So, just how do we get old fashioned instructions manuals back? Thinking it's a hopeless endeavor.

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  32. If it's really sunny outside, I get a better view through the little eyepiece than the screen..but...we have a Kodak Easyshare Max Z990. It's probably 100 years old and is very heavy..however, it takes much better pics than my cell phone for sure!! I LOVE that you will be near Natchez Miss...We loved it there at the state park.. Natchez is loaded with history and old vintage homes..Be sure and visit Natchez Under the Hill...It was the "red light" district down by the river...Oh, do I envy you ....Ya need a hairdresser to travel along?? ;-)

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  33. To avoid the flash every time, put the camera in Landscape mode; I found out the hard way and finally asked a young man in Hawaii, and am sure he snickered when his back was to us.

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  34. Others have already given you the info on how to set the flash and using the Aperture setting for the blurred background. A small P&S with extra features that allow you to take it out of automatic mode has its place in the camera bag. I've been using my SX50 exclusively for the past 6 mos, with occasional use of the DSLRs. Heavy and more paraphernalia, but I can't imagine going on a major expedition without them.

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  35. I think the Canon PowerShot SX280 is a great buy, The picture are descent enough. and it's very compact...


    www.travelvisaaustralia.com

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  36. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

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