Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Testing my new toy

In the five years that I've owned it, my Olympus C-770 has served me well. However, a chipped lens as well as the fact that I felt it was just time for an upgrade meant that I was in the market for a newer digital camera. I was originally thinking about going all-out and getting a high-end DSLR. However, its cost (as well as the fact that, two years of photography class in middle school aside, I do not consider myself that serious of a photographer) deterred me from doing so.

So, with some much-appreciated assistance from my parents and my brother, I purchased a Christmas present for myself: a Nikon Coolpix P100. The cnet.com review for this camera was mostly favorable but noted that it didn't provide the best picture quality, especially in regards to sharpness and noise at full resolution. That's okay for me, because I rarely take pictures for use at their full resolution anyway; I generally use my pictures for prints and for posting on the web (i.e. on this blog or Facebook), which requires that the photographs be scaled down from their full resolution and which therefore makes such issues with picture quality less apparent.

A couple of weekends ago I walked around the neighborhood with my new camera to see what it could do. Click any of the pictures for a larger view.
This tree was in the process of changing color, and the camera captures its colors well. Needless to say, the clear sky and bright sun made for excellent photography conditions as I walked around the block.
True accuracy of color is not going to be perfect for any digital camera outside of the best and most expensive DSLRs, but I think this camera did pretty well in capturing the hues of this rose bloom. (Roses in the dead of winter - another reason why I love Houston!)
The Coolpix P100 does a reasonable job at macro photography. I was about an inch away from this lantana bloom when I took this picture, and all but the closest florets remain in focus.
As I walked around I noticed a vapor trail high above me and decided to see if the 26x zoom would be good enough for me to identify the type of aircraft responsible. This appeared to be a Boeing 767. Sure enough, according to FlightAware, this is Air Canada flight 1858, a 767 passing over Houston at 37,000 feet on its way from Vancouver to Cancun.
The 26x zoom also works well on subjects that are a bit closer, like these two doves in a tree. The automatic focus does its job even in full zoom conditions; some of the branches are out of focus, but the birds themselves are perfectly clear.

All in all, I am happy with my purchase and I plan to get a lot of use out of it over the next several years. Maybe by then I'll have the urge as well as the financial wherewithal to get an actual DSLR.

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