Friday, September 04, 2009

What to Do?

I have been in a bit of a dilemma lately. It's about my camera, or two cameras, rather.

I have a DSLR, but it's the original Canon Rebel and more than five years old now. While I used my original SLR Pentax SPII for decades, the pace of technological change renders devices obsolete in double quick time now. It's true that my Rebel still works as well as it did five years ago, but it's big, clunky and slow compared to it's modern counterparts and even compared to lesser cameras. While the slowness is annoying, I find that I have never totally come to grips with its size and weight. I don't mind porting it around when I know that I'm going someplace with the intention of taking photos, but I can't say that I exactly enjoy lugging it when I'm simply meandering about the planet. Oh, I've bought a smaller carrying bag that does help a bit, but it's still bulky piece of equipment.

This has come to a head lately because we're to fly to Vancouver in a few weeks to visit the girls, and I am thinking of leaving my DSLR here. We'll still have our little Point and Shoot, and to be frank it does a decent job. It can be a bit slow to focus and snap, especially when I'm using the flash and have just taken a picture, but it's still more or less satisfactory. It does bother me, however, that I can see little flaws when I zoom in when I'm working on the photos. I wish it shot in RAW to offset some of the problems, but everything is a trade off, and it's pocket portability is pretty handy and encourages me to at least partly overlook its limitations.

Nevertheless, I've been looking around for an additional camera: another small one that can shoot in RAW but that has a bigger zoom and increased quickness. I did find one, the Canon SX200, that almost fits the bill but not quite. It does have a 12x optical zoom, is pretty quick and has an image stabilizer. Unfortunately, it doesn't support RAW, but I was almost willing to overlook that drawback because it's got an awful lot going for it.

However, it is a tad pricey for a pointer and shooter, so I checked on ebay and found one that was barely used, came with a memory card and an extended warranty for a fairly reasonable price or at least some reduction from the in-store price. Still, I dithered and watched while the auction was still going on. I had all but made up my mind to bid the floor amount as the deadline drew nigh. It seemed like a good strategy because no one else had yet entered the fray although I suppose that others, like I, might also have chosen to lurk in the wings until the eleventh hour. If that were to have occurred, I possibly would have been willing to play the full Buy Now price. I say possibly because I was never sure, and I'm still not, but I was sure thinking hard about it.

However, when I checked the auction yesterday, I saw that it had been prematurely halted by the vendor and that the camera is now only available for the Buy Now price. Frankly, that ticks me off because the vendor knew through an email contact that I was interested but still cogitating. He, no doubt, foresaw my possible strategy — to bid the minimum as time was running out. Knowing that I was interested, I guess he was trying to extract the full price by terminating the auction. In one sense I can't blame him, but at the same time, I think it's a bit underhanded to halt the auction prematurely. Frankly, I don't even understand why ebay would allow that.

So, he's made the decision for me because, although I admit to understanding his reasoning and motivation, I really hesitate to do business with someone who employs dubious tactics to gain a few measly bucks. In my apparently worthless opinion, ebay vendors need to demonstrate some honour and accountability by sticking to the process. The guy chose to put something up for auction with his floor price, so I think it is a commitment that he should honour. Therefore, whatever camera or cameras I take out west with me in a few weeks, his nice Canon SX200 won't be among them. I guess I should be thankful in a way because what was a difficult decision was made easier for me. Simply put: he can keep his camera, and I will keep my money!

However, I am still left with a decision: take the DSLR or leave it at home.


Queenmothermamaw said...

Wow I am lost when talking about cameras. I have a small Kodak Easy Share digital and when I needed to find a card I was just lucky to find one small enough. They are obsolete now so are not even sold anymore, according to the clerk, much less the cards. I guess I am caught up in that "Keep up with the Joneses" thing. What do I need with a sophisticated camera? Haven't learned to use this one to it's max yet. Have a safe trip.

-epm said...

The only camera worth taking is the one you'll use.

If you're willing to lose RAW, but unwilling to pay the price for the SX200, consider the SX120. You'll lose 16:9, HDMI and some video stuff, but photographically it's pretty close to the SX200. Oh, you'll also save around $100, I think.

What I'm looking for -- and you are as well, it seems -- is a good quality adventure/travel camera. Something to use for impromptu photographs. Where the images should be better than mere tourist snapshots, but not making you feel like your primary travel mission is "staff photographer."

This, my friend, will cost you some money. Frankly, I think a modern, good quality, Canon point and shoot would do just fine.

jinksy said...

I've been looking at the self same camera, but the pop up flash bothers me some. I've also been looking at the Panasonic TZ7, which looks moorish, too. It'd be nice to 'try before you buy', eh?! At least it's cheap to dream!

Donna said...

OK, here's the deal...We've worked ALL our lives...There were times when we didn't even Want to get out of bed...We've worked when we were sick...through wind, rain and snow...(well, maybe You did...Hahaaa) SO, Go Get The Camera You Want and the price be damned! You've earned it!!!
Happy birthday to You!hughugs

Mara said...

??? I'm lost!

KGMom said...

Gosh, that's an awful lot of cogitating for the purchase of a camera.
I would have bought the Canon SX 200 without even bothering to check Ebay.
But, hey, it's your time, your decision.
Just let us know which one...

Bernie said...

I think ones word should be honored be it on e-bay, verbally or any which way. It is who I am and very important to me...I like to think most people feel as I do.
I hope you get the camera you want and enjoy every moment you use it A/ deserve it my friend.
Have a wonderful trip....:-) Bernie

Mary said...


Wow! It's been a while since I've visited and I had a lot of catching up to do. Enjoyed all your photos of your getaway and of the children.

Wishing you a belated happy birthday. Sounds like you had a great day.


Kila said...

I agree with the above comment, "The only camera worth taking is the one you'll use."

dabrah said...

I think you haven't yet found your ideal camera. In these instances, I tend to wait until I've found exactly what I'm looking for. I'd be inclined to take both cameras on the plane. I'd pack the camera case with lenses in my suitcase (filling any empty spaces around the lenses with rolled up tshirts or socks) and tuck the camera body wrapped in a bit of bubble wrap into my handbaggage (preferably a wheelie bag), and put it all back together at the other end.

Diana said...

It's just as well, my son bought some things on ebay, one of which didn't work! Love Di

Mary G said...

I'm dithering about the same things. Like you, heavy camera, the Nikon D90 with a big lens. It is all singing, all dancing, but I am not dancing after I carry it for a day. I used to have a film Pentax with lots of lenses and toted the whole pile everywhere, but I was younger then.
I think what you need is fast reload; that is the thing I enjoy the most about the D90. Especially for taking shots of kids at play (and later, doing sports, etc.) There are several p&s fasties on the market that do RAW. I am not sure what is current; as you say, the selection is changing all the time.
I echo what Donna said - get a light one for plane travel, one that will do what you want. You deserve it and you love to take photos. And when you have decided, I want to know what you got and what you think of it. My only pocket camera at the moment is still film, and it is becoming inconvenient.

Mary G said...

PS my daughter took her Pentax D60 on a Grand Canyon canoe trip. Got to admire her strong back.

Woman in a Window said...

I've got a kick butt camera, Nikon D300 but I have to say, I HATE lugging the darned thing around. Take the small one. Wait. Are you already gone?

simplycol said...

Have you checked out the Canon G10. I bought a used Canon G9 for the very reasons you talk about. I wanted a point and shoot that took RAW images.. which the canon G series does. I love my Canon G9 and use it almost exclusively when out walking the dogs. Just one con... it is a little noisy.. related to the high pixel count and small sensor. In actuality this has me shooting in JPG most of the time... but the resulting photos are quite outstanding.

Must admit that my Rebel XSi is still my baby. :-)