Monday, October 20, 2008
Now that I have the Monterey Bay Birding Festival posts complete, I can let everyone know that while attending the festival I had a new toy to try out. I have enjoyed using my Kodak DX7590 Easy Share, 5.0 MP, 10x zoom for the past 4 years. But there were times when I couldn't get the camera to focus quickly enough to suit me. And there were times when I felt certain photos should have resulted in something crisper and more vibrant looking. Frustration set in and I started looking around thinking if there was a better point-and-shoot camera.... Two things they have over SLR cameras is their portability and video capability. They are so easy to just drop in one's purse or bag. But I have seen the photo quality of SLR cameras and that won over the portability advantage of point-and-shoots. When I started researching on the internet I checked to see what each camera's features were. Then when I looked at the prices my heart sank. But I kept checking on each cameras best features and considering what I really wanted in another camera, knowing you generally get what you pay for. When I narrowed down the field I found that I wanted a Canon Rebel. I heard many positive remarks about the camera; and it certainly offered everything (and then some) I was looking for. I then checked with my daughter Red since she is a semi-expert in photography. I did not realize that she had a Canon. I also found out that my son has a Canon. In retrospect I vaguely remembered they shared lenses. Both son and daughter highly recommended that I get a Canon. When I mentioned the Rebel to Red she thought it was an excellent choice for me. So I decided to take the plunge and invest in a Canon EOS Rebel. At first I had planned on buying the "xti" 10MP model, but there was a special running for the "xsi/450D" (12 MP) model. And I've been snapping away and enjoying my new toy ever since. I have managed to take almost 700 pictures since I purchased it, and I've had it only a month. The lens that came with the camera is EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. This is a great lens for photos of the kitties/cats, our dogs, even close-up. It's also great for landscape photos and photos of flowers, etc. Luckily, I can "borrow" one or two of Red's lenses. Most or all of them are interchangeable between her camera and mine. She's been letting me use one of her old lenses that she had when she had a 35mm Canon. That one is an EF 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 and I can get closer shots of birds, etc. The downside is that it isn't an IS (image stabilizer) lens. But, hey, beggars can't be choosers. I've been eyeing the 70-300mm IS lens, but I think I'll need to put that on my wish list. It's almost as expensive as the camera.
My other new toy is a Vortex Stokes Sandpiper spotting scope. I ordered it way back in late July, but it was out of stock at the time. I finally got it around the first of October and I really haven't had much of a chance to use it. A couple weeks ago Red and I went to Palo Alto Baylands to try it out, but that's the only time I actually used it. I've tried it here at home, but there isn't much to focus on in a residential neighborhood. This scope has a 15-45x power - so it isn't a really strong scope, but it will be fairly easy for me to carry around. Another investment I will need to make is getting a tripod for it. For now I'm using Red's that came with her camera. It's not a good quality, but at least it's useable for now. I had also bought a car window mount for my scope, and I plan on using it when my husband and I attend the Crane Festival in Socorro, New Mexico next month. I'll be able to set it up to use while driving on the auto tours.