Using a Ricoh GRD III and a Nikon DSLR to photograph streets, people, architecture and anything else that catches my eye.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

So I went and bought a big camera - 2005

While I was happy with my Sony Cybershot W1 (see all previous few posts), I was conscious of the simple fact that my bourgening interest in photography was being badly let down by my hardy little camera. You know what it's like, you see all the new gadgets appearing in shop windows and you start thinking.....

At the time, there were digital single lens reflex models becoming available well under the £1000 mark!  Nikon, for example had the D100 at around £1000, and the more accessible D70 selling for around £750. Canons were even more affordable. Unfortunately, while I really wanted a DSLR, it was outside my budget at that time.

Then a good friend of mine showed me a camera which he was using. After playing around with it for an evening, and reading its reviews on the internet, I was so impressed that I immediately bought one!  (so easily led).  I would just like to mention the fantastic website Digital Photography Reviews at this point; in my opinion the best un-biased and in depth camera review site in this part of the galaxy. A gold mine of information.

Anyway....   So I bought my new camera. The Olympus C-8080 WZ.  This was a bigger camera for sure, a sort of half way step between a 'point and shoot camera' and a DSLR. Of course it was not an actual 'through-lens-viewing' SLR, but it was a much higher spec machine with good set of features. The high quality wide angle zoom lens, 8MP sensor, and an array of controllability, made this a very good camera. I finally had a camera which had P, A & S on the rotary dial. (program mode, aperture size, shutter speed selection). It even shot in RAW format, which I never actually made use of because my Photoshop skills were still a thing of the future. A very good camera indeed. Thinking back though, it was a bit of an ugly thing...  somewhat one sided and heavy.  (Actually, all those pretty £150 Panasonic Lumix pocket cameras available today, do the same job, and slip into your shirt pocket).  How technology marches on.

So, with my big new baby hanging around my neck, I marched off to London and Japan to shoot away. I finally had some control over how the images would turn out, which allowed a certain amount of creativity. This was the first time I had a chance to use a real wide angle lens, which is excellent for architectural photography. The higher quality lens and larger sensor allowed very good night time capability, with quite low noise on the higher ISO range.  The aperture control was somewhat limited, and with only an 3X optical zoom it was quite difficult to 'isolate' objects in the same way that a DSLR can.  The battery was a bit of a let down too.  That said, I did start to achieve better images, and satisfaction.  My old Sony Cybershot W1 still sat in my back pocket at all times though.

Apart from hundreds of test shots of things around the house (including my poor pet dog), taken while going through the instruction manual, the following image was one of the very first images I took with my new Olympus C8080WZ.  I can still remember taking the dog for a walk that evening, with the camera hanging around my neck, and noticing the moon against my local church spire.  The moon is definately over exposed, but I was happy with my first results.


Michael Gatton said...

Great shot! Perspective, composition, colors, all nicely done. We've got a full moon today and tomorrow, so that's what I'll be shooting...

Bill Wellham said...

Thanks, Michael. This was quite a long exposure (maybe 8 seconds), so that's why my moon is a over exposed. So you have to experiment with shutter speed, aperture and ISO to get a bit of detail. I think the moon looks best when it is photographed against or near something (trees, building ..or water).

Good luck.