Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Mount Rushmore – And a New Camera!

Thursday, August 25th - - You can't go to the Badlands and Rapid City and not stop to see Mount Rushmore, can you? I had been there with my mother back in 1976. We happened to get there on the Fourth of July and since our country was in the midst of its Bicentennial year, there was a big celebration going on with fireworks and everything. It was awesome. From that visit I knew there were some places along the highway that The Presidents could be seen, besides I refused to pay $10 for parking! Call me cheap if you will....

I had decided to spend another night at Custer State Park and went into Rapid City to take care of some business - I needed a new camera! The one I had was putting a rather large grayish spot in the upper center of some pictures. Not all of them, usually those with a pretty blue sky. If you noticed, many of the shots taken in the Badlands and within the past few weeks were cropped to cut out some of the sky – that's why. Camera going bad. Not good. It also makes a bit of a grinding noise when the lens is extended when turning the camera on. Probably dirt or dust in the mechanism.

I had been looking around for the last couple of weeks but there wasn't a “big box” electronics store in the small towns I'd been through. Wally World had several nice cameras (Canon SX30 IS and a Nikon) on display but they were out of stock everywhere I stopped, including Rapid City. I ended up getting what was in stock and what met most of my criteria:
  • A viewfinder (a must under bright light conditions as I often found that I couldn't see what I was taking a picture of!)
  • Uses AA batteries (I severely dislike brands that use proprietary batteries and I love the convenience of “regular” batteries, especially rechargeable ones).
  • More megapixels and greater zoom capabilities than the current camera.
What it didn't have that I wanted was a position-able or adjustable viewing screen (the kind you can flip up or down). But I can live without that.

I played with the idea of getting a digital SLR but I really like the convenience of a smaller camera. I hauled around bunches of lenses and camera bodies when in the Navy and for years afterward. Just didn't want to do that again.

I purchased a Fujifilm Finepix S2940 with 14 megapixels and an 18x zoom. The current camera was 12 megapixels and 12x zoom. Also would have liked a little bit more zoom capability but the 18x zoom is a nice compromise. It is about the maximum that I can effectively hand-hold and not get fuzzy photos! Anything longer would require use of a tripod, at least for me.

The first three photos were taken with the “old” camera (Canon SX120 IS) in the morning and the last three with the new Fujifilm camera in the afternoon. The image of Washington was cropped from a landscape photo only so much as to eliminate traces of the other fellows. The Lincoln image is not cropped at all.

There seems to be a bit of a “lag time” before the next picture can be taken, but overall I'm happy with the new camera and I'm loving the viewfinder! It also has a panorama setting that is pretty slick.


Update: After using it for five days, the Fujifilm camera went back to the store. The "lag time" between photos was unacceptable. It would take anywhere for 10 to 30 seconds between shooting one picture and being able to take the next one! If I'd had this camera in White River, I never would have been able to take those action photos of the rodeo. It didn't seem to matter whether the batteries were fully charged or partially used or nearly completely used. I really liked the camera but that "feature" made it difficult for me to continue to use it. The other thing that I didn't like was that it did not have an on/off button, rather it had a sliding switch that sometimes didn't turn the camera on when it was moved to the "on" position. I would NOT recommend this camera to anyone! So, I've reverted to using the "old" camera again for a while, until I can find what I want. I'm looking at the Canon SX30 IS and the Nikon P500. Although several "big box" stores have them on display they don't have them in stock, at least in the places I've stopped! Sigh....


Jasia said...

Bummer about your camera. I hope you can find one you're happy with. Cameras are such a personal thing, aren't they? I've heard some nice things about Fugi cameras but not the model you bought in particular. Too bad it didn't work out. You really can't go wrong with Canon or Nikon though (especially Canon. ;-) Good luck!

Sue and Fred said...

So sorry about the camera....I know you are disappointed. We are loving the Canon sx30. You can even take pics with a manual setting. Also, it is fast, no lag time.