Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Digital Members of Our Family...

As I've mentioned previously, we actually went out and bought two new digicams during this holiday... and more importantly, we stepped up to the DSLR world for the first time. Our first purchase was a Canon EOS Kiss X3 (as it's branded in Japan), or as it's otherwise known the Canon 500D or Rebel T1i (in the USA). This is sort of the entry level (at the time) DSLR in the Canon range. It's a very light single lens reflex camera with a 15MP CMOS sensor. At the time, we were tossing up to go the Nikon, Pentax or Canon path - or to cross over into the mirrorless micro 4/3 format (such as Sony's NEX-5). The lightness of the camera however, with retention of an optical viewfinder was the selling point (not to mention the price... as this was already being superseded by Kiss X4). The photo quality is great - but not perfect... with a slight tendency to over-expose (from my impression), and not quite the best low-light performance. However, the photos have a nice distinctive look from the camera out of the box, and it's easy to use and it has a relatively good battery life.

We got the twin lens kit... an 18-55 with a 55 - 250mm Canon lenses. In hindsight, it would have been better to have gone with the single super zoom lens... but the lens costs about the same as the camera + twin lens set  just by itself. The cam also does 1080p movies - but to be honest, it's movie system is just a little weird. It won't replace a video camcorder. However, overall, I have to say that it's been a great camera, and we've definitely got a lot of use out of it. Best of all, it's been relatively easy to adjust to the DSLR way of taking photos - though this is an ongoing thing.

We also purchased a handy travel camera that was intended to be T-chan's camera of choice for taking with her... ready to take snaps of L-kun whenever and wherever the opportunity came. We ended up purchasing the Nikon Coolpix S8000 principally as it had English (unlike the Sony brands which only have Japanese in cameras purchased in Japan), had a good zoom range (10x), good macro, good resolution (14MP... though you don't get the quality of photos that suggests), nice display and was relatively light and slim - and could also take HD video - albeit 720p. It was also a brand that we'd as yet not tested (and perhaps will not test again for compacts due to some very bizarre design choices Nikon made)

I should say however, the photos are not bad... not bad at all (except in moderate to low light, where it seems to have extraordinarily slow optics - due perhaps to the 10x zoom). The short-comings were the things that only become apparent after a bit of use, and they weren't the sorts of things that were in the reviews. Zannen... what a shame... it looks like we are yet to find the compact digicam that lives up to our expectations. 

Over the span of this blog, we've used Pentax, Fujifilm, Olympus, Lumix (2), Canon (2) and now Nikon. We're running out of brands to try. Anyhoooo... you might notice a marked change in the photos that we took from this point on. And yes - some of the photos are just completely blatant "practice using a DSLR" shots. So please be patient with me over the next few posts where I kinda go camera crazy (ok...I'm still a little camera crazy)... and feel sympathy for our poor hard-drives that had to adsorb hundreds - nay thousands - of photos. Not to mention me - for having to do something with those thousands of photos.


  1. Interesting...I guess all you have left is the Sony? I absolutely love my Sony Alpha 100. I've had it for a few years now and it's consider old compared to the newer models, but I still love the photos I take with it. Highly recommend!

  2. Hmmm - there's most probably a couple more brands as well (Casio, Ricoh, Kodak...). We almost went the Ricoh instead of the Nikon - and kind of regret that.

    As for the DSLR, we're really quite happy with the Canon; and the only thing I'd have liked is a little more reach into lower light (I think the Nikon DSLRs are a bit better for that).

    Sony's were never on the cards however for us, as Sony in Japan never come with bilingual on-camera menus... unlike most other brands. Very annoying. The alpha range look good however. We were thinking of getting the Pentax Kx series (fashionable colours) - but the lack of autofocus points in the viewfinder was a big negative.

    It's so nice to find a camera that meets your expectations... and I have to admit, I'm now a hooked DSLR user... even if it is a little on the bulky side.

    BTW - our cam doesn't have GPS - and that can be a downer on holidays. But you always have to be a little careful with what information gets included in your blog photos through the exif data that gets saved with your jpgs.

  3. Hello, can you post please some photos taken with this eos500d? I want to buy a DSLR but i don`t know what to choose exactly, so i`m looking for effective photos. Thanks a lot!

  4. I've posted a lot of photos on my other blog, but it comes down to what sort of photos you want to take. Landscape, portrait, artistic, sports, macro, night-time, timelapse etc... all have different requirements, and therefore you'll need different sorts of camera/lens setups.

    Any sort of shots in particular?