Breaking up with my camera. Find me Mr. Right?

Dear Beloved FujiFilm FinePix E900,

We need to talk.

Sure, there was a time when I thought you were ‘it.’ You were attractive, brilliant, fun, and we were compatible in so many ways, especially since you were my first…digital camera. Your memory cards were sharp and your F stop, just right. Also, you fit right into my life…and my backpack. It was easy to make the commitment to buy you 4 years ago.

My E-900photo © 2009 E Magnuson | more info (via: Wylio)



But after a few short years, when I got to know you better, the thrills wore off and I saw who you really were. Eye candy and essentially a pretty good–but not amazing–point and shoot.

As for your brains, well… you’re sort of slow and limited. Not very user-friendly, either. Worse yet, you’re a bit too complicated and sort of high-maintenance.

And although I know size isn’t supposed to matter, I feel the need to bring it up. Your macro option is fantastic…it allowed me to…get close. But…your lens is just not cutting it. Actually, it’s your F stop. I need the small number/the large aperture and you just don’t offer that. So I’m deprived of the pleasure of blurring the background in many shots. And sorry, but…that’s a deal breaker.

So…um…what I’m saying is….it’s not about you, it’s about me. OK. That’s lame. Let me try something else. You’re a nice camera and I really like you, but…

I think we’ll have to just be friends.

Or maybe friends with benefits. You can be my ‘backup camera’ and hang around in my bag…just in case…I need you for something.

Nice knowing you, FujiFilm FinePix E 900. Take care…

Lisa

**********

Looking for the Mr. Right of Cameras

OK, readers. I think you know what I’m getting at here. It’s time for me to get a new camera, one that will meet more of my needs than my current one. I think I’d like to not just feel butterflies in my stomach, but to be about to shoot great pics/video of them, too!

Any advice?

I think I’m looking for a very advanced PS with a lens or two. Or a DSLR that’s very lightweight. Whatever it is, it should:

  • Offer wide range of F stop options, allowing for background blurring
  • Allow me to travel with just two lenses, one of which would be 24ish and the other 200ish (or all in one)
  • Take excellent video and allow me to zoom while doing so
  • Work well in low light
  • Not weigh a ton; don’t want extra baggage
  • Not cost a fortune ($800ish including everything?)

Yeah, I know. Sounds like I’m asking for a lot, right? Well, I like high-quality photos and so, I’ve got high standards. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Black Resin Heart Necklacephoto © 2010 Ritzee Rebel | more info (via: Wylio)

Can you help fix me up?

Great catches welcome

Many of you out there–travelers, photographers, etc.–have great cameras. Many are Canons and some are Nikons. I’d like to know what you recommend. Which camera do you own? What makes it wonderful? How well does it meet your needs? Does it seem like it might meet mine? And how much did it cost?

But please…warn me about the losers!

Conversely, if you’re not happy with your camera (and it’s one that’s relatively new), could you let me know which it is and why? I understand that everyone–I mean, every camera–has baggage, but there’s a limit to what I can deal with. :)

Feel free to send links

If you want, go ahead and send a link to a camera that you think it suitable. You could also send a link to a photo you took to show me how the wide angle helped you take it. The widest I’ve ever had was 28 and it was good, but I think I want something  a little wider.

Thank you, in advance, for your match-making ability. Hopefully, this will be a love connection; would be nice to end my search. If so, my next trip will be that much better… :)

50 Responses to Breaking up with my camera. Find me Mr. Right?
  1. Dave and Deb
    April 5, 2011 | 1:10 am

    Hi Lisa,
    Well that is a tall order. My first recommendation would be the Olympus E-PL2. It comes with a 14-42 zoom lens which has been improved in the speed of autofocus and is an great all purpose lens. I would add a 17mm 2.8 which will allow you the shallow depth of field you are looking for. You could probably substitute the kit lens with the 14-150 for a little more money for that longer reach. The image quality is great and it seems to fit everything you want to do in a small package. The cost is a little more than you want to spend with the Body and kit lens at $599 and the 17mm 2.8 at $299 but I think it would be worth the extra $$.
    You can check out a review here at my favourite site. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusepl2/
    Olympus is sending me an E-P2 to test drive with the two lenses I mentioned above so I will let you know what I think after a few tests.
    Good Luck!
    Dave
    Dave and Deb recently posted..The GoPro Hero Camera Contest Winner is…My Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:06 am

      Hi, Dave. I just checked out both of these cameras and must say–wow! They both have a lot to offer. I can’t believe the size of the body, either. Very nice. So these are ‘mirrorless’ cameras? V interesting. One thing I just realized is that the real focal lengths are different than the numbers listed because they’re digital. In order to get 24, you’d have to go lower then, it seems.

      Also, it looks like they don’t have the 100 ISO anymore on the PL 2. Wonder if it’s OK without….

      Anyway, I’m very much looking forward to reading your review. Meanwhile, I may have a few questions for you. Thanks so much!

  2. Iain Mallory
    April 5, 2011 | 10:19 am

    Hey Lisa I cannot recommend going down the DSLR route highly enough, much more creative and versatile, and true quality from the pixel count due to the larger sensors, Canon 550D is an excellent choice, lightweight, great quality but won’t break the bank. Nikon also make some great DSLRs but think Canon has the edge right now.

    If you really must go down the compact route, RAW file capability as soooo much better than just JPEG. Possibly the Canon PowerShot G11/G12 or if really not interested in going RAW then Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5. Depends on you budget of course, but I know you already realise buying the best you can afford will make sense in the long run.

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:10 am

      Hi, Iain. Thanks for the info. I’ll check out that Canon and I agree re: them having an edge at the moment. Seem to be doing really well. Meanwhile, I had not considered the RAW file thing (have heard of it but don’t know much about it), but it does seem important to consider.

      I’m going to check out the cameras you mentioned and then perhaps ask you a few more questions, if that’s cool. Thanks!

  3. tareh
    April 5, 2011 | 11:39 am

    I’d suggest the Canon S95 because its a yes for:
    1. wide range of F stop options + background blurring
    2. excellent video + zoom while recording (with stereo audio too, in HD)
    3. Work well in low light
    4. Not weigh a ton; don’t want extra baggage
    5. Not cost a fortune ($800ish including everything?)

    cheers

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:13 am

      Thanks for the info, Tareh. Looks like a great camera. Is the 28 mm real, though? Or does it really become 35 mm? I must say–it does have a lot of features. Would be nice, though, to have the ability to change lenses. Still–those features are awfully appealing. Hmmm…. :)

  4. Steve Collins
    April 5, 2011 | 4:56 pm

    You definitely want a DSLR with a couple of removable lenses. Your wish list of a telephoto option and a macro is right on target. For long term consideration you want to be able to shoot RAW and jpg – RAW format gives you more digital “darkroom” options. I don’t know the specifics in your price range but for good DSLR I’m happy with Adorama (they’re online and have a showroom in NYC as well as a warehouse in NJ) Once you’ve narrowed it down go to a showroom to get the feel of your choices. As you budget, keep in mind that besides the cam and lenses you want tripod, lighting and software. Also, devour anything you can find online. For accessories don’t forget Craig’s list. BTW you don’t have to break-up with your SLR. You’ll still be happy to have a cam you can just drop in your purse or backpack for a lot of occasions. He just has to be open to er, um larger equipment.
    Steve Collins recently posted..Thing to do in Taos- part two- outdoor activitiesMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:21 am

      Hi, Steve. Yes, I think it is time for a DSLR with lenses. I had one a while back and loved it. I now miss having all that creative freedom. And today, the bodies are getting lighter, so maybe I can get what I want without lugging around too much. I’ve gotten spoiled by my light P/S.

      Sounds like RAW is really important, so I may need to read up on it (for whatever reason, I don’t know much about it). I’ll definitely check out Adorama. Great idea.

      True–it’s doesn’t have to be a complete breakup–and that’s hilarious re: the “um, larger equipment.” LOL

      Thanks!

  5. Acceleratedstall
    April 5, 2011 | 8:44 pm

    *guffaw* Love the style this is written it – brutally honest with the spice of humor. Brava!
    Acceleratedstall recently posted..Extended InebriationMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:22 am

      Thanks so much…really glad you got a kick out of it and that it ‘worked’. Appreciate the feedback!

  6. Natalie
    April 6, 2011 | 12:45 am

    Ah Lisa, your poor camera!! Maybe it does not want to be FWB. However if it is not standing up to the challenge get rid!! I am not an expert at cameras but I would say you have a good budget so should get something decent.
    Natalie recently posted..Work In Turkey – What You Need to KnowMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:23 am

      I know, Natalie….it’s sad, right? He was a nice guy, but… Perhaps you’re right…and he/it wants more than FWB. But he’s let me down at this point, so there may not be a second chance–LOL. You’re right, though. It’s time for a good one. Will be interesting to see what I find…

  7. Audrey
    April 6, 2011 | 12:57 am

    If you want to stay compact how about the Canon G9, I know a few pro photographers who use it as a back up or travel camera and love it. Or think about one of the mirrorless cameras as an option between a point and shoot and a DSLR. http://bit.ly/gi0t2o
    Audrey recently posted..Nam Tso- A Hauntingly Beautiful PlaceMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:24 am

      Hi, Audrey. I think you’re on to something with the mirrorless option. It does sound like that’s the compromise between what I have and what I’m looking for (but don’t want to spend big bucks on or lug around). This could work. Great match-making…thanks! :)

  8. Torre (@fearfulgirl)
    April 6, 2011 | 4:41 am

    I had a Canon 450D which was great, but then I lost it. So I bought a Canon 60D which was even better, but then I lost it. Now I’m faced with buying another camera again (it’s painful to spend that money *again*) but I’ll be getting the 60D because it was such a nice camera :-(

    Best to save $$ on the body and spend more on the lenses. As long as you don’t lose them (!) they’ll last forever as you upgrade your camera body over the years. Not sure what you can get for your rather slim budget, but a good start would be a Canon 1100D with a 50mm 1.4 lens. The 50mm has no zoom, but it’s very versatile and it tends to live on my camera. Most of these pics are shot with a 50mm (not the wide ones, though, they were a 10-22mm) http://www.fearfuladventurer.com/archives/1114

    This isn’t the 24 – 200mm range you’re after, but there’s no way you’ll get that for your budget unless you buy crap quality lenses. In my opinion, you’re much better of getting a nice high quality Canon lens and building your lens kit as you can afford it. This set-up will be light, cheap(ish) and will give you awesome shots.
    Torre (@fearfulgirl) recently posted..Round-up of Holy Sht I’m Going To Die! WeekMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:27 am

      Hi, Torre. Sounds like you really know your stuff! I like the idea of a 1.4 lens. Sounds very good. I think I had one back when I had a Nikon, years ago. (God, do I miss that!) But I love the idea of that 10-22 mm. Never had a lens that was wide enough. Just a basic 28, which wasn’t bad. Now, I want a little wider, I think.

      Anyway, great advice here. I’m going to check out the cameras you mentioned. May have some questions later. Meanwhile, thank you!

      PS: Your photos are excellent!

  9. Marsha
    April 6, 2011 | 4:57 am

    Mmmmm yes. A camera that knows how to please a woman with its shallow depth of field. It seems like you know enough about photography to just go ahead and get yourself a DSLR. I currently shoot with a Nikon D90 but it’s the lens (a Nikon 50mm prime lens f/1.8) that gets me those blurry background shots we all love.
    Marsha recently posted..Weekend Intelligence- April 2-3- 2011My Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 6, 2011 | 9:28 am

      Hi, Marsha. Hard to find an eager-to-please camera, isn’t it? And one that’s not superficial? LOL You’ve got a D90? Sweet!

  10. Sprite
    April 6, 2011 | 12:43 pm

    OMG, lol!

    • CB Driver
      April 7, 2011 | 8:53 am

      Fuji’s been looking sad lately. I don’t think he took it very well. :(

  11. david
    April 6, 2011 | 2:26 pm

    Hi Lisa, I came across these posts on the Olympus E-PL2. They might be helpful.

    http://johnbiehler.com/2011/03/27/hands-on-with-the-olympus-pen-system/

    http://www.duanestorey.com/2011/new-camera-olympus-e-pl2/
    david recently posted..I Love My Underpants!My Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 7, 2011 | 8:54 am

      Thanks, David. Very good information there. It’s definitely a contender. Looks like a cool camera. Loving the size of those mirrorless bodies!

  12. Roy
    April 7, 2011 | 12:03 am

    Have you considered switching to MS Paint instead? :D
    Roy recently posted..7 Habits Of Highly Effective Travel Blog StalkersMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 7, 2011 | 8:55 am

      Hi, Roy. LOL…sure I could do that. Would be v interesting and definitely lighter. Maybe I could do that on my iPad! :)

  13. Sarah Got A Passport
    April 7, 2011 | 10:04 pm

    I can’t really offer you camera advice, but just had to say that that post was hilarious :D At least you didn’t break up on a Post-it.
    Sarah Got A Passport recently posted..Review of Audio Technica Noise Cancelling Headphones Model ATH-ANC25My Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 9, 2011 | 9:32 am

      Good point, Sarah. Or how about a text message? That would have been rude, too–LOL. I’m happy that the post made you laugh! :)

  14. Jason
    April 8, 2011 | 1:48 am

    I would go the lightweight SLR Lisa. I know they can be a bit big and bulky, but these days some of the Canon and Nikon lower end SLR’s produce great images and weigh next to nothing. You can also upgrade your lenses over time as well.

    That said, I do also carry a great Point and Shoot camera (Canon IXUS) that is small enough to fit in my shirt pocket, and can easily be pulled out in those moments where I am not comfortable pulling out a large SLR that basically has a sign attached to it saying ‘Rob Me’.

    • CB Driver
      April 9, 2011 | 9:18 am

      Hi, Jason. Are you saying a regular (but light) SLR vs one that’s mirrorless? Do you have thoughts on those, btw? They are appealing. I agree re: the small p/s. There are definitely times when they’re more appropriate. Thank you!

  15. Neal
    April 8, 2011 | 11:14 am

    Lumix at an $800 limit you have great choices I own a LX3 originally purchased as a backup to my DSLR’s it is getting more than a usual amount of use. And that is the bottom rung camera in the advanced PS line. Check out the others GF1 & 2. Leica makes their lenses BTW for extra Crisp images. Lumix supports both JPEG and RAW.

    • CB Driver
      April 9, 2011 | 9:19 am

      Hi, Neal. I just checked that out and was surprised to see a nice wide angle on it. I think I’m confused, though, re: where it’s really 24 or if it’s a digital 24. Sometimes a 24 is really a 35, from what I’ve seen…or something like that. Anyway, I do like some of those Lumix cameras. Look quite nice. Thanks!

      • Neal
        April 9, 2011 | 4:40 pm

        It’s a 24 mm lens no worries.

        • CB Driver
          April 10, 2011 | 10:44 pm

          Awesome…v nice camera…definitely a contender at this point!

  16. Leigh
    April 8, 2011 | 11:56 am

    Just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed your post. It made me smile.
    I always carry a point & shoot too – for the times like Jason says where you don’t want to stick out.
    Leigh recently posted..25 Must Do Activities on Vancouver IslandMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 9, 2011 | 9:20 am

      Thanks, Leigh. Glad you got a kick out of it! :) It does sound like it’s a good idea to carry both cameras…definitely.

  17. Michiel
    April 9, 2011 | 10:12 am

    Ha! Funny post to read! I personaly have a canon 1000d SLR which is I thought almost the most unexpensive and basic DSLR canon offers. I like it a lot, but I miss the ability to shoot movies with it. It’s a little big, but i think the compact camera’s with detachable lenses are still too new and thus too expensive.

    I wonder if you wan’t to be able to shoot short movies too? Because most SLR + right lenses can make beautiful movies. See for example http://www.vimeo.com/8435985 which is shot with a DSLR.

    And for raw: I’ve written a small introduction (http://bit.ly/hGTAlk) into raw. Raw gives a lot more control on the editing and basically has more color data (amount of colours, depth, etc.).
    Michiel recently posted..Bunker TexturesMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 10, 2011 | 10:43 pm

      Hi, Michiel. Great info and links. That Canon looks very good, and the info on Raw is interesting and useful.

      The video link, meanwhile, was fantastic…blew my mind! I do want to shoot video and good quality is important to me. Some of the mirrorless cameras (EVIL, right? Love that acronym!) are appealing….

      Thanks so much!

  18. Scott @ Ordinary Traveler
    April 9, 2011 | 9:39 pm

    I tend to agree with Ian if you want to go the point and shoot route the G12 (about $500) is probably the best way to go if you want RAW it also offers the HD video. I own the G10 and I love it. Although mine doesn’t auto focus on video when I zoom, but they may have improved that since. I know the G12 has improved video alot. G12 shoots 720HD. You can also get add on lenses which is awesome. I just ordered a wide angle, telephoto and some filters. I’m going to test them out next weekend. I also just found out I can shoot HDR photos with the G10, we’ll see how they go. I just don’t want to have to carry around the DSLR. Not too mention I love canon.

    I also agree the LUMIX DMC-LX5 from what I have heard is a great camera if the doesn’t have the RAW option, but if your not going to touch up your photos then it doesn’t make a bit of difference if you shoot in JPEG. If you do edit you photo the jpegs just don’t look as good, so go a with camera that can shoot RAW.

    Either way I have to say I love my G series camera, it’s been a great starter camera for me. If your still undecided, then call someplace like best buy ask if they have the cameras your looking at and then go there and test them out before you buy. I hope that you find you love. Good luck!
    Scott @ Ordinary Traveler recently posted..Photo of the Week- I Give You the World 3My Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 10, 2011 | 10:47 pm

      Hi, Scott. Thanks for sharing so much useful info…I appreciate it! I like the way the Lumix looks; didn’t realize that it lacks the RAW option. Hmmm. Will keep that in mind. The Canons, whether you go with P/S or mirrorless DSLR, look great to me.

      I guess what I’m finding is that each one has pros/cons. Some are great in every way, but don’t have image stabilization or lack a flash. Or they have all that you need but are not user-friendly. Etc. I think your idea re: going to Best Buy is a great one or possibly calling B & H in NYC (friendly and knowledgeable staff).

  19. Amanda
    April 10, 2011 | 1:32 am

    Haha, love the post, Lisa!

    I recently broke up with my camera, too – but not because I wasn’t happy with it! I just wanted a slight upgrade.

    I haven’t made the leap to an SLR yet, though, because I really really like to be able to carry my camera around in my purse, and slip it into a pocket when I’m using it a lot. I hate bulk.

    But when I was in the market for a new point-and-shoot, I decided I wanted one with a few more features, and more freedom for me to adjust settings.

    I upgraded from a simple Canon PowerShot to the PowerShot SX210 IS. It’s still a point and shoot, but has a 14x optical zoom, a 28mm wide angle lens, and takes HD video. I can also adjust the shutter speed and/or aperture on this one, which is nice – though I haven’t quite figured it all out yet.

    The best part though? Even though it’s bigger than my previous camera, it totally still fits in my pocket.

    And it takes some nice photos! With the exception of the underwater shots, I took all these Hawaii photos with it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dangerousbiz/sets/72157626287323140/with/5578933024/
    Amanda recently posted..New Zealand- Here I Come!My Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 10, 2011 | 10:53 pm

      Hi, Amanda. So in your case, you knew you could do better….didn’t want to settle? LOL I hear you, of course, re: slipping the camera into your bag. That’s what my FujiFilm is like. And it’s nice. I’m sort of spoiled by it. It also has shutter and aperture ‘priority,’ which I like to use. But…the F stop options are limited…

      Will take a look at the PowerShot SX210 IS. Your photos look great.

      Thank you!

  20. Oswald
    April 10, 2011 | 7:59 pm

    I am usually pretty easygoing about gear – que sera sera it will work out. But for my last trip I DID think really hard about the camera issue. I didn’t even have one at all at the moment – my previous trip I did with NO camera as an experiment in ‘being in the moment’ Pros and cons, but that is another story.
    Anyway – I came down to 2 cameras – a Canon Power Shot or a Panasonic Lumix. They both have perfect mix of size, price, zoom, quality, and manual control ability.
    I ended up getting the canon- it was a little less expensive, and had COMPLETE manual capability.
    I was in Thailand ended up meeting a very cool travel companion. Anyway – she had the Panasonic Lumix I WOULD have bought for all the same reasons. It was funny – she had come down to the EXACT same choices as me. So we often used each others cameras – she was excited to try mine and see if her choice was good and me ditto.
    In the end I decided, although I am very happy with my camera, that I would get the Lumix instead if doing it again. I think its Leica lenses are crisper, and it is virtually as fully manual capable as the Canon, and is a little lighter and smaller. Slightly less zoom capability (but I always hand-hold, so really can’t use Max zoom anyway) and slightly more expensive. but I still liked her Panasonic a little better. I think both are rugged as well, as we both had pretty bouncy/sandy/humid trips and they survived.
    At any rate, those 2 cameras for me, after pretty extensive reading and then use, seem like the perfect balance of quality, size, price and flexibility.

    • CB Driver
      April 10, 2011 | 10:59 pm

      Oswald–very interesting re: the ‘no camera’ experience. Cool that you wanted to be in the moment more. You might enjoy this post, by the way, which deals with what it was like to travel in the mid-90s, back when travel was low tech and people tended to be more in the moment.

      Very interesting that you brought up the two cameras that you mentioned. They’re two serious contenders on my list at this point!! So the Lumix lenses were ute good, huh? But the zooming was limited? What about image stabilization? I vaguely recall reading about that only being possible via a lens, but that might have been another camera (have been reading too much lately!).

      Anyway, thanks for sharing this…it’s very useful!

  21. Oswald
    April 10, 2011 | 8:01 pm

    PS My Canon is the Power Shot “SX 200 IS” – maybe I should have mentioned.
    Oswald recently posted..Ditch your stuff and see the worldMy Profile

  22. Oswald
    April 10, 2011 | 8:08 pm

    PPS – oops, forgot these details matter – the other one is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10.
    I got my Canon (factory refurbished) for not much more than 200$, and the Lumix should be around 300 I think.
    I don’t like a more powerful camera as I think it ruins spontaneity, weighs too much/too big, and if too expensive becomes something you worry about instead of just enjoying.I figure if Cartier-Bresson would do what he did with a simple fixed lens small camera, then I can too! Well, try anyways….
    Oswald recently posted..Ditch your stuff and see the worldMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 10, 2011 | 11:01 pm

      Thanks for the extra info and I hear you re: something expensive causing you to worry. I know what you mean. Re: Cartier-Bresson….good point! :)

  23. Kyle
    April 20, 2011 | 12:06 am

    The Fuji X100 has a ton of the capabilities of a DSLR in a small point and shoot sized body. It’s a bit above your price range, but it might be worth checking out for sure!

    • CB Driver
      April 20, 2011 | 12:20 pm

      Hi, Kyle. Looks interesting. Wondering about the 23mm wide angle on that. Is it truly that or is it not quite that wide? I sometimes get confused re: the true number. Thank you!

  24. Kyle
    April 21, 2011 | 10:50 pm

    I think it’s actually the equivalent of a 35mm lens. So it won’t have quite the distortion of such a wide angle.

  25. [...] few months. I enjoyed the interaction/discussion we had when I was figuring out my next trip and which camera I would [...]

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