Going back to my history of cameras that I had, up until ’02, I used to use those old skool point & shoot cameras, or disposables with the film in it, and get it developed by mail or in the store. I feel almost ancient talking about it. Then there was the “Jam Cam,” my first digital camera that took low quality digital pictures without the preview screen. Most of the pictures came out pixellated, dark and hazy, if it didn’t have the right light, but I was happy in saving from development costs.
The quality and colors of the pictures of the film cameras look more genuine in comparison to digital pictures which, (as with any digital tools), is an approximation of colors and pixels. I do miss having an album full of film pictures that I can flip through, but not having that anymore is a trade off from development costs, and amount of physical space it would take up, if you want to put it in “going green” terms.
Then there was a Samsung digital camera that did have a preview, took crisp shots (even viewing at original size), but it drained my AA batteries’ energy really fast though, which needed to be recharged frequently, so a few years later I decided to try the Casio Exilim z-75 with lithium ion batteries. It was more pricey, had more features, better frame rate for video; the quality of pictures weren’t as crisp (e.g. if you want to crop), but it generally took better photos under different lightings and I was able to go through events without having to worry about recharging batteries after a few photos.
Then last fall, my brother told me to try out his Canon SX10 PowerShot, which is about the size of a SLR. At the time I was skeptical to why I should sacrifice the convenience of having a pocket camera, and fiddle with all sorts of settings when I could use on automatic. I took it out for a test drive anyways, fiddled with wheel that does manual focusing, and ended up taking some awesome pretty photos. I just love the focusing and background blurring effect, (depth of field), which is possible, but harder to achieve with a pocket point and shoot. My favorite feature was the the color isolation. So the PowerShot experience made it hard for me to go back to my pocket camera.
Eventually the limitations with a point & shoot with manual focusing eventually convinced me to get my 1st SLR, Canon T1 rebel aka 500d with a basic lens kit 55-250mm and 18-55mm with Image Stabalization. The lens allow me to focus with my hands quickly instead of a little wheel. In addition, I was able to easily see the field of depth through the preview and view finder much easier than the Casio and PowerShot.
It has been very challenging taking band shots but some of the photos came out great under such difficult settings. I eventually shot in RAW and on occasions, had to adjust the brightness of the photos before converting to JPG. As much as I wish I could shoot them perfectly without adjusting brightness.. the preview on the camera is brighter than the photos on the computer and the low lighting makes it almost impossible to get good shots without all the grains. The higher the shutter speed (for drummer shots), the darker the photos are too.. and not having a wide enough aperture. At one point I played with someone else’s 35mm prim lens which was amazing, but it’s $1300+.. so I gave in and got a cheaper model, a 50mm prime for about $100 without image stabilization. So far it looks great and better in low light but still very challenging because of the fixed length, the model, and without the IS. But I was able to take amazing pictures in well lit areas for all 3 lens. Feel free to check out my albums.