Saturday, September 27, 2008

MOSIAC DARNER???....STILL NEED HELP!

I'm getting the feeling...as I am a newbie at identification...and as difficult as precise I.D. is....I'll just post my photos from this past summer. This is the third summer we've had our pond, hopefully next year there will be even more dragons (and maybe I'll learn a little more about my camera!) I am not a photographer...nor an expert in any field, that is for sure! Just an avid admirer of these fascinating damsels and dragons. I basically just use the auto setting on my BASIC camera, on these photos I did use the action setting. Can any of you suggest a good camera that I could use for photographing these beauties....something not too crazy expensive and without a lot of features that an amateur would probably never use?! I must say, I have been to the blogs of my commentators....and, wow!!! Talk about talent!! Wouldn't it be wonderful to live your life traveling and photographing what you love all over the world?! Yes, I admit...I AM jealous!


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11 comments:

Karl Halliday said...

Those dragonflies are cool...

Baker Watson said...

I wish I could help with some of the ID's but I'm still such an amateur myself. I have a ton of photographs I haven't been able to figure out myself. Especially the damselflies. They are so small, lol.

Like you I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a camera and I figured I would not use a lot of the extra features some have. I just looked for the 4-5 primary features I wanted and researched on line until I found a few that fit the bill. Of course there were a few trade-offs, but overall I'm pleased with the camera. I know I'll never get the great, finely detailed macro shot's I see on line with it. But, those are usually from cameras costing 4-8 times as much.

Here are the main features I wanted:

Decent megapixel size (at least 6 or above).

Primarily automatic for an amateur but with some manual features for the future

Extended zoom - At least 10X - Since I take a lot of animal photo's its good to have some range.

Optical Stabilizer - With all those zoom photo's it's a must

View finder - I knew I seldom use the LCD screen for taking photo's. I nearly always use the view finder. It's better for stability and a lot of my shots are in bright light so the LCD is a problem. I may use the LCD to get a shot I can't possibly get using the view finder.

Relatively low power cost per shot in the long run.

I elected to go with the Kodak Z712 IS. I would much rather have had a Cannon or other brand, but this model is a bit older and the price has dropped (I found it on sale at Office Max) - 12X zoom - 7.1 MegaPixel - An array of manual settings to play with and learn but the auto settings are fine most of the time - Optical stabilization - Electronic view finder.

As I said there were some trade-offs. It doesn't come with a rechargeable battery and the manual says it requires a Kodak battery (or equivalent) or AA Lithium batteries, both of which would be expensive in the long run. I found that AA rechargeables work fine so far but only for 100-150 shots. I think the camera has a high power requirement. 100 shots is fine with me though. I can take extra batteries with me and they are relatively cheap so I haven't had a problem.

It's a little bulky compared to most sleek point-and-shoot cameras due to the zoom lens and I don't care for the lens cap but I've gotten accustomed to it.

I've had a hard time taking some action photo's of things such as dragons in flight. I think it has to do with the fact that they move in and out of the zoom focus range so fast. But, I don't take too many of those so I can live with it. And hopefully I will master it sooner or later. Other action photo's, such as a person, etc. seem OK. I've had better results with quick action snapshots with other cameras so if this is a priority I'm not sure I would recommend this camera. I just don't know enough about it.

One good surprise was how well the videos come out. Much better than I anticipated.

And the 12X zoom is fun. Of course now I want 18X or above, lol.

Best of all was the price. I got most of the things I wanted for about the same amount as the average mid range point-and-shoot. The trade off was mostly in size and pixels as far as I'm concerned. The photo's are satisfactory and I expect them to get better as I learn more about the manual settings for specific situations.

It's not a top of the line camera, but it meets my needs for now.

Anyway, so many inexpensive cameras now have so many basic features I would suggest you make a list of what features are most important to you. It's just like buying a computer or car. Think about what you really need or want it to do for you. Then try to find one that meets those specific needs at the best overall price (camera, accessories, batteries).

Baker

(oops - the comment is longer than the post, lol)

spookydragonfly said...

Hi Baker...I'll just consider your comment a special guest post!! Sounds good, huh? I thank you for all of your input! I guess you and I are in the same boat, sort of speak. My husband and I read your comment and then went on-line to double check what our camera offered in specifics. My camera is a few years old..a Kodak EasyShare DX7630...6.1 megapixel, 3x optical zoom, 12x max zoom. It sure would help if those darn larger dragons would just fly down and pose for me, you know?! Either that or some expert visited our blogs and rattled off I.D.'s!!(in my case, the larger flying ones are blurry). Once again, I appreciate you visits and input!! Have a good weekend!

Gallicissa said...

Very quickly Panasonic Lumix FZ-18.

Why?

1. 18 X zoom allows you to shoot dragons in telephoto, which allows a working distance of 3-4 feet, which helps!

2. By staying that far and zooming in you can get a blurred background more often than not.

3. Its nice easy grip and easy weight allow you to operate it with one hand - which is handy when you need to reach out for subjects that are wee bit out of your range.

See:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9fh0NAJeFE

And read this and see whether it would be any help:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalama_Sutta

spookydragonfly said...

Gallicissa...Thank you for visiting again, and thanks for the links which I found both informative and interesting. The camera that you have suggested sounds like a very good option for my needs! I would like to purchase another around spring...in time for the next generation! I see you find peace in nature as well...and for others reading this, I suggest they, too, visit your blog...amazing photos and insights. Mine are limited to Wishnik Woods, one can explore many places within your blog! (YES, I'm jealous!!) Thanks again for the info!

Baker Watson said...

That Panasonic looks like a great camera to do what you need. It appears to have the same general shape and feel of my camera but has some extra features and of course that 18X zoom which I would love.

One thing about the zoom on your current camera. Generally speaking you should probably only think in terms of optical zoom. The 12X max zoom is likely the result of 3X optical times a 4X digital zoom. My understanding is the digital zoom is essentially just a cropping of the photo within the camera and you can do that yourself after you download so it doesn't really do anything for you in the long run. I think you really want optical zoom and can more or less discount any digital zoom quoted when you are looking at a potential purchase.

Baker

Gallicissa said...

Having started dragonfly shooting with a x4 optical zoom camera in 2004, the FZ-18 for me was an intermediate camera. I got it in last Dec and I used it as a raft to get my skills sharpened until I was ready for my first dSLR - Canon 40D (with 100mm f 2.8 Macro Lens), which I bought in the middle of this month.

With its x18 optical zoom vs x 3 zoom in your current camera, the FZ-18 will bring about a quantum leap in your overall photography for sure.

You should ideally look to use the FZ-18 as a raft as I did, until you reach the fun and exciting shores of dSLR.

p.s. Work only within optical zoom and avoid digital zoom.

spookydragonfly said...

All I can say is...thanks so much to the both of you for all your help...I really appreciate the recommendations. I just figured it would be better to ask for advice from someone who is photographing the same subjects, rather than going to a store and ending up with all kinds of advice (and probably features)that I really wouldn't use. I will be looking back on this post when I'm ready to purchase! Thanks again! Now....any suggestions on where to purchase cheap gas??!! Of course..I'm kidding. I'll be by to check out both your blogs to see what's new.

Pseudothemis zonata said...

Hello.
It is a beautiful dragonfly. I looked for the first time.

I introduce Canon PowerShot S5 IS. It is a compact digital camera, but reaction of the lenses is very well most suitable for the photography of the dragonfly. I use the older model (S2 IS) of this camera.




I upload the photograph which I photographed with this compact digital camera in the following sites.

Memorandum 2008
http://pseudothemiszonata.blogspot.com

Canon PowerShot S5 IS
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=144&modelid=15207

spookydragonfly said...

Pseudothemis...Thank you as well for the links...your camera certainly does take fine photos! Of course...it seems that you have a talent for photography, too! I like the fact that the Cannon you mentioned has an easy switch over to video. Thank you so much for the links...due to our location and connection, many times I have difficulty with getting to a site, as this morning! I will try later to see all of the photos that you have sent! I appreciate the help! I'll be by soon to visit!

spookydragonfly said...

I encourage any readers to visit Baker, Gallicissa, and Pseudothemis' blogs and view their handiwork at photography...I guarantee you won't be sorry.