Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Point and Shoot

I mentioned recently that I smashed the back of my camera during a hike.

For a few years now I have insisted on taking my camera with me on these hikes and lugging large lenses along with them.

The price you pay is some bruising over a few days if you can’t find a way to secure the camera properly - and if you do, it is usually hard to reach and therefore not used enough.  The other price is that if you do use it, you could fall and smash it.

So after this latest catastrophe I decided that it was time to invest in a point and shoot camera to take along.

I did a little research before I picked the camera - first looking to see what professional photographers considered a good carry around point and shoot.  The Nikon and Canon variations on the point and shoot are prominently mentioned there along with the attributes of a good point and shoot from professional’s point of view.

I also remembered reading about a camera that Casio made that has a rather cool gimmick in that it can record low res film at 1000 frames per second.

So, considering that 90% of what I shoot on a hike is documentary and that I have always though high speed photography rather cool, I asked my wife to look into the Casio Exilim ZR100 as a birthday present for me.

Well it arrived yesterday and I have spent some time between meetings and over lunch playing with it.

High speed video is a gimmick but a lot of fun.  The camera can’t autofocus or change focus in video mode and the resolution for the high speed video is not good but I really had a lot of fun playing with it.

Some of the photographic features that are really cool include built in HDR processing both as in “artistic mode” and in more or less realistic mode.

HDR Realistic

HDR Artistic

And no HDR but with the camera’s fill-in flash

The next feature that was worth some experimenting was a built in panorama feature.  Since the camera is built around high speed it can do things like take 30frames in a second (of stills) so in the panorama mode you can set the direction (portrait or landscape orientation) and then move the camera in a sweeping motion and just hold the shutter down.  The camera sounds like an old time movie camera with these rapid-fire clicks.

Here is a panorama in landscape mode:

and the same scene in portrait mode

and yes, our living room is this cluttered.

The camera also has a good close macro function and since I had some trouble holding it still for the macro shot this in burst mode and ended up with 30 images of the same thing from which I could choose the sharpest.

…and finally some blurry but very satisfying video with some music courtesy of freemusicarchive.org

Exilim Games from tbouwer on Vimeo.

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