Category: Photos

Canon PowerShot SD800 IS

Canon PowerShot SD800 IS

It’s no secret to most of my friends and family that I’m very happy with my new camera. I think all of them are sick of hearing about it so I hope they see this. If you’re interested in why I purchased this camera, read the “Agenda: Digital Camera” post. I’m going to divide this review into three sections: image quality, ease of use, and features.

I’ll start with ease of use because that’s what I noticed first when I opened the box. The camera is nicely shaped—losing the hard corners of previous PowerShot models—and is easy enough to take photos one-handed. However, I definitely recommend using the wrist strap as it’s incredibly easy to drop considering its size and lack of non-slip grips.

The menus are exceptionally designed, making it just a click or two for common features, yet only three or four for advanced or rarely-used options. The buttons move nicely and choices are felt as well as heard/seen. And while all this is nice, the camera wouldn’t be much fun if the software lagged behind these clicks (I’m looking at you, Kodak CX4230). Thankfully, the results of clicks are almost instantaneous.

In terms of features, I knew what to expect so there weren’t many surprises. The manual settings (white balance, exposure length, light meter, but no aperture settings) work well when the full automatic or scene settings are not enough—not all that often. However, I really wish that the image stabilization worked for more than just full auto with auto flash. What I didn’t expect to use much at all but turned out to be an awesome addition is the video camera mode. It records in AVI and at 640×480 resolution so the files are gigantic and the quality is almost broadcast quality. Nice surprise.

Pros: Image quality, image stabilization, 3.8x optical zoom, size, battery capacity, video mode, manual mode, scene settings, optical viewfinder, screen size, and well-designed menus.

Cons: Image stabilization only available in full-auto mode.

Canon PowerShot SD800 IS on Amazon.

Agenda: Digital Camera

My Kodak CX4230 has worked reasonably well in the nearly four years I’ve owned it, but my eyes wandered to smaller, more powerful models more times than I care to admit. There were significant limitations to my camera, but the picture quality was decent despite its 2.0 megapixels and slow processor. Learning the half-press shutter trick was instrumental in extending that camera’s life.

However, dropping prices and my rising income have convinced me to splurge a little for a camera that does more than the bare minimum. That’s not to say I need every idiotic feature available, but I have a few requirements that I’m not willing to compromise:

  • The camera must be small enough to fit in my pants pocket.
  • It must be 5 megapixels or more.
  • Have both a large LCD screen and an optical viewfinder.
  • At least 3x optical zoom.

It’s a short list of standards that leaves a lot of players on the field, but I was able to weed it down to one camera: the Cannon PowerShot SD700 IS Digital Elph! The SD700 exceeds these features with 6MP and a 4x stabilized optical zoom. It also boasts one of the best camera processors on the market (the DIGIC II engine featured in their digital SLR cameras), 16×9 widescreen mode, and a video mode with sound.

I’m hoping to order it within the next two weeks or so—possibly in time for my birthday—and I’d like to write a little review here, comparing my expectations with the results. Stay tuned.

Update: After reading my friend Joe’s post about camera shopping, I noticed on DP Review that Cannon now has a PowerShot SD800 IS. It’s about $60 more than the SD700, but has 7.1 megapixels, wide-angle zoom, a new, DIGIC III processor, and face-detection to increase the image quality of people pictures. Looks like my final answer just upgraded.

Update Two: Turns out, the SD800 IS isn’t available until November; delayed gratification for me.

Update Three: I received my new Cannon SD800 IS in the mail today! Despite the previous update, Amazon has been selling this camera for at least a week (Oct. 27).

Orioles vs. Indians

Camden Yards, Orioles versus Indians

On Tuesday, Annie and I went to see the Cleveland Indians play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in a night game. Our seats were excellent, the weather was fantastic, and the tickets and parking didn’t cost us a cent (Annie’s boss provided the tickets). It’s always exciting for me when I emerge from the tunnel under the stands and the whole ballpark is visible; I’m not sure if it’s the bright sheen of the grass or the sheer expanse of the stadium’s interior or something purely psychological from my childhood, but the feeling is always the same.

The game was special for Annie too, as it was her first time at a professional baseball stadium. And despite the terrifying re-appearance of the Orioles Bird, she enjoyed the game more than she had anticipated. Neither of us had any emotional stake on the outcome of the game, but it would have been a little nicer if the Indians hadn’t crushed the Orioles 15-1. In any case, I uploaded some photos of the game that turned out nicely.

Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Sepia Tone Topiary Elephant

On Sunday, Annie and I went to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Since we both had the day off and the weather was absolutely amazing, we had to do something outdoors. The zoo wasn’t too crowded—unlike when Annie and Veronica went for Dollar Days—so I was able to take photos relatively unobstructed. In the spirit of the Maryland Zoo’s 130th anniversary, I retouched a photo I took to accompany this post. Just because.

Not Homeless!

My landlord is selling my apartment building, so I wasn’t sure how much longer I’d be living at my current location. However, I found out the other day that the new owner plans to continue renting the apartment to Kevin and I for the same amount of rent! In celebration, I finally uploaded some pictures of the apartment—exterior only, the inside needs spring cleaning—that I took in early November.

I also have a few design jobs going in addition to a full-time job that I’m working to pay the rent and other bills. So I’ve been busy; made obvious by my lack of posts. But I’m finally getting some good design work and decent income so I’m relatively happy. I could use a better full-time job, but I also could do a lot worse.

FYI: I briefly considered titling this post “!Homeless” but perished the thought.