12 April 2015

Rediscovering Canon cameras

I've had two Canon cameras before. One was a honking giant of a thing that I used for years and then kept packed up in a dark corner for many more years. It was the Pro90 IS, with a long zoom, a flip-out screen, and manual focus capabilities. I bought it in the year 2000 and it cost nearly 4 times as much as the Canon camera I purchased last week. I finally donated it and all the accompanying paraphernalia (batteries, chargers, etc.) to the French charity organization Emmaüs (think Good Will) a month or so ago.

I loved that camera but it was too big to haul around every day. In fact, it once almost got me pick-pocketed in the Paris metro. I think carrying it signaled to a gang of would-be malfaiteurs that I might be a rich American. They started pushing me around and patting me down. I was able to fend them off and start shouting at them in French to alert the other passengers in the metro car to what was happening. They made a clean getaway, but empty-handed.

The second Canon camera I bought was much smaller. It was the Powershot S70. I bought it in 2005. I liked the camera, but it didn't have image stabilization, which is a feature included on the earlier Canon and the several Panasonic Lumix cameras I've owned and enjoyed using over the years. Here's a blog post about all that.

Image stabilization made it possible for me to take this fully zoomed hand-held photo of the moon a couple of mornings ago.

Without optical image stabilization (a built-in gyroscope) it's difficult to take hand-held photos using a long zoom. And I don't see myself hauling a tripod around on my walks in the vineyard with Callie. My first Lumix camera, the TZ3, soon replaced the Canon S70.

Back to the future... and the present, I guess. Here's the camera model I just acquired and started using: the Canon Powershot SX700 HS. I paid just 218 euros for it on Amazon.fr — an amazingly low price considering all the camera's features. It takes full-HD movies and has built-in wi-fi. And it fits in my pocket.

The old heavy Canon Pro90 IS had a 10x zoom. The SX700 has a 30x zoom. Both have or had both automatic and manual focus, and the newer camera has full manual capabilities (which I don't use). The Pro90IS produced much smaller images, even though I don't ever take photos at the largest size — at 16 megapixels they'd be far too large to post on the blog, which is what I take photos for. I stopped printing photos years ago.

Anyway, there you go. I'm happy and I like the images the SX700 produces, which are the ones you see in this post. Here's a page that lists some of the camera's features and specs.

Oh, and by the way, yesterday I got the refund from the Amazon partner vendor from whom I had bought the Panasonic TZ40. Thanks to them, and I'm sorry I had to return it. Fact is, it cost more than the new Canon camera.


  1. I love yellow flowers are the best

  2. What annoys me about modern cameras is that if they put a viewfinder on them, image stabilisation would be a lot less necessary as you wouldn't have to hold the camera at arms length all the time - with the added bonus that you would actually be able to move around tourist sites without knocking the arms of people taking up huge amounts of space.

    We are really struggling to find a new camera for Susan - one which doesnt have loads of "features" that stay in the box - GPS, Wifi, auto image wrecking,, but which does have a viewfinder so that you can take photos in the sun.

  3. Simon, I think you need to look for a "bridge" camera. I used to have a Kodak bridge. In fact, I had two. I liked the first one so much, that when it died, I got the second. But it died even quicker and I've had a Sony compact for about 5 years. The compact doesn't have a viewfinder and I do miss that. I can't see what's on the screen in bright daylight, so I have to just guess that I'm aiming right. I hope my next camera is a bridge.
    One thing I do is to buy an extra battery immediately. I charge both batteries, so that when the first one runs out of juice just when I want a certain shot, I've got the other one ready to stick in the camera. For everyday living, it's not that important, but when I'm playing the tourist, it does come in handy.

    1. Ellen - it's a bridge camera we are after. Even most of them no longer have viewfinders, and they are all much larger than the bridge camera Susan already has.

    2. Simon, some of your comments make me think of that British TV show called Grumpy Old Men. LOL.

      The Panasonic Lumix TZ60 has an electronic viewfinder and also a 3" LED screen. Be forewarned, it also comes with GPS and Wifi -- all the cameras seem to these days. Move with the times...

    3. Ellen, I haven't used a viewfinder in so long that I wouldn't even know how to any more. Besides, the vision in my right eye is much weaker than the vision in my left eye, but being right-handed I have a hard time looking through a viewfinder with my left eye. With the screen, I do better. And I like being able to hold the camera up over my head or down near the ground, depending on what kind of picture I'm taking.

    4. Ken, I am right handed...
      but I use the left eye to look through the viewfinder...
      I find the camera is more stable like that...
      I can cuddle it to my body better.

  4. Ken, I've just read the review of it on ePhotozine... the online camera magazine that also runs the Pentax Users club...
    it is an impressive little beastie you have bought...
    I like the fact that there is almost no colour loss at the 3200ASA "film" speed...
    and the zoom capabilities have excellent quality at full zoom!
    Nice one... particularly like the picture of the Marjoram above...
    and the Lungwort.

    Ellen, I am pretty certain that Susan's current camera is a "bridge"....
    but beware the word "bridge"... when Pauline was choosing hers...
    we came across a number of so-called "bridge" cameras that had NO viewfinder!
    Nikon especially... effectively a compact like Ken's in an SLR shaped... therefore bulky... body!!

    1. There's a competing Nikon model that a lot of reviewers like a little better than the Canon SX700. Can't remember the model number. I'll find it again.

      And here's a page about compact digital cameras with viewfinders.

  5. What you call marjoram, we call oregano.

    1. That must be why Oregano is so much more expensive in UK shops.... ;-)

  6. Did you buy the red camera or the black one? Glad it all worked out!

    1. E., I got the black one. For the price, it's an amazing device.

  7. Ken, you should go to this website to compare their picture of oregano, marjoram, origan, marjolaine with yours :
    Yours is so much better.

  8. So glad you're happy with this one!

  9. Hello, Ken. Great pictures of the flowers. I saved a couple of them to my computer to use as my desktop background. If this is not okay, let me know and I'll remove them from my computer. Thanks.

    Columbia, SC


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