Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tech Toys

When I was a highschool yearbook advisor, I usually shot somewhere between forty and fifty rolls of film each school year, especially action sports. Really, it was easier to shoot those pictures than to teach photography to teenagers. After the first couple of years, I learned to do a one or two day seminar on how to take candids and groups, and I just did the rest myself. For almost a decade, I used a Canon Elan camera, with a 35-135 zoom lens and a honking big Canon Speedlight, which would illuminate at least forty feet of the football field or all the way to center court for basketball.

The Elan is dead now, the victim of a problem with the shutter, but I recently replaced my aging Fuji digital camera, with a Canon A630. I liked the Fuji quite a lot, but daughter was a bit too vigorous trying to plug in a USB cable and bent the prongs in the receptor, so I decided to buy a camera for me and me alone. This Canon is a compact camera with a nifty swing out and swivel display, a real viewfinder, and a 4x zoom, which isn’t much different from the one I used for so many years. Even with 8 mega pixels and a large screen, it weighs less than the zoom lens of my old outfit, and it has controls which are not that different from my old Elan. Ironically, this device cost less than a third of what I paid for my Elan with a zoom lens and flash.

In an earlier entry I mentioned my Palm PDA, which I still use for eBooks and other tasks. I hear that the eBookwise marketed by Fictionwise is great, but I like having a multipurpose device. Being able to read at night, without turning on a light, is one of the best reasons to use the Palm; however, having a calendar, an address book, an alarm, and notepad are helpful extras.

Also in a previous entry I mentioned buying an HP printer, a Photosmart 3210, which scans, copies, and prints with speed and style. Unlike my previous Epson all in one, the HP cartridges have the print head built in, so you get a new head with every new cartridge. Color laser is becoming affordable for the home market, but low volume users will get quite a bit of bang for their bucks with a good quality HP inkjet. This machine is handling my printing and scanning chores, and it does have card slots for printing pix from the Canon. Some folks have reported paper handling problems with this unit, but I haven’t had many of those. To be fair, I did like the Epson’s software better.

Rounding out the list is TiVo, which is an amazing device. Trying to explain it to hubby was difficult. “Honey, we can pause the ball game when your mother calls and go right back to it when she finally hangs up!” Once he got the picture, we got the device, and now television is catching up to the digital age, and in-laws can still be a pain, but we get to see all of our favorite shows. My kids love this thing, too, so despite having four tv sets, hubby and I have to fight to see the one hooked to the TiVo.

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At Feb 7, 2007, 10:15:00 PM, Blogger Sun Singer said...

If it weren't for the hassle, the cost of film, and the fact that it doesn't work any more, I still prefer my Honeywell Pentax SLR 35mm camera to digital. Still more DPI and the controls aren't so small I need a magnifying glass to see what I'm doing. Hmm, it didn't have a USB port on it either.


At Feb 8, 2007, 8:11:00 AM, Blogger Pamela J. Dodd said...

I know what you mean about the size of the controls. That's why I always choose a camera with a larger form factor. My sister has one of those tiny cameras that doesn't have view finder, and I really detest those!

The Fuji that I just abandoned was large enough so I could easily use the controls, and this new one is almost as good. And I do love the swivel screen of the Canon. It's like having a camera with some decent camcorder functions built in.


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