Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Camera Rotation

I've acquired eight digital cameras in eight years, with #6 being a Canon S45 4-megapixel model. I have two newer cameras that get the usage now, so I sent the S45 off to a new home yesterday and admit to getting a bit nostalgic during the packing.

Three years ago as I was getting ready for my trip to Antarctica, I decided my 2mp Elph wasn't robust enough for such a trip so the S45 was acquired to fill the role of compact camera. After my 50mm SLR lens broke during the trip, the only other SLR lens I had along was a 70-200 telephoto. The S45 had to cover the wide and normal ranges. I'm not going to claim this is anything but a snapshot, but it is my favorite S45 image. It's a gentoo penguin on the shore inside the volcanic ring that is Deception Island with the Clipper Adventurer in the background.


The S45 also made it to the Galapagos, British Columbia, and quite a few places in the US. Although there were reasons why I bought a G6 instead of the S45's successor S70 last year, the line which included the S45 up through the S70 was rather compelling. These cameras are more compact than the G series, but almost as packed with useful features. In fact, when I convinced my employer that we needed a new camera for the office, I was able to specify purchase of an S70. (Unfortunately after they made the S70 and G6, Canon apparently decided to dumb down the entire Powershot brand. The S80 and G7 do not measure up to their predecessors.)

It's a coincidence, but as the S45 was rotating out the door yesterday, a new SLR lens was rotating in. Actually, referring to Canon's 500mm f/4 as a lens is like calling a Lamborghini a car. It's accurate but not descriptive. Until I get somewhere, for now I have to be content with hunting the nuthatches in my back yard, the equivalent of swatting mosquitoes with a sledgehammer.

Nuthatch with 500

No doubt about it, the 500mm is a big, pro lens. I've resisted using a tripod or monopod with the mid-sized 300mm f4 I've had for eight years, but there is no choice with the big 500mm. Using it successfully will be a challenge. I feel sort of like David Clyde getting yanked out of high school to pitch for the Texas Rangers. Hopefully I'll have a longer career as a (semi-) pro shooter than Clyde did as a pitcher (career 18-33 in five seasons).

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