Many years ago, (no, that’s not a picture of me!), I became quite interested in photography. I got my first SLR when I was 18 and in the pursuit of this hobby, I eventually acquired quite an impressive array of photographic kit, mostly Pentax, who were, IMO, by far and away the best of breed when it came to optics and pleasingly compact SLR cameras.
I took a lot of pictures.
I had fun taking a lot of pictures.
Some of them were even passably good.
I often went out with a backpack full of camera kit that weighed quite a lot.
I didn’t mind.
Then I had children and suddenly it was no longer practical, or fun, trying to take pictures with a camera that really required more hands and eyes than you had available, after taking into account those in use for the offspring. As for luggage, not much room for several lbs of camera kit in between the nappies, changing mats, drinks, snacks, wipes, spare bits of clothing and all the other parental baggage that is required to wrangle small children. The children were taken on outings, my camera kit was not. Until, that is, I ventured into compact (snappy) camera territory. The most recent model, a Pentax A30, slips neatly into a pocket, takes pretty decent pictures and has served me very well for several years. I was entirely satisfied with it…until a couple of weeks ago.
I blame the library.
It seems you can download magazines from the library for free.
I downloaded a copy of Amateur Photographer to browse.
I saw proper cameras.
I liked what I saw.
I really liked what I saw.
I wanted what I liked.
I became quite enthusiastic about the idea of using a proper camera again.
Cue some intensive research on what was on offer. Reading reviews/previews and trying not to drown in the sheer diversity and range, until I started to eliminate what I didn’t like, need or want. I didn’t want a DSLR – too big, expensive and all very much in the blobby black plastic jelly mould camp. I liked the idea of a CSC (Compact System Camera) – all the fun of an SLR without the size and weight. What’s not to love?
I found a model that looked like a proper camera…choice made. Woo-hoo!
DH even offered to buy it for me for my birthday. Double Woo-hoo! 😀
It arrived yesterday! Woo-Hoooooooo!
I didn’t have to wait until my birthday! Woo-hoo with sparklers and rainbow chocolate sprinkles on top…and a cherry! 😀
Here it is next to one of my old Pentax SLRs. (It’s the one on the right.) Natty, eh? 😀
It’s an Olympus OM-D EM-10 and it may look remarkably similar to the Pentax, but it’s smaller and lighter, though still with a metal body, so not in the least bit plastic-y or flimsy. And, oh boy, does it have more features, functions, options and settings than you can swing a cat at! It took me 5 minutes and some frantic leafing through the manual to find the ON switch. I was beginning to think that I might need several months of study to get the hang of working it and I couldn’t even start to play with it until the battery was cooked :/
That said, I sallied forth on my dog walk this morning and snapped a few snaps. Here are a couple of the results, completely unchanged apart from resizing…
The pic on the left was taken using the “Landscape” setting, which increases the blue and green colour levels (the sky looked much whiter in reality). The one on the right used one of the “Art” modes, which make the sky appear stormy. Same scene, two completely different effects. I love it! I can see myself using these A LOT in Cornwall next month, especially the stormy one, (always hoping the sky isn’t really stormy) 😀
I do plan to (re)learn how to use the traditional manual settings, but it’s always more exciting to play with the “toys” first* and there are certainly plenty of those. Not only are there a variety of pre-programmed photo modes and effects, but there are controls to adjust just about everything you can imagine. It even has help screens to…well…help. You can watch long exposures develop on the screen live! How cool is that? You can do time lapse! Not only that, but it has Wi-Fi, FFS! I can set up the camera and take pictures using my phone or iPad without even getting off my arse! And this is just the entry level model, it’s not even close to the top of the range.
* the “ooh” factor effectively stamping
down out my inner purist.
There are so many things it can do that I can’t even remember all of them and if I use this camera for the rest of my days, I will probably still be stumbling on new things. I’m going to have so much fun with this…just as soon as I learn what all the buttons do 😀