TBT: My first (digital) camera

Since it is summer, it is the perfect time to take pictures – especially of landscapes and your dog. While most cell phones (including mine) have a high-quality camera built right in, I can remember receiving my first digital camera.

The “photographer gene” must have skipped a generation. My parents took pictures very seldomly, and all of my baby pictures were taken using a simple Polaroid instant camera. However, my grandmother was notorious for constantly taking pictures of me as a child, and even when my father was a child and before then. Although the technology and cameras changed, my grandmother was always snapping pictures. (The camera she used when my dad was a child was a very basic black-and-white camera.)

Even when I was young (Kindergarten or first grade) I enjoyed taking pictures with the simple disposable film cameras. My parents would occasionally (very occasionally) purchase the disposable film cameras and allow me to take pictures. The only problem was, there was no “delete” button on a film camera. You had to know what you wanted to take a picture of, and you had one chance to get a good shot. Even young, six-year old me didn’t take horrible pictures.

I can remember using the disposable film camera and learning about digital cameras. You could take pictures, plug the camera into your computer, and upload the pictures to the internet and save them. Further more, you could easily edit the pictures and delete unwanted pictures. Because I already had my own website at this time, I loved the idea of being able to take a picture and simply upload it for the rest of the world to see.

So I begged for my parents to buy a digital camera for quite some time before I quit. That Christmas, they found a decent deal on a digital camera at a local store and purchased it for me that Christmas.

The camera was a Panasonic Lumix point-and-shoot DMC-LS80. The deal was actually a package that came with a fairly large HP OfficeJet printer that, while not a all-in-one, could print photos and print template pages. I used it to print photos but was angered to find that the replacement ink cartridges were fairly expensive.

An image of our school’s school bus, taken using the Lumix.
Another image taken by (young) me using the Lumix, of our cat Molly.

Unfortunately, the camera (and printer) was destroyed (alongside everything else I owned) in a devastating house fire. Only a couple pictures remain (since I uploaded them on a photo-sharing website) from the camera. All of the pictures I took prior using the film camera, as well as my baby pictures and my parent’s photo books (including pictures of them from when they were children) were reduced to ashes, as well. (This is a very good example of why it is always a good idea to have an off-site backup, even for digital files.)

Today

Similar to computers, it seems like I went from wanting more to having too many. I went from having only one camera to having three cameras, not including cell phones. Two of those cameras are point-and-shoot models, and the other is a cheap Flip-like camcorder.

The first camera I got after the fire was that Christmas. It was a Kodak CF180 point-and-shoot, which I used for quite a while. It took decent pictures but, likewise, had some wear-and-tear. Somehow, the Kodak went missing in moving similar to the Acer AspireOne netbook.

The camcorder I got the next Christmas after wanting to be able to shoot “1080p video.” The Kodak also had a microphone that made my voice (literally) sound stranger than normal, a fact I did not like when I talked in most of my videos.

Canon PowerShot A70

A friend shipped me his old Canon PowerShot A70 to use to take pictures. The PowerShot is from 2005, so it is an older point-and-shoot rated at 3.1 megapixels. He sent me an entire “kit” – consisting of the camera, a charger for it’s four rechargeable AA batteries, a compact flash (CF) card, and a card reader.

The Canon’s camera kit – including its card reader, the original CF card, and its battery charger.

However, don’t let that fool you. I’ve actually taken some pretty decent pictures using this camera. I still use it quite a bit – mostly when I need to get a picture and my cell phone will not suffice.

There are some problems with it, some of which are related to its age. The first major problem is that it seems to overexpose some pictures. Many pictures with this camera will come out blurry. Lastly, this camera will sometimes record some violet stripes onto the image.

Perhaps the biggest issue with this camera is of storage. My friend shipped the camera with a 256 MB compact flash card. A 4GB replacement card was purchased. However, since most typical computers don’t have a compact flash card reader built in, the camera also came with a card reader that connects to your computer via USB. This reader is unreliable since it’s USB port is flaky, and you have to pry the card reader PCB out of its plastic case to get the USB port to snugly connect to the PCB.

The original 256MB PNY compact flash card.

I do plan on upgrading to a DSLR in the future. Since a camera is on the lower end of my priority list, it may be quite a while. However, I’m already looking for a decent camera to call my next. I’m eyeing some Nikon models because they’ve proven to be fairly reliable and high-quality (in my experience, as I’ve used them in my “professional life”) and they’re cheaper than their Canon counterparts.

 


Post written on the T42. Images also resized using the T42. Images of Canon camera kit and compact flash card taken using my cell phone – the Samsung Express Prime 2.

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