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Received goods 5/10/11

2011 May 10

Why, what have we here? What treasures await within…?

cardboard box

Ah, the old A3 model

Oh look! Wonderful things!

Canon camera box, Snow Leopard package, spare battery

Doesn't everyone love this handsome carpet?

It appears that I am now the proud owner of a Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS, as well as a copy of Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard,” and a spare battery for said Canon Powershot. As well as one really, really dated-looking Canon camera box. Seriously, have they updated the graphics on these boxes since 1985?

Anyway, now I can upgrade my iMac, probably at the weekend. (After backing up everything, of course; they always told us to do that but it’s become much much more practical since the arrival of compact, high-capacity firewire external hard drives.) And then keep running my beloved Eudora without being more than one system version behind the curve for that much longer.

And I also have a lovely new digital camera:

PowerShot SD1200 IS

The irony being that I had to take this photo with my old camera

I like the sort of cool-gray matte-finish front panel. There were various color options and this looked like a winner to me.

There were and are, of course, also a zillion options in terms of digital cameras. I was able to narrow things down pretty quickly by sticking with Canon; my old camera, my scanner and my printer are all Canon products and so far they have never let me down.

And honestly, in this case, that seemed like more than good enough. I’m 32 years old, I don’t follow up-to-the-second technology news, and don’t really feel the need to invest countless hours in detailed comparison shopping on many products anymore, even electronics. If that’s fun for someone, great; I think comparison shopping for exactly the right edition of the original Sherlock Holmes books sounds fun, after all. But digital cameras: meh. I just need something that works. And these days, most digital cameras are so ridiculously good, I doubt that I’m going to go far wrong. Particularly when I’m upgrading from a several-years-old, 2.1 megapixel model.

Old camera, and older camera

I actually forgot I still had that one on the left, for a while

At right, above, is my previous camera, the PowerShot S110. Two-point-one megapixels, from back when it was presumably worth mentioning the extra one-tenth of a megapixel.

And the thing is, it’s still a very good camera. I can get nice photos, and even 2 megapixels is adequate resolution for most purposes. (This is why, in shopping for a new camera, I didn’t prioritize the absolute newest model even though I could have had a few more megapixels.) For its age this camera has held up very well, really. But it has begun showing its years. The rubber flap which covers the data port came loose, so that’s held on with electrical tape. Worse, a while back I dropped it on a hard floor and it’s acted just a bit flaky ever since. I had been thinking I was about due for an upgrade anyway, though, and now that mission is accomplished.

As for the older camera, wow, what a blast from the past. Amazingly I last used that just five years ago; it seems like a lifetime. Film rolls, going to a photo developer… It seems weird, now.

Big hand, small camera

Again, old camera photographs new camera

Anyway, new camera, woohoo! It’s little, as you can see; I have large mitts but this camera is still pretty tiny. But so was my old camera; this one is a good deal thinner and feels a bit less substantial in general, but the main panel is just as large. After my last camera I’m happy with compact models, and didn’t see any compelling region to go bigger. Again, they’re so good these days, why not have the convenience?

Admittedly, the result can feel a bit fiddly (especially, again, when you have big hands). But, 1) these cameras are so “smart” now that the automatic settings really eliminate a lot of the need to fuss around with buttons; I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with using a “point-and-shoot” camera for my purposes, and 2) the old camera is just about as fiddly, too, even if I’m used to it.

PowerShot S110 control surfaces

The S110 goeth... into the... niiiiiiiight...

And of course, the display on my new camera is significantly more than twice the size of the old camera’s, even though the panel area is identical. So that offsets things to some extent. Though I’ll kind of miss the cute little display on this old one. In recent years it’s gotten to the point where it actually surprised many people when they saw it, in situations reminiscent of the days when I schlepped around a 520c “Blackbird” PowerBook.

And I’ll probably keep this old camera around, and probably even use it now and then unlike my last film camera. Still, even after playing with it for just a bit, the new PowerShot seems impressive. I took a few photos of myself while just playing around, before even really knowing any specifics about how the new camera worked, and the detail in the resulting image is astonishing:

Not for small children

Stop crying. I can look much more scary than this.

And I know that this wasn’t even the highest-resolution setting. Meanwhile, I’m also impressed by the fact that the full image was 1200 x 1600 pixels, and yet produced a mere 408k file. Photos of the same resolution from my old camera generally weigh in closer to 1 MB. So clearly compression has improved.

As has data transfer: I was stunned by how quickly the photos zipped off of this new camera. I actually have a card reader, but who needs it; it seems like it could hardly beat the efficiency of just plugging the thing in. Whooosh.

I think this new camera and I will get along fine.

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