What I had begun to learn during my film camera days, as I progressed a little, was soon lost when I got my first digital camera. My film SLR had very primitive metering & basic manual focus (split prism). To get close, you had to know at least a little about each function. With my first digital P&S, a Canon S100, it was Point at it and shoot ( I know, that’s what P&S means). I wasn’t’ required to focus or even pick the shutter speed or f-stop. Now this was great for an evenly lit scene. If it was too dark, leave the flash on auto and it would give you flash. But the pictures lacked content, or feeling. Just recording history of my simple adventures. This came to a climax while on a trip down the Colorado River for six days in May 2005. For one, digital cameras where discouraged because of the water, elements. I shot every piece of rock, splash of water the I saw. While great for memories, not very inspiring work. To be fair, if I had paid attention to some fundamentals and been more creative, I might have come away with something more memorable.
Here is an example, see what I mean…
Oddly enough, this experience provoked me to want to return to photography in a more serious way. Every turn in the river was an awe-inspiring moment. The trip was a wonderful time with my brother-in-laws and I wanted to relive it and capture the beauty of it. It was shortly after that I realized I needed a better camera if I wanted the creative latitude to explore this. Of course, the fact that I ruined the S100 after 5 days with some river water helped make that possible. I then began a journey of acquiring more capable cameras.
2nd Digital, a Pro1, learned a few things.
Decent digital cameras were over $500 and to fund this new hobby, I had to get creative. I basically liquidated some old hobbies on Ebay, including Ham Radio gear and old Porsche parts. This prevented having to deal with the family comptroller.
My first step up was to a Canon Pro1. I didn’t know at the time but it was the end of the line for this series from Canon. I had debated getting an S2IS for the image stabilization, but preferred the optics & image size of the Pro1. At 8mp, it was capable of very nice images up to about ISO 200. That’s right, only ISO 200. It could go to 400 but noise was pretty bad. For a daylight camera or on a tripod, a decent landscape tool. The lens, 28-200mm & f2.4, was rated “L” class and actually had the famous Red line around the lens barrel. Another very nice feature was a macro mode that was pretty effective. The camera also supported a wireless remote and had an EVF. After a few months use though, I began to feel the limitations. It was pretty slow focusing & shot-to-shot times were painfully slow. Found this out big-time when using it at an air show. EVF would go blank during muti-shot mode. But it was a good camera when used within it’s limitations.