digital cameraSeveral things that I have figured out while on the recent vacation trip and I plan to blog about most of them going forward. Thought I would start out with the camera and a few things I have observed and plans going forward on that front. Between my wife and myself we have two older Kodak EasyShare digital cameras, mine being slightly better than hers. Neither has a high mega pixel ability compared to the typical range of cameras sold today, but mine edge hers slightly so that is the one we took. It should be noted, I had one that was much better but the LCD screen got cracked at some point so this was the fall back position.

The current camera did a pretty good job with the more the six hundred images we snapped between us while we were away. As my previous experience has taught me (which was reinforced) it does a really good job in outside lighting conditions. This is true with zoomed shots as well as more typical point and shoot ranges. However, ad in motion and about half the time you get a blurred image half the time not. The camera really fails though with any sort of low light conditions, even when it seems bright in general, if the object itself is not in a spotlight or especially out of flash range things fall off with quality really quickly. One other major drawback of the older technology is an about 1-4 second lag time in saving the images – going up proportionally to the amount of zoom (digital?) used – or so it would seem.

Fortunately most of our trip was in mostly sunny skies and largely outside. However, one my personal favorite parts of the trip was the Metropolitan Museum of Art with its huge collection of armor, specially the from European middle ages. Unfortunately, the museum is a no flash photography zone. And of course there was pieces on display in plenty of light for the camera to handle well, but most of it was late fifteenth and early sixteenth century harness. My interest in the mid to late fourteenth century equipment was well represented but in much lower light conditions and mostly behind display cases as well. As a result, of the two hundred plus pictures I have from the morning spent, one-third were trash and another third are just close enough to visible that they will work for now.

One other thing, the camera, acquired second-hand and been through a rough stretch of ownership by my own hand only has a remove the battery unit wall charger and the clip that retains said battery is gone and the door has been cracked, coming open easily. This lead to one morning a stretch of pictures being taken that showed up with 01/01/2004 dates on them. After changing the dates on the files, they were still be classified by Picasso as that date. A little research revealed meta-data that said the same thing – who would have thought such in a JPG file (the format has an extension basically that allows it now a days, but not way back when I was working in graphics in college and graduate school). ExIf is the name of the actual format and ExIf is the tool in Linux that you can edit such things. Ironically, the reason it has never been a problem for me before is GIMP (graphic editing tool for Linux) just wipes the meta data out if found. Something learned, so a good point, but what a pain in the behind end.

Back to the camera. I did a little wish list shopping last night and I have come up with a few things for my next camera. Of course, in looking around, I have not found exactly what I looking for yet. I have found close and they are on the pricing end. It goes without saying, it has to be digital. I think 12 mega pixels or better, though honestly for what I do 10 would be fine I think. It must have a viewfinder, which is something that is becoming rare to find in a digital camera these days. It must also allow some settings of for shutter speed, so I can have it open for longer exposures on still images in lower light conditions as about one half of my photo taking would be in this situation. Additionally, it should allow for pretty decent frames per second and maybe even support some level of video, though I am not set on the later part of that. As a lot of what I would do with it otherwise would be action shots though, support of that and fast save to memory (.3 or less, though .2 would be even better). Lastly, I think it is not too much to expect a Lithium Ion powered system with charging built-in the box. While I would maybe like a changeable lens system, I do not think my level of usage justifies it, especially given the cost, but something a bit more than the small standard digital lenses would be a preference. I see several that are close but only have NI-MH batter support and I am not sure if that charges on board or not.