I use a Canon SD 800 IS. It ain’t the best but it works for me. I have a friend in the Miata club, Dr. Ellen Rudoph. She uses a camera similar to Al’s but she told me that she had used one similar to my Canon and had taken 100,000 shots with it. She works a lot with National Geographic. She like Al is very good with her shots.
Paul E. Smith
Al, very nice camera, that said, I’ll take 2 of those Pizzas!
I bounce back and forth between my DSLR Canon 20D and my Point n Shoot Canon SD890IS. Frankly I decide which to use for much the same reason you expressed. The DSLR does a much better job on basic photos, but size and weight make carrying it a noticeable activity. The SD890 does OK, but I find that I must really try to be steady, even with the ‘IS’ feature active. Thank Heaven for Photoshop that helps me cover my errors in exposure and focus a bit !
On the basis of the two “naked” photos, the new camera sure looks like a winner.
My pocket point-and-shoot is a Nikon S710. I get some decent photos out of it, but it’s a couple of years old now, and no-doubt has been superceded. It’s my carry-around camera (ya never know when something worth photographing will pop up!), but I try to bring my DSLR D60 Nikon when I plan to photograph food, if possible.
I look forward to hearing about your results with the new camera in low-light, no-flash situations.
I’ve probably posted more than a thousand photos to Roadfood.com. Over that time I had used a few different cameras starting with an Olympus D500 and then a Canon SD850, both point and shoots. I have also used an Olympus E520 DSLR camera. I have even used my iPhone 3G camera in a pinch. The E520 is an excellent camera but is big and bulky. Often I felt just a tad intimidated carrying it into a restaurant and worried where I could put it down so it would not get in the way, or worse, where I might put it down and forget about it like I have done with a few hats.
I was happy with my Canon SD850 P&S but not in comparison to my Olympus E520 DSLR. I still wanted a good, stealth, carry in your pocket at all times point and shoot camera. I also wanted a camera to take on a Mediterranean cruise next month and have no regrets for the once in a lifetime shots like the Vatican, Colloseum, Acropolis and Pyramids at Giza. I also wanted a better low-light capable camera to get those restaurant shots, especially that pizza in Naples I am aiming for that could equal DSLR quality shot. In order to travel light and not anticipating taking any telephoto nature shots, I went shopping for the best carry in your pocket P&S camera I could find. I think that camera is the Canon S95. In test shots it is very close to my DSLR in photo quality and color rendition. So not much will be sacrificed there. It may be a slightly better low-light camera with a faster f2.0 lens and it seems to handle high ISO noise better.
Here is the spec sheet in the Canon S95. http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/digital_cameras/powershot_s95 Canon Powershot S95
Getting to the meat. Here is a pizza I made last night and took shots with my old and new point and shoot cameras at the same time with no flash and identical conditions.
Old – Canon SD850
New – Canon S95
Neither photo had any post production editing done to them. I know I can improve both that way. Also, these are reduced resolution medium quality JPEG images so there is some original quality loss in both. The most dramatic difference is the amount of light captured and the detail of the pizza shadow from two different light sources on the wood peel. Also under close zoom in examination the new camera picks up way more detail and has better dynamic range which may be more important in printing.
When I was in high school I bought a Mamiya 35mm SLR which I used happily for many years. It’s amazing, though, when for kicks I occasionally take it out and feel the weight of it. Can’t see taking it around to all the restaurants these days!
In the early 70s, on one of my first trips to London, I left a camera bag including a SLR and a number of lenses on the Underground. I got to the street, realized I had forgotten it. In a panic I rushed back to the platform. Fortunately it was an end of the line stop. I spotted a conductor carrying my bag. A passenger had given it to him. He returned it to me after a mild scolding for being so careless.
Later I stopped carrying a camera and lenses. I came to realize that I had focused so much on taking pictures that I didn’t relax and simply enjoy what I was experiencing. During this phase I made it to the Taj Mahal. I was besieged with vendors wanting to sell me film. My driver who also acted as my guide shooed them off saying, “Mr. Moore is a writer (maybe I exagerated a bit). His mind is his camera.” He received a generous tip.
Nowadays I carry both a pocket camera and a SLR on my travels, but with a few exceptions pull them out only for food pics for my site. I still believe that snapping pictures of everything takes away from the experience. I also concede that it might be the same with food pics. I likely miss something because I’m snapping up a storm.
Davy, have a WONDERFUL trip! Enjoy everything you see, eat and experience!
Can’t wait for your return.
I love your dedication.
That’s one of main the reason I stuck with the Canon G series is the optical viewfinder and the main reason I always favored Leica rangefinders over SLR’s for street shooting. Short of a hood, I find it almost impossible to compose a shot under bright daylight with a LCD. I’ve been waiting for years for Epson to straighten out their issues with their RD1 series. It doesn’t seem that anyone besides them or Leica has any interest in a parallax compensated viewfinder. Moving to a DSLR defeats the entire purpose.
I have no problem with my camera outside, but I bought the S95 specifically for my roadfood and BPT sandwich pursuit activities. However, I am off today for Rome, Italy and a Med cruise to the Egyptian pyramids, Istanbul, Greek isles, Athens and Naples. The only camera I am taking along is the Canon S95. I’m leaving my Olympus E520 DSLR at home. Maybe the only food shot I will get will be that pizza I seek out in Naples. I’m also interested in packing light and keeping my camera secure in an inside pocket of my Scottevest. I’m more cautious now after getting mugged by a street gang at a festival in Bolivia 5 years ago and losing my wallet, money, ID and credit cards.
The battery is good for about 200 photos. That is usually more than I take in a day but I did run out one day because I started out without a fully charged battery. So, I carry a spare. Lithium ion rechargeable batteries are getting pretty cheap. I bought my spare at Target for $13. A year ago you seldom saw them under $40.
How is the battery life on the S95? Do you need a extra battery?
Am I the only person left that likes a viewfinder? A few months ago I thought I might need to replace my Canon Powershot A540. I looked at all the new cameras and there were no viewfinders left on any of them. The only way to get a viewfinder is with a larger, more expensive DSLR. I find I can’t see well with any of the LCD screens outside and if I am wearing sunglasses, fugeddaboudit! In a pinch, I use my cellphone and it takes a good picture, but there have been times where I couldn’t even get the shot right since I could not see the screen. Come to think of it, there were times when I couldn’t even see the “shutter button” in the sunlight and didn’t save a picture on it since I could not see the right place to touch. Anyone else like a viewfinder or am I swimming against the current?
DawnT, the Canon G series cameras are pretty much the same as the S series except in size factor. They share much the same elements including sensor. The G series, at least in my estimation, is not a camera one would stick in a trouser pocket as you can with the S series. That WAS the deciding factor. If I had to carry a camera in the hand then I would continue to carry my DSLR. The Canon S95 is bigger than the Canon SD8xx series and to me verges on being almost too big.
Here is a comparison in size photo between the Canon SD850, Canon S95 and the iPhone 3G.
I just traveled to three continents with the camera and took nearly a thousand photos. It didn’t fail me. I just wished I had more time in advance to learn how to use it better with manual controls in difficult lighting situations. I never took a flash photo and I was blown away by its low-light capability. I got photos in the Vatican Museum and Basilica that brought out color in low-light that I could not even see in person. An example was the Tapestry Room at the Vatican was deliberately dark to preserve the tapestries and the camera gave me outstanding photos without flash. Most restaurants were under lit yet I still got acceptable food shots without flash.
There were a few situations where I wished I had my DSLR with its full array of lenses but I desired to pack and travel light and secure. The Great Pyramids at Giza was one place that begged using different lenses to pose shots. Cruising past Greek isles also begged the desire to have my telephoto DSLR lens along.
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