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Monday, May 4, 2009

'Mine That Bird' is buying me a Camera!

I have had just about the luckiest year in sports that a girl can ask for. So far in 2009, I won our office "Super Bowl Squares" Pool, I won our office NCAA March Madness Pool and then to top it off I just won big this weekend at the Kentucky Derby!


My coworker, Emily, goes to the Derby each year, and on Friday on her way to catch her flight she asked if anyone wanted to give her money to bet on a horse. My coworker T gave her a $20 bill and I handed her a $10 and that was that. She instructed us that we could review the horses on Saturday morning and text her our picks. Well, when the horses were announced, she texted me to tell me that there was a horse called "Mine That Bird" that she was going to bet on for me, being that I am a tiny bit obsessed with birds. I wrote her back and said, "Perfect!"

WOW! It was perfect indeed! A minor obsession of mine really paid off big. 50/1 big! (And, man I should have given her a $20!) Talk about a major ROI in this crappy economy.

So thanks to Mine That Bird, I had a nice chunk of cash sitting on my desk this morning when I arrived at work. And that unexpected cash payout is going to go towards a new DSLR camera! (heck, it will almost cover the whole thing!)

I seriously feel so lucky to even be posting about this right now, and am happy that I will hopefully be able to learn to use my soon-to-camera before our trip to Italy!

I have been following some blogs, doing some research on my own and also asked two of my photog friends their advice for an amateur like moi, and have all but settled on a Canon Rebel XSi. But I could be talked into another model/brand if anyone wants to steer me in another direction. For instance, I had really good experience with a Pentax digital point-and-shoot in the past; does anyone have experience with Pentax DSLR's?

Also, where is the best and most reputable place on the net to find a camera? I'd love the advice of any owners out there!

6 comments:

Jennelle May 4, 2009 at 7:45 PM  

That's awesome! You are one lucky sports bettor. :) Matt bet on Regal Ransom, and he ended up coming in last. At least it was only $5!

Dave May 5, 2009 at 8:32 AM  

Nice bet! Congratulations!

A nice site with in depth reviews on cameras is http://www.dpreview.com/. You might want to check that out.

Stephanie May 5, 2009 at 9:16 AM  

Thanks for the site, Dave!

The Camera Fanatic May 5, 2009 at 9:33 AM  

Outstanding blog. My personal favorite camera is the Canon PowerShot SD1100IS. I wrote a review for it, please let me know what you think:

UPDATE: This camera is currently on sale at Amazon. You can find the link here:

http://tinyurl.com/canonpowershot1100

If you need a solid, reliable, and stylish point-and-shoot ultracompact digital camera that produces high-quality images, then the new Canon PowerShot SD1100IS may be right for you.

I am an advanced amateur photographer and own 2 Canon digital cameras (G2 and 20D). Both have served me well over the years but recently I have found myself needing a decent ultracompact camera that I can easily carry with me at all times for unexpected photo-ops.

Other current Canon models that I also researched before my purchase of the "bohemian brown" SD1100IS included the SD950IS and the SD1000.

Here is my take on the SD1100IS:

Strengths:
- 8MP CCD sensor with DigicIII processor (excellent resolution images with good dynamic range)
- Solid construction (most of body made of anodized aluminum)
- Feels sturdy and well-balanced in the hands
- Easy to use (logical user-interface) with minimal need to consult owner's manual for basic operation
- Multiple shooting modes to fit variety of situations (action/sports mode is a glaring omission but read section below to see possibly why)
- Advanced metering system with accurately exposed pics in even "tricky" situations (great balance of highlights and shadows)
- Tack-sharp images (much more so with sufficient lighting and use of built-in flash)
- Macro mode can result in stunning close-ups with outstanding level of detail
- Optical IS feature helpful when shooting in either low-light conditions with flash off or at telephoto lengths
- Fast start-up with acceptable shutter-lag (when not using flash)
- Bright 2.5" LCD monitor (100% coverage, 230k pixels) made of polycrystalline silicon; fairly scratch-resistant (can't vouch if this applies to keys and coins)
- Optical viewfinder (though only a tiny peephole, it is essential when LCD glare and washout become an issue shooting in bright sunlight or when LCD cannot be used as battery power is nearly depleted)
- Camera made in Japan (at least those from the 1st shipment; this easily may be subject to change)

Limitations:
- Lack of manual control over aperture, shutter speed, and focusing (for the obssessive control-freaks)
- Noise is noticeable beginning at ISO 400 (ISO 800 still useable but probably for only 4x6 images; ISO 1600 mostly unuseable)
- Fastest shutter speed is 1/1500 sec (not fast enough to stop action for some sporting activities)
- Auto-focus speed inadequate to follow fast-moving subjects
- Shutter-lag accentuated with flash on (precious Canon moments lost while waiting for flash to recharge)
- Cannot adjust focus or optical zoom while shooting in movie mode (focus is fixed for distance selected at first frame, and digital zoom is permitted instead, resulting in significant image quality deterioration)
- Battery/memory card cover and hinge made of plastic (no safety latch that needs to be de-activated first before sliding cover out, in order to prevent accidental opening)
- Minor vignetting and chromatic aberration (albeit, difficult not to expect from compact p&s)
- Pincushion and barrel distortion at the extremes of the focal lengths
- No RAW shooting mode

Battery power in camera mode with LCD monitor on is mostly as advertised, allowing for approximately 240 images. If your budget permits, I recommend investing in a few spare batteries as backups and replacing the supplied 32MB memory card with a pair of 4GB SDHC memory cards--vital purchases if you plan to use the movie mode frequently.

Overall Impression:
Even with some serious limitations inherent to virtually all digital cameras in this class, I am recommending the Canon PowerShot SD1100IS. It does what it's supposed to do. This camera allows one to take beautiful photographs in an ultracompact, reliable, and elegant device that is both easy and fun to use.

http://tinyurl.com/canonpowershot1100

Pamela May 5, 2009 at 9:42 AM  

i am a Nikon girl myself- they take very vibrant photos and that's what they're known for.

as far as where to buy-
online: b h photo is awesome! adorama is ok to buy from too.

in STL: schiller's is my #1 favorite place to buy ANYTHING. i love them and they all have a lot of experience so they know what they're talking about.

if you have anymore questions, feel free to ask me. :)

GOOD LUCK!

Sarah May 5, 2009 at 2:38 PM  

you are one lucky lady! and how exciting that your winnings will lead to a new camera, you'll definitely have to post pictures of your screen-printing projects with your new DLSR.

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I'm a St. Louis native, but I have been living in Chicago since 2005 and am loving every windy minute of it. I enjoy cooking (more-so eating), home decorating and really anything creative. I'm a supporter of DIY & handmade goods, a fledgling foodie and a connoisseur of kitsch. I spend my days filling online shopping carts, emptying them and repeating the process all over again. Most of all I love spending time with my husband, Dave, our first child, Claire and my dog, Louie.

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