"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Thursday, July 19, 2012

the camera, revisited

What was I thinking?

It seems like I have never been happy with my Pentax Optio W90 camera.  I bought it with high hopes, then was quickly disappointed.  Focusing never seemed quick enough, images weren't sharp enough and it seemed to eat batteries for breakfast.

But as I looked at my files from this last cruise I found myself starting to thing "Hey, these are some nice photographs."  That thought led me to look at photos from my last three trips, some of which you can see here.  Not too bad.  I'm starting, after a year and half, to like this camera.

I guess it is hard to say the W90 is a bad camera when a photograph shot with the camera, above, was used as the cover shot of Chesapeake Bay Magazine.  There are some pretty high technical requirements for magazine cover reproduction and this W90 pictures seemed to work out just fine. 

Take a look at the post titled "the boat" and  you will see that the first eight images were shot with this camera.  Those are, at least in my opinion, some pretty nice photographs.  

Some of this is the learning curve.  I finally figured out how to turn off all the junk - smile indicators, etc - and just use the camera as a waterproof point and shoot.  And some of it is getting out and using the camera, giving it a chance to see what it can do.

Even my opinion of the battery consumption has changed.  I took six batteries on this last eight day trip.    By the evening of the second day I had drained one battery.  During lunch in Atlantic the next day I recharged that battery and topped off the second battery.  Those two batteries lasted the rest of the trip.  I never touched the other six batteries.

The only area where I ran short was on my storage card.  I left behind (unintentionally) my extra cards and by day seven I had filled up the two gig card.  The last day of the trip I was going through the shoot, deleting images so I can shoot just a couple more photographs.  But that was all my fault, not the camera's.

Check out the detail in the fish photograph above.  The crispness and tonal qualities of that picture would be a plus for any camera.

One earlier opinion that I will stand by is that the video is terrible.  I can live with that.  I'm not all that interested in video.  

For right now, this is a pretty good camera to have on board.  I will keep it and use it until I find something that is a lot better.  That may be a while. 



Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with being self-critical about details like photo images, especially for blogs and publications.

I admire how you view a scene from a different perspective & make it more memorable.

I use a 5D MKII on my P-18 & it is more protected by the camera case on the cabin bunk if things get iffy.

I believe you have the best compromise for a water-resistant point & shoot camera that takes images that offer professional results for the money spent.

Thanks for giving us unforgettable, compelling views looking at life on the coastal waters of NC.

doryman said...

Thanks Steve - I've been pretty unhappy with the quality of the photos from my old Canon PowerShot lately. I've gotten some good shots from it over the years, but nothing like yours. It's time for an upgrade and it's hard to get reviews you can depend on.


Steve said...

I'm not suggesting that this is the camera to buy, I'm not even sure that it is still being sold. But it was, after a rough start, kind of nice to find the camera making some nice photographs.


EyeInHand said...

It's good that you're always critical. That's how you get better. But it's also good to recognize success when you see it.

That's how you stay sane.

Besides, the camera is insignificant compared to the eye behind it.

Nice job.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve
I bought the Casio Exilim EX-G1 with high hopes too. Love the size but the controls are small and "fiddly". The images have a lot of noise and not always so sharp. I've gotten it wet but never took it swimming. I'm not thrilled with it but sometimes it surprises me. Like you, I'll keep it until I find something A LOT better. My latest images in the Honga River last week were decent.
O'Day Mariner

Steve said...

I am convinced that no camera out there is just right for a small boat or any other water related adventure. Reading reviews (and believe me I read them all for several cameras while researching that last purchase) I found there is an issue, or two or three, with every camera on the market. With the gopro's and other cameras (made by non-camera companies) emerging, somebody will get it right sooner or later.