Keeping the Nikon S500

I guess we decided to keep the Nikon Coolpix S500. It is easier to carry around and the picture quality is quite good. Here are a couple of photos to demonstrate the size:
Nikon Coolpix S500
Nikon Coolpix S500

I was sort of confused about what Nikon calls the “BSS”, but I got it sorted out. If you press the “anti-shake” button the camera does four things. First, it makes sure VR is enabled. Secondly, it makes sure ISO sensitivity is enabled (which I try to keep turned off because any ISO above 400 is crap). Thirdly, it enables BSS. What BSS does is that when you press the shutter the camera automatically takes a bunch of photos at once. It then calculates what the sharpest picture is. The fourth thing the camera does in “anti-shake” mode is turn off the flash. The result of this is that “anti-shake” is suitable for outdoors, long focal length shots in lower light. For low light shots indoors you’re typically better off using the flash.

Digital camera comparison and Nikon S500 review

Here are a few photos and review that compare a Nikon D50 dslr with a Nikon Coolpix S500 compact digital with a Canon SD100 compact digital. Hover your mouse over each thumbnail to see which photo it is. Click on the thumbnails to see full sized pictures, you may need to be a bit patient the first time you try to view the photo.

Nikon D50Nikon S500Canon SD100

Nikon D50 enlargedNikon S500 enlargedCanon SD100 enlarged

My overall impression of the Nikon S500 is fairly positive. In the camera shops I was comparing it to the likes of the Casio EX-V7, the Canon SD800is, Canon SD1000, Pentax A30, Sony W55, etc. The selling points for me was the size of the S500, the cost, and the fact that it has mechanical image stabilization.

A lot of cameras are claiming image stabilization these days, but in fact all they are doing is pumping up the ISO setting of the camera. This results in horrible photos in my opinion. A photo taken with an ISO of 800 or higher is going to be graining as hell, and no one will care if it is blurred or not. The Casio, Canon SD800is, Pentax and Canon SD800is all have true image stabilization. However, the Canon was significantly more expensive. The Pentax was priced similarly but I am under the impression that the optics in the Nikon may be better. The Pentax feels a bit more comfortable in the hand though. I also really liked the Canon SD1000, even though it didn’t have image stabilization. The SD1000 was about the same size as the S500. Size was definitely a high priority for me. This is where the Casio fell down as well, I just wasn’t happy with its size despite that it is a small camera. The Casio comes with a 7X zoom though, so if you like shooting at higher telephoto ranges then definitely take a look at the Casio.

The D50 produced the most accurate colors than the S500, but in this photo the S500 is sharper! I’m not sure why, I think I was fooled by the red-eye reduction on the D50 (I usually don’t use red-eye flash) and I probably moved the camera while the shutter went. Below is another picture of Emma with the D50, and this one looks a lot sharper.
D50 enlarged

Here a few more photos using the S500. The one with dials was shot at 1/7s using the image stabilization! Very sharp for such a low shutter speed… This is a large file (so you can see how sharp it is), so please be patient with it loading.
S500 shutter speed 1/7sS500 red flowerS500 white flower

I’m not sure if we’ll keep the camera. Although the sharpness and increased resolution from the SD100 to the S500 is appreciated (7MP vs. 2.1MP), I’m not sure if it’s worth the $390 price tag. The S500 isn’t that much smaller than the SD100, so that isn’t much of an incentive. However, I recall that when we made a bunch of prints of the kids recently, I was quite disappointed with the photo quality of the SD100. I’ve always been critical of the quality because of the low resolution. It’s this improvement that may make the S500 worth every penny.

Nikon D50 or Canon XTi: choosing a dSLR

Here it is, another layman’s technology review. Read with caution because I’ve never actually even seen or used a Canon XTi.

I’ve been biased towards Nikon cameras for some time, but there probably isn’t any real reason to pick one over the other if you are starting out in dSLR. Certainly if you already had some Nikon compatible lenses your decision would swing towards Nikon. That would probably be the easiest way to decide between these cameras.

I’m not even sure if the D50 is a current model for Nikon, it may have been superseded by the D40. The D40 is quite similar I understand. I think its metering isn’t as good as the D50 and it is a bit cheaper. I think they both come with the same lens.

I’ve had a few Nikons and Canons for comparison Read the rest of this entry »

Bought a new digital camera

I managed to sell my Olympus C7070 for about $650US on ebay! So with that money, and money I expect to make from selling my spotmeter and Nikon N80, I bought a new Nikon D50 with the lens kit (18-55mm lens). I extremely happy with it so far, I’ll be posting some pictures made with it soon. If you have any questions about this camera, let me know and I’ll see if I can answer them.