I had to replace my Canon A520, which had developed an annoying tic of not opening its lens cover without assistance from yours truly. Naturally, two years later its replacement, a Canon A710 IS has all sorts of features unavailable on the previous cam — most notably image stabilization, which is designed to reduce shake caused by the hands of incompetent photographers. It appears to work pretty well. I tried it out at Castle Rock State Park and Sanborn-Skyline County Park on Friday. Among the highlights:
This is one of my faves: I shot the sun filling this wildflower — called, you guessed it, a sun cup, — by shooting it from behind.
It gets the color of the sky right.
Madrones are one of the great challenges for shutter-bugs. They grow in clumps in the forest, where seemingly infinite variations of lighting make it hard for a camera to make up its mind and settle on a shutter/aperture setting. This is one of the better ones, but it still gets the lighter areas washed out a bit.
Another shot from behind — note the bug shadow.
A good dead tree picture pretty much takes itself.
A climber at Goat Rock.
Pretty clouds. These were fairly faint but the cam picked them up pretty well.
An iris: note the capillaries in the leaves. I’m not sure if this its original color or if it’s been bleached in the sun.
Summit Rock at Sanborn-Skyline County Park. This immense hunk o’ sandstone has been thoughtfully decorated by local high school hooligans.
A flash might’ve served this image well. It feels kinda flat.
Orange flowers shot in macro mode, handheld. Note the bug crawling among them.
Another macro shot. This is a crimson columbine … note the fuzz.
Overall it’s a pretty good camera; my previous one never let me shoot any wildflowers in macro mode without a tripod; this one’s pretty good with handheld shots.
I’m sticking with my insistence on using inexpensive point-and-shoots — the A710 street price is about $250 … it uses double-a batteries and SD memory cards. I bought an option package deal with two two-gig cards, a five year extended warranty, a battery charger (with batteries) and a case that fattened the final purchase price by another hundred bucks. Normally I never buy extended warranties but both of my previous Canons have developed malfunctions after the regular warranty had expired; I’m sure this purchase will guarantee a long and healthy life for this latest cam.
Why not just suck it up and buy a digital SLR? Mainly because those have a bunch of features I’d have to learn how to use, and I don’t want to have to haul around all the extra weight. Plus I like the challenge of plucking good pictures from the dross these smaller, less ambitious cams produce.
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