New camera thoughts!(Canon powershot SX120)

Old camera was a Canon Powershot A480. Had macro, and standard settings. The new camera has a nice auto setting, and the standards(Portrait, night, sunset, landscape, etc) as well as more advanced photography modes(fully manual, aperture priority, and shutter priority). Both are 10 MP, but the optics are so superior in this one, the detail and lighting really IS handled better. So unless you’re printing fairly large format things routinely, it should be plenty of resolution. I think it’s usually 200$-230$? So, midrange, but if you’re spending on a new camera anyways, you probably want one that actually WORKS!(the equivalent to my old camera sells for around 150$ new, if i recall, and its NOWHERE Near the quality)

I hauled it to work last night to test it out under a variety of lightings(Standard incandescent above the bathroom vanity, total dark w/flash, fluorescent, commercial fluorescent.) Results varied—-the vanity lights one was somewhat yellowed and had odd shadows from the very directional light source, but you COULD get angles that compensated and gave decent results. The fluorescent lights looked LOVELY….. smooth, natural skin tones, even distribution of light….. Flash is freakin powerful, and did the job. I rarely use flash. heh.

I took it around work to see how it handled various artificial lighting situations, and played with it with my homes own recess lighting.  The color is a little bit lost, but it’s easy enough to get shots, even macros, that are evenly lit, and detailed.

So far, it looks good, though! My only pet peeve is that the modes REALLY restrict which menu options you are allowed to access(EG the Portrait mode doesn’t let you alter lighting-you can’t tell it to take a portrait under natural light, cloudy, or fluorescent, or ask it to use the macro setting, for closer self portraits). For the most part, you can just work with the auto mode, which will automatically change modes for the lighting and focal distance.  You just have to learn the modes, though, to figure out your workarounds(The above example is if you put the camera on portrait mode. However, if you put it on “program” mode, you can alter the lighting settings, lens settings, and such, and get the same results. You just have to know to look for it there, rather than trying to put it on a mode that restricts your lighting or focus options.)

The “face recognition” stuff seems to really work–I haven’t had any that were oddly focused, except for one or two where I shifted while taking it. It clicks through pretty fast, so you aren’t holding it forever to get it to focus and shoot.

So far I’m really pleased with it! I mean, I’m trying to put it through its paces while I have the option of taking it back and trying other things. I doubt I will though. It’s more than serviceable for my makeup stuff, and has enough advanced photography stuff for me to work at polishing that, though it’s not a professional oriented model, by any means.  I know people complained about it being “bulky” compared to similar models, but I actually LIKE that, because it’s easier to grip for self portraiture and taking my own makeup shots.

Here’s a daytime macro, shot in the same spot as my older shots,at 3-4 PM.(Normally I shoot in the AM)

Here’s some various other settings of natural lighting too dark for my other camera to respond to.(around 3 PM)

And  shots taken in the morning, with colder natural lighting, at various spots in the house.

Here’s recessed lighting, at night.

Here’s Fluorescent lighting, at night

Here’s the flash

Here’s conventional lighting from a bathroom vanity

So, there’s some variance to the skin tones and whatnot, but overall, it  does a VERY nice job of evening out environmental lighting.  I’d still avoid taking shots like the vanity one, with one light source directly on and above you like that.  Not very flattering.  And you may need to add the skin tones back in for shots taken in the morning, or retouch the skin tone for recessed lighting.  But then, I am VERY pale, so others may not have that issue to this extreme.

Overall, it’s a pretty versatile camera, and easy to use for FAR more than beauty photography.  It’s head and shoulders above most of the “beginner” models.  If you prefer as little fuss as possible, and prefer a TOTALLY automatic camera, that’s smaller, than this may not be the best fit.  But if you have an interest in exploring more of the manual photographic possibilities(like me), than this is a much better fit than a simple point-and-shoot.

Given the other options I’ve seen, I really do think I’m inclined to keep this one!  It certainly HAS given me a lot more flexibility for the photography I need for my beauty blogging, without needing to go improvise photographic equipment and lighting work-arounds.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pumpkincat210
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 03:00:09

    I can tell a huge difference. Your other photos had a yellowish tinge to them and were a lot like my old sony camera. I think you made a really good choice and it’s fairly inexpensive.

    Reply

    • dolcearia
      Sep 03, 2010 @ 16:00:25

      I like it. I think I would sort of like a little more detail-the macros are on par with my old ones, but they still aren’t the prettiest ones I’ve seen. The lighting has taken a bit to get used to–it’s more versatile, but I think i STILL would say most of the images need a degree of color correction. It’s DEFINITELY an improvement though.

      (I’m going to hope you haven’t found a few of the posts in my archives that feature yellowed camera photos, PLUS really bad color corrections from when my monitor was beginning to break, and was making even the yellow photos look fuchsia. I keep meaning to replace them, but it’s such a PITA, I think I’m just hoping that no one will find them. Probably a dumb idea. Oh well, I’m DEFINITELY an amateur at the photography stuff)

      Reply

  2. pumpkincat210
    Sep 04, 2010 @ 03:04:14

    The color is generally better on the new camera, but the old pictures weren’t bad. If you can’t find the right light, which is kind of hard to do when you don’t have a professional photography setup and are an amateur, you could use a program like photoshop to adjust the tones, like taking yellow out and extra pink out. But you are right, the monitor settings on your computer and then on mine probably vary some so it’s hard to say. I do think your new pictures show your true skin color better. You should also try shooting in AV or TV modes with the Safety Shift turned off. You could also try turning of the i-contrast.
    Here are a couple of helpful macro photography sites i’ve found:
    http://www.bmpt1.com/
    http://www.digital-photography-school.com/macro-photography-tips-for-compact-digital-camera-users
    I hope those sites help you out!

    Reply

    • dolcearia
      Sep 04, 2010 @ 15:45:22

      my problem is my skin. It’s VERY pale and neutral, but it reflects odd aspects of the light around it. So I look like a ghost in some light settings, and others, I reflect a really bizzarre amount of yellow or pink. I can do the color corrections, but my computer is…. on its last legs…. so that involves getting the image over to my boyfriends computer, that works better, but is in an area of the house I don’t usually go into without a reason, and isn’t comfy for really sitting, adn typing things. So, most of the time, it doesn’t happen. Once in a while, there’s an image that I feel is focused enough, has a clear enough composition, decently even lighting, that I want to actually try to edit nicely, but that really IS fairly rare!

      Thanks for the sites! I’m still brushing up on the specifics of my photography. I have a good amount of experience with lighting, and editing, but less experience with the actual, mechanical handling of it.

      Reply

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