Our Digital Cameras

Until we get the negatives, slides and prints out of storage and scan them all the pictures on the web site that we took were with a digital camera.  One exception is we have been known to buy disposable underwater cameras for snorkeling pictures.

Up into June 2004 all the pictures were taken with a Canon Powershot G1, here is an old review.  It is a 3MP (mega pixel) camera with a 3X zoom.  It takes 320x200 movies and saves in AVI format, but Bill normally changes these to WMV to upload since they are smaller files.   This camera lived in the car after the Nikon was bought so if we forget the new camera, we have it ready.  But once the Canon SX10 was bought this camera was retired.  Diane sometimes used this camera while Bill is using a newer camera.  Bill takes 99% of the pictures, but Diane is fully capable of taking pictures when she wants to.

In June 2004 we bought a Nikon Coolpix 8700 and here is a review.  This is an 8MP camera with an 8X zoom (35mm to 280mm) and we have add-on lenses that make it go down to 23mm and 560mm, but the optics on the add-on lenses are not as good as the main lens.  It takes 640x480 movies and saves in MOV format (Quicktime).  8MP is really nice, 8X is really nice, this camera handles most things we want and allows us to crop small sections for the web site.  We need really good light for the 8X to be useful because the camera sensor is small and needs the light and because the camera does not have anti-shake and we rarely lug a tripod with us.  But this camera has one mode, Night Landscape, that the Canon's do not have.  Night Landscape allows long exposure tripod photos and is useful in caverns that allow tripods and night scenes like the lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore.

During our trip to Alaska in 2006 and other times when we have dealt with wildlife the two cameras were very frustrating to use.  Both take a while to start up or wake up when they go into power saving mode.  They also take a while to take a second shot.  Wildlife doesn't stay still so the delays were irritating.  For Christmas 2006 Diane bought Bill a new Canon A710 IS since it is small and very fast.  It is a 7.1MP with a 6X zoom (35mm to 210mm) but also has anti-shake.   Here is a review.  This camera gave Diane's family something to buy for Bill for Christmas since it needed rechargeable AA batteries, SD memory cards, and a new camera bag.  The camera is not as capable as the Nikon 8700 since it is a cheaper and smaller camera, but it is close in specs and very fast.  The only time it is slow is when using the flash, it takes a while to charge the flash and a long time to recharge.  Anti-shake is really nice.  For wildlife this should be the camera used, that is why we have it.

The next camera is a Canon SX10 IS.  Here is a review from dcresource.com.   Group review of super zoom cameras on dpreview.com that includes the SX10 IS.  This camera was a Christmas present for 2008.  This camera can do about everything the older cameras can do and more.  It has image stabilization like the A710 IS, it has more zoom range (28mm to 560mm) than the 8700, it is a 10MP camera which is better than than 8700, and it has about every mode and scene mode the other cameras have.  Only for night landscape photos is the 8700 the camera to have.

The Nikon 8700 stayed in the car as a spare camera while the Canon SX10 was the main camera.  The Canon G1 might not be used again.  The Canon A710 IS is small and handy and does great videos so it still finds use even with the SX10 IS now being the main camera.  It is also the camera Diane is most familiar with.

The newest camera is a Nikon Coolpix p510, bought in May 2012.  The SX10 was showing some strange behavior that was causing Bill to wonder if it will break.  Then the p510 came out and Costco had it for a good price, so we bought it.  The p510 is a 16Mpixel camera with a 42X zoom (24 to 1000) and can take 1080p (1920x1080) video.  It has image stabilization and has night landscape mode, so it can replace all of the other cameras.  Now the Canon SX10 IS is the one kept in the car, the Canon A710 IS is the one grabbed for compact usage and both the Canon G1 and Nikon 8700 are retired.

Bill's computer can directly read/write to SD (and SDHC) memory cards so he uses it to download the photos and videos from the Nikon p510, Canon A710 IS and SX10 IS.  He uses a Compact Flash reader to download the photos and videos from the Canon Powershot G1 and Nikon Coolpix 8700.  He does not connect the cameras directly to the computers.

On the website the videos are mostly Windows Movie Viewer (WMV) files since they take up much less room than the AVI files the Canon G1 and A710 IS take and the MOV files the Nikons and Canon SX10 IS take.  We have used various software through the years to do the conversion to WMV, mostly Adobe Premiere and Windows/Live Movie Maker.  We provide links to the videos and say how large they are since many RVers are limited in what they can download. Someday we might put them on Youtube and/or Vimeo, but for now they are hosted on our website.

A few photos are taken with an HTC Thunderbolt phone, Diane's Acer Iconia A500 tablet, or Bill's Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 tablet.  Videos from these are saved in 3GP or MP4 format and converting them does not make them smaller.

When we get to the slides and negatives there will be pictures taken with two different Minolta 35mm SLRs and a Fuji APS point-n-shoot.

Sample Photos from the G1, 8700, A710 and SX10 cameras.

Sample photos to compare the Canon SX10 IS to the HTC Thunderbolt phone's camera and the Acer Iconia A500 tablet's camera.