Kodak Versus Canon Or Do We Really Need A New Camera?

november-11-2008-canon-001-2“When the rooster crows at the break of dawn”…lyrics from one of my favorite songs, Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, written by Bob Dylan and performed to perfection by Peter, Paul and Mary, comes to mind when we consider the hours we keep around the Fairegarden. The Financier has to leave quite early for work, before the sun comes up, and I usually get up then also. It is a fine time to catch up with  blog activities, replying to comments that came in during the night, and doing some reading and commenting on the blogs of others. There is no going outside first thing because it is always dark. The time change does bring us the light of day sooner, but the shortening of the days as winter approaches will be pushing that time back farther and farther. I spend a lot of time waiting for the dawn. Sometimes the dawning of a new day brings fantastic colors in the sky. We set the tripod up this time to try and capture better what the eye sees so early in the day.november-11-2008-canon-024I have two cameras. The old camera is a Kodak Easyshare DX 7440 with 4.0 pixels, a gift from the ever generous Financier a few  years ago.november-11-2008-kodak-002-2The new camera is a Canon Powershot A720 IS with 8.0 pixels. I bought this in February of this year to attempt clearer flower shots for the blog. The post about it can be seen here. It is the camera that is used for all photos shown on the blog after February 5, 2008. Until today. We have been thinking about getting a new camera and calling it a Christmas present. There may be some of you bloggers out there that are entertaining the thought of a new camera as a holiday gift also. Here are some comparison shots to help you decide what to look for. I have to say that the results were surprising. Of the following photos, the Kodak is always the first shown. I tried to stand in the same spot and did use the same settings, Auto and macro. The photos were treated the same in the uploading process with contrast, brightness and a tiny tweak of sharpness added in exactly the same amounts. Are you ready? Let us begin this scientific analysis.november-11-2008-kodak-022-2I had been wanting to take a photo of this twisted trunk maple tree in my neighbor’s yard. The wind must have created this wonderful design and the loss of a large limb must have made this opening in the trunk. In spite of the hollow slash, the tree seems to have bypassed the wound and grown new cells to transfer vital nutrients from roots to leaves. This shot is pretty good.november-11-2008-canon-008-2The Canon has captured the trunk in a very similar quality to my eye. I see very little difference here.november-11-2008-kodak-034-2A hanging basket of Sempervivums, hens and chicks is the main focus of this test. I did not realize how photogenic this lowly plant is. There are two baskets hanging on a double shepherd’s hook at the edge of the property. We have tried various hanging types of plants in this situation, wave petunias were nice for a short time but dried up with the lack of water. Several years ago we tried these cute succulents and they have had zero care given and look fine. I repot them with new soil every three or four years. That is low maintenance. The Kodak gave us a nice photo.november-11-2008-canon-029-2So did the Canon. I cannot see a lot of difference here. Let’s crop the shots now.november-11-2008-kodak-035-2The Kodak has produced a real glamour shot.november-11-2008-canon-030-2So has the Canon. I can see some more detail in the leaves with this camera. The imperfections are more noticeable, like bruises and blemishes on smooth skin.november-11-2008-kodak-036-2A cropped shot of the other basket is another nice shot by the Kodak.november-11-2008-canon-027-2The Canon photo is so similar it is hard to search for differences. The center looks a little crisper in the Canon shot. This is not what I expected to find. The difference in pixels, 4.0 of the Kodak, to 8.0 of the Canon is not making that much difference to my poor eyesight. The Kodak was the more expensive camera because when it was purchased the technology was newer. Like many electronic devices, waiting for the mass market products will save you money. Both cameras are no longer available. Looking to buy a new camera today that will take better photos is now a mystery. More pixels, the measure I was looking for before, is not the key. So what is the magic number? Zoom power? I don’t know the zoom power of either of these cameras.  The Kodak is 33mm-132mm, 4x, the Canon is 5.8mm-34.8mm, 6x.  I know the x numbers mean zoom power, what do the mm numbers mean?  Let us test them.november-11-2008-kodak-040-21We use the zoom mainly for shots of the birds. We cannot get close enough without frightening them so we have to sit very still, mount the camera on the tripod and wait patiently. I am a terrible waiter. The camera is focused on the hanging bird feeders near the deck, with zoom on, while we wait for our feathered friends to come eat even while we are standing there. This is the best of the four photos taken with the Kodak. The battery ran out after that so this may not be a fair comparison.november-11-2008-birds-012-2Thirty eight shots were taken with the Canon. These three are the best. I really like this guy, a male cardinal, he looks a little wild and punk with his spiky top knot.november-11-2008-birds-010-2This female cardinal is giving me a dubious glance. None of the birds were that happy to see me with the camera and tripod about ten feet away. I set up next to the stairway leading to the garage deck to try and be more inconspicuous but still close enough for a decent shot.november-11-2008-birds-011-2She looks at me one more time before turning to get some black sunflower seed to make sure I am not a threat. No, Ms. Cardinal with the pretty beauty mark on your beak, there is no threat at all from me. I am your protector, keeping Kitty the hunter indoors so you are safe.november-11-2008-canon-001Well friends, what do you think about these two cameras? And do I really need to get a new camera at all? I am wondering about that now. I am not savvy enough to be able to take advantage of manual settings like shutter speed and such. That is a feature available on the Canon I now have and I cannot figure out how to use it. Much more research needs to be done, but the hot pursuit of the better camera has cooled considerably.  It is not the fault of the camera but the failure of the photographer when the shots are not up to expectations. We have also learned that the common hens and chicks can offer shots that are surprising. Not quite the Whale’s Tongue Agave that is so splendidly shown by Pam at Digging, but still a stunning bit of Nature’s art.
~~~
The above shot is the unaltered photo of the dawn. The lead in photo has been slighted tweaked.
Frances

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49 Responses to Kodak Versus Canon Or Do We Really Need A New Camera?

  1. Zoe says:

    Nikon! No I know, it wasn’t one of the choices!

    I am no expert and until very recently when my fabulous husband gave me a Digital SLR for my 50th, I had used a Nikon p1 coolpix. I think the macro functions on most these compact cameras are hard to beat, its the distance shots that always left me frustrated. I still love my little Nikon, and take it everywhere with me as it fits so neatly in a jean pocket, but my grown up camera is something else, and once I have a better range of lenses, I shall try much more sophisticated shots.

    Yours are beautiful, and in my humble opinion, on a blog where the viewers screen resolution limits their quality as much as anything else, I think either camera is perfect. Like most these things, its is subjective and in the eye of the beholder?

    Zoë xx

    Hi Zoe, thanks. That is exactly what I was hoping for, advice from personal experience! I do think I need another camera for the bird shots, but should it just be for that? Does that mean I need to carry around several cameras? I appreciate your input so much. I think there will be those who are loyal to their brand, like you and the Nikon. I look forward to seeing that everyone says. You make a good selling point with the fitting in a pocket, that is very important, especially when I am scrambling around on trails and rocks! :-)
    Frances

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Frances, I have a Power Shot too but an older model. I think the only reason you might want a differnt camera is if you want to get a really good body so you can change the lenses. Now that can be expensive. I find with the Power Shot I can get most pics I want. It is when things are far away it gets dicy. If you learn to use the PS features like changing the ISO, Speed etc you can get better field of depth etc. That comes with practice practice practice and knowing what all those features will do for you. A different camera would be the same. My DB is the camera expert here. I am trying to get him to do a guest post about his camera because people have asked about it. I am a point and shoot girl. I have learned a few tips from him over the years.

    Love the sunrise picture here. It reminds me of the purple and tangerine that is going to be popular in spring clothing.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for all that advice. I do need to learn and practice with the ISO the Canon has. I am trying to be lazy and not learn what needs to be learned. And I had better stock up on some purple and tangerine for the spring fling. I’ll be expecting to see you wearing the same. HA!
    Frances

  3. Well sorry cant give you any edvise…. But I love my Canon EOS 350D.
    Linda

    Hi Linda, thanks. You have done plenty for me with that lovely post link. I got lots of visitors from it, WordPress lets me see those stats. I do appreciate your support!
    Frances

  4. tina says:

    Nah, you don’t need a new camera. Both of yours work well, especially the new one with the macro feature. The camera I use is the same as your Easyshare. Probably of the same vintage since I only have 3-4 pixels too. Bought Feb 04 it still works well for me. This was a helpful post to help me decide. I am sticking with the old one for now. All I want for Christmas is some more plants:) ttyl

    Hi Tina, thanks for your input. If you are happy with your old camera, why buy a new one? I don’t know if I am happy or not, LOL. Plants for Christmas are always a good choice for Santa.
    Frances

  5. The answere is no, Frances! Are you disappointed? You do not need a new camera. Your photos are great and as Lisa says that it is often about changing ISO and speed etc…you know the boring bit that make a difference. / Tyra TYRA’S GARDEN

    Hi Tyra, thanks and no, I am not disappointed. I do need to try and fool with the ISO feature, a little boring having to learn something that I don’t have a ready feel for but it will be worth it for better photos.
    Frances

  6. Gail says:

    Hi Frances and good morning. A very timely post for me, too! I am looking at moving up myself…making the jump to a camera with exchangeable lens. My camera is ok, really a point and shoot in a slr body. The landscape shots haven’t the clarity I want and I can’t zoom in on the finches, chicadees and all their friends! The hummingbird Holy Grail photo is out of my zoom range! Everything I have read, says that you still will want a good point and shoot to pop in your pocket! It is a huge decision with a big learning curve! BTW, love the sunrise photo! You do have a lovely spot for waiting for them. Gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. I know that some people use the kind of cameras with changeable lenses, but I don’t think I am ready for that just yet. Your photos are great now. I did notice that you take fewer shots to get good ones than I do. I told The Financier that maybe I don’t need a new camera, I need new glasses!!!
    Frances

  7. Lzyjo says:

    Very interesting post Frances. I have an Olympus, my main problem is if I don’t want to use the flash I have to turn off the auto flash/focus, so it usually leaves me with a blurry shot. Maybe I should try a tripod. My uncle was a professional photographer. From what I understand, the megapixels are not the most important spec, in fact some pros are able to take high quality photos with a cheap cell phone camera. The zoom specs can be confusing, because there are two different zoom features, optical zoom when the zoom lens actually zooms closer and digital zoom when the pixels are enlarged, which is less desirable. I’ve always been in love with my Olympus cameras for their ease of use, whereas Nikon is known for being rather overcomplicated.

    Hi Izyjo, thanks. The tripod is a pain but does make the bird shots so much clearer. I had an old 35 mm Olympus years ago that took excellent but only black and white photos! I just learned how to turn off the flash on my Canon, thanks to Monica the garden faerie, I think that’s who it was. It helped with those early morning shots before the sun comes up, not blurry for some reason, less so in fact.
    Frances

  8. Sylvia (England) says:

    I agree with our other readers Frances, for blogs you don’t really need another camera. But just in case you do think of buying one, I was told that it is the lens that have the most effect on photo quality and to go for the best you can afford. I can’t remember how you compare lens!

    I think you have lovely pictures that illustrate your words beautifully. Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Hi Sylvia, thanks for that. I don’t really need another camera, it is true. I need to know how to best use the ones I already have, but that is not nearly as fun as a new one. I had a feeling my husband was going to get me one for Christmas and wanted to have some input about it before he *surprises* me! :-)
    Frances

  9. gittan says:

    It’s a hard desition to make. but I think your pictures looks great as they are. I bought a new camera this summer and I my choise bacame a Canon Poxer Shot S5 IS. I never read instruktions, I just want to take a nice, sharp picture as easy as possible. I love my new camera! It’s easy to handle,have 8.0 megapixels and 12 X optical zoom. I can stand 10 meters away from a flower and still zoom in the stigma and be abel to spot the pollen very close and sharp. This is a camera where you get a lot of camera without digging a deep hole in the Finansiers wallet. gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks for so much useful information. I think the 12 x zoom sounds like something that would help with the bird pictures. Seeing pollen from 10 meters sounds perfect too. I am lazy and want to just take it out the box and start shooting. I think the Financier would appreciate your looking out for his interests! HA
    Frances

  10. Marnie says:

    With cameras it seems to always be a trade off. I just bought a new Canon SX10IS which has a 20X zoom for birds and 10mp images so you can crop a lot off and still get a decent photo. I’m quite disappointed in the Canon, it isn’t half the camera my Panasonic 12X 5MP is. Photos aren’t as clear, camera is poorly designed, seems cheaply made.

    By trade offs, I mean for instance more MP’s will probably mean more ‘noise’ in low light photos which you work with a lot in early morning light.

    For garden photos, I would go with a 12X zoom (also borderline acceptable for birds). Be sure to get IS ‘image stabilized’ so you don’t get blurred photos from camera shake. 5-10 MP works for 8X10’s and online photos. Most cameras have good macro features for close ups. Very important–look at how the camera is made. Is it hard to open the battery door (my Canon). Are function buttons in the way of gripping the camera (my Canon). Are batteries and cards overly expensive. Does it seem to be made of cheap plastic that may break. Just my opinion, but some things to think about.
    Marnie

    Hi Marnie, thanks for the warning about that Canon. Usually people say good things about them, that is why I bought one last spring. Your bird photos are so sharp and clear, that is what I am trying to be able to do. I never knew about the zoom features, so that is a good place to start looking. I think the cameras I have now will do for the flower pics. It’s the birds I want!
    Frances

  11. Dave says:

    Frances I can tell you the megapixels don’t matter when it comes to optical zoom. Once you get above 5 or so MP there is very little difference between them unless you are producing billboard size photos. My new camera was a Nikon D40 DSLR. It’s a lower end on the Nikon series but the lenses are interchangeable with newer cameras so if you are looking at a DSLR think about lenses. As for Lzyjo’s comment, the Nikon is simpler for me than my previous point and click camera. It has an autofocus which makes things rather easy sometimes. I think your pictures are great as is but if you want to upgrade to a DSLR I don’t think you can go wrong with a Nikon!

    Hi Dave, thanks for that. I have a Nikon 35mm camera that took great pictures. But I am all digital now. I love loading the photos on the computer, it’s like opening presents! I know the Nikons are good cameras. I don’t think I want the changeable lenses yet, I need quick and easy for now.
    Frances

  12. For my blog, I use a Canon Powershot SD800 IS. I came from a film SLR Pentax to this digital. When I shot film, I always made slides first and then prints for publishing in newspapers and framed prints. Those days are gone, but I can’t justify a full format digital since my husband and I are both retired with no income! :-)

    For computer screens, I think these little cameras are great and pocket-sized for carrying around.

    For selling photos to a magazine, then one of the Nikon DSLR cameras is probably where I’d go next. RAW images are best for publishing in print.

    My best friend just bought the Nikon D80 and is posting her photos at http://www.betsylivak.com as she learns to use it. Pam Beck, a garden writer here in NC, uses a Nikon DSLR (see the latest Carolina Gardener mag for her photos).

    Cameron

    Hi Cameron, thanks for that clarification. I don’t ever expect to be selling my photos, I take them for me. Just like I blog for me. Dave just commented about his Nikon too. I like the way the Canon works, but know there are better ones for those bird shots. Ease of use if very important too, and size. I appreciate your thoughts on this.
    Frances

  13. Brenda Kula says:

    Well, this was all very interesting information from both the post and the comment section. I have literally worn out two Canon cameras. One was the regular Rebel and the second the digital Rebel. Now I have the Canon Powershot G9, which says it has 12.1 megapixels and zoom lens 6X. I do not play with my photos or alter them at all. I don’t have the patience for it and like the simple look. The first two cameras were in the $1000 range at the time, and this last one under $500. I can’t for the life of me figure out all those settings, so I just turn off the flash and shoot. If I’m going to use them till they no longer work and that happens every 4-5 years (I seem to take a lot of photos outside), then I would rather keep it under $500. But I truly would like to figure out better bird shots!
    Brenda

    Hi Brenda, thanks. I am greatly enjoying hearing what others have to say about their cameras. I would not want to spend that much money either, but a discontinued model marked down is sometimes a good deal. That’s how I got the Canon. I did not know about the zoom features and think we need 12x or better for the bird shots. I don’t want to do a lot of setting adjustments either. Lots of good info on all the comments, don’t you agree?
    Frances

  14. Brenda Kula says:

    Oh, and who knew the simple hen and chicks could be so photogenic? I shall try those in a basket. I thought all your shots were spectacular. Your blog is infinitely interesting. You really don’t need to change a thing for your readers, Frances. We are perfectly satisfied.
    Brenda

    Hi again Brenda, how nice of you to say so. Thanks. I am going to take more shots of those hens and chicks, they really did remind me of Pam’s agaves, which I cannot grow here.
    Frances

  15. walk2write says:

    Very interesting post and comments. Though I have a long way to go, I have learned a lot about photography from kind bloggers like you, Frances, and Marnie. Love the pics of the punky cardinal and the sempervivum. Wurzerl of Garten-Impressionen can tell you it is one tough plant. It’s her specialty.

    Hi W2W, thanks. I am really enjoying these comments too. Marnie takes excellent photos of the birds, what I feel I am sorely lacking. I’ve got the birds, now all I need is the camera! BTW, I loved hearing about your meeting with Tina and her family. They are the best.
    Frances

  16. nancybond says:

    Your Canon 8.0 mega pixel should continue to take amazing photos, Frances. It should be all you need in the garden, unless you’re thinking of going to an SLR and that’s another ball of wax. :) It’s the pixel size that makes the difference and as you’ve demonstrated so perfectly, that really doesn’t become an issue until you enlarge or crop a photo, looking for detail. Otherwise, the higher the mega pixels, generally, the better quality the photo. But unless you’re really looking for bells and whistles, your Canon should perform admirably, as always. Just my 2 cents worth.

    Hi Nancy, I appreciate your comments here since your photographs are miraculous! I don’t think I am capable of handling the SLR yet, although a word from The Financier tells me that is what he was thinking about getting me. I am hoping to have more input about it, but don’t know much. With all these good comments, I can make a case for something, just don’t know what yet! HA
    Frances

  17. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Frances,

    I enjoyed seeing all of your pictures. An interesting experiment you did too.

    Lisa asked me to write you about a few things you mentioned on your blog.

    First of all, the more the zoom power, the more the magnification…but of what? The zoom is the magnification of the smallest millimeter reading of your lens. Forgive me if all of this is something you know. You mentioned that your Kodak has a 33-132 zoom lens, 4x. As you notice, 4 times 33 is 132. Your Canon is 5.8-35.8, 6x. Again 5.8 times 6 is 35.8. Even though the Canon lenses has a stronger zoom, even at full magnification it has only about 1/4 the total magnificaton of the Kodak; 35.8mm to 132mm. I won’t go into an optics course to explain the millimeters and how they relate to total magnification. Suffice to say the more mm; the more magnification.

    You can of course make up for lesser magnification by enlarging the picture but at the loss of resolution. That is where the amount of pixels comes in. I have heard that you will not notice any more picture sharpness on a computer beyond 4 MP. That is, unless you start heavily cropping the picture.

    Depending on what you mainly want to take pictures of, your cameras are going to do a fine job. Flowers, landscapes and butterflies are generally better with a lower mm. lens especially if you have a good macro feature on the lens. For other wildlife, the more mm. the better although at a loss of depth of focus. I usually use either a 70-300mm or a 400mm lens and often wish I had more.

    I apologize to you and your readers if this was more than you ever wanted to know. Hope it is helpful.

    Lisa’s DB

    Wow Lisa’s DB, I can see why you are the DB! This is exactly what I wanted to know, what those numbers mean and how they affect the photos. I greatly admire the shots you take and would like to be able to capture the birds around here better. I figured that would be a different camera than the one I use for the flowers that are staying still most of the time. I do a lot of cropping and have noticed that the Canon is not as good with that as the Kodak. Now I know why. Thanks so much, no apology necessary. You have helped tremendously.
    Frances

  18. Cinj says:

    I’d love to have either one of those cameras. Your shots are very good, I wouldn’t waste the money. Although I guess I am known to be a bit cheap. Here I am with a camera that I can’t see through the viewfinder and I still use. Okay, I probably need a new camera or I should at least get it fixed. Mine was only 6 months old. I guess that’s what I get for buying the cheapest camera I could find. I think I’ll have to save up for something better, with a bigger zoom too.

    Hi Cinj, thanks. Both of these cameras are good. The Kodak is even better than I thought, now that I have learned that it is not just the pixels that count. You are right, the bigger zoom is what we need. I will be saving up too.
    Frances

  19. Pam/Digging says:

    I’m sensing a photography tutorial theme here. First Rachel at In Bloom offered her photo-taking experience, and now you. This is wonderful! Perhaps I’ll do one too.

    I think your Canon images are slightly crisper than the Kodak images you compared them to. But it’s not a big difference. For blogging, the Canon is probably all you need (I use a similar one), although I share your and Gail’s frustration with not having a big enough lens to get good bird pics.

    Ideally, I would have two cameras. My Canon Powershot S3 IS, which is too big to fit into my pocket, but which I easily secure with a neck strap while strolling around the garden. And an SLR with a nice lens for longer-distance shooting. I’d have to take a class to learn how to use it, though, knowing next to nothing about the tech terms that are a-flying in your readers’ comments.

    Great post. And thanks for the link love, by the way. :-)

    Hi Pam, no tutorial from me, I am begging for information and have learned quite a bit from the comments. Your photos are so amazing, they are what I aspire to. Of course I need a whale’s tongue agave, but think the hens and chicks could be a fair substitute. Funny that you just posted one too, on top of your pile of mulch bags at the checkout. Too funny! I think another camera for bird shots would be nice with a high zoom.
    Frances

  20. skeeter says:

    Like you, I have the old camera and the new one. Both Cannon to keep the program the same on the computer. I dont like Change with the computer! lol The Saint did teach me one thing on the zoom… “Optical” Zoom is the one to look for with clear shots and not Digital. My new camera has a 10X Optical zoom for really good clear close ups compared to the old one. But I now wish I had opted for not only the quality zoom but rapid snapping as well. It takes too long in between shots and flash build up for me! I take at least 4 shots of something to get the posting quality shot I am okay with…

    I think your pictures are great and dont see any reason for you to buy a new camera. I vote you send me the money in the form of a donation to pay off my vacation debt… tee hee…

    Hi Skeeter, HA that was the best laugh I have had in a while. Send you the money…good one! And that is funny about not liking change on the computer, me too, and it is always changing, have you noticed that? I switch out the memory card so I didn’t have to load the Canon’s software. I think at least 12x is what I need, but agree about the speed thing. I rarely use the flash, most photos are taken outside and mine goes fast enough, although the Kodak is faster between shots.
    Frances

  21. Jean says:

    I say stay with what you have. For blogging purposes you are already getting great shots. My experience has been that once I entered the digital SLR realm, I started to want more and better lens. And that can get really expensive. And then there’s the learning curve (at least for me). Since your photos look so fab, save your money and buy more plants. :-)

    Hi Jean, Yes to more plants! I don’t want to start the lens thing with the slrs. I do need more zoom for the bird shots that I like to take in the winter. They are the flowers of the garden then. Thanks for the kind words of support. I have learned alot from the comments about how to better use the cameras that I have.
    Frances

  22. VP says:

    Hi Frances,

    I think for blogging it doesn’t matter that much, unless you want to do some extreme close ups. I come from a long line of film SLRs, doing my own processing etc and have only recently gone digital. I love having a smaller camera, but with a macro facility. That way it’s so easy to take it with me everywhere. I always found an SLR got in the way, unless I was doing specific photo shoots. But that would mean I’d be missing so much of those day to day kind of shots which are just perfect for blogging.

    Your observations on the number of pixels is interesting, but what’s also important for getting the best shot (if not even more important) is the quality of the lens. Canons are usually very good. I don’t know much about Kodak cameras, but I expect it must have been pretty good too in order to compete with the Canon.

    It really depends on where you want to go next with your photography. What you’ve got now seems fine for landscape and garden photography. But if you’re wanting to do more wildlife photography, then you should be thinking about an SLR. However, you will also need a range of good lenses for that, to get the best out of the camera.

    Hope that helps!

    Hi VP, I do like to do the occasional extreme close up and want that sharp image. I would like to take more and better bird shots, not necessarily from great distances, just in my garden. I don’t think I know enough to use or get the best out of the slr and lenses, even though that gives the best shots. Maybe some day I could take a class and get more involved in it. But for now it is the garden that is my main focus, and the blog is secondary. I appreciate your taking the time to try and help me decide. Thanks.
    Frances

  23. I was into photography long before I started blogging, long before I was really into gardening. The camera world breaks down into 2 camps: SLR and non-SLR. I had a fantastic SLR film camera with a couple of lenses (one a massive zoom thingy) and lens filters for special effects. I miss the SLR dearly. My non-SLR is so limiting in that I can’t achieve the selective focus to which I had become accustomed. Unless you’re into all that aperture/shutter speed priority stuff, I’d say stick with what you have. My current camera has 10 megapixels, which is great for when I crop & magnify, which is my compensation for not having a darkroom anymore.

    Hi MMD, very interesting fact about you, thanks for sharing it. I know people who were and still are into the lenses and hated to see the digitals come and level the playing field for people like me. The ease and instant gratification of loading the photos on the computer is something I would not want to give up. I am finding out how little I know with each of these educational comments.
    Frances

  24. joey says:

    I think you are doing just fine with these cameras, Frances, unless you really want to move up, I would be content. A camera is a fine tool but only as good as the photographer creating a story behind the lens … and you definitely have a fine eye!

    Hi Joey, thanks for that supportive comment. I have learned a lot about how and what to shoot that will enhance the blog post. I would love to do better with the birds too. We have many and in the winter they are the most interesting thing in the garden.
    Frances

  25. Anne says:

    Hi Frances… i really don’t have the expertise to add anything new to the comments, but i just wanted to say how great the photos were, esp the first one of the purple sunset! One thing about photography i can mention, though, if you don’t already know about it, is the free program called Paint.net…. it works like photoshop, and lets you do a lot of cool things. Including sharpening the picture, which i use a lot for plant photos.

    Hi Anne, I do have a paint program that came with the computer which I don’t ever use. I do use the old Dell program that I had The Financier install on the gateway laptop, they fight, the programs, but I like the older image expert the best. I feel the need to get better shots of the birds and it appears that the zoom feature will give that. Thanks for your input and nice words.
    Frances

  26. Joy says:

    Frances .. I just wanted to thank yo for your thoughtful message. You are right .. I didn’t want to publish all of the personal messages. But I want to thank everyone that left such kind thoughts for me. Thank you !

    My dear Joy, thank you for taking the time to comment here. I hope the kindnesses of the bloggers will help you through this hard time.
    Frances

  27. Gail says:

    Frances,

    I am here for the evening summation! New camera? Or not? :-) gail

    Hi Gail, the jury is still out, but man are we learning a lot about cameras and those who love them!
    Frances

  28. Amy says:

    My father is an avid photographer so I get to see the results of a better camera than mine (right now he’s hankering after a $9000.00 lens. I’m definitely not going to “go there” lol!). If I bought a new one, I would get a digital SLR. My Kodak has 12x zoom, which I absolutely love for getting really great photos of the garden wildlife, especially the birds. What an interesting comparison between your two cameras!

    Hi Amy, my goodness, $9000 for a lens is staggering! I would be happy with the 12x zoom I think. I have no role models with the kind of expertise your father has, lucky for The Financier. HA
    Frances

  29. Rose says:

    Frances, Thank you for these very excellent comparisons! I have read that once you get above 4 pixels, the number of pixels don’t matter very much. But I have had camera envy ever since I started blogging–primarily what I would like a longer (bigger?) zoom so I could get close-ups of birds without frightening them away first. I’ve always thought your pictures were superb; even the close-ups of birds look great here. I say, save your money–spend it on your garden!

    Hi Rose, thanks for that. I can always spend money on the garden, even though I hardly need anything new. LOL I have envy for those clear sharp bird shots that some bloggers display too. Still studying this issue.
    Frances

  30. marmee says:

    frances, wow this is interesting. i love reading what everyone is saying. i have always loved my old pentax 35 mm but digital is so much more convienant. i have a canon eos rebel digital with many different lenses. i have recently worn out my fav lens (tamron aspherical XR 28-200 mm) so i need to replace it. i use a sigma 70-300mm alot for telephotos. i also have been borrowing my sons small canon powershot SD750 digital elph. i would like to have a small camera with me all the time so i would like to gift myself with one that is easy to carry around in my purse.
    someone earlier said that they did photography first, same here so now it is different for blogging.

    Hi Marmee, thanks. I love learning about the former lives of my readers too. I can tell by your photos that you have the eye for taking great shots. I am still learning how to do that. Being able to have the camera in my purse is so helpful when out and about and in my pocket when in the garden to protect it while I putz around. I am not ready for the lens changing yet, but would like a zoom of some kind for the birds.
    Frances

  31. Frances, my Kodak Z8612-IS, has a much better owners manual online than what came in the box with the camera. I refer to the online one all the time to try and learn what all the setting options are, what all the buttons do and generally learn more about the camera and its abilities. Its lens is 36mm to 432mm with 12X optical zoom. It just seems strange that your Canon is 5.8mm-34.8mm, 6x zoom. That is pretty low range for a lens. Did you read that right?

    I think the pictures on your blog are Fab, so if that is all you need, you are set.

    Me I am tempted to take a class to learn more and I highly recommend reading the owners manual over and over until some of that gobbledy gook starts to make sense.

    My sister recently ask me to send her several of my images in full size to have printed and framed. That is where more mega pixels comes in handy. An 8.0 mega pixel image can be printed up to a 20″ x 30″ image and still be sharp. Lower mega pixels is fine for regular 4×6 prints and the resolution on most people’s computers.

    Hi Christopher, thanks for weighing in. I knew that you had a great new camera that had a good zoom. As for the numbers on the Canon I have, yes that is what is written on the circle around the lens. I thought maybe it was an abbreviation of the real numbers but it does explain why the Kodak shots are clearer on the cropping. And maybe why the Canon was fairly affordable too. I was using the magnifying glass to read it so yes, those are the numbers. I do need to read the owner’s manual again and again. I need to use the magnifying glass to read that too so it is hard to grasp what they are saying about the functions. Someone gave me the link to the manual online, although it is that adobe file which I don’t like. I need to find the owner’s manual for the Kodak too. I still want a camera for taking pictures of the birds, for that it seems a better zoom is needed. Taking a class would be great fun I think.
    Frances

  32. Cindy says:

    Hi Frances – Wow, what a great post and what great comments. We are all learning today. Just to throw my 2 cents in, I use a Canon Powershot and my new Nikon DSLR both. The Canon is good because it is compact and easily transportable but I like the DSLR because it takes the picture faster. Not so much a problem with flowers but maybe birds, butterflies, Lillian – with the Canon, there is too much of a delay from me pushing the button to the actual picture taking that I don’t get the shot I want. The DSLR is much faster. But I use both.
    I also wanted to say, I thought I liked the coloring of your Kodak pictures slightly (just ever so slightly) better than the Canon. But the Canon did seem a little (ever so little) more sharp on your cropped blowup.
    Whew, maybe that was more like 5 cents worth.
    Have a good day!

    Hi Cindy, thanks for the 5 cents, I agree way more than 2cents worth! HA I think that the Canon has a function to take the pictures faster as a setting you can manipulate. Maybe you already have it as fast as it will go. Mine is fast and I can skip the half push if needed. I set the Kodak completely aside when I bought the Canon and now see that it needs to be used more for the macro shots and maybe all shots. Since it had only 4 pixels I thought the Canon was be far better and was immediately disappointed that the difference was not readily apparent. Now I know why. The Nikon has its followers, it is on the list of possibilities but may be more expensive than I am ready for.
    Frances

  33. I vote with Zoe for a Nikon digital SLR. I received a D40X for Christmas (around $750) with two lenses, and I think it is such a fine camera. It can be used in the auto mode, and it has specific auto modes like macro, child (emphasizes colors and brings out their skin color), sports for action shots (great for insects), landscape (emphasizes greens and blues) and more. I use macro and landscape a lot. It is easy to learn. It can also be used manually if you choose. Such a wonderful camera. I also have a small Sony I keep in the car for the unexpected. I think you’ll be able to see the difference with an slr in the crispness of your images. Go for it, girl!~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks for your input. There are several that favor the Nikon slr. That is a bit much to spend, it is a lot to spend and I am not that good of a photographer. I think The Financier wanted to get an slr so we’ll see how this works out. I need a class but am resistant to learning too much about it for some reason. Just like I resisted learning about the computer too, LOL, so there is the possibility that I could become a camera nut enthusiast.
    Frances

  34. tina says:

    Just wanted to say good morning!

    Hi Tina, thanks for that and good morning to you too. It is raining and I am not sure what to do with the day. My back hurts from sitting at the computer too long and it is too wet for any gardening. Maybe I will read from the pile of books waiting for my attention.
    Frances

  35. VP says:

    Hi Frances – just to pick up on what MMD said. I miss my SLR too. BUT it’s made me think differently about my photography – I often dismiss the first shot that comes into my head which can’t be done with my little point and shoot, accept its limitations, work round them and come up with something different. So in a way it’s improved my photography, because I’ve had to approach it differently. One of the limitations definitely is with garden birds, though. I did 3 articles earlier on this year about our national garden bird survey. I had to be quite inventive to find 3 different photographs to illustrate the story without it being a little dot-like bird picture from my garden!

    Hi VP, thanks for coming back to tell me about that. It is getting to be bird season here too and those photos are the hardest to get since the birds don’t sit still nicely like the flowers do. I know last year when I posted for the big backyard bird count the photos were woefully dot like. That is what prompted me to buy the Canon, but I didn’t know enough to get the higher zoom and was disappointed in the bird shots from it too. I think your photos are fantastic, BTW.
    Frances

  36. Weeping Sore says:

    I think the eye of the photographer is more important than the type of camera. You clearly have an artist’s eye, and probably any camera would do.
    Your picture of sunrise kicks the butt of my pictures of a recent sunset. I know – theoretically – that dawn can be lovely. However, one of the greatest joys of being retired is sleeping through dawn.
    I particularly love your pictures of the twisted tree trunk. It’s the textures and colors that make this such a rich subject, and your study captures them beautifully.

    Hi WS, please accept my sympathies on the anniversary of your losses. I do understand.

    I am learning a lot now about cameras and their functions and what mine can do thanks to Christopher who sent me the link for the owner’s manual to be read on the computer screen with nice large letters. I had no idea of all that is available. Thanks for those kind words. My garden is a lovely canvas to take photos of. As for the sunrise, that photo has been color enhanced by the image expert program I use, alot. I did confess to that so it makes it okay, right? I know the pros do it so why not a lowly garden blogger! Thanks for noticing the tree trunk. It is a fascinating subject and full of mystery.

    Frances

  37. Frances, I doubt you need a new camera, as it looks as though you get great quality photos, no matter what. I, on the other hand, need a new camera because 3x magnification is NOT enough! ;-)

    Hi Shady, thanks for that vote of confidence. I think you may be right after all the comments and reading the owner’s manual again online, Thanks for that Christopher! My Canon should be able to do everything I want to do. I just have to learn how to adjust the settings to get those sharper shots. I still might end up with a new camera, hope you get one too! I agree 3x cannot do justice to the birds, if that is what you want it for.
    Frances

  38. Patsi says:

    Wonderful pics with your new camera.
    Digital gives me a headache. Most of time I’m happy with the results…but then I get fustrated.

    Hi Patsi, thanks. This sounds like a vote for the Canon. I am beginning to think they are both good cameras. The photo taking can be frustrating, but I now believe it is because I am trying to everything on auto and need to try and manually adjust the settings for the garden shots and bird shots. It will still be frustrating though. :-)
    Frances

  39. AnnA says:

    I’m dropping by to see your garden and am not disappointed. I looked back at many of your post and love those grasses. I would have thought you to own some kinda braniac camera in the thousands of dollars. They all look grand to me. Your blog is outstanding!

    Hi Anna, thanks for looking around and those kind words. I like that term braniac camera! :-) No, that is not me at all, even if I had one I would not be able to use it, just a point and shooter here. But that said, I think I can study my owner’s manual and make some changes that will help take better shots. It will slow down the process though, I like to just walk around and take tons of shots, not taking that much time with any one of them and just get lucky occasionally. We’ll see what happens with changing some of the settings manually. Wish me luck!
    Frances

  40. Francis!
    Hi! :)
    Well, since you did ask…
    It is not the incredible pictures why I love your blog; your photography shows the eye of the artist.
    It is not the incredible garden you have why I love your blog; it is because it shows the sensibility of a true gardener.
    It is your spirit, your great sense of fun and delight and magic around every corner that I love what you do.
    Regarding the technology of different cameras you have some good advice.
    Taking that all in into your head, there is the part that feels right in your gut. As you know I have not said much about myself, but I have travelled all over the world buying the finest antiques and now world class items by 20th century masters. When buying, I have learned that if you have to squint your eyes and try to justify something, then you can well be assured it will be all wrong.
    If your hand thrusts out on a natural way, and you say yes, this is so delicious, then you know you are on the right track.
    That may seem simplistic, but it has worked for me every time. Your heart and gut always know. Ones head can lead one astray.
    How about that!
    Anyway, thank you for letting me comment.

    Hi Philip, what a sweet sweet man you are, please feel free to leave all the comments you want, keep ‘em coming! :-) Your advice is perfect, I do use intuition in nearly everything I do, it just works for me better than calculating things, although I do like to educate myself too. In the case of the cameras, there are so many good ones suggested here, how could I decide? My friend Christopher in Outside Clyde has graciously given me the link to the owner’s manual for the Canon and I spent yesterday trying to digest those technical terms. It seems that camera can do much more than I have been getting from it on auto everything so today I am going to try some manual settings. We shall see where that leads. I am excited about it. Thanks again for your wonderful comment, I really appreciate hearing a little about yourself too. Fascinating!
    Frances

    Warm regards,
    Philip

    Philip

  41. tom says:

    Tom from Kodak here. I think I am partial to your Kodak camera ;-)

    Hi Tom, HA, thanks for stopping by. The Kodak stood up well to the Canon actually even with the lesser pixels. Just goes to show you….
    Frances

  42. CurtissAnn says:

    I greatly appreciate your post. I recently upgraded my Kodak to a 10x, wanting better shots, of grandkids mostly. :) I did not find a great deal of difference in the quality of shots for the web. I’m told where the larger pixels help are in print photos. I am in awe of your photographs, and I think it is your ability. I hope practice improves me.

    Hi Curtissann, thanks for that and welcome to the alternative univers of wordpress. I do think the higher pixels show themselves in certain shots in the garden, if not in grandkid photos. I have decided that I need to study the owner’s manual and try different manual settings before spending money on another new camera that would have the same learning curve. I do think practice helps you get to know a new camera. Good luck with yours.
    Frances

  43. Robin says:

    Well, I’ll be no help at all, because I always have camera envy and want something even better than what I already have. I love taking pictures and want them to be perfect, naturally I always think better cameras will result in better pictures.

    I have the Sony Alpha 100 and noticed that Walmart had the Alpha 200 for $499, which is an amazing deal.

    One of these days I’d love to have a Nikon pro DSLR, with all of the bells and whistles. For now, I’ll just have to be content being a Sony gal, which isn’t really so bad.

    Hi Robin, you are always lots of help, don’t sell yourself short! I studied the post you did about your camera and it was one I looked at long and hard, even sending a link to the Financier. I know the Sonys are great cameras. It does seem that I need to study my camera and practice taking photos with different settings. I have been working on that the last couple of days. I am not sure about the bird shots though, I may need a camera just for that, is it worth the money to only use it for that? I’m not so sure. Your photos are always mind boggling to me they are so clear and sharp.
    Frances

  44. Kathleen says:

    oh my, is this ever an interesting post Frances. It’s taken me almost 20 minutes to read all your comments ~ forgive me for doing that, it’s just so fascinating to see what everyone is using/liking. I’ve always thought you had great photos on your blog but never knew what kind of camera you used. Speaking only for myself (and I was into photography way before blogging) getting into a digital SLR camera begets a whole other hobby/money pit on top of the already expensive gardening one we all share! I have a Canon EOS 20D, with many interchangeable lenses and instead of being satisfied, I want more and more expensive lenses plus an upgraded camera body. How’s that for greed?!! Lucky for me, I use my camera for work so my purchases generally pay for themselves before too long. Photography, and the pursuit of a perfect shot, is just as addictive as gardening, isn’t it? Anyway, after all that, I will just wish you luck with your decision.

    Hi Kathleen thanks so much. I love that you read the comments, they are there for all to enjoy. This particular post has lots of helpful comments too. You have a fine camera, too fine for me and what I want to use it for. My hobby is gardening, period. The blog is just so I can share the garden and learn some new things along the way, besides making so many wonderful friends, I didn’t really expect that when I started last December. I would like to offer the best photos possible on the blog. I don’t want to get into the fancier cameras, I cannot justify that expense. I love that some people even said to forget a new camera and buy more plants. Or Skeeter saying send her the money! HA Your photos are fantastic, it shows that you know alot about photography. I have been busy studying my owner’s manual and trying different settings out in the garden. I have learned some things that will help make getting better shots easier in the future. As for the bird shots, I still need to work on that. Flowers and plants first. :-)
    Frances

  45. Kathleen says:

    I loved the idea of forgetting the camera and buying more plants too Frances! Never a bad choice! The photos I’ve seen on your blog are very good, and trust me, we can all stand to learn more techniques and tips about our equipment! If you do decide to upgrade to a Digital SLR, I believe the Canon Rebel is rated as a “hobbyist” model & probably it’s equivalent, the Nikon D40, the same. Isn’t it funny how blogging becomes so consumptive and skews the way we look at things!??

    Hi Kathleen, thanks, so funny. You have offered an important leasson here: blogging causing consumption! It was supposed to take the place of that obsessive shopping problem I have been known to have, (plants don’t count!). I just told the Financier that I didn’t think I needed a new camera and he jumped on it saying he needed a new piece of electronics equipment! I still have to work on the bird shots, but since that is not the main focus of my blog, I think my current camera can do the job. I will never get that holy grail hummingbird shot, but I can live with that!
    Frances

  46. Hilde says:

    Hi Frances!
    You don’t need a new camera, but it would be fun, no doubt;) I upgraded to slr earlier this year and I’ve had so much fun and taken lots of(in my own eyes) better pics with it than with my other two. The most important thing i realized when I got better resolution, is the enormus possibilities I get with recomposing my images by cropping tools and still get good quality.
    I do see differences between the Canon and Kodak, even if it is the same resolution. The Kodak-colours are bleeding a bit, but the Canon is more calm and clear. You will probablu not notice the difference on a printed copy.
    And if you wanna know; all my cameras are Canon…

    Have a nice day :)
    -Hlde

    Hi Hilde, thanks for weighing in on this and welcome. I appreciate your eye about the color bleeding, I so rarely even consider the color, more concerned with the clarity. I am not a good enough photographer to warrant the expense of an slr now, maybe someday. I do think the Canon has more features, I just need to learn how to use them.
    Frances

  47. How you relate to a camera matters as much as the quality of the photos it takes. Some cameras just feel ‘right’ in your hand and your heart gives a little leap when your eye falls on them. When you have a camera like that, you can’t go anywhere without it. If it has failings and foibles, you learn to accomodate your desires. If there are photos you really need to take that it simply can’t manage, you may need a stand-in from time to time – but . . . if you are asking if you need a new camera, then you do. If you already had your soul-mate, you wouldn’t be raising the question. Lucy

    Hi Lucy, thanks for your comment, your photography is the best and I know that your opinion is well thought out. I have never had that kind of relationship with a camera, but do like the feel of the Canon in my hand, I understand what you are saying there. I do get more intimate with some of the garden plants, like the muhly, soul mate might be applicable there if never to a camera. I am trying some new settings and studying the owner’s book with the Canon. It is not the fault of the camera for the blurry photos, but mine.
    Frances

  48. Siria says:

    Wow Frances! This is a great post. I love to take pictures and went through this analysis about a year ago. I ended up with the Nikon DX40, which I LOVE, but it is a big camera and whereever I take it, I need to take multiple lenses, so that means a big case, etc. A camera like that would make the difference for you with taking better shots of birds, but I think you can get that with a small camera that has a higher zoom capability. I agree with all the comments here…your photographs are fabulous and so your current camera is working great for you. You really have to analyze what you want a new camera for and that would help you decide which way to go. What I miss most having my new camera is the ability to slip a small camera in my pocket or handbag. Also, this camera has such capabilities and I want to learn more about it. I have been working on that on my own, reading the manual, trial and error and with a video that I got on the camera. Now the next step is to take a class which I am going to do in the Spring with a girlfriend. It is all lots of fun! Good luck in your decision.

    Hi Siria, thanks for all that good info. Being pocket sized, or purse sized is very important to my picture taking. Taking a class with a girlfriend sounds like the best way to learn about your new camera too. I just started reading my owner’s manual for the Canon, thanks to dear Christopher who sent me the link for it online. I needed a magnifying glass before, which inhibited intent study of it. For now, it is all the camera I need.
    Frances

  49. I am a HUGE Canon fan, and I’ve tried several digitals (Olympus, Konica, Kodak, Pentax are the others). Right now I have a Canon A710 IS, which is almost the same as your Canon. I love it, but want a better zoom than the 6x it has. Canon has a new model (in September 2008) that I’m wanting – the Powershot SX10 IS. It has a 20x optical zoom. Unfortunately, it’s not in the budget right now!

    As far as pixels go, you won’t see a lot of difference for your purposes in the two you have. If you were to do larger enlargements or fine cropping, then you might.

    Hi Kylee, thanks so much for letting me know about the new Canon with the higher zoom. That is the only thing I would like to change about mine. I will have to save my pennies, again. I would like to take better bird shots, that zoom would or should help.
    Frances

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