I recently found a used camera at a local camera shop – a Nikon Coolpix P520 with a red metallic body – a lot of camera for the money and in primo, as good as new, condition.
For me, that’s an opportunity and a challenge…
The opportunity is to capture shots I usually miss with the iPhone camera (which is quite good for static landscape or portrait shots) or with my slide-into-a-pocket point n shoot version. I was looking for a decent zoom, with good light gathering ability, a moderately fast lens, lightweight, and easy to use. The Coolpix delivers on all those requirements.
The zoom is a wide 42X, 18.2 megapixels, 4.3-180 f1:3 – 5.9 (reading this off the lens so don’t be too impressed with my camera acumen). If you are into camera specs you can find them HERE.
The challenge is to learn a whole new set of adjustments: automatic, manual, scene, portrait, spot, plus a variety of other pre-programmed options I’ve yet to fathom… but I will! The display is large, the menu is user-friendly (even for an old broad who’d much prefer to hold a book in one hand while tabbing through the menu items to see what they do).
I decided to play with the automatic option first, mostly because I wanted to get a feel for the camera and establish some “muscle memory” and confidence in the obvious functions (on-off, zoom, through lens vs screen focus, burst mode, & flash) before branching out to the less intuitive (to me) options. It’s the learner’s permit for the digitally challenged.
Since I have 7 bird feeders on the deck, I have a readily available stage on which to capture fast-moving, skittish birds and squirrels, which is harder than you’d think. To get the pic, you need to frame it first, then press lightly on the button (green squares come up to give you an idea of depth of field, etc) and then click to capture the moment.
Most times the birds have moved somewhere else and I have to start over. But I’ve learned a few things: to anticipate, to have patience, to hold my breath (yes, I need a tripod), to press lightly and be prepared to follow through instantly if it looks good. For that, it’s best to use the screen viewing option as it gives me a chance to brace my arm(s) against a solid surface in order to avoid too much motion.
The camera does have motion detection reduction but at the maximum zoom it’s not enough. The nice thing about digital cameras? Instant gratification on keep or delete. I delete a lot.
While you are humming Paul Simon’s Kodachrome, here are a few of my favorite See The Birdie Pics for your edification and enjoyment:
Ah yes, Herself reminded me it’s CATURDAY so…
WISHING YOU WARMTH, LOVE AND GOOD FRIENDS!