|2001. Morro Bay, CA. Camera: Nikon CoolPix 990.|
Click for larger, better looking image
|Camera space, the final frontier.
D90 camera case hogs the saddlebag.
I've gotten a lot fussier about my pictures since I began shooting the D90, my eyes have been opened, as it were. I'll spare you the discussion of dynamic range, pixel density, blah, blah blah. Few people other than my wife ever see my photos full size on my nice, color corrected monitor, but I see them, and mushy pixels jump out at me like a bug splat right at eye level on the bike's windscreen. I can't not see them. I'm willing to always learn and improve my photography but there are times when the camera could try harder too. Pocket cameras, or "point 'n shoots" are getting very nice but generally lack in image quality if you're the persnickety sort when it comes to photos or like to do a lot of cropping and editing.
So I've been pondering a smaller camera to carry on the bike but not one so small that the image quality is unacceptable. I also need a camera that my artist wife can use, her little point n shoot is showing it's age and her eye, as an artist, is good enough that she deserves to get the most she can from her pictures without the compromises the 4 year old Olympus has when shooting in low light, something she seems to often do.
So I offer up the current candidates for your perusal and consideration should you be thinking of a new camera for yourself and your motorcycle exploits. They make a good starting point if you're ready to move up from the basic cameras to a mid-range item:
Last and not least, is the new Canon S95. It's a full on compact camera, a point n shoot, but Canon has gone all out to get the image quality to a level that probably surpasses most other point n shoot cameras that don't cost a freakin' fortune. It has some enviable low light capabilities, which is appealing, and it is indeed small enough to fit into a shirt or jacket pocket, no need to give up valuable saddlebag or tank bag space. More info here.
|Nikon Coolpix P7000|
|Form follows function or sometimes|
there's just no budget for styling.
Sadly, the Nikon does win the award for being butt ugly but as with the BMW GS, sometimes function has to win out over form.
It's also priced between the Canon and the Olympus and appears to offer a lot of bang for the buck including being the only camera in the bunch with a viewfinder in addition to the rear LCD view screen.
I admit to an affinity for Nikons and the CoolPix series, I've shot literally tens of thousands of photos with them including the ones at the top and bottom of this post. More info here on the brand new, as yet not-in-the-stores Nikon. Some great photos, too.
None of these cameras are cheap in terms of what the average person might be willing to pay for a camera. The simple fact is that there is always a trade off between price and image quality. In general, spend more, get more. If your pictures are important to you spending more is a reasonable thing to do. I think each one of them is worth their street price of $399 - $549. I can pretty much guarantee you that if you buy a good camera, learn to use it properly, that you'll be so pleased with the photos that you'll wonder why you didn't upgrade sooner. Sort of like going from the 250cc bike to full size road bike.
So I'm pondering these cameras, working up my courage to make a decision, wondering what I have in the garage that I can sell on eBay to raise some money (old tools, 35mm film camera equipment, family heirlooms). Funny but I'm more likely to buy a motorcycle on impulse than a camera. I can't claim to understand that beyond the fact that motorcycle fever is a more powerful disease than camera fever.
And one more picture from my 2001 California coast trip on my 2001 Kawasaki Concours, here along Highway 1.