Selecting a tripod

It’s been a week or so since I purchased the new camera. Last weekend I had to buy Aperture 2 for my Mac so I could easily pull the raw photos off the camera. Have been fairly happy with that purchase and the photos have flowed.

The Beautiful Wife

I’ve only put 10 to 20 of them onto my Flickr photostream, a lot more sitting on the hard drive and I’ve yet to take on any assignments. I need to do this to start really learning something about photography, rather than simply some trial and error.

Of the photos I’ve placed on Flickr so far, the shot of the missus is the most visited. Though that probably has something to do with the title and/or the subject, rather than the quality of the photography.

Was going to try and pick a favourite, but couldn’t decide. I don’t mind this one of Zeke.

Reflective Rider

The next accessory

Now it is time to think about the next additional expense/accessory for the camera, a tripod.

The missus and I are off to Paris in a week or so. Paris in December means lights. Night-time displays of decorative, Xmas lights along the Champs-Elysees and department stores. A tripod is likely to be required.

I’m somewhat reluctant to go the whole hog and get a “real” tripod. The size, weight and apparent clumsiness of them suggest I don’t want to be walking around Paris with one. Which is why I was interested to see a gorillapod in a local store. It seemed small enough to fit into a bag.

There seem to have been some fairly positive reviews – one and two, and one a little more restrained, but still positive.

The last review makes the point that this is not a replacement for a real tripod. Mmm, do I want/need one for what I want to do?

First photo

Memory card (SanDisk eXtreme 3 8Gb) and bag (Tamrac expedition 5x) have been successfully purchased and returned home. The camera is finally together and the first shot has been taken.

First shot with the new camera

And yes, the image files are significantly larger than those produced by the C-770. Seems there will be some reading to do. Both for simple camera operation but also, potentially more importantly, about photography in general.

What to “read”?

Being a “net” sort of guy, one would assume that I should be looking at the net for resources and communities in which to participate. Rather than follow my first instinct to refer to the couple of books we bought for Anna last Xmas.

Given I’m a user of flickr, perhaps that’s a good place to start. Searching the groups part of Flickr reveals tht there are 1282 groups about “learning” and “photography”. Sorting by group size reveals that the group search ain’t all that effective.

A quick look at the Flickr groups and nothing stikes me as interesting. I did get taken to digital photography school which looks interesting.

A google search reveals the number one hit being onto which is like coming home. Philip Greenspun is almost an “old friend” given his work in web-based systems development in the 1990s. Don’t think I’ll be reading too much, at least initially, online.

Starting a new journey and hobby – photography

Bit the bullet yesterday and upgraded to a DSLR. The Olympus C-770 we’ve had for almost four years seems a bit the worse for wear after Zach and Zeke dropped it while battling for control. Plus there’s the size issues, 4MP is not cutting it anymore.

TheKids v1

The C-770 has some nostalgia value. It was purchased the day Zach was born back in 2005, primarily for the purpose of recording the new arrival and his impact on the rest of the family. Sandy complained, or at least teased me, about the price, but not the results.

The replacement

The new camera

So a few tens of thousands of shots later the C-770 is being replaced by a Sony A300 DSLR. The C-770 will be passed onto the boys as a toy.

And so begins the journey of trying to get to understand and use the new beast to a level worthy of the price. The price is a bit of a step up and so some extra effort is going to be required to justify it. In particular, time to learn something about focal lengths, aperture and the other dark arts of photograpy.

So in the search of a new hobby I’ve decided to take this on and blog my learning journey. Or at least that is the current intention. How far the intention lasts in the cold light of reality will remain to be seen.

First step, memory card

In getting started with unpacking and getting it together it became obvious that it was missing two important bits: the battery and a memory card. The battery turns out to have been an oversight by the store. The camera was the last one in stock it was on display and so consequently all the bits were spread around the place. Not neatly residing in a shrink wrapped box.

The second was the memory card. The camera did not come with one and such a thing is necessary if you wish to actually take some photos which are recorded for future viewing pleasure. So the journey begins to find what I should buy.

From this page the details are

memory card slot accepts CompactFlash® (Type I and II), and Microdrive™ (also accepts Memory Stick® PRO Duo™/Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo via an optional CF card adapter)

From this it would appear that the CompactFlash cards are the way to go. An adaptor doesn’t sound like a plan for long term hassle-free use. The joy of the internet is that someone has always asked the question and gotten some answers. Not to mention articles giving help on the selection process.

The first suggestion, not surprisingly, is to get as large as possible. The CNET review suggests at least 4GB for a 10MP camera. First indications suggest at least $AUD100. Ahh, the Sony site is isting an 8Gb 300x for $300. 2Gb ($59.95) and 4Gb ($94.95) 133x cards are a bit cheaper.

Probably cheaper online, but I feel the need to start using the camera now. So I’ll have to take what I can get in town today.

A bag?

Of course, I’m also going to have to get a bag to carry all this stuff around in. More expense. I can hear Sandy grinding her teeth already, and quietly calculating how this can be used as ammunition to obtain her objectives.

Don’t like the normal camera bag “over the shoulder” look. Wonder if they make back packs that are suitable? Again, probably going to be limited to what I can find in town.