Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Aprtment Pics Up

Finally, after much delay, here are the apartment pictures I've promised everybody. They've been a long-time coming.

As you can see, my apartment is pretty sweet for a one-bedroom.

The disappointment of the day is my Canon PowerShot A610. This is the best of many many shots - it was bloody hard to get halfway decent shots of anything indoors. Eventually I found "indoor" scene automatic mode, which helped a bit. A few shots with manual mode were fun for novelty, but will take practice to do well. The above album is a mix of several types of shot.

Still, I'm getting better with this camera pretty quick, so I look forward to experimenting more when I get time.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Welcome to Kirkland

Almost as if by fate, the day after I got my camera was, much like the first day I went picture taking, absolutely gorgeous. Blue sky, and actually passably warm! So, not to be discouraged by the last trip, my new camera in hand, I went out to do a tour of Kirkland. Here are the results.

Just as a quick note, this is my first day with my camera, and also with the software that comes with it, so the quality may not be great. They are all auto-landscape, except a few where I did manual white-balance (the camera forgets your white balance setting when you power off, which is annoying when doing a series like this one). I've also done a lot of cropping, downsizing, compressing and downsampling on these pictures. I will post my best full-quality pictures later on.

Kirkland is an awesome town. It's a stone's throw from I-405, and maybe 10 minutes from SR-520, which will lead to the floating bridge to Seattle downtown. 10 minutes to downtown Redmond. 20 to work. Everything is a close walk - groceries, dozens of restaurants of all flavours of cuisine, a tranquil waterfront, a few bars, and even a wine bar! It seems like a friendly town too - a wide variety from well-off family men to kids fresh out of school sharing an apartment, and all happy to make your acquaintance. And I'm told it'll be very lively during the summer.

Coming up, apartment pics. Once I actually clean up a bit.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Camera Decision: Canon PowerShot A610

After a great deal of thought, I have decided on the Canon PowerShot A610. An interesting camera to be certain. Received a favourable review at Imaging resource and a highly recommended rating from Digital Photography's review of the 610's 7mpix cousin the A620. Of course it didn't hurt that Circuit City was having a sale on the beast for an amazing price of $220.

Here are the core stats/features.
  • 5mpix
  • 4x optical zoom
  • SD card slot
  • 4xAA powered
  • Hinged 2" LCD
  • 640x480x30fps unlimited length movie mode w/audio
  • Zillions of manual modes - shutter speed as low as 15s.
  • 1cm macro
  • Can attach lenses (with optional adapter), external flash
  • Fast - 1.4s power-on, 1.09s shot-to-shot (5s flash cycle time, which is apparently decent!)
  • Great image quality from all reviews I've read.

"But Mike, it's so BIG!"

Ladies, I really do wish I heard that from you more! But in my defence, it is at least a bit smaller than my previous camera. Barely. But more to the point, the alternative was the SD450, and I'm sorry, those get almost TOO small to comfortably shoot photos with.

But yeah, the combination of great features and a cheap deal really sold me.

Did I look at other cameras? Why yes, I did! Not in huge detail though. The Canon PowerShot SD450 is of course widely acclaimed for being a great camera at a tiny size, but has somewhat weaker image quality (including a nasty issue with purple fringing), and is generally higher priced. The Sony CyberShot DSC-W5 (and 7mpix cousin W7) were fast, a bit cheaper (minus the CC sale), and a bit smaller, but didn't stack up for image quality - and Memory Stick for teh l0se! A camera shop recommended the Nikon CoolPix P2, which they had on a clearout sale for $200. Apparently an okay camera, just slightly bigger than the Canon SD's (almost the perfect size)... but no optical viewfinder! No go!

Once I get hold of this bad boy, I'll finally get apartment pictures, as well as Kirkland pictures, and give you guys a tour of my new home.