Bridging the Digital Divide

OK, OK I give up – it’s time to store away the film camera and switch to digital for vacations! I’m just too old and weak to be hauling a 35mm SLR and 4 lenses all over Europe any longer.
However, I didn’t want to go to the expense of buying a digital SLR and a whole new set of lenses just so I could take a wide angle photo or two.
I found what I think is an appropriate compromise in the Fujifilm S6000fd bridge camera. It’s cheaper than an SLR and while it lacks some of the SLR features it should do the job.
I got one earlier in July. I have been playing with it a bit, mostly taking pictures of Ottawa scenery while we’ve been down there cat-sitting for Sarah and Dave.
What I like about the camera so far:
(1) Nice crisp photos – a bit cooler than the Nikon CP5000 but very good clarity.
(2) Big solid well balanced camera, easy to hold like an SLR but lighter.
(3) Wide angle to telephoto lens gives 28-300 mm coverage in 35 mm film terms.
(4) Easy to use and setting is mostly through buttons, no need to go deep into menus.
(5) 6 MP sensor is fine for my use without huge file sizes and excessive noise at higher ISO.
(6) Uses normal AA and AA rechargeable batteries.

What I’m not so crazy about:
(1) It uses xD memory which is harder to find and a bit more expensive. Huge 2 Gb capacity is available though.
(2) The electronic viewfinder is dimmer and harder to see than a real optical display, although you do see the whole lens view unlike the Nikon CP 5000 I used until recently.
(3) No way to attach external flash, and the on-camera flash kept popping up when I didn’t want it. I quickly learned how to switch it off.
(4) Can’t go as wide as before, but I think it’ll be OK. I shot at 28mm before I had a 24mm specialty lens and photos were fine.

The S600fd has face detection technology which is a neat feature for snapshots, and although it does not have vibration reduction/image stabilization built in I’m not too worried. I mostly take pictures of buildings and parks in good light and I can put up with high ISO once in a while for an indoor shot without flash.
After 25 years of using an SLR I never thought I’d shoot seriously with any other sort of camera. But never say never I guess.

Published by Ray MacDonald

Ray MacDonald is a retired food scientist who lives in Almonte, ON.
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