Useful and beautiful sort of put on hold, because my new camera has arrived. I am such a spoiled brat; I wasn't going to get a new camera, even though I've had this one on my wishlist for a while now. The Panasonic really was perfectly good enough, I'm not as preoccupied with taking photos as I used to be anyway, I didn't need a new toy just for the sake of it. And yet and yet, I always missed the old Canon Powershot which died too young, and never quite felt as happy with its replacement. Yes, it had a bigger zoom, more megapixels, and (perhaps its most genuine advantagefor me) a longer lasting, lightweight, dedicated battery rather than a bunch of hefty AAs, but somehow it always seemed a bit, well, dull: slow on the uptake, reluctant to work well indoors and in poorer light, more difficult to get a good macro, the images flatter, duller, less crisp, like drawing with blunt pencils.
I picked up on this Powershot model a year or so ago and bookmarked it, but didn't do anything about it; I didn't need it, as I said, and further, it had no viewfinder, being really a compact not a bridge, and I've always been rather backward when it comes to using the little screen. Lately though, Tom's been growing frustrated with the shortcomings of his very basic point-and-shoot Nikon and making noises and dropping hints about how he'd like to get his hands on the Panasonic, and wouldn't I like to replace it sometime? The Canon having been superseded by its next model was at quite an interesting price, I took the plunge.
I'm very happy I did. It is quite an adjustment moving on to a compact camera, and the absence of a viewfinder will take some getting used to, I still can't find things as quickly using the screen, and it feels unsteady in my hands. I feel a little cack-handed having it hanging off my wrist, and am slightly surprised to find I have actually been harbouring a smidgen of vanity that somehow a compact doesn't look as serious, makes me look less like a proper photographer, than an old-fashioned-camera-shaped camera slung round my neck. But it does pretty much everything the bridge camera did, more in some ways, and I can get into the habit of just slipping it into my pocket most every time I go out, where it can stay safe and dry in wet weather, rather than making the decision whether or not to have the encumbrance of it round my neck, or whether I ought to take the case too in case it rains, etc etc, which often meant I just didn't bother.
And the really nice thing about it, which drew me to it in the first place, is that it's particularly good in low light, very steady with good rendering of colours, and for close-ups. As our Brittany light is scarcely Mediterranean, and as I find in fact that I've more need and interest in details, and in interior subjects at odd times of day, this is really quite a joy. The other side of this is it sometimes over-exposes a bit, but that can be compensated for somewhat in editing, and can lead to quite interesting effects, with extraneous background stuff fading into a blur of light. So altogether well worth sacrificing the viewfinder for. It's nice having sharp pencils again, and I find I welcome opportunities to learn new things, and new ways of doing familiar things. Tom will be, I think, pretty happy with the Panasonic, as he likes the bigger zoom and the scope to take better landscapes, though the first thing he did was switch from viewfinder to viewing screen.
So, I think I might be smitten with photography again, and will probably post more here. Just for starters, some views of the blue room.