Friday, August 11, 2006

New Toys

Two weeks ago I finally got around to getting a new camera. After much research I settled on a Canon Powershot A700 (reviews by dpreview and Steve). Short of getting a digital SLR, the A700 has everything (well most things) I want in a camera. In time I will get a DSLR, but for now I wanted a do everything compact that I can slip in my pocket (I have big pockets ;-) ).

It's 6 megapixel for decent sized prints, has a good reasonably fast lens, and shooting modes ranging full auto to full manual (as well a whole heap of scene modes I know I will hardly ever if not never use). It has a 6x optical zoom, which is only let down by the lack of image stabilisation. Camera shake at long focal lengths is assured, however this is overcome by the use of my mini tripod in such situations (I plan to get a Gorillapod for the go anywhere sort of photography I like).

So far it's proving to be a good all rounder (oh yes it takes pretty decent video as well), with excelent results. I've had fun experimenting with time exposures without the expense associated with my film SLR. Hopefully I'll be able to get out and shoot some photos this weekend and have something to show for my efforts here. So watch this space...

My other new toy is an MP3 player, after more research (hey that's half the fun of buying a new toy) I settled on a Creative ZEN Nano Plus 1GB. I very nearly purchased an iPod shuffle 1 GB, but luckily the stores I went to were out of stock. For the same price as the iPod I got the same memory capacity, an LCD screen, voice recorder, FM radio and line-in MP3 encoder. Most importantly however I avoided the use of iTunes in favour of a simple windows explorer drag and drop file transfer. It may be irrational, but I just don't like iTunes. With regard to the battery the downside of the ZEN Nano is that it does not have a built in recharble like the Shuffle, but the plus is that it takes just one AAA cell, alkaline or recharble. A pair of AAA rechargables is on the shopping list.

Soundwise the quality is good, the LCD screen's menu is easy to navigate and it's a small unit. Oh and it also can shuffle songs!

Now to show off both of my new toys, here's a photo of my mp3 player taken using the superb macro mode on my new camera.

3 comments:

Andrew said...

Both sound good. I have been using rechargeable batteries for years and I have just found the best ones I have ever used for staying charged the longest. NiMH from Dick Smith. They are called DSE and they are orange. Amazing how they are lasting in the mouse and my electric toothbrush. Do I sound like spam?

Ben said...

I ended up buying a four pack of Varta rechargables (I think they're 900mAh, whatever that means) from Big W. I'll keep the DSE ones in mind though. I use Energizer recharbles in the camera.

If you find a product you like, spread the word. Just don't push the issue to far...

publicenergy said...

I've had a Gorillapod for a few weeks and they're great. If anything it's more useful than I imagined it would be! You won't regret getting one :)