Friday, April 27, 2012

The Same Yet Different - Point & Shoot

I have shot a gun only a few times in my life.  And each time it has been nothing but pointing and shooting.  Someone else set everything up for me, launched the clay pigeon, reloaded, etc.  That is why these posts have not been about guns.  Instead, these posts are about cameras.  I have shot a lot more cameras than I have guns, but the point and shoot camera fills a need for someone who wants someone or something else to set everything up for them.  However, the standard point and shoot camera is becoming more and more obsolete so I have chosen not to even feature one of those cameras here.  Instead, I shot some other cameras that grouped together nicely under this title.  

Point & Shoot Gear:
Sony NEX 5N
Nikon J1
iPhone 4s

Ryan, Ben, and Mike with the NEX 5N
The first camera in this category is the Sony NEX 5N.  I was excited to shoot this camera.  The specs of this look really impressive.  APS-C sized sensor, 16 megapixels, up to 10 frames per second, etc.  Then I shot it.  My first impression... meh.  The pictures it took were fine, but nothing special.  They are clean nice photos, but I feel like I could get that for less than $600 (body only) price tag.  The key here, though, is that I only shot this camera in this one situation.  I still would like to take it out with me again.  I think this camera could shine in the mountain environment.  But in a studio portrait session, I wouldn't suggest it.

Ben, Mike, and Molly with the Nikon J1
You know when you go to movies that you are expecting a lot from and they're not quite there so you think they suck?  That may have been what was happening with the NEX 5N.  And the next camera may be similar to when you go to a movie you are not expecting anything from, it turns out to be pretty good, and you can't wait to tell everyone to go see it.  Either way, the Nikon J1 impressed me.  Please don't take this as me just being a Nikon fanboy.  I am trying to be objective here.  I just really liked how this camera shot and the pictures it took.  Maybe its just the Nikon tones I am used to or something like that, but I definitely prefer the J1 picture set to the NEX 5N set.  I know a lot of people thought Nikon missed the boat when they released this camera, but I enjoyed shooting it and think it is a great solution for a camera this size and price.

Ryan, Ben, and Molly with the iPhone 4s
Then we come to the reason I think the traditional point and shoot camera is dying, the cell phone camera.  Cameras have been on cell phones for a while now, but until recently they have not been good enough to want to take real pictures with them.  The iPhone 4s, however, is a real camera.  It takes great pictures, has a lot of capabilities built in and available in app form, and is always with you.  This is what the point and shoot always wanted to be, but never quite achieved.  I wouldn't start using this in commercial jobs or anything, but this is pretty great at capturing a moment and sharing with the world.

I can see ways that I would use all of these cameras.  I probably won't be using them for paid work, but for fun and for recon missions these cameras are excellent.  You don't always want to be carrying around 30+ pounds of camera gear, but you do want to be able to take a good picture if you get the right light.  I know people that are really into guns.  They probably have guns for every type of shooting.  I will probably stick with letting them do everything for me when we go out shooting, and I have some great recommendations for a camera if they are in the market.

*Thanks to Tim Kemple, Scott Asay, and Ryan Wells for the camera loans

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