In July, 2011, this site reached its 10th Anniversary On-Line. Also, recently, the 20,000th photo was added to the site. This continues to be a lot of fun for me; I hope you continue to enjoy the various photo galleries!
My Third (and current) Digital Camera: Nov. 2007 NEW Digital Camera Up-Date: (upper right)
My current digital camera is a Fuji FinePix S8000fd. The camera's main features are: 8 megapixel resolution, 18X "Optical Zoom" WITH dual image stabilization (invaluable for shooting handheld) plus 5.1X "Digital Zoom" - now, from reading the rest of this page, you will notice that I am not a big fan of "Digital Zoom"; however, this camera changed my mind about that (to a degree anyway). That gives you almost 91X total zoom, but at full zoom range the photo quality suffers quite a bit. The camera uses 4 "AA" Batteries (high-capacity NiMH rechargeable batteries are a big help here). The camera has a "traditional" viewfinder ("EVF" - electronic viewfinder ... like a viewfinder on a traditional film camera) and a large 2.5-inch LCD-screen that can be used as a view finder or to view photos stored on the camera. It can use "xD picture card" or "SD" memory cards for storage PLUS it has 58MB "internal" storage built in. For those who like manual features (focus, lighting, etc.), this camera has about everything you could want. I have only tried it out briefly; but, already I like what I see! At 8 MegaPixels, the photos are high quality. For a camera in the price range of $300 to $400 (new), I felt it was a tremendous buy. I have no plans to replace it in the forseeable future (this last comment was added in 2011).
Click Here to see a photo taken at full 91X "total" zoom (18X Optical Zoom with 5.1X Digital Zoom). This photo of the freighter, BBC Ems, from about 1/2 mile away! That is not too bad (especially for using all of the"Optical" and "Digital" Zoom)!
My Second Digital Camera: April 2005 NEW Digital Camera Up-Date: Olympus C-765
The second camera I purchased was an Olympus C-765 digital camera. This camera is a 4 Mega-pixel camera and boasts a 10X Optical Zoom along with a 4X Digital Zoom (or a total of 40X combined zoom). I still don't care much for Digital Zoom; though I understand that shooting at maximum resolution, one can get a fairly good photo using PART of the Digital Zoom; BUT, Optical Zoom (which is True Zoom) is still best! I have taken some indoor photos with the Olympus, and am very pleased with the results. However, I recently tried some night shots with it and was VERRRRRY pleased with the results. Check out this photo of the USCG Mackinaw at night on Feb. 28, 2007; you can see what this camera can do after dark! However, be sure to bring a tripod!
My First Digital Camera: The First Camera That Made This All Possible: Sony Mavica FD-91
The first camera that I used when I first started this website in 2001 was a Sony Mavica model FD-91. It is a digital camera with a 14X "Optical" zoom lens, which is comparable to about 525mm zoom on a 35mm camera! Its "Steady Shot" feature allows me to take all of my photos hand-held...even at full zoom. The camera compensates for small movements while taking a picture, so a tripod is not necessary! Many of the shots on this site were taken at full 14X zoom. I use the "JPEG-normal" mode when shooting; that gives me pictures that are 1024 x 768 pixels in size (I have re-sized some of them to 640 x 480 for use on this site). The storage medium is 3.5" standard floppy disks, and I can usually get 15-20 pictures per disk with an average file size between 50KB - 130KB. This is not a "Megapixel" camera, but I think that you will see that it is more than adequate for my purposes. Unfortunately, this camera is no longer available form Sony. They have up-graded it twice since I bought it in Jan. 2000. The FD-95 and CD-1000(?) have replaced it, and they are great cameras; although Sony has dropped the zoom to 10X (which is still very good).
If you would like to see the quality of photos from this camera, most of the photos shot prior to 2005 for this website are "direct from the camera" photos (except those down-sized for slideshow use).
Notes on Digital Cameras:
Which digital camera is right for you? That is a question to ask yourself before jumping into the wonderful world of digital photography. What will be your primary uses for your new camera? For me, a long zoom lens was critical...ships are not always close to where the photos are taken. Let's talk a moment about the difference between "Optical Zoom" and "Digital Zoom". Optical zoom is "true" zoom (WYSIWYG) while Digital zoom is an "artificial" zoom (like enlarging a photo in a browser...after a couple "zoom-ins" the picture gets very grainy). Therefore, Optical zoom is what you will want to look for in a digital camera. Also, many digital cameras rely on an LCD-screen for a view-finder; the only drawback to that is that LCD screens are difficult to see out in the bright sunshine. All three of the above cameras have both an LCD-screen and a "Normal" (like you have on a regular camera) viewfinder (see "EVF above); something that I have really come to appreciate (thanks to the sales person who suggested this when I was shopping for my very first digital camera). If you are taking pictures that demand intricate detail, then a higher "Megapixel" camera should be considered. The difference in photo detail (in early model digital camera) was most noticeable when going between a 2 megapixel and 3 megapixel camera; the results were quite dramatic. The Olympus camera (above) is a 4 megapixel camera, and the photo quality is great. The Fuji camera (above) is 8 megapixel, and the photo quality is even better!
Remember...only you can answer the question, "Which digital camera is right for me?"
Addendum: Digital cameras are now available up to 14 Megapixels or more! The balancing act as I see it is: How much Optical Zoom do you need? There are still quite a few cameras available with 10X Optical Zoom (which is adequate for objects at a distance), and the newer ones go as high as over-30X (splendid); and how much detail do you need for what you want to do? The higher the "Megapixel" value, the more intricate and detailed your photos will be (also much larger File Sizes, so be careful). ENJOY!!!