I Lost My Powershot S95-Time To Upgrade The Point and Shoot Camera

The bad news: I lost my beloved Canon Powershot S95 point and shoot camera :-( The good news: I was forced to upgrade :-)

I guess it was bound to happen at some point. At least it wasn't my DSLR!

A couple weeks ago we met some friends in Asheville for a long weekend. Being the photography geek that I am I took up all my cameras both digital and film (you just never know when you might need a particular camera). One of those was my beloved Canon PowerShot S95. I've had the camera for just over 2 years and have used it a lot. It was the camera that got me through most of my Project 365 because of its small size and good image quality. I really depended on the S95 for go anywhere, high quality images. Like this:

Day 285-Red Maple Leaves On Grass

Or this:

The three chrome carb covers on this car's engine give off a triple reflection.

Needless to say, I was severely bummed when I discovered late last week that I most likely left the camera on the kitchen counter of the house we were renting. I contacted to owner but no luck, my S95 was gone!

After a couple hours of moping around, angry at myself for losing the camera, I came to my senses and realized that I could now "justify" getting a new camera. But which one? The choices are almost overwhelming.

After some research last weekend I decided that I wanted to keep the same basic form factor and features with the new camera that I had with the S95. That meant I was looking for something extremely portable with good image quality and the ability to shoot RAW files. And since I was upgrading there were a couple of things I had wished the S95 had, like zoom and continual auto-focus while shooting video. I also decided that I didn't want to spend a ton of money on the new camera. Those criteria quickly narrowed the list of potential candidates down to a few contenders and one outlier:

  1. The Nikon COOLPIX P330
  2. Canon's latest iteration of the S95, the Canon PowerShot S110
  3. The camera that came between the S95 and S110, the Canon PowerShot S100
  4. And finally, a "stretch" candidate, the Sony DSC-RX100

All four of these cameras could serve as a great replacement for the S95. The improvements in features, like true HD video and GPS/wireless, as well as image quality made them all very strong candidates. I was especially intrigued by the Sony, which is getting rave reviews for its image quality (from a much larger sensor). I almost blew my budget to buy the Sony because it seems to be a bit of a game changer. But the price on it was more than I could justify given that I have a nice DSLR.

In the end, I decided to go with the PowerShot S100 for these reasons:

  1. The camera has a lot of positive reviews from people who upgraded to it from the S95.
  2. I like the idea of having direct GPS tagging of images if I want.
  3. I like the form-factor of the camera. One of the best things about my dearly departed S95 was the fact that it was truly "pocketable" which made it the perfect go anywhere complement to my much larger Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR (which I highly recommend!).
  4. And finally, the price on the S100 was right. At under $300 it should meet my needs without breaking the bank.

I should have the camera within the week and will do an unboxing/review of it once I get the time.

Losing a camera you like really, really sucks. I sincerely hope none of you have to go through the experience. But, if the unthinkable happens you can always try to "make Lemonade from Lemons" and find a new camera that works for you. I think the secret is to define what you are really wanting/needing from the camera, set a realistic budget and then do the research. If you do all of that, finding a new camera should be easy.

Happy Shooting!

Snapshots to Photographs: RAW vs JPEG

This episode of Mark's Photography Spot is the third in a series of videos I'm doing to help you get your camera out of "Auto" mode. I call the series "Snapshots to Photographs" This episode addresses the "big debate" in digital photography, RAW vs JPEG:

I have a definite opinion on this and that opinion is: "Shoot RAW when you want to get the most out of your image and shoot JPEG when you want to be able to quickly share an image or don't have the desire (or need) to actively post process the image".

In terms of my photography that equates to me shooting RAW about 90-95% of the time and JPEG the rest. In terms of your photography, only you know what those percentages will be.

Here is why I shoot RAW the majority of the time, and why I recommend that you do the same:

If you are new to photography and want to take the best images possible I would encourage you to shoot RAW as much as possible and use software (Lightroom, for example) to fine tune the image out of the camera.The reason is because RAW files are essentially a "digital negative" and have pretty much all the information that is available for any one particular image. You, as the photographer, will have a lot more latitude to adjust and refine the RAW file to create the final image that you can then save as a JPEG or other format. Shooting JPEG's, on the other hand, results in a file that is created using in-camera processing. This process often times sacrifices quality for speed, smaller file size and portability. Once the camera creates it's interpretation of the image and writes that to your memory card as a JPEG file, there is no going back. You won't be able to recapture the original image and make anything more than basic adjustments. That's the biggest downside of JPEG files.

Now that you know to shoot RAW whenever you want to get the most out of your photography, stay tuned for the next videos in this series as I dig a little deeper into Aperture and Shutter Speed.

You'll be able to find all the videos in this series in the playlist "Snapshots to Photographs".

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Thanks for watching and Happy Shooting!

Photography Poll: Which Format Do You Shoot, RAW or JPEG

OK, it's been a while since the last post but I have a great excuse, we were out West for a week long vacation. We spent time in Death Valley and Zion National Parks with stopovers in Las Vegas while coming and going between the two. It was a great trip and I shot a lot of images. I'm hopeful that I can get through them in the next few days and start sharing our experiences. Stay tuned... I met a lot of other photographers while on the trip (some extremely serious and some more casual) and it got me thinking, "What format do people shoot, RAW or JPEG?" So this photography poll asks that exact question. In the age of digital cameras that seems to be a question that comes up just about every time photographers get together. It's a question that's almost as old as "Canon or Nikon?", although the question has really only been asked for the last 10 years or so. That question is "Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?".

Please note that I didn't say "shoot in the RAW...", that's a personal decision that is the subject of another, completely different, poll :-)

As for my personal experience with this, in the short time that I've been back into photography, I've been asked this question several times. There are people on both sides of this "issue". The RAW purists don't want anything at all to corrupt their images, and they want total control over the photo. JPEG shooters on the other hand seem to be fine with the slight loss of control over the image because of the reduced time needed and the smaller, more portable file sizes.

For me it's pretty much RAW all the time. I figure I'm trying to get the best image possible and RAW gives me the most flexibility in terms of adjusting and tweaking the image.

So, what is it for you, RAW or JPEG?

[poll id="2"]