Update 2003 : I have
completely switched to Digital. Since I saw 20x30 prints of
I see no reason to use my analog equipment
any more for my own, personal use.
I bought my first digital camera (Canon Ixus, 2MP) in the year
2000 because I wanted to take it on my weekend trips, (especially
to the mountains), and have the pictures ready on my computer & on my website
on Monday morning. Most digital cameras are capable of that and
- The 2 MegaPixel (1600x1200) resolution was great when using
pictures on the computer directly.
When you use them in eMails and for the Web, you have to reduce the size anyway
(~640 or 800 px).
- The paper prints that you can conveniently order over the internet
are pixel-free in normal
size (up to 10x15cm at least).
- When you go traveling, you can take the small digi along with
your SLR so you have it handy for snapshots at all times.
Today, there are many camera models in the small portable
segment. Still the new models of the Ixus are outstanding in
quality and value (see my old
Pro & Con List)
To the right you can see my 'new baby': The Sony F 717
I'll write some more about it when I find the time, but I can say
aleady that this is a really great camera!
I've made ~1000+ pictures with it, also many of the ones you can
see on this web-page.
Foto / 35mm
I still have one Minolta 35mm body and some lenses.
Minolta is certainly not my favorite choice in camera brands,
although I was never really disappointed by their Equipment. The
value for the money was just better that with Nikon, so I chose
My camera body is more than 20 years old and still doing fine ;-)
Foto / Medium Format
I came to the medium format while studying architecture, when I
joined a photography-group for some time.
I bought a Kiev 88 because it was an affordable entry to this
world, and the reputation of the camera (at least one that
is in good shape) seemed reasonable which it actually was as
I found. The Kiev is a russian copy of a Hasselblad which
many professional studio-photographers use.
The big difference to 35mm or digital is that you start seeing
photography as an art rather than a means to get funny
- The heavy equipment forces you to use a tripod, which
automatically slows everything down: The
time until you have set everything up is so long that you then
also take your time to compose your picture with much more
care. (Choosing the standpoint, angle, ...)
- The big 6cm x 6cm view finder lets you preview the picture
exactly as it will be later on the print.
You don't look through some lens, you look at
- The price of a developed print lets you think twice if that
is really the picture you actually wanted.
- 2 lenses, the regular 80mm and a fisheye which is an
interesting piece by itself.
- 2 finders, the simple waist-level finder seen in the picture
on the right, and a TTL 'look-through' finder, that can
measure the right shutter time.
- 2 Film-Backs that can be interchanged on the fly, e.g. one
for colour pictures and one for B&W
Unfortunately my other hobbies currently involved too much
lightweight travelling (Climbing, Bicycling, ...) so I hardly ever
carried it around with me, and I sold the camera.
Foto / Links
Some general statements on Digital Cameras:
This was written in Y2K not up to date any more
- You definitely need extra memory cards. The standard 8MB
will get you nowhere. -> Buy 64 or 128 MB
(For the picture size1600x1200 this means 105 / 212 pictures.
Multiply by 4 for the 640x480s)
Buying 2 times a smaller card size is better than getting one
big card ! This leaves you with more redundancy and better
handling of the individual cards.
- Batteries are a tricky topic. Buying a spare rechargeable battery
is nearly a must for most uses.
(Buy it right away as a package-deal if possible.) While the
Camera lasts very long when you turn off the LCD, it quickly
stops working when you turn it on in cold conditions. -> I
always use it without the LCD.
The Ixus has the nice feature that the picture you have just
taken shows shortly when you hold the trigger after the
picture was taken. This costs minimal energy and is all you
need to verify that you got your shot.
In *very* cold conditions, keep the battery in a warm
place and put it in camera only when needed.
"On-the-Road" Digi-Photographing and
sending pictures back home via eMail.
(This is one of the tips I gave in a Newsgroup, but it's so
general it can be of help to others as well.)
I have used the digital Ixus on my Peru trip, but have not
sent any pictures home via email, because I didn't think it was worth it when
I left from home.
I would do it next time though and its not difficult once you
know the basics.
I see the following facts:
- Many but not all Cameras today use USB for the physical
- Many but not all Internet Cafes Computers have USB Ports on their
- For the connection to get the pictures
over an USB (or serial) cable on the Computer you definitely need
- A) The cable
- B) Some additional Driver-Software specific to your camera on the computer,
which will not be pre-installed by default on a
- Many Internet Cafe Owners will be reluctant to
let you install this additional SW if they know about it.
- Many PC's could be protected against the installation of additional
SoftWare in some Form e.g. User-Rights
- If they are not protected, you don't have to let the owner know that you
install the SW, if the you have put the
needed Software Package (usually small!) on the Internet (free homepage)
so you can download it without any CDs
- Todays cameras make large pictures. Unless you took your pictures in a big size for later use and a small size for
eMail-use on your trip, you will need some Software to reduce the size of your pictures which is also *not* normally on
Internet Cafe Computers. Look for a small freeware package you can
These were the tips for the standard situation that the usual camera owner of a recently built camera will
Here are some more Tips for rarer cases:
- If you are still in the phase of buying a camera and want it specifically for
the purpose of sending (small) pictures back from the trip, then look for a cheap one,
possibly an older, used model that has these advantages.
- It is cheap so you don't worry all the time if it gets stolen
- Old models often use serial Connection Cables which is
even to be found on the old Computers
- Their resolution and picture size is so small, that you
need much resizing or compressing before you send them
from slow telephone lines
- Another method is to take a camera with CompactFlash
Card (majority of the market today) and buy a cheap 7$US
PCMCIA adapter for this card. Then your only problem will be to find someone with a laptop, because Win95 and
above simply show the card as an additional Hard-Drive immediately after plugging it into a Laptops PCMCIA
slot. So you can just select the picture and send it off via email !(for the
enthusiasts: Try at home if your camera can handleadditional files on the card and still work well. Then
you can install a small Freeware picture editing SW that needsno registry on your CFlash and resize the pictures
before you send them without ever putting the SW on the computer ;-)
=> This adapter card is cheap light and tiny, so I suggest to take it with you if you know how it works. In
Peru there are many Internet Cafes in the bigger cities, so you can ask in a couple if they have a Laptop somewhere.
I hope I didn't forget to list something I might consider as obvious,
but it is not ...
P.S.: If you are interested in my Peru-Pics, you can find them Here
Pro & Con for the Canon Ixus
This was written in Y2K not up to date any more
Here are the Pros for this camera:
- It is much smaller and lighter than most other point and
shoots, and therefore, the camera joins you wherever you want to
go (there is even a submarine kit ;-)
- The metal case is very rugged. I have banged & bashed it
against a lot of things and it still works fine.
- This model was sold many many times, and the
reviews of the owners are quite good.
The changes that were made to the newer Ixus V and V2 models
are minimal. Another indication, that good things are hard to
- I had that thing in & under my jacket on many mountains now,
sometimes also underneath my shirt while rock-climbing. It's
been freezing cold, I've been sweating and the camera gets warm
and cold all the time. I have read many statements that this
wrecks digital cameras fast - but not this one so far ;-)
- The picture quality has even beaten many 3MP cameras in
comparison tests. (see also at
- The straight design just made me fall in love it ;-)
- The Software that comes with it (ZoomBrowser and a
PanoramaStitcher) are very usable and well worth using, which
surprised me for 'add-on' software.
Of course there are also some negative points for the IXUS:
- The flash is more or less unusable: Because it is close to
the lens, people will _allways_ have red eyes and also look
like dead. Other objects appear too bright in the middle and
to dark at the edges - not nice at all when you see the photos
on the PC later.
-> I have the flash turned off at all times and use it
only in emergencies.
- Low-light conditions are not what this camera likes: The
tiny lens will cause blurry pictures in these conditions even you
use a tripod.
- Most objects on pictures in the mountains are very far away.
The Ixus' default in this case, where it can't measure the
actual distance is ~2meters.This is very stupid and gives you
-> Every time you turn the camera on, you have to force the
camera to go to the 'mountain-symbol' which means infinity-focus
- Be careful with the Compact-Flash cards : Check
in the shop if the memory card you want to buy slows down the boot-up time of the camera !
Mine (and other owners cameras) takes 4+ sec to turn on now with the 128MB :-(
(Less than 1 sec normally)