No doubt about it, I gotta get a better camera, but I’ve been saying that for fifty years, starting with a 1963 Brownie Fiesta. The latest camera I’m unsatisfied with (though I like it just fine–I’m like that) is a Fuji A500, 5 megapixels, 3x optical zoom. I’m not shooting for prints, but to have something that looks good on a computer screen. Five megapixels gives me an image size of 2592 x 1944. My laptop, which is not the best but things can look good on it, tops out at 1024 x 768, or a mere 786,432 pixels. What do all those extra pixels do for me, besides letting me crop the shit out of the image? Doesn’t the image lose all the fantabulous extra detail when it’s squeezed down to fit on the screen?
I’ve been using this camera for about a week shooting lots of plowed-up piles of dirty snow that, between the presence of salt and sublimation from the bright sun and very low temperatures, have interesting textures and contrast. The first shots weren’t totally successful because why the hell did the previous owner touch the lens? I didn’t even look, assuming she wasn’t an idiot. Wrong. And it was bloody cold last week, so composition was corrected in the “darkroom” when the shot wasn’t wrecked by my shaking.
I know I should work on getting better at my craft before dumping this camera for something with 16mp (apparently right around the realistic “pixel” count of non-specialist 35mm film in a decent SLR), 15x zoom, and pretty big and good lenses–basically a “bridge” camera–but I get that itch pretty often. Anyway, the one I got on eBay for super cheap because the seller said it didn’t work, doesn’t work. I started taking it apart, but got bored. Some day it will work, or I’ll pass it along to some other schmuck. It’s the eBay ecology. I got the A500 plus an A360 that also works fine for $4.99 because they’re unstylish and that sort of price is in the sweet spot of what I can afford, so don’t suggest anything new or expensive. Just a little help grokking the usefulness of a high pixel count will do.