I've been thinking of getting a bitchen' new Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera so I can take way cool pictures. Instead of buying a Nikon D200, I bought a book about it, which only costs 1% as much as the actual camera ($14.00 vs. $1,400.00). As I read I thought about what I really want in a camera and I realized my Sony mini DV camera already does all of the things I want!

My Sony TRV80 mini DV camera shoots 2 megapixel stills as well as video. It has a lot of advantages over both simple point-and-shoot cameras and fancy DSLR cameras:

  • It's pretty fast;
  • The pictures are small (1600x1200), but close enough to the size of most displays, and I only look at pictures on displays these days;
  • I already have a lot of "digital film" (memory sticks) for it;
  • It has a million adjustments;
  • It has a 10x zoom lens that looks really good;
  • It has a night vision mode;
  • Even without night vision, the low light capabilities are pretty good;
  • It has a tripod mount;
  • It can shoot little 640x480 pictures really fast;
  • The battery lasts about a hundred years (like four hours of continuous shooting), plus I already have spares;
  • If I have it with me, I also have a mini DV camera with me!
  • It has a nice big display, which is also touch sensitive, for easy menu access.
And so I decided to skip the D200 mega-bitchen' camera. But one result of my investigations was a renewed interest in hauling my mini DV camera around and shooting some pictures. Here are some pictures of Enatai Beach Park that I shot over the last few days.

I think one thing that started me thinking about a new camera was the fact that I don't like my current Sony DSC-S500 point-and-shoot camera that much. It's five megapixels but slow. Sheesh. It's such a pain to hold still. Whereas I can hold the the mini DV with both hands with the viewfinder right up against my eye and keep it still while shooting at 10x zoom. This is very nice! I can turn the resolution on the S500 to lower values but it doesn't seem to improve the camera speed - it probably still takes the same size picture and then reduces it.

I guess I decided that if I was willing to haul around a D200, then I should be willing to haul around my mini DV camera, which is probably about the same weight, especially with a good lens on the D200.

My friend KichiGuy says modern cameras are slow because they are processing the pixels and doing a lot of color and brightness balancing after they shoot, and that I should consider getting a newer one, because it will have a faster processor. I suppose that's a good idea, but all cameras are like 8 megapixels minimum now! The only advantage from those extra megapixels is you can crop and keep the resolution up ... which is nice but with my mini DV I simply frame the picture I want from the start! I like that better. The pictures at Enatai Beach Park are unprocessed (except I might have cropped one or two). It's all good to say "I'm going to shoot RAW images 'cause then I can fix 'em up anyway I want ..." but really, who has the time? It's better to shoot the right picture at the time.

So, I'm sticking with the Sony TRV80 until it dies, which should be quite some time from now, as it's pretty solid.

I'll finish with this shot of a bumble bee taken with my TRV80 - the kind of shot for which I thought I would need a D200:

Click for 2 megapixel version

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