Thursday, 9 July 2015

Camera conundrum; slow boat to Fradley

One of the reasons we spent a long time at the Ventura retail park on the outskirts of Tamworth on Tuesday was that we found a John Lewis with a camera department. I have been wanting to replace my old compact camera for a few years now; this was an opportunity actually to do it. The old camera, on which I have taken the vast majority of the photos on this blog to date, is a Fujifilm F50fd. Over the first days of ownership I managed to master many of its functions, and have been really pleased with what it can do. I missed the manual focus and the control over depth of field of my previous camera, an Olympus OM10 SLR, but the compact was so easy to carry around that I did. And, of course, being digital, I took many, many more photos.

my Fujifilm F50fd, bought January 2008, taking a picture of itself in a mirror
But the Fujifilm camera has problems. A few years ago it got a piece of dirt inside the lens system, the effect of which is to cause a slightly blurred area on the right of the picture, most noticeable on wide angle shots. To counter this I usually zoom in slightly, but the right side of the picture is still worse than the left. On "manual" it affects the light metering, often causing massive overexposure.

So, you are asking, how can I put up with it? The answer is that I know it so well that I can take a half-decent photo (all right, tenth-decent) within two or three seconds of the photo-op presenting itself. I have been reluctant to replace it because I know that it will take time and effort with, no doubt, a fair amount of frustration, to get to know a new camera.

At John Lewis, then, I bought a new camera. Call it delayed gratification or apprehensiveness, but - two days since I bought the thing - I haven't got it out of its box yet. I'm now even wondering whether I should have bought the next model up, or a cheaper compact more like my old Fujifilm.

What did I buy? I thought you'd ask that. It was ... (drum roll) ... a Panasonic TZ60.

Martin of Erin Mae has just bought - and likes - a Panasonic TZ70, which is this year's model with certain improvements but without other features. The TZ60 was about £30 less than the TZ70 but has GPS tagging of photos. The TZ60's eyepiece is not quite so high resolution as the TZ70's and it is about 18 megapixel compared with the TZ70's 12 M pixel.

Writing all this down has helped me realise that the TZ70 might be better for me. I don't need GPS, especially as it drains the battery. I don't need more than 12 Mp. If I am to use the eyepiece viewfinder the higher resolution of the TZ70 would be better. Or should I revert to a simpler, cheaper compact camera?

What I do need to find out is whether either the TZ60 or the TZ70 does a 10 second self-timed photo. I'll ask Martin.

Meanwhile ... the camera stays in its box!

Back to boating news.

Today we moved from outside King's Orchard Marina to The Taft, just past Bridge 69 on the T&M. The cruise was notable for being stuck behind an extremely slow Canaltime Hire-a-Canalboat all the way to Fradley.

I had untied but waited for him to pass before pulling out. Mistake. He never went above tickover. Soon we had collected another four boats behind us.

Six boats in a line made it interesting for boats coming towards us. Fortunately this motor and butty didn't meet us in a bridge hole.

The steerer never looked behind him, but his wife knew we were all following. Eventually Jan was able to ask if he would mind letting us pass, so he pulled over and we were able to overtake. Rather than letting everyone else past too he immediately found some throttle he didn't know he had and stuck to our tail! Perhaps he needed a pathfinder to boost his confidence. He was on day four and said it was "getting better". I hate to think what they were like on day one!

We chatted to the man from the boat which had been behind us when we stopped at Rugeley; they were Linda and Alan on Lindalan (naturally).

We tied up at The Taft, home of BCF friends Peter and Julie. They came aboard for a meal with us; here is the photo.

It was good to see you - we'll see you again at the barbecue in September.

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