As you may know, I still prefer shooting on film when “it matters.” There are a variety of reasons, but there is no denying the connivence of digital. I have a little thing from Sony that has really come in handy, but there are some big problems with it. Framing in the sun is mostly a guessing game due to the wildly inaccurate viewfinder and the lcd getting blown out in the sun. There is also the problem of speed, it takes a little time to focus. Of course the itty, bitty sensor in it means that you are going to have pretty noisy pictures unless you use a flash or shoot in the sun (see above).
You can get around all of that by using a digital SLR. Yes, they are larger, but the usual complaint about them is that they are so expensive. Well, that used to be a real complaint, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. The technology has come so far so fast that even SLRs that are a couple of generations back are just fine for fun shooting. Here’s the other thing, digital cameras depreciate like computers.
I’m thinking about getting one of the Olympus SLRs before I go on my next trip. They have some issues, and compared to some of the new cameras, I’m not sure I’d get one. This works in your favor when you look at used ones though. They seem to sell for less than the “big” boys like Canon and Nikon. Here’s the other thing I like about used Olympus cameras, they all have an anti-dust filter in front of the sensor. Not only will this keep dust out of your pictures, it also precludes idiots screwing up the sensor when they try to clean it. For all of you lens geeks out there, there are adaptors that allow you to put damn near any SLR lens on the Oly cameras as well. You can pick up an E-300 kit for about $250, probably even less if you’re patient. That’s pretty freaking cheap for that kind of picture quality.
Yes, the new cameras are better. Yes, the olympus system is a little more limiting than the other brands. But at $250, who cares? It’s a disposable camera (and lens). You get a big step up in image quality for the price of a middling point and shoot. Digital finally makes some sense for me. It’s not going to replace my film cameras for everything (My medium format folders are still smaller and have a unique look) but for a lot of stuff it will… Go take some pictures!