Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Almost a month ago I bought a new point and shoot digital camera, a sexy red Sony T100. My old trusty point and shoot, a Nikon Coolpix S2, still works, but it was getting long in the tooth for me for several reasons including: no image stabilization (which makes it really hard to hand hold and get steady shots in low light); only 5 megapixel (making it impossible to upload anything to JPG Magazine which requires more resolution). What I have loved about my S2 is it's sliding cover - slide down to power the camera on and start shooting immediately, slide up to turn it off. Usually when I'm shooting, I have to be fast, especially if I'm with non-shooting friends who want me to keep moving. The sliding cover really speeds stuff up! The S2's lens also zooms inside the camera body - it doesn't need time to have the lens extend outward. So whatever new camera I was going to buy had to have a sliding lens cover, no extruding lens/zoom, and image stabilization. I wasn't as concerned with megapixels - 7, 8, 10 - all fine with me. With those requirements in mind, I didn't have a lot of camera choices out there. I narrowed down my choice to Sony, who actually had many different models with sliding covers. I had used an acquaintance's Sony T20 and really liked the camera a lot, so that helped point me in the right direction. The camera I bought, the T100, is pretty much a beefed up T20. My camera has a 3 inch screen (the largest on any of my cameras), and HD movie mode (the images are really great, but the sound is even better!), two different macro modes, 8 megapixels, 2 modes of image stabilization (called Sony Steady Shot), and a lot of manual tweaks. The T100 is actually a discontinued model so I had to do some searching to find it. I located it at the Sony Outlet Store in Camarillo. The reason I wanted the older model vs the new T200 is that the newer model has a touch screen. Maybe in a couple years they're improve the touch screens and I'll want one for shooting, but for right now, I prefer to have some dedicated buttons. The way I shoot - fast - I want to be able to quickly access main buttons I use a lot like macro or the flash. On my camera those buttons are at my fingertips, on the touch screen model, first you tap the screen, then you look for the function you want, then you tap that, then tap some more to get it to do what you want. I prefer shooting to tapping. After shooting with the T100 for a month I have found out it's strengths and weaknesses. The 2 macro modes are absolutely unbelievable on this camera - the best I've ever had on a point and shoot and they actually come so close to a real hard core dedicated macro lens I'm flabbergasted. The HD movie mode is fantastic. The mic is really sensitive and picks up audio really well. The zoom is really big (5x) for a camera this small. This camera actually has several different kinds of metering modes. I took some photos (see Bette Davis tribute pictures below) in a dark theater with a spotlight on the stage - the perfect setting for spot metering. I switched the meter to spot and the photos speak for themselves - a wonderful exposure - not too dark, not washed out, just right. Weakness, well like any point and shoot, flash photos never look very natural. But, in the camera's defense, I have to say there is the ability to tone down or turn up flash intensity (a feature I haven't fooled around with yet), so I probably can make stuff look better if I try. I love the bigger screen I have now (my old camera was 2.5 inch), but Sony seems to have coated it with some kind of Polarized tint that actually works against my sunglasses I wear that also have polarized tint. Sometimes with my sunglasses on, it's really hard to see the screen because it becomes very dark. But I just have to stick my glasses on my head for a sec and then I can see fine. A small price to pay. Anyway, here's some photos examples from the Sony T100.

Side by side - my old Nikon Coopix S2 and the Sony T100

I love how this captured both stillness and motion!

A ladybug with the macro. I can't believe a little point and shoot can actually produce bokeh like this. That's at the camera's widest f stop f3.5

I was zooming in from pretty far away, I'm impressed how easily you can read the back of this RV.

Nice color rendition.

Macros of my Dad's 1966 Buick LeSabre convertible

The details on this macro shot are amazing!

No you aren't seeing it twice, this second shot is one that the Sony retouched in camera - giving it a soft focus that blurs the periphery around a chosen point (I chose the center of the image). It's basically the lensbaby effect.


The Post Office unveiled the new Bette Davis stamp (available in September) before a screening of "Jezebel." I was sitting pretty far back in the theater when I shot the next few images. Totally handheld, steady shot on, 400 iso, spot metering. I'm pretty amazed with the details and excellent exposure.

The lights outside of LACMA's new BCAM

macro of my incision, now healing into a scar.

more of the soft blur retouching effect

macro butterfly

me and lucy at the beach - the colors are so natural

And even if you don't care about taking artful images, the Sony T100 also works perfectly for taking cheeky snapshots. :-)

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