Nikon D80


I was first impressed that I could pick the camera up, look at the dials and quickly point and shoot excellent quality pictures. The mode dial offered me an auto setting that is so good I am always tempted to use it in preference to fiddling with the semi-auto or full manual options! It had all the feel and weight of an SLR, and it could produce shots as good as any I had achieved with my last Minolta SLR. It has the advantage of shooting in RAW, which is like a digital negative. No compression (as with a Jpeg) and a file that you open and convert, leaving the original untouched, just like a 'real' negative.

Iíve used the camera since 2007, with the basic 18-135mm kit lens, and had some great results. All the shots taken on Banff beach this summer [here] were taken with it, using Aperture Priority (A) setting.

Here are some of the photos Iíve taken with it.  I have cut them down for the web - the full pictures are really large files!



This was taken through a window, during a truly arctic winter here in northern Scotland -  in 2010

Click the photo below to see the full size image

Cherry blossom. Every year we have wonderful cherry blossom in our garden, and I delight in taking many photos every year. It is when you really feel that Spring is here!

Click the photo below to see the full size image

Rhododendrons in bloom. Again this is taken in our garden. The rhododendrons have been very slow growing, and need to survive on a windy site! When the winter has not been too harsh, or too early, the blossoms are rich and luxurious  

But, like many keen amateur photographers, I have met problems with my full DSLR.

Firstly, I take a lot of photos in and around the place I live, and that is in a glen, or valley. Sunrise and sunset can offer wonderful opportunities, but the foreground is usually shrouded in shadow, and photographs as a silhouette. So I was thrilled to read about the power of High Dynamic Range (HDR).  This allows you to take several shots of different exposures, so you can merge them together into a composite that gives the best of both the light and darker elements of the shot. Now I CAN take shots for HDR purposes on the D80 ..... BUT it means adjusting a whole lot of settings, and using a tripod to ensure the accuracy of all three shots (3 is the max you can do with the D80). And once you have the settings in place you have to continue using HDR or wipe out the settings and then re-load them for the next shoot. Slow and clumsy and pretty awkward. I've found myself shooting a whole lot of material in HDR when it just isn't applicable. But the thought of working through re-setting everything is just too painful!

Then there is its size and weight. It just isnít practical to take it with you wherever you go. It is bulky and heavy, and you really need to PLAN a photographic trip ahead. And you need a sizeable camera bag with you, and probably a tripod too. So, even without additional lenses, you are getting less and less flexible!

And there is the problem of taking such expensive kit out in your car. It has to be out of sight if you donít want to attract opportunist thieves. And we have hatchbacks with no handy storage. But most of all I found that I missed excellent opportunities by simply not having my camera with me, or out of the bag and to hand.

So my next move was to add a very small, pocketable camera to my kit. This was the Canon Ixus 100s

on to the Canon Ixus

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© Mike and Elisabeth Liddell 2006-13

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