My wife and I took our 2001 honeymoon in Montreal & Quebec City, Canada. These were great cities, but unfortunately our memories are just that, memories. We were not early adopters of digital photography by any stretch of the imagination. We actually purchased our first digital camera, a Kodak DX3500 days for for leaving for Canada. In addition, we also packed a Yashica 35mm point and shoot camera with zoom. At that time of your lives (before kids), these cameras seemed good enough for our needs. Capturing and sharing every moment to share had not yet become an important part of lives.
The Kodak (see a 2001 review) only had a 2.2 megapixel digital zoom, not an optical zoom and 8MB of internal storage and used the now obsolete compact flash expansion storage format. To cut through the chase, the wrong storage card was purchased and after twelve shots the camera’s internal storage was full. This was day one in Montreal, with four days to go. Luckily we had the other camera and film. Oh yes, ISO 200 film. We were able to take a few rolls in Montreal, but as we were packing to leave for Quebec City, we realized they were gone. A frantic search ensued in our hotel room, but the rolls in their nice little plastic containers were no where to be found. Those memories of our honeymoon were gone.
This isn’t a cry for us post, it is actually more of a glass half full look. How can there be a glass half full when you lose two whole rolls of film??
For those of us old enough to remember the days of 35mm film photography, we may recall out of a roll with 24 exposures there was a good chance that two photos per roll would not have turned out. Maybe they were under or over exposed, or may be just out of focus. The processing and development model of film photography also impacted how we took photos. Knowing that we were charged for each photo developed by the photo lab, we may take one or two of a subject, thinking that that was good enough. One or two tries really isn’t enough to find that perfect shot. In capturing the great limestone cliffs of Etretat, France I took somewhere between ten to twenty shots to find the right one.
Then you had shots that turned out OK or may be even had the potential really good, but an unsuspecting passerby found their way into the photo or worse yet, your photo appears to be more of a passerby’s beer gut than the subject itself. Ugh.
Considering the over and under exposed, the bad, and the just plain ugly, we would have been lucky to have had ten “keeper” photos out of the lost rolls from our honeymoon.
As we geared up for our visit to France in 2011, I researched many cameras in the sub-$500 range. This was to be a two week visit, we were going to see many great sites, so I wanted to make a significant upgrade in the camera department to ‘do it right.’ We already had a Canon PowerShot SD1100, in pink, which was a great little camera as well, but I was looking for something a bit more..um…manly for this visit. decided on a camera highly recommended by Consumer Reports, the Canon PowerShot G12. Consumer Reports recommended the G12 due to a nice combination of superior point and shoot capabilities and features typical of a standard DSLR. It was my experience that the unit lived up to its hype and more.
Reviews comparing the G12 to the current market of digital cameras miss it’s best feature, simplicity. The smallish, but rugged housing makes the G12 easy to stow or grab to get a shot at moments notice. The G12 is also unassuming. While Europe in general is very safe, in major tourist areas pick pockets and petty thieves prey on tourists. Large camera lenses and even thick camera straps will draw attention from not only camera enthusiasts, but to the petty criminals looking for a quick score. In addition to not having protruding lenses, the G12 helped maintain an understated image with it’s functional plain, black narrow strap without a prominent brand name label.
The SD1100 also traveled with us and was my wife’s primary camera. The 8-megapixel point and shoot camera with a 3x optical zoom took great photos of the Millau bridge in southern France and many other places along the way. In addition to the advanced DSLR features and rugged housing, the G12 also featured 10 megapixel images and a 5x optical zoom which were each superior to the SD1100. I found a great deal online from Best Buy where the price of the G12 just happened the current retail price of the Canon SD1100. In my mind I had purchased twice the camera, two years later for essentially the same price. I think that Moore guy was on to something. 🙂
When receiving compliments for the photos taken in France and Spain, I usually give all the credit to the camera. The camera was only one half of my digital photography team, the other have was my trusty iPad. It should not come as a surprise that the iPad is absolutely awesome for traveling. It is easily stowed, easy to use and is truly designed for the photo enthusiast. Each night I took my camera’s memory card and imported the day’s photos into the iPad via the SD card adapter. From there I would simple delete photos that were not up to par, then crop and save any others that needed editing. I found cropping and saving with the iPad infinitely faster and easier than connecting a camera via USB cable to a PC and importing into an editing program like PhotoShop Elements. These features allowed me to take images that would have been in the ‘meh’ category and turn them into images that tell our stories.
I created an album within the app for each city or region we would visit to help us remember just where we were. The native app does not share with Flickr, however the affordable iPhoto app from Apple will not only share photos with Flickr, but it offers a whole host of photo enhancement options and seamlessly work within the context of previously set up albums. The albums on my iPad have taken the place of a traditional print photo album as I simply take out my iPad and use the retina display to show the photos in all their splendor as imaged by the Canon G12.
Together, the G12 and iPad make a great traveling companions that I recommend for travel at home or abroad.