Recently, I’ve redeveloped an interest in photography, particularly of the digital variety. Armed with my trusty point-and-shoot camera, I’ve been taking pictures of whatever happens to strike my fancy at any particular time. It could be flowers in my backyard, my iPod Touch, cars at the Detroit Auto Show, a new pair of IEMs and so on. Whatever it was, I came up with reasons to take pictures of it, even if I didn’t have a plan to do anything with the pictures once I took them. Now, I’m going to share with you a brief history of my love of digital photography.
Now, taking photos is something I’ve long found entertaining, dating back to seventh grade when I signed up for a digital photography course which introduced me to the world of digital cameras. Shortly after the school year ended, I received my first real digital camera for my birthday, a Fujifilm FinePix 1400 Zoom.
At the time, this thing was a beast. Sporting a 1.3 Megapixel resolution, 3x optical zoom, and featuring a 1.6 inch LCD screen; this camera had it all and I absolutely loved it. It ran through 4AAs like nobody’s business and the 4MB SmartMedia card filled up after just a couple of shots but I didn’t care, I still loved taking pictures with my camera and I did so whenever I could find an excuse to do so.
As I got older, my interest in digital photography waned purely because I didn’t have much of a reason to use my camera. The years passed, new cameras were introduced and Megapixel counts rose ever higher but it was of no consequence to me. That was, until mid-2008 when I was invited out to California for EA’s Burnout Paradise Community Day and I realized that I needed a camera to take with me. My old Fujifilm camera was extremely outdated by this time and I knew I was in need of a replacement. So, completely ignorant of which were the best digital cameras of the day I went out to Best Buy and came home with this…
Another Fujifilm camera, the FinePix Z100fd. This is the camera that I have been using as my workhorse camera since then. All of the pictures I’ve taken and uploaded to my Digital Photography page have been taken with this camera. Originally, I was a bit disappointed in the quality of the images I was getting out of it and was feeling more than a little bit of buyer’s remorse. The images were grainy and blurry unless I used the flash or took my pictures in very bright lighting (IE, outside). Needless to say, I was beginning to think that I’d seriously wasted my money.
And then something clicked. I started to ignore the auto image settings completely, use the close up macro setting coupled with manual white balance and ISO settings. I also realized that the camera had to be held almost inhumanly still to avoid blurry images even with the dual image stabilization tech activated. Seeing as I don’t have a tripod (haven’t had a serious need for one yet); I have to improvise most of the time. While I may have to repeat some shots from time to time due to some minor blurring (typically on extreme close ups), the results are often worth the trouble.
I’ve contemplated getting a DSLR sometime in the future but honestly, I’m happy enough with my little point-and-shoot camera that fits in my pocket and can be pulled out and ready to go at a moment’s notice. I guess it’s true what they say. It’s not the camera; it’s the photographer holding the camera that produces excellent images. I don’t doubt that there are some truly horrible digital cameras with extremely poor sensors out there that no photographer could compensate enough for but this camera is not one of them. I’ve read reviews of my camera on Amazon and I see a good number of people complaining about grainy and blurry images but considering what I’ve done with the camera, I’m convinced that these reviews are coming from the type of person that doesn’t know what they’re doing and needs the camera to compensate for their own ignorance. Even when using auto settings, the camera can produce good images, as long as you hold it steady and have good ambient lighting or use the flash.
After two years of ownership, I’m very pleased with my Z100fd and I don’t plan on upgrading any time soon. This camera does everything I ask it to do fairly well and with that, I am pleased. Images are a bit soft when it comes to detail but I can forgive that considering how good the images typically look, regardless of that softness. I imagine that my interest in digital photography will continue to grow in the years to come and I’ll be “forced” to upgrade to a nice DSLR at some point (I’ve used a Canon Rebel T1i DSLR that was pretty darn nice) but whatever the case, my Z100fd will likely continue to have a special place in my camera collection and will continue to see regular use in the months and years to come.
All images taken for this article were taken with my Z100fd, except for the pictures of the Z100fd itself (obviously), which were taken with a Kodak EasyShare P850.
The full image gallery for this post, featuring pictures in their native resolutions can be found in this gallery.