Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Does Size Matter? (Canon PowerShot 1200 IS vs. Canon PowerShot s90)

I spent all day yesterday printing a few pictures from my travels. I am not the best at organizing my photos so it took a while to go through and sort out a few that I liked. I still have more to go through, but I chose a few to put up for sale on my Etsy site. You can see the pictures I put up on the right of the blog.

As you might know, I dropped and killed 2 Canon Powershot cameras during my travels. Recently, I purchased a new camera after I received a gift certificate from Amazon.

Buying a new camera is not an easy task since there are so many makes and models to choose from. Then you have to read the reviews and think about what is best for you. I decided to buy a Canon Powershot s90 camera. It's still a point and click and since I prefer the Canon brand, I chose this one. I am pleased so far with the results.

Most of my pictures I've taken on the road are with my Canon Powershot SD 1200 IS. After printing some of the images, it really is a good camera. I didn't have any complaints with it, besides it slipping from my hands a few times(of course that's the Camera's fault). I still have it and will continue to use it. However, I do love shooting with my s90 now.

Last week I went to a free photography group meeting to listen to a professional speak about their business. I thought, "why not? It's free and I will be able to meet like minded people who also share the same passion for photography." The group organizer asked everyone to introduce themselves and say what their first camera was and what their "dream" camera is. I listened as everyone rattled off numbers and names with the crowd smiling and nodding their heads knowing full well the cost, model, and performance of the camera that they were describing. To me, it was just a number. I mean...I know they are beautiful quality cameras but since I don't have a SLR, I couldn't relate.

It came to my turn to talk. I introduced myself...said that I quit my job to travel across the country with my dog in a tent. A lot of people in the group smiled at me with some applause in the room. Then I said I used a point and click and that I didn't really have a "dream" camera since I was pretty happy with what I had. The smiles I had at the beginning turned to confusion and for second, I could hear crickets chirping in the room. It's as if I lost all credibility at that moment. I then stopped talking and looked at the person next to me to continue the introductions (as I sunk lower in my chair). Once again, the camera model numbers came flowing with a collective sigh of relief amongst the group that there were more of "them" in the room.

Don't get me wrong, I would love the opportunity to push a button with a very large and expensive camera, but I don't have one and I think that anyone can take an amazing photo with what they have. After all, it's just a tool to capture what you are looking at in that point in time. However, I am not opposed to owning one in the future if the opportunity presents itself.

I feel that I almost have to apologize for the size of the camera I have. When people see large cameras, I think the automatic assumption is, "wow, they must be an excellent photographer!" When I see those cameras I automatically think that the photos must have amazing clarity but then my mind thinks: "wow, they have to lug that around with them the entire day...I wonder if their shoulder hurts. I wonder if they bang it on walls walking into a room or what would happen if they dropped it." Most likely, that would be my experience.

I was going to do a side by side comparison of my two cameras but I thought I would show you some of the pictures I have taken with each. If you are thinking of purchasing a Canon s90, I found this review helpful...including pictures. CLICK HERE for review.

Here are some pictures I took with both "point and clicks." Which one do you think I took with my less expensive 1200 and which one with my new s90?

Can you tell a difference? The first 5 images (excluding the camera photos) are from my lesser expensive Canon Powershot 1200IS and the last 4 pictures are from the new Canon s90. In my opinion, it's the picture you take that's the best photo. Don't let the equipment intimidate you or discourage you from taking a picture you love. The one you take that you cherish forever is the most important shot, no matter what camera you have.

UPDATE: As of May, I traded my wine collection for a Canon 5D Mark ii.  I am still getting used to it and learning (I consider myself a work in progress), but I have to say that this is a good camera too. :)


John said...

I am completely blown away with your camera revelation. I've been flowing your blog for a couple weeks now greatly impressed with your photography. I knew for sure you had to have some big-ass expensive Canon or Nikon digital SLR set-up complete with a vast array of lenses. And now I read the truth! Unbelievable! I was once one of those picture takers lugging around pounds of camera gear. I've since scaled my entire operation to one simple point & shoot Canon Powershot A590 and am so much happier with it. Now you have shown me that stunning photographs can be achieved with simplicity. Thank you! John

Alison said...

Hi John!
Thank you for your kind words about my photographs! Most of my pictures are taken with the canon powershot 1200 IS which is under $200.

I am enjoying my new "upgrade" even though it's still a point and click. :)

I haven't shot a SLR yet and I am not counting it out. It's just that I want to work with what I have at the moment.

I think everyone can take stunning pics with the equipment they have. There will always be "bigger and better" things to buy but taking the time to shoot with what you've got is fun too.

I appreciate your comment, thank you!

Logan said...

Hey Alison - I'm looking at the S90 as well. I have an old SD300 that is on it's last legs. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. I do have a big DSLR camera as well, and while it allows you more control of the shot, exposure, bigger sensor, etc, it doesn't do a whole lot if you aren't carrying it when you see a shot.

So I guess I'm saying it's nice to have both. A point & shoot to carry everywhere, and a bigger setup if you plan to do some dedicated shooting.

Julie Magers Soulen said...

Canon makes a great point and shoot camera. I don't carry my Nikon D80 with me everywhere but I do my little Canon Powershot. They are a great little camera and I have taken some of my favorite shots with mine. Great post!

Julie Magers Soulen Photography
Blog of Note

penfold said...

An SLR just gives you an additional range of opportunities. For example a long lens can get you some fantastic candids from afar or macro shots you otherwise couldn't reach.
The most important aspect is your ability to 'visualise' an image before you even get the camera from your pocket.
You have a great eye and a talent for capturing moments in time.

Alison said...

Hi Logan..yes, a point and shoot is easy to take around with you and can take some great shots! I would love to have a DSLR camera one of these days. I am sure I will be amazed at the superior quality.

Hi take some amazing pictures, that's for sure! Thank you for enjoying the post, I just wanted people to know that a point and click can take some good shots and not to be discouraged if they didn't have a DSLR. :)

Hi Penfold...Thank you so much for the compliment! I looked at your site and you have some wonderful photographs! I look forward to owning a DSLR some day to take the types of pictures you describe.

Thank you all for the comments!


Tom S. said...


You have a great eye! I often tell people that it's not the equipment but the "eye". I know another photographer who won a competition using the camera feature in his cell phone.

Keep shooting and remember photography is a journey - not a destination!

Alison said...

Thank you Tom S!

Wow, winning a contest with a cell phone camera! That's great! I appreciate your kind words. I like my point and shoot and it will do for now. There are features on it I am sure I don't even know about yet.

Thanks again!

Becky Blanton said...

Alison, Most of the photos that won Pulitzer's were taken with the equivalent of a point and click. It's the carpenter, not the tools. That said, you CAN buy a kickass Canon or Nikon for under $1,000. The advantage is that you can change lenses and get a wider aperture and do MORE with it. If you have a sense of framing and art, you can expand it, that's all. You can also pick up a great deal at just about any pawn shop for about what you paid for your point and click. That said - ignore the naysayers and keep shooting.

Anonymous said...

Alison, you are totally correct.

Equipment don't mean much.

The greatest "art" photographer living is I suppose David Hockney, the famous painter from England who like you loves California.

You know what he uses to take all his famous photos and indeed the most expensive ones which are some of the most expensive photos ever sold?

He uses......... the DISPOSABLE FILM CAMERAS you buy in a supermarket!

He is also famous for taking photos with the cheapest POLAROID camera, for goodness sake.

He went to china for awhile, it reminds me of you. He walked around talking photos of sticks, small trees and the like. These are some of the greatest photos ever taken. The only thing he used is a big pile of two dollar disposable Walmart-brand disposable cameras! And they were just developed at a supermarket.

He, Hockney, made an amazing series of photos he went on a cruise in the icebergs to take - again the only thing he took was a pile of $2 disposable cameras from the supermarket!

the best photo i ever took was of one of my children, just using a $2 disposable supermarket camera

People like annie leibowitz or bailey or whoever just use normal large simple old cameras with one huge knob on the side that you "click" to take the photo

The only reason to use a "fancy" camera is if you have a job taking photos of T shirts for catalogues or the like! And that's just a job.

What you're doing is Art. Only a few people can do this. And they all use cheap disposable cameras :)

Thank you for having the guts to live in such a way that at least we all know there's someone out there really alive

I tell you what some of the camera manufacturers are starting to think about this sort of thing. Next time you are in a posh camera shop, check out the "ricoh GR" or the "sigma DP". Because they realised there are now some people who think about simplicity rather than egg timers, they have started to make really simple cameras, but, also, they are very expensive so that people who want to feel pretentious can get that! :-)

All the best, Fatty

Cat Carrel said...

Yeah but did the camera snobs see the photos you are taking??? They suck. You don't. Keep shooting.

Alison said...

Thank you so much for the support and kind words, Becky, Anonymous, and Cat! :)

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