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I have long been a user of the MAVICA series cameras, although I prefer the standard floppy format to the expensive memory stick. My one reservation has always been the "eye of the artist factor". Sony solved that problem for me in this single reflex digital camera. Let me explain. For the Mavica series, and indeed for most digital cameras (and I have been through Kodak, Ricoh, and Canon) I have had to spend a lot of time editing by PC. While I prefer to do it on the computer, (forget the romance of the darkroom! I left my enlarger in Colorado)it has sometimes taken a LOT of time to edit, crop, and get the color right, especially in portrait photography. To an artist (as I like to think I am) true color is important. And, it would sometimes take hours of editing to get the artistic factors just right. These are the two biggest advantages for me: true color and artistic control. HOW I USE THE CAMERA SNAPSHOTS: No matter how hard I try I am not immune to the antics of my family, and if they show their faces, they will be photographed. PROFESSIONAL QUALITY PORTFOLIO OF ART WORK: This camera, with its true color capabilities, will simplify my catalogue of paintings. While I cannot retrieve the ones long gone to the four corners of the world, the rest of my paintings can be photographed as well as filed using this camera. PORTRAITS: I do this for love of the media, and because it is almost as much fun as painting. While this camera takes a little practice, like most 35 mm cameras of my earlier experience, setting up a portrait is as easy as setting up a tripod. There is a built in flash, as well as a hot shoe for external flash. The light meter readings are displayed and can be controlled by the user. Best of all, a professional quality portraits can be tried, processed and retaken in a matter of minutes. In addition, I can experiment with a variety of light and dark effects, without hearing the cash register jingl
e as the film is processed. BACKGROUND SHOTS FOR LATER WORK: Many of the photos I have taken over the years are like "taking notes" in class. They are reference shots of light and shadow, the way building appears in its surroundings, the demeanor of a large gathering of people, clothing, drapery, all those things that you may think come from an artist's imagination. I take notes in class not to save the notes (because my handwriting is illegible) but by the process of writing, the concept is saved in my memory. In this case, ALL the data, including light settings, day, hour year, file # can be saved with this camera...or deleted if necessary. SO BRIEFLY, THESE ARE THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS CAMERA 1) Fantastic resolution, although the settings for picture detail can be set "down" easily, for people who don't need this resolution (Internet use comes to mind) 2) Focus and Zoom rings will let you control the resolution as well as your eye can perform. It also offers an focus lock that will let you focus on a specific distance, and then compose your picture without needing the CENTER to be the focal point. 3) Color is controlled through the white balance factor, and there is a setting for indoor and outdoor use. While this may seem minor, it is a very large factor in good quality skin tones. It is also possible to fine tune it with the flash, and avoid those "white out" pictures when you get too close with a flash indoors. 4) Memory sticks provide portable and reusable media, which is reasonably convenient, and less time consuming then reprogramming your smart media cards every time one is filled. 5) There is a viewfinder and a large LCD screen. On a bright sunny day, you may already know that your LCD is useless; this camera solves that problem. 6) It comes with a remote control..very handy in setting up shots. 7) While probably not the best (most expe
nsive) available on the market, it is a quality camera that can be adapted to many uses, and it is far less costly. THESE ARE THE THINGS I DON'T LIKE AS WELL ABOUT THIS CAMERA 1) Power is supplied by battery pack only. While it is the same battery as the FD 90, the Mavico has the advantage of being able to plug in to an outlet. When this battery dies (in about 2 hours) you will have to stop to recharge. I have simply got a spare battery charged, so I won't be in danger of losing that special shot when the battery goes. 2) Memory sticks are expensive. (£25 for 32 MB, about £50 for 64MB)The camera comes with an 8MB memory stick, which you quickly find is good for only about 8 high resolution shots. My solution is to buy memory sticks in two or three different sizes and have them with me. Of course, depending on the use, the resolution can be adjusted. 3) The camera is heavy. If you want to take a hike pack a lighter camera, and one that won't be easily damaged by bouncing around. I haven't discovered the best camera for that yet, and will probably take shorter walks so I can take this one with me. 4)The camera requires some protection (as do most cameras) so I usually put it in the backpack inside a smaller soft case. The lens cover has to be taken off with use and is easily misplaced. I haven't gotten around to solving that problem yet. 5) There is a 5 X zoom, which seems kind of puny when you compare it with the 14X or 20 X zoom I have in other cameras. Of course, you can always go into your photo program and edit! 6) My old HP 870 CXi does not do justice to these photos. SO, My recommendation is this: If you want the convenience of digital camera but you miss your old SLR, run to the nearest outlet and buy this camera before they are all gone. I think you'll be surprised at the quality and the versatility. I anticipate many, many months of good use for this camera. Yup.
Sony did it again! NOTE**You CAN set this camera on automatic focus, and skip all the features that make this very nearly as good as your old SLR. In that case, buy a cheaper digital camera, with less complicated operating instructions and a higher powered zoom. But, you would be sacrificing the quality of the image that Sony built!