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November 29, 2012

I got interested in photography back in 1973 when I started working as a technical illustrator. My boss, John Bird saw that I was interested in photography and he sold me his 35mm Pentax SLR camera for a cheap price and taught me how to use it. I got some books from the library and learned some basic photographic principles and techniques and was off to the races.

Eventually, I sold the Pentax to someone. I can't remember who or why. I think it was in about 1979. I guess the compact size and ease of use of the cameras coming out back then overtook the interest changing lenses, using a light meter and making manual adjustments to get a shot.

Welcome to the digital age

About 2002, my parents found an Olymbus D-460 digital camera laying on the pavement at a gas station. They made an attempt to find the owner and having no success, gave the camera to me (they weren't interested in learning about digital things).

Getting that Olympus camera (purely by chance) and taking digital photos is what started me down the road to having a Web site - I had all of these digital photos and I wanted a way to share them.

I've used that trusty Olympus for years. It still works just fine. The only really major short coming is that the shutter trigger speed and photo writing speed is extremely slow. Successfully getting any kind of action shot like a kid playing soccer or pole vaulting is simply a matter of luck. You try to push the shutter button well in advance of when you actually want to take the picture, but getting a good shot is mostly luck.

So now it's 2012 (almost 2013) and most people's cell phones have more functional cameras. So I decided to upgrade.

I have been so impressed with the durability and longevity of the Olympus that I decided to get another one. After much research, I settled on the Olympus PEN-LP2. I found a factory reconditioned one on Amazon for about half the normal selling price and decided to do it. So it's ordered and I'm waiting.

Here's a comparison of the two cameras:

Olympus D-460 Olympus PEN-LP2
1.3 megapixel CCD delivering 1280 x 960 and 640 x 480 resolution images 12 megapixel, Four Thirds sized sensor
4032 x 3042 (12.3 MP, Other),
3200 x 2400 (7.7 MP, 4:3),
2560 x 1920 (4.9 MP, 4:3),
1600 x 1200 (1.9 MP, 4:3),
1280 x 960 (1.2 MP, 4:3),
1024 x 768 (0.8 MP, 4:3),
640 x 480 (0.3 MP, 4:3)
Variable ISO, w/ auto or manual selection of ISO 125/250/500 ISO 200-6400
3x optical zoom (35 to 105 mm), f/2.8-f/4.4 maximum aperture 3.00x zoom, 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko MSC
2x "digital telephoto" at any focal length no digital zoom
Macro focusing to 8 inches (20 cm) 25 cm to Infinity
1/2 to 1/1000 second shutter speeds 60-1/4000 second shutter speeds
Both optical and LCD viewfinders 3" LCD screen (460,000 dots)
(no view finder, which I will miss)
Dioptric adjustment for optical viewfinder N/A
Four recording modes, including uncompressed TIFF RAW & JPEG
Built-in flash with six operating modes
Built-in flash and wireless flash control from the camera body
FP Manual, TTL-Auto, Off
Five user-selectable white balance settings Auto, Lamp, Fluorescent 1/2/3, Daylight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Custom WB, One-touch WB 
Panorama exposure mode when using Olympus-branded memory cards
Direct print to optional Olympus photo printer (P-300 and P-330) USB 2.0 High Speed
SmartMedia image storage, 8 MB card included SD / SDHC / SDXC - I have an 8GB SDHC
Power via 4 AA batteries (alkalines included, buy a set of NiMH rechargeables!) Power - Proprietary BLS-5 Lithium-ion rechargeable
Auto Focus: Yes 
Auto Focus Type: 11-point contrast detection w/ tracking 
Face Detection: Yes 
Manual Focus: Yes 

As I think about my old camera vs. the new, I think a part of wanting a new camera was that I was bored with the old. Not just bored, but I wasn't satisfied with the photos I was taking either. They seemed to be mundane. This boredom, or dissatisfaction had become so bad, that I didn't even take the old Olympus with me on vacation to San Francisco. I just wasn't interested in taking pictures with it. It was time for a new camera.

December 23, 2012

My birthday finally arrived and I got my new camera. I like it a lot and at the same time I'm overwhelmed with all of the features it has. I don't know if I'll ever really learn everything about this camera. The good news is, though, I can put the dial on "Auto" and just take pictures and most of them will be good ones. And, being digital with an 8GB memory card, I can take lots and lots of pictures and throw out the crummy ones. Then as I learn new features, try them out and find the ones I like and can remember. So there can be a long time of playing and learning (adventure) with this camera. It should be fun.

Update September, 2014

The last time I went to use the camera a month or so ago, the view finder was totally blank. I've done everything I know to do to try to remedy the problem (remove the battery, recharge, reset) but nothing helped. Olympus wants over $100 in advance to fix it. Nuts to that. It's so ironic that I bought an Olympus camera because the previous one was so reliable. Ha.

Update October 1, 2014

I purchased a Nikon Coolpix P530. It's on the way. I can't wait. It didn't cost all that much more than the Olympus PEN-LP2, but it has a much longer zoom lens (42x) and it has a decent wide angle capability. Most important, it has a view finder. I found that I really missed having a view finder. The view finder allows you to be much more stable when shooting a photo. Trying to hold the camera out in front of you so that you can look a screen and take a picture just didn't work for me. So, there were actually several things I didn't like about the Olympus, so I'm jazzed to be gettig a new camera.