Sunday, April 26, 2009

Having fun!

I've been spending this morning preparing (reading the manual - very important; attaching the lens cap - it comes with a "leash" so it won't get lost; putting protective film on the 3 inch LCD screen; putting in the battery and the MS Pro Duo memory card - this camera has been tested to accept up to a 16 GB card I read) and playing with my new Sony DSC-H20. It takes nice sharp photos, and, using the intelligent auto feature, it even will pop up the flash if it thinks you need a flash! To compare to the Sony alpha, I am posting today a picture I took of the same weeping cherry tree as in a picture I took with the Sony alpha and posted in a prior blog. The H20 is a really nice point and shoot. What do you think?

Also, note that you can actually get lens attachments for this unit (I did not know that until I read it on the box and in the enclosed materials.). The attachments make the camera even more versatile. I think the telephoto lens that comes built in is sufficient for most point and shoot needs, but the wide angle lens attachment is something I might wish to consider getting for myself.
All in all, my initial impressions are very favorable. The size and quality certainly make it a nice addition to my Sony alpha. Next up - how is the video it records?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Guess what I found yesterday?!

I found and bought my Sony DSC-H20! The battery is charging and I expect to fire it up later today or early tomorrow, and I'll let you know how it works!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What a beautiful weekend!

It's been a gorgeous weekend here, and I have been remiss in posting. I have been thinking about posts, though. My family has an overabundance of old cameras (like early 1900s), and one of my thoughts was to fish them out of storage, and photograph them and post them here to share a little bit about their history with you. So, give us some time to fish them out, and soon yo will be seeing some neat cameras.

I also hear that the Sony DSC-H20 is finally making its way to stores - hopefully I can see one in person soon and finalize a decision to give it a try! :-)

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend! Take a few photos!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Alternative Consumer website

I just came across an interesting website - The Alternative Consumer. Not only does it have some interesting information, it's running a contest to give away a Black & Decker electric lawnmower and leaf blower. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Government run amok

You would think that today being "tax day", I might be venting about the IRS or taxes. No, a different governmental group has irked me far more.

Apparently, the Federal Trade Commission has way too much time on its collective hands. According to ABC News, the FTC is investigating whether bloggers expressing their opinions on products "may be in violation of good business practices".

Now, I don't know about you, but whenever I read a review, whether it be a movie review published in the newspaper, a user review published in ePinions, Amazon, etc., or a review published by Consumer Reports, I take it with a grain of salt. Why? Because I don't know these people, I don't know what they consider to be the most important thing about a product, and whether it differs from what I think is, whether they are biased and the reasons for their bias, etc. To me, online reviews are no more capable of swaying me than if someone came up on the street, or a neighbor told me about some product they loved. It's simple common sense, and you can't regulate common sense (the government especially can't regulate or legislate common sense given that many of the people running the government seem to lack it, for example, more than a few seem to be incapable of simply paying their taxes correctly and in a timely fashion - look at I believe it to be nine of the most recent cabinet appointees).

If I go to a blog, and the latest article tells me something along the lines of "Hi. I'm soandso, and wonderful company X gave me its latest widget to try out. Here's what I think of it: blah, blah, yada, yada. And, what's even better, company X gave me three of the same widgets to give away to my readers", several things are clear to me. 1) Company X GAVE the blogger the product to try in return for a review. 2) Company X GAVE the blogger some more product to give away to her readers. 3) My common sense tells me that clearly, this may not be the most unbiased review. If I want as close to an unbiased review as I can get, then I know to go to Consumer Reports (I understand that the company purchases the products it reviews and does not accept outside advertising or free product to avoid bias. ) I tend to believe that the vast majority of Americans are capable of thinking and reasoning for themselves and do not need the FTC to attempt to do it for them.

So, I have a respectful suggestion for the FTC: Why not stop trying to bully individuals who are more than likely taxpayers, and start focusing on companies that are doing, in my opinion, dubious things. For example, there is a rather large company that received large amounts of taxpayer dollars that is now advertising with different names for the company and at least one subsidiary. How about, for truth in advertising purposes, the FTC require this company and its subsidiaries to put in its advertising, in large enough print to easily read, "formerly known as #$%" so that those of us who. on principle, do not want to do business with them, won't be hoodwinked into doing so by a new name. Then the FTC could work hand in glove with the FCC to focus on and limit to more appropriate times, those ads which many people find distasteful, that deal with medicines for say, incontinence, ED, etc. How about let's not air them at dinner time. Personally, I really dislike watching the news while I am having dinner only to hear about all sorts of nasty potential side effects.

Finally, to clarify everything for the FTC, I personally believe that the government should be working for the good of the people, and the nation, and not working for the political party of the moment or restricting Constitutional rights (please see the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America which states in pertinent part: "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . . ."). If the FTC starts regulating what we say in blogs, what's next? Our telephone conversations? Our email? Our face-to-face conversations?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sony DSC-H20

Well, hubby and I have been out shopping this week for various electronics, and the Sony DSC-H20 is still not in stores (at least the ones we have visited!). A few of the features that it has with which I am familiar include the steady shot feature which is on my Sony Alpha DSLR. Let me tell you, that feature can be a life-saver, especially when you are taking pictures on the fly. It helps take the shake out of your photo-taking. Now, if you are freezing cold and shaking like a leaf, you may still have blur, but under normal conditions, the steady shot feature will have you taking some nice and sharp photos. It also has face detection, which is a feature that works really well as the camera will focus on faces (assuming it behaves like the alpha!).

Another feature which I am really looking forward to is the ability to take video! The Sony DSC-H20 reportedly can take video in wide and full-screen modes, recording at 30 frames per second in fine, standard and VGA recording modes. This really would have come in handy last year at a relative's wedding. While I was all set with my Sony alpha (and took some great pictures, if I say so myself), it turns out that a group of the groom's friends had a surprise "performance" during the wedding, which no one captured because no one brought a video camera. With the Sony DSC-H20, I will be prepared for such events, as I read you can record up to 1 hour of video on a 4 mb memory stick pro duo.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2

Just a very brief post to show off a few photos I played with using Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2. And for the FTC, I bought the software with my very own hard-earned, post-tax money!

Green Tea

Good morning! Every once in a while I plan to go "off topic" and today is one of those days! Let's talk about green tea. I should drink more, but for years, I have been searching for a green tea I can tolerate. I seem to be more of a black tea fan, but, as I keep reading green tea is better for you, I have continued my quest. I actually found one recently that I purchased myself (added for the FTC!) and absolutely love: Lipton's Green Tea with Mandarin Orange Flavor. This tea is in those funky triangle bags, and even I have to admit I like the taste. I'd love to hear what green teas everyone else prefers too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Useful Attachment

One of the most useful and cost effective items I have come across using my new camera is an attachment, a lens really, that attaches to the camera and sits then to your regular lens. I found an auto focus teleconverter for my Sony alpha that increases the range of my lenses to twice there normal range. So, if I use it between the camera body and my 28-70 lens, my range is increased to be 56 to 140. Sony makes one of these lenses, and when I priced it, it was a bit out of my price range. Shopping on Amazon, however, I found a Bower 2x auto focus teleconverter for Minolta which works on both my Minolta film cameras and my Sony DSLR. I must admit, though, the fit is a bit tight. But, for the days when I do not want to carry around all my lenses, taking the teleconverter (which is small and very portable - see above) and a single lens, gives me the flexibility I need.
Update - I was a little troubled the other night when I tried to use this adapter with the 18-70 Sony lens that came with my Sony alpha. I was unabel to clearly focus using the auto-focus, and have yet to determine why. Hmmmmm. . . .

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Thanks for stopping by! I will be sharing some of my thoughts regarding photography, and other subjects as time and space allow. As this is my first post, please be kind and feel free to share your thoughts as well! :-)

Today's topic is: How much I am looking forward to trying out the new Sony DSC-H20. I have used Minolta film cameras for years (my Dad started me using them). So, once I decided I wanted to make the switch to Digital SLR, it was a no-brainer to look at the Sony alpha (Sony bought the photography division of Konica-Minolta as I understand it) as I could use all my Minolta lenses and attachments. My wonderful husband gave me my Sony alpha a little over a year ago, and I have taken lots and lots of photos including at a wedding and while on vacation. I absolutely love my Sony alpha! It does take up a bit of room, especially with all my lenses, which is why I started looking at smaller digital cameras to be able to have in my purse for those moments when you just wish you had a camera on you. I am really excited, because, after lots of research, I can't wait until Sony releases the new DSC-H20. It's got 10 megapixels and a lot of the functions of my DSLR Sony Alpha, but it will easily fit in my purse. Check out the story at one of my favorite websites, Cameratown, for more information. I can't wait to get my hands on the new Sony DSC-H20, and when I do, you'll hear all about it!

And, be sure to enter Cameratown's 5th year celebration contest. It's ongoing and I won a fabulous KATA 3n1 20 Sling/Backpack to tote around my Sony alpha and assorted lenses in.