*Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert. By any stretch of the imagination. If you're looking for a professional review, this isn't your place. I'm a normal, everyday person who likes to take pretty pictures and wants them to be the best they can be. That said, let's continue.
Last week, I was talking with a friend of mine about anything, everything, and all the things in between. To cut a long story short, she had a camera that wasn't getting used, and I have BADLY wanted a new camera for a long time now. My previous camera was about 5 years old, and still took decent pictures. I kept waiting and waiting for that ONE camera to come out, the perfect combination of "point and shoot" and "I actually want to take great photos". Maybe I was just fooling myself and waiting until the day I could afford a DSLR. I'm nothing more than an amateur photographer with a thirst for creative freedom. I didn't want anything that was too fussy, but still had some manual controls to tweak with. What I wanted was a camera that would take crisp, clear photos of EXACTLY what I see, EXACTLY how I see it. Don't change the color for me, don't alter the lighting, just exactly what I'm looking at. My biggest photo passion is natural lighting.
I'd tried, tested, investigated, poked and prodded all of the more sophisticated point and shoots (mind if I just call them P&S from now now? Thanks.) I've spent more hours than I care to admit researching online, reading reviews, all in the quest for "the one true camera (that I can afford)". Nothing grabbed me, gave me that twist of desire in the stomach that wasn't an SLR that I'd have to mortgage my soul for. Not that I had the extra money for even a cheapo P&S either, but I'm one of those types that enjoys torturing themselves researching things they can't have. Yet. I wanted to be prepared for the day when I'd finally find "the one". So I waited, and I researched, and I used my iPhone and my older reliable camera that has sentimental value.
Until I was given the Nikon Coolpix L120. Nice BIG lens (cause size does matter), 21x optical zoom (an additional 4x digital zoom, but you're sacrificing a lot of quality there, so who cares...) and lots of easy, nifty features that aren't hard to navigate at all. And I gotta say, I like the zoom toggle on the left side of the lens barrel. You can also zoom with the little switch around the shutter button, which is the most familiar to P&S users. Am ALL about the options. I'm totally in love. I've never been able to take such crisp, detailed photos that are as true to life as you can get without an SLR. If you want to do EXTREEEME close-ups or macros of flowers or the blemishes on your sibling's sleeping face for blackmail (hey, I don't judge), the lens is able to focus PERFECTLY as close as 1cm. Wow.
Let me just state here that I'm not being paid to endorse Nikon, in fact I doubt many people will read this at all. But love letters aren't always meant for wide circulation (this ain't TMZ), and this is a love letter. I love you, Nikon Coolpix L120. I will have your cute little big-lensed lovechild.
Okay! Enough gushing about my new big-lensed baby-daddy, let me demonstrate some of the features that impressed me most.
The ZOOMA ZOOM ZOOM (I know, I know...I couldn't help it) (Click on pic for full size)
I forgot to add a crucial bit of information. Vibration stabilization. We haz it. There's the standard stabilization, and then the assisted stabilization which takes two rapid succession images, then fuses them together for a nicer result. I've only used the standard so far. Groovy, huh? I feel like I can go celebrity spy-watching in Laguna now, TMZ style!
Next is one that is near and dear to my heart. MACROS! Close-ups! You can get clear focus from 1cm away.
I do go a bit crazy with flower macros. They amuse me so much, and I have NO pride when it comes to contorting myself on the ground or into any position it takes to get the shot I want. Feel free to point and laugh if you see me, it must be a pretty hilarious sight.
It also has this nifty/weird thing that detects smiles when they happen, and automatically snaps a pic without your help. I'm almost tempted to name my camera HAL, if I could guarantee it won't get too smart and take over the world. "I can't do that Bonnie....." If you don't get this joke, go watch more sci-fi. Seeriouslah.
|It detected my creepy "Imma EATCHOO" closed smile|
and this one too (look Ma, no redeye!)
|Most definitely NOT moving or blinking. For once.|
There are so many features to this camera, and I've been having an absolute blast learning all about them. Every time I figure something out, or look up the manual online, I find myself saying "REALLY!? COOL!!" an awful lot. Is this camera perfect? No. It's not a multi-thousand dollar DSLR. Is it perfect for me? Yes. Better than I ever hoped for.
I'm not a professional photographer or techno-reviewer, so I'm basically just gushing as an average Joe. Jane. Whatever. There's so much more I could write about, but I'm sure it'll get covered in future posts, since I've turned into a snap-happy mad scientist. I've been writing, playing with photos, and having way too much fun for over two and a half hours now, and my excedrin PM is kicking in. Sleeeeeepy. So I'll sign off for now, but before I do I'll leave you with another AWESOME photo, and a teaser for tomorrow morning's story:
|Yes, that is my hand, and yes, that's a baby hummingbird. If you follow me on facebook, you already know this story. But the saga continued after I got home from work tonight, so tune in tomorrow for the exciting tale of "Little J".|
By the way, what do you think of the new turquoise polka dot background? Love it? Hate it? Leave a comment and let me know! I thought it was rather spring-timey, myself...