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November 18, 2006

SOME THOUGHTS ON DIGITAL CAMERAS AND VIDEO, from Andrew Marcus, who headed up the Pajamas Media election coverage:

I tested a handful of cameras in the run-up to the production, and in the end I recommended we go with the Canon because of several key factors, most importantly, they run on AA’s. The newer Sony’s have much improved focus and stability over the previous generation, however they seem to be migrating most of these cameras to Lithium-Ion rechargeable. Many people probably prefer it that way, but for capturing news events like this, I never want to be further away from a recharge than the nearest Walgreens, 7/11, or hotel gift shop.

The fold out monitor was another huge plus. The ability to shoot over head, low angle, or turned on one’s self, marks a vast improvement in the quality that can be achieved in this class of camera.

Lastly, this Canon takes a wide angle adapter! I found that it seems to take the f-stop down a notch. The camera didn’t reflect that, but the footage did. The funny thing is that the wide angle is twice the size of the camera itself.

The best part is that almost nobody is intimidated by it (even with the wide angle on), so their guard doesn’t go up. That almost always leads to more relaxed and revealing coverage/interviews.

I've noticed myself that people are far more open and natural than when confronted by a big camera with a big lens. And the folding screen is a real asset, I can see. And I very much agree about the AA batteries. That's why I favor this small Sony. And here's an old post with some general thoughts that may still be useful. And my Sony can take a wide angle conversion lens too, though you also have to get this adapter to make it work. I haven't tried it, but I've often wished that my digital pocket cameras had wider-angle coverage -- though to do so, it's pretty much necessary to make them no longer pocketable. It's those damn laws of physics, again . . . .

Anyway, be sure to share any thoughts you have, for next week's digital camera carnival.

UPDATE: I'd forgotten before, but here's another post on blog-journalism tools. And note this post, too.