The Haunted House

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Canon A650 Has Arrived

Today our new camera, the Canon A650 IS, which I wrote about on Saturday turned up at work. I was quite pleased at the end of the day so I could get home to try it out.

Inside the box there was the camera, a memory card (only 32meg though), batteries, cables, manual, and a wrist strap. One thing I really like about the A series is that it has a decent hand grip on the side of the camera. This is also where the 4 AA batteries go. The weight of the camera with the batteries in makes it nice and sturdy in your hand.

Getting the camera ready to use is very straight forward. Once the batteries and memory card are in, the first thing you are prompted for when you power up is the date and time. This is easily set using the thumb pad at the side of the camera.

This camera has a much larger flip out screen than previous A series cameras. The quality of the image on the screen is very good. The screen also has a pretty decent refresh rate, unlike the A95 which was a little slow, not that this really mattered.

I had to wait for it to stop raining before I went outside for a few test photos. But I quickly got some test shots of the hills at the front of Belper. When you put the camera into preview mode you can either view the image full screen or it takes you into a zoom-able mode where you can zoom into the picture to see how sharp it is (as seen below). You also have a mode which shows you a histogram of the image which will highlight any parts of the picture that are over exposed.

The technical specs for the camera can see views from Canons website. The camera is 12.1 megapixels. When the camera is cranked up to full resolution the images are 4000x3000 pixels in size. Out of the few test shots I have done the file sizes, when set to super fine jpeg, range from about 3.5meg to 5.5meg in size. The camera also has an image stabilizer. This lets you take sharp hand held shots in lower light levels. The last shot in this post was taken inside. The camera reported a shutter speed of 1/8th of a second, but the image still came out a lot sharper than a camera without an image stabilizer.

The camera has a lot of shooting modes ranging from point and click automatic modes through to manual, aperture and shutter priority modes. So you can use it as a quick point and click camera or more creativly like an SLR camera.
The rest of the photos in this post are actual shots taken straight from the camera with no touching up in photoshop. To view them at full resolution just click on them. The pictures are not that interesting, I will give the camera a proper test next time I go walking with Amanda.

The shot below was taken across the street with the lens zoomed right out.

This next shot was taken zoomed in fully with the optical zoom.

The following shot was taken with the camera zoomed in full optically and then further zoomed with the digital zoom.

The final shot here was taken inside with no flash. The camera reported a shutter speed of 1/8th of a second, yet it still came out quite well. Obviously the subject in the shot needs to be stationary to get the best out of this.

My overall first impression of the camera is great. Unfortunately it is raining at the moment so I can't really go out and take more pictures, but when I go walking again the camera will get a decent work out. I have not tried any of the software that comes with the camera. I don't really have any need to. When you plug it into the computer it comes up as a USB storage device so you can just pull the photos straight off without installing anything. Windows Vista makes this a lot easier with its photo downloading software. If you want to tweak the brightness / saturation etc, them vista comes with a photo app for doing this. If you require more power then you could use something like Photoshop Elements , the full Photoshop software, or Lightroom. Or you could use something like Paint Shop Pro or Gimp.
EDIT: It looks like blogger won't let me upload photos at 4000x3000, it seems to have re-sized them to 1600x1200. Oh well, but you get the general idea.



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