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Andrew

Yeah I converted my S3IS with CHDK. It's a brilliant hack. You can also shoot RAW and a bunch of other stuff.

Claire Helene

Oh thanks Lance. You take excellent photos. It's not about the camera, but what you do with it. Not that I'm not constantly wishing for an upgrade myself. :) The thing that bugs me the most with point and shoots is the lag between shots. Grr. I'm sure that's why you missed the deer on its hind legs.

I've never heard of those camera hacks before, but they sound really, really cool. So are those photos from the weather balloon!

Ken Muldrew

If I understand your problem with the deer photograph, it's a lag between pressing the shutter release button and the actual shutter release (or its electronic equivalent). Is that right (because that's quite a bit different from shutter speed, which refers to the length of time that the shutter remains open)? I don't think you are going to be able to shorten the lag time by reprogramming your camera unless you turn off autofocus (can you do that using the standard menu/controls?). If you can turn off the lcd screen, then you can leave your camera on for long periods without killing your batteries; the time to power up is a real dog with point-and-shoot cameras.

If you have a dSLR, then you can probably find an old fully manual prime lens on the second had market for cheap. These are easier to focus manually than autofocus lenses, and they are fast, but you have to operate in fully manual mode (setting shutter speed in the camera, and aperture and focus with the lens), so for any particular scene you usually need a couple of test shots to get everything right. Still, with practice, you can take instant pictures instead of waiting for your kit lens to focus. Of course we would all like to get the $2000+ lenses that focus instantaneously, but that's what dreams are for.

AZrider

I've used CHDK http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK with my Powershot SD990. It provides RAW images and a lot of other pretty cool features. It's a little quirky and takes some patience to load onto a card and use, but it does extend the power of the camera.

actor212

What kind of iron are you shooting Lance? It seems to me that Ken is right: you probably have a lag.

Beautiful photos are not all that difficult. Simple rules to follow include choose a subject, make the subject the focus of attention, and make the picture as simple as possible (the last one is the one that takes a photo from a snapshot to a photo).

Or to sum it up in one sentence, make people see what you saw and why you thought it was important enough to photograph. Once you've got that, the rest comes down to practice, practice, practice.

And while Ken is right, the dSLR experience is miles ahead of the point-and-shoot, the best camera is the one in your hand. I've taken shots with my Nikon and scratched my head later trying to work out what I shot, and I've taken shots with my pocket Olympus that I've entered in competitions.

sfmike

I use an ancient Sony Digital camera just because I know the interface and how it interacts with the world in certain situations. The only thing you really need to be aware of with photography is that it's all about light. Take lots of photos of the same thing at different times of day and season and you'll figure it out. You're going to have ten crappy ones for every good one at first, but then there's a eureka moment, and off you go.

Rana

Yup, that lag, and the difficulties in framing things properly, is what led me to pitch my old digital snapshooter for a Pentax dSLR (that and being able to use my old lenses). If you're willing to buy used, and don't feel a desperate need for megapixels, you ought to be able to find something decent enough on eBay or Amazon or the like for a price equivalent to the snapshooters.

Also, if you haven't seen it, The Online Photographer is a great site for inspiration and a ton of common sense. Plus the guy in charge of the blog seems like someone who you'd enjoy reading, even at his most photo-geekiest.

I've thought about upgrading to the new dust and shake resistant K-7, but the price and the fact that it doesn't take AA batteries like my current camera have discouraged me.

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