I've been very happy with my Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W120, a digital compact point-and-shoot camera with 7.2 megapixels and 4x optical zoom. This camera has served me well and I recommend it highly. It's easy to use, small and light, and takes wonderful landscape photos, for example for vacation photography. Up till now, all my blog photos were taken with this camera.
|Old camera: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W120|
What it doesn't offer is a large zoom. Since I've been so happy with Sony up till now, I had a slight preference for also purchasing a Sony bridge camera. After reading lots of reviews, it didn't seem to me that there were significant differences in quality or price between Sony and its main competitors (Panasonic, Canon, Olympus) in this category of camera, so I went for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 digital camera with 9.1 megapixels and 20x optical zoom.
|New camera: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1|
Compared to my little compact Cyber-shot, this is a large, heavy camera, even though many reviewers praise how light it is in comparison to others. When the zoom lens is extended to full length, it's somewhat unwieldy to hold, so I took the advice of many websites and purchased a tripod as well (a Cullmann Alpha 2500 lightweight tripod).
So far it's paid off that I got another Sony, since the handling is very similar to my small compact camera and I could start right in. Something some people object to about Sony digital cameras is that they require proprietary memory cards and batteries. The included memory card is so small that you pretty much have to buy a large one right away (I purchased one with 4gb). This didn't bother me, since I figure it's a one-time investment, and my experience with the Sony accessories for my other camera have been good.
This camera is chock-full of features and options! Up till now, I've mostly experimented with zoom photos of birds, and macro photos of plants. I set up the tripod, hid behind a bush and trained the fully zoomed out lens onto the bird-feeding area in my garden. Here's the kind of results I've gotten so far. The first taken with tripod, the others without. You can see the difference, I think.
|Great tit (Parus major) - Kohlmeise|
|Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) - Schwanzmeise (I think)|
|European robin (Erithacus rubecula) - Rotkehlchen|
|Great tit and long-tailed tits|
The other thing I've tried so far are close-ups, i.e. macro photos. However, I don't think the new camera is a significant improvement over my small camera.
As an example, here's a photo of a **slug** - yes, slug in February, chewing away at the sorrel. Apparently, these creatures are active at 10 degrees C (50 degrees F). Looks like I'm going to have to cross sorrel off my list.
|slug on sorrel|