Inside My Backpack: Canon SX280 HS Digital Camera
Not surprisingly, I've taken great many pictures as I've travelled around the world for the last couple of years. Often people ask me which camera I use, usually expecting me to pull out some fancy DSLR out of my backpack, and then don't believe me when I tell them it's just a point-and-shoot. Well, it's a special point-and-shoot - Canon's SX2xx family:
Canon SX210 IS, SX 260 HS, and SX 280 HS series
In 2011, a new breed of cameras hit the market to fill the niche between the cheap point-and-shoots and much more expensive professional DSLR cameras. Canon SX210 IS was one of the first ones, offering unheard-of 14x optical zoom lens assembly and 14.1 megapixels with a form factor just slightly bigger than a typical 3x-4x zoom point-and-shoot, but still a very much of a pocket camera. This is the camera I used during my round-the-world trip and all of the slides on the front page of this blog came from it.
Every year Canon comes out with an upgraded version of the camera, so in 2012 I got myself a Canon SX260 HS that came packing 20x optical zoom, a built-in GPS and a pretty impressive low light shooting mode. And this year it was time to upgrade to Canon SX280 HS, somewhat disappointingly still packing "only" a 20x optical zoom but also adding a host of wireless features.
Why I'm in love with Canon SX280 HS
So, why do I religiously stick with this series of cameras from Canon?
Well, I am not a photographer and the concepts of controlling aperture, ISO, and other stuff just don't settle well with me. Sure, I tried to learn about those things a number of times, and these cameras do provide manual modes where each one of these could be adjusted, but I simply don't "get" it. So I like having an auto mode, a vivid mode and a night mode that I could easily flip between and get a great picture every time!
I also don't care much for carrying a lot of things with me and folks with DSLRs are always lugging a backpack full of gear and lenses with them. Not only would it add weight and bulk when I try to travel as light as I can, it will also scream "rob me" in many places. With it's small form factor, I can take SX280 with me anywhere, in my pocket, without drawing any unneeded attention (and preventing my back from sweating with a backpack full of gear).
I love the GPS feature of the camera. Sometimes it takes a bit to acquire the position, but unless I have to shoot something right away, I don't mind waiting (as I figure out the best angle) - it helped me many times to figure out a particular place I took a picture at when others asked me for recommendations where to go.
I am also very much a fan of the wireless features introduced by Canon SX280 - essentially I use it to pair my iPhone with the camera so I can quickly grab an awesome picture I just shot and email/facebook/instagram it right away. There is something to it when you are able to share this awesome moment as you experience it rather than waiting till later when you can download the images to your computer. I actually surprise myself on how often I find this useful (and it works pretty seamlessly).
The field of cross-over cameras packing some of DSLR features in a pocket size of point-and-shoots is growing and I have been tempted by other camera. Last year Samsung came out with WB850F introducing lots of wireless features, including built-in sharing and a 21x optical soon. This year Sony came out with DSC-HX50V packing a 30x optical zoom. But after playing with those, I have always returned to my trusty Canons (heck, I couldn't even make the Samsung camera turn on on many occasions, not to mention the nightmare interface).
Last thing I will leave you with is something I learned about how I use the camera and the best way to protect it. Carrying it in my pocket, I have scratched the lenses before as well as had dust get inside because I never cared to put it back in the camera case. The cases make it bulky and, generally, a pain in the rear to get the camera out quickly (or put it away quickly). So now I just use a sock. A tiny child's sock that stretches nicely to cover the camera while it is in my pocket and lets me get out and put away the camera just as quickly as if it would of been without it.
Try this. You will thank me later :)