Saturday, March 5, 2011

Great concert... and camera

Linkin Park @ Houston, originally uploaded by ZERO CEM.

Last Thursday I had the chance to experience one of the best concerts I've ever been to thanks to Linkin Park (It was originally scheduled for Feb 15 but had to be rescheduled) and for me it worked perfectly!

I was bummed to hear that my Nikon D5000 wouldn't be able to join me for the concert and I didn't though a point and shoot camera would be able to do me much good (specially, since I was sitting in the nosebleed section) but luckily for me, I found the Nikon Coolpix S9100.

Now, I honestly don't get a cut from Nikon and I usually do not even mention the gear I use but I truly believe I wouldn't have been able to shoot this images nor the videos without this camera.

First of all, the "night landscape" mode it's great for dark places. It has two modes "handheld" and "tripod". In handheld mode, it'll try to raise the ISO (noise) and keep the shutter speed fast enough so it won't be such a blurry image and once it's shot it will do some in-camera post-processing to bring more light into the picture. In "tripod" mode, it will raise the shutter speed and AFIK it is not doing post-processing.

There is also a "night portrait" mode that uses the flash to light your subject and it also takes a few shots without flash to capture the bakground, then it mashes everything togheter in camera post-procesing and voilĂ  you get your image with a foreground and background as you see it, and not as the camera does.

One nice touch that I think it's worth mentioning is that the flash does not rise itself. Maybe some people won't like it, but for me is great because now I know exactly when the flash is going to shoot and when it won't.

Another thing worth mentioning, is the zoom. It has 18x optical zoom and it starts from a "wide" angle so you get the equivalent to 25-450mm zoom range in a traditional camera. You could see it best on this video, I believe at the end I do a zoom out but in the start you can really see the band in stage as if I was just a few yards away from them:

The video quality it's great (if I do say so myself) it records full HD 1080 video and it fits roughtly 30 mins on an 8Gb SD card and it also has very good stereo sound (I've had comments on the video mentioning the jealousy that my audio sounds better than other people also recording).

Unfortunately I had just bought it the day before so I didn't got a chance to read the manual and didn't know you could have autofocus during video as well, so I was forced to split my videos to have one part zoomed out and another with the full zoom, but now it's already enabled and ready for my next video ;)

The best part? That I was able to get it in the concert of course! It fits right in my pocket so I just took it out for the metal detectors and that's it, no need for a bag, special lenses, etc. I'm not saying this camera will replace my D5000 (though I think maybe in the specs my D5000 it's starting to lag behind) but there is just too much creative control you lose with the P&S. However, for those times you can't take a DSLR or you just wan't to capture something in a pinch, this is a very worthy backup.

I was lucky to find this camera at a local Best Buy for $329,99 since I believe the official release date is Mach 17 (here's the link to amazon ) but if you're in the market for a portable high quality camera and particularly if you take low light photos, in my humble opinion, this is the best there is currently in the market.


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