The Lyons Eye

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Thursday 21 October 2010 19:27

I get asked a lot what camera I use so I thought I should do a blog about it. I use the Nikon Coolpix 4500, it's a (roughly) ten year old camera that I bought five and a half years ago for about £150. It is  essentially a 'point and press' with only about 4 megapixels and has been out of production for many years. It's fairly small (weighs under a pound) and I can carry it with me everywhere. The opportunistic approach is key to how I take photographs, I rarely have an agenda (except at weekends when I tend to go looking for species) and will photograph and write about whatever I bump into. I was discussing upgrading but I think it would result in less photographs, albeit perhaps better photographs but I think if I had large, bulky equipment there are a lot of things I would miss from not carrying it as often. 

You see the Coolpix 4500 has a few things that I have not seen in other cameras that are brilliant for macro work. Firstly, the way the body swivels is incredibly handy, I don't think that this feature must have been very popular as I have never seen a more modern digital with this design. (when people see this camera for the first time they often assume it is a new design!). Secondly it can focus on things at a distance of only 2 cm, this is something that most cameras do not do and I don't know how I would adapt if I didn't have either of these things in a camera. I have also spoken to some naturalists who upgraded and then went back to the Coolpix for macro work. It's only 4 megapixels but it certainly comes up with the goods.

I should say that I have not explored all the functions and add-ons of this camera. There are also some things I don't like. It's pretty slow from the point of pressing to taking the photo. This can be REALLY annoying when you are fully zoomed in on something small when it tracks all the way out and then back in again before taking the shot. It also does not recognise purple very well, violets and bellflowers don't look quite right. I also seem to be rubbish at taking landscape shots, I think the camera has become short-sighted from all the macro work.

So I am gonna stick to the Coolpix 4500 and I would probably even go as far as getting another second hand one when this one eventually breaks. I would probably have to bury it and get a headstone made up if that ever happened though.

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