11.13.2011

this is only a test.

I still wonder how Amazon can do this: sell a new camera, take it back, resell it as Used-VeryGood, and still allow easy returns! I try not to overdo this, fearing at some point it may not be available - yet here it is.

I have been thinking again about something more compact, a camera that can do it much (surely not all!) while fitting in a pocket. I have watched all the new tricks come out for better low-light imaging: backlit sensors, multi-shot NR and the like. Last year I tried a Ricoh CX model, but it was from the pre-backlit-sensor era, and images were not enough better than my six-yr-old Casio - so thanks Amazon, please take this one back :^)

Fuji had nearly disappeared from the advanced-camera scene after the E900 and S6000 cameras; I nearly bought each of those, but decided to hold off for their replacements. The E series died, and the S series went to non-Super CCDs - no thank you! For a while the SuperCCD became nearly extinct. Recently it was reborn as the EXR sensor, which uses a curious sensor array that allows pixel binning and multi-level chip readout to make images in new ways. I was considering the F300, but with the 500 model the SuperCCD was replaced by an EXR CMOS design now. While CCD images are special, CMOS brings new things to the table like fast burst speeds, a range of video options and less energy drain - and the EXR design is backlit too, bringing improvements to higher-ISO images. The F550 and F600 even allow for RAW shooting, with a bit of a speed penalty. They are 16Mpixel chips, which I feel is way too many pixels on a pinkie-nail sensor.. but they can mutate into 8M superpixels with the EXR binning.

Anyway, a few appeared on the Amazon site in 'used-very good' shape. I tried this before and found what appeared to be an unused camera in front of me - so I am willing to try again! An EXR F550 will arrive in a few days for my testing pleasure. No, it cannot sub for a K-5 in many conditions, but it will fit in far more pockets - and since I have not been in situations lately where the absolute best camera is needed, this just might do. And if you want more info on real-world uses for the EXR cameras, you cannot do much better than to visit this site!