I thought I had narrowed it down to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS35 with a 20X Optical Zoom and the standard features I'd found good to have for pictures destined for this blog. So Martha went and picked one up for me at Costco but when she got it home we found issues.
Someone had pilfered the charger unit and cable, the picture count on the camera was in the 500s and the pictures I took as test pictures came out slightly blurry! Very disappointing but at least Costco took it back with no arguments.
My thoughts then turned to researching perhaps a more "capable" camera and settled on a Sony A5000 camera. It had great reviews, had all the features I wanted and some nice to have stuff as well. Here's the online reviews that basically sold me on this particular system camera: LINK1 and LINK2.
Note: the second link actually recommended the A5000's predecessor, the Sony NEX-5T but it proved impossible to find locally and the differences involved features that were not important to me; differences such as more pictures per second in continuous mode: 10 to 4, a digital viewfinder, touchscreen controls.
Finally BestBuy had the A5000 bundled with a 16GB SD Memory Card, a travel case and a 55-210mm Telephoto lens! The price for all of this was the same as just the camera and a 16-50mm lens for the NEX-5T!
I dithered all of Black Friday, being the tightwad that I am, debating whether to splurge on the camera bundle or just buy the camera....a difference of $150 you see. Finally, Martha just said to go whole hog and go get it. Probably got tired of my mumbling and such all day.
Here's the first few pictures I took once I got the camera home Black Friday evening:
My oldest son Patrick and I, I took the photo using my iPhone with
the remote shutter control app installed. You connect to the camera via it's WiFi
access point and can now be part of the picture.
My loving wife, Martha...aka SWMBO
The camera's LCD monitor flips up 180 degrees to facilitate
the shooting of "selfies". That's my son Miles making a face and
my father-in-law Richard G joining in on the fun.
This feature will allow me to shot low angle shots of my motorcycles
without having to lay down on the ground! :)
Today, Saturday, I rode out early to meet up with two other Uralisti for a short ride in the foothills to the west of Metro Denver to give the new camera a workout.
We wandered towards Idaho Springs using back roads, enjoying the clear skies and blazing sunlight. The lighting was so bright it caused most things to look "flat" but I must say, the camera did well in the intelligent auto mode I set it at and proved easy to use.
We only found limited amounts of snow in the foothills, where there was snow
it was compacted and icy, making for interesting riding conditions.
We ended up near the town of Central City, parking our rigs at
a small overlooking hill and chatting for a while.
Everyone had stuff to do in the afternoon so we split up shortly after we finished talking about farkling our rigs and catching up on each other's activities. Tim L and Dan K, my fellow Uralisti, rode off through Central City and I lingered a bit for pictures.
A train display in Central City
I rode on through Central City, Black Hawk, both of them Casino Towns and took CO 119 towards the town of Golden. Once there, I took a brief detour up 19th Street and rode part of the way up Lookout Mountain.
The view from the first overlook point on Lookout Mountain Road
As a compare and contrast, the above picture of the Denver skyline was taken at max zoom
using the Sony 55-210 mm lens. Then, cropped and tweaked using my normal tools.
The above shot was with my old Panasonic Lumix ZS8 camera, at 16X zoom,
cropped and tweaked with similar settings as the first skyline shot.
I must say, the two skyline shots highlight how the larger APS-C sensor in the Sony A5000 camera does better in capturing detail over the smaller and older sensor in the Panasonic.
Another note, I barely had to do any post-shoot tweaking of the jpg photos created by the A5000, whereas previous experience with my Panasonic and Nikon point and shoot cameras usually involved more tweaking!
I shot in the RAW + JPG file format but didn't use the RAW files at all, the JPG files created by the Sony were just fine.
So, initial impressions of the Sony A5000 are very favorable! Not to say the Nikon AW110 is not a good camera, I like it a lot and it's much tougher and durable than the Sony! We'll see how the Sony does in colder and more inclement weather in the coming Winter season.
The A5000 also has "apps" you can download from Sony, a couple of which might intrigue me enough later on to get me to pay and download them. More on that later but you can see the apps here: LINK.