I finally did it and pulled the trigger on buying a new camera this week. A camera to replace my Canon Powershot SX30IS that I bought back in 2010. That one is a super-zoom model (35x zoom) that I bought to take street photos. It certainly wasn’t a dream camera and I originally bought it as a compromise since there really wasn’t one I liked for a decent price (I payed $470 for the SX30). But in the end I genuinely enjoyed shooing with the camera and its shortcomings didn’t bother me much at all. I am pretty good at finding the strength of a piece of equipment and playing to that rather than worrying about its weakness.

So this past December I looked around for a new camera to replace that one. Not that there was anything wrong with the old one but four years is a long time in the camera world these days and there were bound to be some features out there I could use. Actually I’m always looking at cameras on-line and have a wish list of camera stuff at Amazon. I rarely buy anything off it but I can keep track of stuff there.

I ended up wanting to get the latest model of the Canon that I already had. That’s the Powershot SX60. At $500 it was even more expensive than the SX30 when I bought it but it had a bigger zoom (60x), some wi-fi capabilities (plus an app), and an input jack for a external microphone. Though I had been saving up some money for it back in December I didn’t want to spend the cash. Especially since I don’t take street photos until the weather gets warm. So I waited. And then the price on the camera actually went up by fifty bucks! So I waited another month.

The price never came back down but I found a camera kit for the same $550 price that came with a 32 gig memory card, various lens cleaning stuff, a case, and one or two other little things that I’ll probably never use. I decided to get it now because I wanted to shoot some video with it. I would have bought the SX50 model instead because it’s cheaper and the lesser zoom wouldn’t bother me but it had no external microphone jack. If shooting video last year has taught me anything it’s that good sound is essential. I picked up a $25 camera mounted microphone to go with it.

After I received the camera I gave it a test and got no sound with the external microphone. That’s when I discovered that the mic needs a battery to make it work. How did I not know that? I didn’t look. That’s how. I also discovered that the camera shoots higher resolution video (1280×1020 60fps) than my old 2008 computer can actually play (gotta save up for a new one of those too). Higher resolution that YouTube will post too. So I ended up turning down the resolution.

I had come up with the idea for a walkthrough of how I made one of my large drawings a little while ago. I couldn’t quite do it with my old camera so I waited until I got the new one. I was planning on showing the drawing and then showing all the steps and tools it took to make the drawing. I have a lot of different French curves and templates that I could show and I though that would be interesting. Not to mention the different sized drawing it took to get to the big size.

The first time I shot it things went pretty well. Yes, I say the first time because remember that external microphone I mentioned? As well as having a battery in it you need to remember to turn in on. I forgot and since the light that shows you it’s on in on the back of that mic/camera and I was in front of it I didn’t notice it was off. I filmed the whole thing, took the camera off the tripod, popped the memory card in the computer, copied the video, played the video, heard nothing, and said, “Oh, no”. I’d have to start over again.

The good thing about doing it twice was that I knew what I was doing the second time around. Instead of flying by the seat of my pants I knew what shoots I needed. And I could shoot them out of order. The first time around I had to keep moving the camera ant tripod around between my easel and my desk. Not a huge deal but I had to reset and reframe everything a couple of times. The second time around I wrote down what all the different sections would be, there were seven sections, and then shot the easel ones first and the desk ones second.

The $25 dollar mic did a good job. The problem I have with built in microphones it that they pick up a lot of ambient room noise. External microphones are more focused on a person’s voice. I have no experience miking things but I think the sound with the external mic is passable. It’s at least as good as I’m going to get it. The only thing I had to fiddle with in iMove was the sound levels. For the easel shots I was in front of the mic and for the desk shots I was beside it. I had to turn down the volume on the desk shots. They were just a little too loud.

When the warm weather comes around I’ll head down to Manhattan and really put the camera through its paces. I’ve read that it’s tough to focus at its full 60x magnification and I expect it to be but I’ve also read that same thing about every super-zoom camera over the years. The knock on my 35x zoom was the same but I worked with it just fine. I expect the same of the new one.

One last thing that is really really annoying about this camera is the battery. They made it ever so slightly bigger than the SX30 battery so I can’t use my old batteries and will have to buy new ones. And a Canon made battery is about $50. I think I’m going to have to go with a knock off battery. I just can’t reward Canon for such bad battery behavior.