Car Pics From a Point and Shoot

Car pics with my old Nikon point and shoot!

How about a change from birds, bugs, and flowers?  Another interest of mine is all things automotive and I attend car shows when I can.  I took these shots in 2006 at the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance outside of Philadelphia.  I highly, highly recommend checking out their annual show.  Did I say they sell beer there?  Well they do.  Did I say you can carry your beer around with you?  I did all day.  Did I say I enjoy cars, photography, and beer…… oh you bet I do!!!!

I have folders full of car pictures and may get around to posting more if my readers dig these.  I thought I would just post some of the hood ornaments present that day.

Nikon Coolpix 8800, 8.3 MPs – You don’t need Megapixels!

The Nikon Coolpix 8800 was my first “good” digital camera and was made available in January of 2005 and now long discontinued.  Retail for this thing was about $1,000, a very high price then, and was considered a top-end consumer point and shoot with a very tiny “2/3” sensor.  Aperture range was a ridiculously narrow f/2.6 to f/4.9.  It had a 10X fixed zoom lens that you could not remove but it did have vibration reduction, something I require for my always-shaky hands.  Read the original review here.

When I purchased this camera, I just started to get back into photography and was pretty much clueless.  I had no idea how to blur the background by opening up the aperture as I just shot on automatic anyway (Yikes! The horror of automatic!).  Low light? Heck the maximum ISO on this brick was only ISO 400.  Megapixels?  Try 8.3!  Actually, this was quite high for a point and shoot at the time.

So, what do you think of the picture quality from this 8.3 megapixel point and shoot?  Pretty darn sharp if you ask me and the pics pop!!  I did virtually no cropping or tweaking in software and shot only JPGs at the time.  I had no idea what RAW was nor did I even toy with computer software.  Nikon did a great job on picture quality with this camera.  So much so, it makes you wonder if having a DSLR is even worth it.  GASP!!! Did I just write that?

So, why you do need a complex DSLR and more megapixels??

After seeing the high technical quality of these old pics, I gotta write this next section quickly before I lose all my readers and they appear at my door with torches and pitchforks demanding back the money they spent on lenses and camera bodies.  So I will be quick, terse, and to the point.  Here is why you need a modern DSLR, a few good lenses, and high megapixels:

  • To crop.  Heavy cropping requires more megapixels.  The more you crop, the more pixels you need.
  • For clarity and editing flexibility.  Editing in software will challenge the quality of the source file and any imperfections will just get worse the more you edit.
  • To make art.  To make arty pictures, or at a minimum really cool looking pics, you need the following:
    • Larger sensors for detail, low noise, higher dynamic range, and to blur backgrounds
    • Wide aperture lenses to blur backgrounds, freeze motion, and shoot in low light
    • Great high ISO performance to shoot in low light, latitude to adjust files in software, and freeze motion all with lower noise and retaining detail.
  • Condition Flexibility.  DSLRs can produce better files in a wider variety of environments than ever before.  Low light, high contrast light, action, up close, wide…. with a DSLR, you have the potential to get whatever you want in any situation.
  • Interchangeable lenses.  Different lenses do different things and there is no free lunch.  Get some cool capability and something else suffers.  Point and shoots have to do everything and therefore nothing very well.  You are wrestling with the laws of physics with this one and laws from the “Law Giver” will win every time.
  • To impress the chicks or guys.  Nothing beats showing off your equipment to attract that someone special.  Bigger is better and nothing says more about you that swinging that high-dollar lens log around.  ‘Nuff said about this one.

So, are point and shoots pretty good cameras and maybe good enough for you?  Well, maybe.  If you just want to take snaps and pop your camera in your pocket and go, then don’t waste your money on big equipment.  But, if you want to take arty cool pictures from close ups to panoramas, in low and bright light, and do some manipulation in software along with deep cropping, then point and shoots won’t do.

Why great pics from an old point and shoot?

Looking at these old pictures got me thinking about modern point and shoots and I am not sure I have seen better pictures, from a technical perspective, come from today’s “improved” small cameras.  Just guessing here, but I suspect the picture quality in this old Nikon is due to two factors: 1) big glass, and, 2) high cost.  This Nikon point and shoot has a big lens and bigger lenses tend to produce technically better pictures than tiny glass.  If you are shopping for a point and shoot, seriously consider the models with larger lenses.  And, as you may expect, this camera was not cheap.  So maybe, just maybe, paying more gets you more.  Surprised?

My composition and technique

I really just starting into photography again when I took these shots and I really sucked at it.  Some of these pics are a little out of focus, composition is just OK (I am being very kind to myself on this), and I gave no thought to what was in my backgrounds.  I clearly had a long way to go.

The Equipment:

  • Nikon Coolpix 8800
  • My no-clue, beered-up brain

Location Types: Event. Galleries: Cars. Tags: Nikon 8800.

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