Another toy!

Preparatory to my voyage to Canada for the 2007 Libre Graphics Meeting in May I thought I’d treat myself to another Krita-relevant toy: a new camera. Our first digicam was a Canon Powershot A20 that we’ve taken more than 8000 pictures with. The second was a cute little Praktica DPix 540Z we bought in Wernigerode. The Praktica lives in Irina’s handbag and the Canon is getting a little long in the tooth. Besides, 2 megapixel images are all very well, but they’re not much use for stressing Krita with, are they? And neither camera does RAW.

Enter the third digital camera we’ve bought, one that brings back the days of our second-hand Ricoh SLR: a Fujifilm S6500fd (the fd means “face detection”, and the American model number is s600fd):

The reviews were good, the price was good — and it can do RAW, so I have something of my own to test Krita with. I’m not entirely sure that this camera is quite me as regards looks — it’s maybe a trifle too bulky, too wannabe digital SLR, a trifle to, well, I’m afraid I can’t think of another word than “cocksure” for the way the zoomlens protrudes. I definitely won’t be wearing this camera on its strap around my neck.

But, about 200 snaps later, I have to say that, camera-wise, it’s the goods. That indecent zoomlens is manual: no tumble switch that operates an electric motor. Just turn the lens to zoom. Bliss! It’s sensitive enough that I can make indoor pictures, in really low light, without needing the flash. It’s a Fuji, which means dcraw has special provision for its superccd. It’s blisteringly fast — turns on at the flick of the switch, takes jpegs at full resolution really, really fast, and even the 12 megabyte RAW pictures get snapped and saved to the XD card as fast as the old Canon saved its jpegs. Download using digikam is really fast, too. The electronic viewfinder is a bit crappy, but the lcd screen is excellent. It’s even got a special museum mode, that’s silent and doesn’t flash. It can make hundreds of pictures with four AA batteries. It feels good; not too light, not too heavy. (I always move the Praktica when pressing the button.) The digikam from trunk with libkdcraw works perfectly: Krita 1.6 with its old dcraw dependency less so. And image quality is mostly excellent. (When it’s really darkish, there is noise, and sometimes in the jpegs there’s a tendency to the oil-paint like artefacts that come with too many sensors on too small a ccd.)

It’s got gimmicks, too: the face detection works fine, but is a bit silly, There’s a digital zoom in addition to the manual zoom, but fortunately you need to press a button to activate it.