Sunday, January 22, 2017

A New Camera For The Appalachian Trail ... And Everywhere Else

This week I received my new rugged camera that I will take on the Appalachian Trail (AT).  This camera replaces the Nikon Coolpix AW100 that I've owned since March 2012.  I really liked the AW100 and took it everywhere.  Unfortunately, off the Galapagos Islands, the camera screen went dead.

When I returned home I planned to replace the camera with the newer model (the AW130) but, after reading a few comments, found out that the dead screen problem still existed in the newer models.  This was disappointing.  I decided to go for the newer version of the camera that came it second to the AW100 when I did my previous search.  The Olympus Stylus TG-4 had good reviews and hit most of my criteria (I list those criteria in the AW100 post linked above).

Olympus Stylus TG-4
In fact, the TG-4 actually meets one more criteria than the  AW100 does - the capability of taking RAW format pictures.  The one thing that convinced me to purchase the AW100 before was the 5x zoom vs the TG-4 4x zoom.  As I mentioned in the linked post, zoom and tough cameras are not always compatible.  We'll see if i miss the extra zoomability.

I like the TG-4's auto Panorama mode which creates the panoramas in the camera without the need for external software.  This simplifies things a lot.  I do love me a good panorama and the tools provided should allow me to take better ones.

The Microscope mode (referred to as macro mode on most other cameras) is great.  The TG-4 has more options that make taking close up pictures even better including focus stacking that increases the depth of field of macro pictures.  Like panoramas, close up macro pictures are another favorite form for me.  Looking forward to experimenting with the new modes.

The Underwater modes are also more versatile than the AW100 including an High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode for underwater photographs (there is an HDR mode for above water pictures as well).  Not sure when I will get to try these new underwater modes out.  Who knows, it may be in a swimming hole along the AT.

Talking about the AT, travel weight for the camera is comparable to the AW100.  The camera, charger/data cable, and extra batteries come in at 13.6 oz (386 grams)  only a smidge (2 grams) heavier.  The TG-4 is heavier than the AW100 but the charger/data cable is much lighter.

The camera also has GPS and even Wi-Fi.  I will be taking my full size GPS so will probably not use the GPS function to conserve battery power.  The Wi-Fi, which allows transfer of pictures directly to my tablet without cables may or may not be used.  I think a direct cable transfer may be quicker and, at times, easier.

All in all,  the new camera has a lot going for it and I can't wait to really experiment with it.  Tomorrow may be that first day as I hope to take a walk and I almost always find something interesting to photograph on my walks.

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