Sunday 15 June 2014

Bad Timing and a Fathers Day Gift

Its been a rather 'odd' week with highs and lows of disproportionate extreme. To misquote Charles Dickens "It has been the best of times and the worst of times". The week started pretty badly when I was called up to Head Office on Monday to be told that my job was "at risk of redundancy". I've been with my company 12 years and frankly I feel like part of the 'fixtures and fittings' so this has come as something of a body blow. Nothing has been decided yet, but I am facing the very real prospect of unemployment, and its not a pleasant experience. One way or another I'll survive and maybe I can turn this to my advantage, but its not a situation I am relishing or would wish on anyone else.

Enter the Canon Powershot G15.
Then on Tuesday my new Camera was delivered and all was right with the world again. My wife had encouraged me to buy it as a Fathers Day treat from the kids - I've been very good this year apparently - and I had ordered it the week before. It was just ironic it should be delivered hot on the heals of my redundancy warning. Timing clearly isn't my forte. Having said that, I have no intention of sending it back, no sir!

It goes without saying that I take a lot of pictures. Whether its photographing miniatures, living history events, museums or just family holidays, I rarely go out without a camera in my hands. My current Olympus compact digital has served me well, but the image sensor is damaged and it is uneconomical to repair, so one way or another I desperately needed a new camera (The fact that I can't really afford it now is irrelevant!). After looking at the compacts on offer I made my mind up to invest in a high-end pro model that would give me the utility of a compact with the features of a DSLR. The Canon Powershot G15 stood out as the best option I could afford (at the time). The G series is specifically designed for advanced or experienced photographers featuring cutting-edge technology and top quality optics delivering exceptional performance. For me the G15 offered the right balance of features for my budget and while it is not the sexiest looking compact, its what's inside that counts. 

Full functionality in a small body
So what does this camera have that makes it worth the price and why do I think its ideal for my hobby photography? First I wanted a camera that could do macro photos, but also handle low light conditions and compensate for hand held photography. I also wanted a camera that would offer me total control over exposure and speed just like I would expect to have on an DSLR. So the first requirement of my new camera would be top quality optics and I think the G15 has probably the best lens in any compact on the market. The lens is a bright f/1.8-2.8 with a 28mm wide angle and 5x optical zoom. Although you can get cameras with a larger zoom you can't get them with this quality. 

The other big selling point is the 12.1 MP CMOS DIGIC 5 sensor with iSAPS technology. Again you can buy cameras with higher mega pixels but they rely on smaller CCD sensors which reduces the quality of the finished image. Besides which 12 mega pixels is more then enough for most mere mortals and certainly sufficient for my needs. Combined with the 5 point Image Stabilisation features on this camera and I think it will cope perfectly with low light conditions such as in museums where flash photography is not allowed. The excellent optics combined with the large sensor give this camera a huge ISO range from as low as 80 all the way up to 12800!

I also bought a 'vintage' ever-ready case from my G15
I also like the large 3" LCD screen for 'Live View' snaps, but I love the fact this camera also has a proper optical viewfinder; a feature that is often missing in other compacts. Another feature that often gets lost or buried in the menu options is exposure compensation. On the G15 this is controlled by a simple dial readily accessible on the top of the camera allowing +/- 3 EV in 1/3 stop increments. I'm constantly adjusting exposure compensation and I hate having to do this via a screen menu. Also a key feature is the ability to shoot macro pictures from as little as 1cm. This means I can get real close to miniatures to get pictures if I want to...ideal for getting a 'soldiers eye view' of a tabletop battle. 

I'm more than a little 'chuffed' by this purchase (as you may have guessed!) and it has certainly lifted my spirits in what would otherwise have been a very black week. I've always been a fan of Canon cameras and while this one wasn't cheep it has the sort of high end features that should cope with pretty much any situation in which I need it to operate.

UPDATE: My wonderful kids have outdone themselves today, presenting me with two other gifts to lift my flagging spirits.

Sarah made me an English Breakfast Tank ! She has used bacon for the tracks, mushroom wheels and a black pudding commanders cupola on top of an omelette hull and sausage turret. Amazing.

Emily built this model Spitfire from a puzzel kit and has added some excellent camouflage and RAF Roundels on the wings. Outstanding!


  1. Sorry to hear about your job-related news (I've been there myself and I know that it is not a nice situation to be in) but the camera looks like an excellent bit of kit, and I am sure that you will gets lots of use out of it.

    Good luck,


  2. Lee, I am so terribly sorry to hear your news, I do hope it all works out for you. Splendid camera, which I will now have to investigate for myself - the case alone is gorgeous! Best wishes Sir.

  3. You are not facing the dole cue yet so chin up and keep smiling. !12 years should get you some dundancy money as well. But if the worse comes to the worse you have the possibility of starting the job you really want to do. Maybe international location scout for the Film Industry, specialising in James Bond films. Someone does it! Why not you?

  4. Lovely looking camera Lee, I'm sure the job front will sort itself out in the end.

    1. Hopefully things will work out mate, good looking breakfast surprise though and enough with the cameras!

  5. Best of luck with the job Lee, hope all ends well. And nice piece of camera kit to cheer you up - interested to see what you're able to do with it. The high end smaller cameras can work wonders now (I'm on a micro 4/3rds olympus which I love)

  6. Hope all goes well for you, you certainly should keep the camera and I wish you well with the possible future changes


  7. Sorry to hear about the redundancy risk Lee. I've been there twice and it isn't pleasant. I hope it works out well for you.

  8. There is light at the end of the tunnel Lee, if the worst happens; I got made redundant from the Army last year after 29 years' service, but ended up working straight away in an area I never thought I would; an FE college. Don't despair mate, things rarely turn out as bad as you think in reality ;)

  9. Hard news on the job front, Lee, I know exactly how it feels. The camera, however, looks pretty sweet - can't wait to see what you do with it!


    1. The breakfast tank and Spitfire are some of the first pictures I have shot with this camera.

  10. Thanks for all the words of support folks, I really do appreciate it.

    I'm sure things will turn out OK one way or another. I'm not going to panic too much about the job situation though, I'm confident I can find something else if the worst happens with my current job. It helps that my wife and I are a good team and have worked hard to 'redundancy-proof' ourselves by paying off our Mortgage early and putting some savings aside. (we've been through this before and we vowed to be prepared should it happen again). It means that when I'm looking for work I don't have to undervalue myself by rushing into the first job offer that comes my way. At least not for the first few months at least.

  11. Redundancy proofing....great plan. I had a disturbing shake up on the job front a while back but it seems that my position is now safe (for the time being). So I know it's not a pleasant feeling but hope it goes well for you.
    Great looking new camera and that brekky will blow all away until it reaches your large intestine. :) Nice spitfire as well.

  12. Good luck on the job front and very nice pressies.

  13. Just read your post, and I want to wish you the best on jour job.
    Hopefully you get a fine job soon.
    All the best from Holland!


  14. Sorry to hear about the job redundancy notice but that blow seems more than offset by your new camera and the adoration of your children. Love the English breakfast tank!

    Very useful review on the Canon, by the way.



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