It's a compact camera with a 20x zoom, made by a company named after a member of the clergy. It may be last year's model, but that means there was £70 off, so that's my kind of deal. I went to a resurrected camera shop in Oxford Street to buy it because a well-known catalogue shop had none in stock. The saleslady was very keen, and whipped out all the photos she took at tennis events last summer to try to convince me. She seemed even happier when I walked out with my new toy.
When I took it out of the box and looked for the instructions, they were a bit brief. They didn't even explain how to thread the camera strap properly, let alone how all the buttons and dials work. I think there's a manual setting and an automatic setting, but I'm not sure because the designers have used lots of buttons and dials with graphics and abbreviations. Several functions that might be really useful seem to be hidden away on menus, but I haven't gone hunting online for the manual yet because I'm assuming I can work out the basics. I may be deluding myself.
I stuck my new camera on charge overnight, because I think that's what the manual would have wanted me to do. And then the next day my Dad came down from Norfolk for a first wander round the post-Olympic Park. I went to take my new camera on its first jaunt, only to discover that it hadn't charged up overnight after all and the battery symbol was still flashing. All I could do was leave my electronic brick at home and go snapping with my cameraphone instead (and it was all a bit overcast out anyway).
I finally took my camera out at the end of the day when I walked my Dad back to the station. I was quite impressed by the zoom, which whizzed in far more convincingly than my phonecam does, and by the sharp legible image on the big screen. I tried a composition with Cycle Hire bikes, and a close-up of Mr Gladstone, and a bit of golden hour sunlight. But when a fox suddenly trotted across the tracks at Bow Church my camera couldn't quite keep up, so that shot I completely missed, which may not bode well.
I took my camera out properly at the weekend, this time on a day trip to Essex. I gave it a quick burst in Stratford, to check the depth of field, but saved the majority of clicking for wandering around my destination. The main attraction turned out to be "photographs not allowed", which is typical really, but the grounds were rather pretty and free from similar restrictions. I'll tell you about my visit at some point, but there is a reason why you haven't heard yet.
When I got home and went to download the photos off my new camera, I suddenly wondered where the connecting lead was. I didn't remember seeing one in the box, and a double-check convinced me there hadn't been one, so I tried to be resourceful. I went back to my previous not-very-good camera and unplugged the cable from that, except it didn't fit because the plug was the wrong shape. Then I went back to my last-but-one not-very-good camera and unplugged the cable from that, except that didn't fit either because the plug was a different wrong shape. And then I was stuck.
I went back and read the specification for the camera again, and discovered that it shipped without a cable to download photos. It seems the camera company expects you to already have one, or to be able to fit the memory card straight into your computer, which I can assure them isn't going to happen. So I had to wait and find a shop that sold the right cable, which took a few days and cost me £10, which has unexpectedly upped the price of my camera.
So that's why it's taken a week from buying my camera to being able to properly look at the results. I think I'm pleased with the end results, which are certainly better than any camera I've previously owned, even if they're not as pin sharp as they could be. I'll show you some more of my handiwork later, if you're interested, now I've finally got round to looking at it myself. And if the assistant in the shop had been a little less keen and a bit more alert, perhaps we could have reached this stage sometime back.