Last Updated: 17-MAR-2016

Ken's Camera Adverntures

First, a bit of history

I have been into digital photography since the beginning when I started out with a Kodak DC280 2.1 Megapixel camera in 2000. I am amazed that amazon still sells
these cameras as the physical size of the camera was large, battery life was bad and the image quality was not that good.
The trip out west in 2002 we used this camera.
West Trip 2002

I picked up a Nikon Coolpix Pix 5400 5.1 Megapixel Digital Camera in 2003. This was the first digital camera that did very well at taking distant landscape photos.
I still have this camera as it takes good (macro) insect photos. Also, this was the first camera that I had that could be put in manual mode for night shots.
West Trip 2003

The next camera was a Canon Powershot SD750 Digital Elph. This was a 7.10 Megapixel camera and for its size took very good photos. We took a number of trips with this camera and I was amazed at its ability to take landscape photos and not be washed out. The west trip that we took in 2008 was shot with this camera except for the night shots.
West Trip 2008
I still have this camera as of MAY 2014 and its used as don't worry about it backup camera.

I like the quality of Canon and the fact that the controls are very similar across the various camera models.

So, I picked up a Canon S90 10 Megapixel in 2010. This camera has considerable manual controls and I still use this camera today. The battery life is excellent and with a 32gig SD card I can easily take 3,000 images as well as movies on a single card.
The cruise we went on in 2012 was taken with the S90
Cruise 2012

I was worried that I needed a backup to the S90 so in the spring of 2013 I picked up a Canon S100 at a discounted price. The Canon S100 12.1 Megapixel camera that was supposed to be built on the features of the S90. It was not. Sure, it takes slightly better photos but Canon took away all the night photography features. I used this camera on both of the Costa Rica trips in 2013.
Costa Rica Apr 2012
Costa Rica Dec 2012

The S100 is in perfect shape and I am planning on listing it for sale at work as I really don't need it. I can use the S90 as my backup for the future.

I have now taken five trips with the Canon EOS-70D 20.2 Megapixel DSLR. A cruise back in March 2014 and a trip out to Utah in October 2014 where I have the photos posted at the link below. I did not take the 400mm lens on these trips as I figured that I would take mostly landscape photos and I was right. The battery life continues to amaze me as I could had taken the entire trip on one or two charges. Because of the dust I wish I had some of the damp lens cleaning wipes to keep the camera cleaner (not the lens) In 2015 I will upgrade to a pro-grade Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens as this will help reduce the amount of lens changing that I am doing to capture what we are visiting.

Cruise MAR-2014
Utah Trip OCT-2014
Aruba Trip MAY-2015
Utah Trip OCT-2015
Cruise DEC-2015

Canon EOS-70D 20.2 Megapixel DSLR

Since I have taken well over one hundred thousand photos in the past 20 years I figured it was time to go semi-pro so in March 2014
I ended up going with the Canon EOS-70D 20.2 Megapixel DSLR. I had extensively researched the other Canon DSLR's and felt that the additional features,
size and price would not meet my needs as well as the D70. The best no tax deal was from BH photo and bought the kit that included the camera, case and a number
of accessories.
The lens I selected was the Canon EFS 18-55 STM as I wanted coverage without excessive size. I also got a Canon 40mm STM Pancake lens for discrete shots in urban environments as its fast and makes the camera smaller.
For the telephoto lens I chose the Canon 55-250mm as this gives me complete coverage with my other lens from 18-250 with no overlap. Also, I looked at many reviews that
said that in this price range many of the 300mm lenses have clarity issues in the upper magnification ranges.

Here is the collection. The kit included a remote trigger for taking astronomy and other photos

After a few trips bird watching, I realized that 250 was not enough so I picked up a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens and after messing with it for a week I am impressed.
It has no stabilization but I have not had any issue with holding it still for good photos. I picked this up from BH Photo like the other items.

As of December 2015 I am evaluating these for a replacement:

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens


Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Lens Review

MUCH BETTER quality - optics, metal base vs plastic that I have on the two that came in the package I bought. But, currently I go down to 18mm. Will I miss that when I can only go to 24mm ?

Also looking at these:

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens


Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

I think I am leaning toward the 300mm one.

Click on photo to make it larger

Testing the various magnifications on the cell tower located 1.13 miles (1.83km) north of my house



55mm (on the 18-55mm lens)

55mm (on the 55-250mm lens)







400mm - plane on the London to Atlanta run at 37,000 feet and 5 miles SE of my location (according to Flightradar24 pro) Not cropped

400mm cropped

Airbus A380 at 400mm cropped

Metlife blimp at 55mm and 400mm cropped

400mm Bluebird cropped (taken from appx. 100 feet)

400mm Idiot flying over my property - Tail 1N9949 - 1972 CESSNA 172M - SMITH SANFORD O from PENSACOLA, FL

I did not invest in this setup to take only nature photos. I reported this idiot to the FAA.

400mm Baltimore Oriole in flight

400mm Indigo bunting

400mm Red-headed woodpecker

Other non telephoto photos with the camera

My setup while waiting for something interesting - Camera, radio, gun and bourbon (Knob Creek 100)

15.6 minute exposure


I continue to be very impressed with the Canon EOS-70D 20.2 Megapixel DSLR

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