Thursday, April 5, 2012

Say Cheese!

Just last Thursday (March 29), I bought my very first digital point and shoot camera with my own money! Hooray! It’s all mine! And about time too! I’ve wanted my own camera for the longest time now. We have a family camera (since we’re the average picture-taking family) that we share and whenever I needed to use it for school, I could borrow it anytime, but it was always such a hassle. I hate sharing, and besides, I wanted my own, personal camera so I could take pictures whenever I wanted without having to bother about returning it or giving the rest a chance to use it. I wanted one all to myself. And if it’s want versus need, then definitely, want wins, hands down. My parents are pretty practical people and they don’t just buy unnecessary things if only to satisfy our whims, to teach us the value of money. But that suits me just fine, because aside from having an aversion to sharing, I have an intense dislike for asking for anything. I can’t quite explain where it comes from, pride, perhaps, but it’s just another one of my idiosyncrasies or personality quirks. I just hate having to ask for anything, or depending on anyone. I hate owing anyone anything, even my parents. I don’t like feeling needy or feeling like a burden. So aside from necessities, like food, shelter, clothes, tuition, I hardly ever ask them for anything, and whenever I want something superfluous, or extra, I save up my allowance to buy it myself. It gives me a feeling of satisfaction or accomplishment, that it came out of my own pocket and that it belongs only to me (even if technically my parents give me an allowance). I like getting gifts, though, don’t get me wrong, but I hardly ask for anything. If my parents get me anything, it comes from them, without any prodding from me, nothing wrong with that. So for my hobbies (err…luxuries) like makeup, I buy it myself. Or in another case, I bought my HP Mini myself. I have an older laptop at home that works fine, but it’s bulky and hard to lug around and take to school, so I saved up for a netbook myself. I bought a Longchamp bag too. Yes, I have enough, I have what I need, but there are far worldlier things that my bourgeois heart desires. Kind of an inside joke at this point, but anyway, going back to my new camera…

A camera’s been on my wish-list for a while now, but I gave into the more urgent wants first, like the makeup (yes, it’s urgent because I use makeup all the time), and the netbook (for school presentations, and as a backup to my VAIO). I have an HD camcorder that my parents got me for school for my videography class and other productions, being a Broadcast Communication major. Take that, necessity! But it’s more for video than for taking stills.

Anyway, I was pretty cleaned out the past few months from all a manner of personal expenses. I guess by now it’s obvious I’m not the thriftiest person around. But when I got back on my feet, I started making plans to finally get around to buying a camera for myself. I’m no photographer, and my pictures are amateurish at best and my composition is ordinary, but I love capturing memories of the places I go to, and the things I do (not just for camwhoring and profile pictures, mind you), which is why I wanted a camera for my exclusive use. So I started asking around, comparing and canvassing prices, looking for a brand and model to fit my student budget, which isn’t much. We have a Panasonic Lumix and we used to have a Sony Cybershot for family cameras, and we’ve had issues with both brands, Lumix, goes out of focus a lot for some reason, and the Cybershot sucks up battery life like a vampire so I was avoiding those brands. That left me with Canon, since I knew a lot of people with Canon cameras and these seemed to perform really well and Canon offers a wide range of models.

I was originally aiming for the A2200, but I didn’t have enough money, so I bought the Canon Powershot A800 instead, the entry level camera, the cheapest in the line that Canon has to offer. It is literally as basic, as bare bones as it gets. But don’t be mistaken, it delivers good quality pictures, for its inexpensive price. I mean, that’s coming from me, and I don’t have D-SLR expectations or anything. Before I made up my mind though, I read a lot of reviews on the internet comparing the two, and since I wasn’t really after advanced features and I couldn’t afford it, I decided the A800 would do just as well.

On Canon Philippines’ official website the price is listed as PhP 3498.00, or almost 3500.00 including a free 2GB memory card, a camera case, and rechargeable batteries and a charger. But I got it for 3300, with the same package, except the memory card’s 4GB! So not only did I save more than 200 pesos, my memory card was upgraded! What a deal! As it is, buying straight from Canon is the same as most mall outlet/distributor prices, since I also compared with SM Appliance Center and the like. When I searched on the internet, I found a shop called CMK Cellphones and they sell electronics like cell phones, laptops, and cameras at really competitive prices. They have two store locations in Quezon City, but they also offer shipping. I had my reservations about buying from a seemingly obscure shop, after all, I had never heard of it before, but it was way too compelling and promising to pass up without seeing it for myself, so I inquired over their Facebook page and their mobile number first before I visited their West Avenue branch last week. Basically their policy is that you can contact them for product availability, and you can come and pick up and pay for your orders within the same day as confirmation. The products are all genuine and they’re authorized dealers, so if you have ever have problems within the warranty period, they can receive the items and course them to service centers at your convenience. All in all, my first transaction went very smoothly and I am very happy with my purchase.

My baby!So I went home all giddy, taking test shots and studying the camera, and as I’ve said, I’m just happy taking decent pictures so even if it has few features and limited functions and settings, so long as it meets my basic needs (wants), I really couldn’t ask for more, especially for only 3300.00. You really get what you pay for: 10 MP, 3.3x optical zoom, and I am one pleased as can be shutterbug. It comes in four colors: Red, Black, Silver, and Blue. Of course I picked Red. I brought it with me on our trip to Ilocos (which I will write about next) and I took so many pictures and got the hang of using it. Surprisingly, the battery lasted the whole four days of our stay, and nearly 500 shots later, and that was using the regular batteries included in the package, I didn’t even have to change to the rechargeable ones. It has really exceeded my expectations for such an affordable camera. I especially love the versatile scene modes like Low Light, Blur Reduction, Portrait, Beach, and Sunset, perfect for travelling, saves you all the time and effort of manual settings. It’s a little chunkier than most newer and more expensive models because it runs on AA batteries, but what it lacks in sleekness, it makes up for in convenience. Aside from the rechargeable batteries, regular batteries are available at most convenience and drug stores, so it’s easy to replace them on the go, unlike the Lithium-ion kind, that you can’t get readily if you run out on the road with no access to a power source.

So yeah, I’m having an ongoing love affair with my new A800, my first camera. It’s really budget and beginner friendly. I’m going to take it with me to Singapore next, wait for it in May! Meanwhile, my snap happy Ilocos trip with my family is coming up next!

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