So one of my little girls broke my previous camera’s battery compartment ‘door’ some time ago.
Initially I thought, hey no problem, I’ll just use it with no ‘door’, but lo and behold, these clever cameras these days refuse to operate without having the ‘door’ properly shut. So I unimaginatively taped it shut with some clear sticky tape, and it worked for a while. But everytime, I would have to pry this little broken-but-still-hanging bit out to extract the SD card.
Then my birthday came, and the hubby took pity on my pathetic ‘hand-me-down plus now-battery-door-rosak’ camera and asked if I wanted something new. Especially since I take photos for the blog, and it’s a bit embarassing to brandish an old iPhone next to others who wield fancy DSLRs.
So the first thing that came to mind was to pop by John 3:16 Camera Shop at Funan, where most of my friends and family get their cameras from, for many years.
But when we went there, the shop had disappeared and there was another in its spot! To cut a long story short, we did some googling and found that John 3:16 Camera Shop now existed online in the form of The Camera Garage!
We contacted Sam Gan (whom I’ve kinda known since Sunday School days in the 1990s), whose dad founded John 3:16, and found out that they had decided to leave Funan for a number of good reasons. Sam now runs the business off his Facebook page, and can offer free delivery services (via public transport *salute*) since he no longer incurs rental cost.
I explained that I was looking for a new camera, what I’d mainly be using it for, what functions I wanted it to have, and my rough budget.
- Light – I wanted it to be light, so that I’d actually be able to bring it around often. That ruled out a DSLR. I have not gotten past the mental barrier of getting a DSLR, since I already have to lug wet wipes and water bottles around most times. Many times, I take photos of the kids at outdoor activities, and my shoulders already ache enough without trekking around with added weight.
- Wifi-enabled – Being quite the social media addict, I wanted to be able to transfer photos swiftly from the camera to the phone. But since almost all cameras these days have this function, it was not a difficult criteria to meet.
- Water-proof – I won a season pass to Adventure Cove (whee!) so I wanted to take photos as we splashed about! Also, I felt significantly constrained when I went to Legoland Water Park and had to be extra careful when capturing moments of water fun.
- High quality photos – Able to capture images decently under low-light conditions, high zoom, good colour, able to photograph moving objects sharply (we all know how kids can’t really keep still for a good shot).
Sam immediately recommended the Canon PowerShot G16, as the best camera in that price range (not water-proof though, but more on that later). I had been surfing around and was hoping for something in a prettier colour (G16 only came in uh, black), but I decided to stop being gu niang and go for quality photos instead. I read that it was the best ‘compact’ point-and-shoot camera that could produce photos that were most akin to a DSLR’s.
I am no professional photographer, so if you’re interested in the specs you can find them here.
Since I trust Sam a lot (our whole family has always been happy with cameras recommended by and purchased from him), I went with his recommendation. Also, I have had good experiences with Canon cameras, and glad not to have to learn how to operate a new system. Its price had also dropped significantly from when it was first introduced about a year or two ago. Sam always manages to give the best prices, and now with the addition of free delivery, there is really no need to even bother checking other shops’ prices, even if they are at some crazy IT fair sale.
When I first tried out the G16, I was amazed at its picture quality. The images were so sharp and the colours so bright. Since then, I’ve been toting it around almost everywhere I go.
I’m sure I haven’t fully harnessed the full capability of the G16, but I’ve watched some Youtube videos and toyed with it a bit. I could manually alter shutter speed and aperture, but I’m still very much a noob when it comes to that. I’ve used a number of its settings, and so far am pretty happy with the results.
The only criteria of mine that the G16 failed was that it wasn’t waterproof. I could buy a waterproof case for it, but that cost about $200 or more (!). Alternatively, I could get the Olympus Tough TG-4/Panasonic Lumix DMC/Nikon Coolpix AW120, instead of the Canon Powershot G16, but I really didn’t want a main camera that was waterproof but only had optical zoom. (I’m prejudiced against optical zoom that way.)
Sam had a good idea – since a waterproof case cost so much, why not get a basic GoPro instead, for those occasional waterplay events? At around $100, it was the best value-for-money waterproof action camera in the market. I knew that the basic GoPro didn’t have an LED display screen, but for that price, one really couldn’t complain. So the hubby got me that too! *muacks*
And I was pretty impressed with the photos and videos (wave pool, wheeeeee!) we got out of that too. But will save those photos for another post, another day.
A big thank you to Sam the man for delivering the cameras to our home, though you got kinda lost on the MRT (too many lines these days), and for demonstrating its features, and for having the most hilarious and yet one of the most edifying Facebook pages I have ever seen. (Extra plug – Whatsapp Sam at 96748664 if you need a camera.) Thank you for making your business a ministry in so many ways.