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Digital Photography

I'm often asked about cameras, especially digital cameras. What do I use, what do I suggest etc.. Well, I figured it was about time to put it all together.

My Digital Cameras

MP's Nikon Coolpix 5700 - Currently I'm shooting with a Nikon Coolpix 5700. I added a third party extension and third party polarized filter to protect the lens. Upgraded memory from so I have two 516 MB Compact Flash Cards + a few smaller ones. Basically each 516 card will hold about 500 of the fine quality JPG format at the 1600 X 1200 resolution...this camera can also shoot HUGE raw images (file sizes approach 20-30mb EACH)...for most publishing uses the highest quality JPG does suffice.

Features? Well the movie feature kinda sucks compared to other camera movies I've seen (you get a lot of camera chatter in the audio track), but picture quality has been great. The Digital Zoom...forget about it at least if you're shooting by hand; I haven't tried the Digital Zoom on a tripod yet but I suspect that 32X zoom really needs something steadier than your hands! While not billed as a SLR, the Coolpix really IS in so much that both viewfinders (regular or the flip out screen) are LCD displays through the lens. The best way to describe the 5700 is it's just a step below a professional camera but pretty much will get you whatever you wanted anyway!

The Nikon was a rushed purchase; overall I'm pretty happy with the choice I made! The Nikon took a spill in the Milwaukee and after drying out works just as good as before (took about 2 days). My ONLY major gripe with NIKON has nothing to do with the camera; rather it's that I purchased a floor model (only way I could get it in time for the '03 Canada Trip); turns out that I was REFUSED the rebate because it was the store's demo. They didn't tell me that when I bought it nor did I find it mentioned in the rebate documentation. So buying the floor demo actually ended up being MORE than a brand new in box model. I think that's horrible PR on Nikon's part.

You guys always are concerned with cost; when I picked it up the camera alone was about $900; with all the accessories it totals around $1000. You could now pick one up brand new on eBay for possibly as little as $600 with tons of extras.

All images I've personally shot for the Rambling Reports starting with 8-30-03 to the present have been shot with the Nikon. As of late November, 2004, the shutter button finally gave out after over 12,000 images...the camera was taken to Authorized Camera Repair in Morton Grove, IL. 2 days later, they had it completely fixed, good as new!

sample ORIGINAL images from the Nikon Coolpix 5700

MP's Kodak DC5000 - Prior to the Nikon, I shot with a Kodak DC5000 and LOVED it. Shock Resistant and Water Resistant! I shot approximately 12,000 images with the camera before the power switch broke (the plastic handle to Toggle it is what was still in good shape), and with no time to replace it or get it fixed I was forced to make a quick decision and get the Nikon above. My problems with the Kodak included the following: 1st you almost always had to shoot with the flash, even in bright daylight. 2nd, after a while it wouldn't take focused pictures if you were totally zoomed always had to zoom in just a touch for the focus to kick in. Granted this camera was probably dropped a dozen times and got thoroughly soaked at least 6 times and NEVER had any MAJOR problems other than those listed above! This is one ROCK solid camera that I wish they still made; it was designed just for people like us.

Joe R. now has this and I think picked up a second one...between the two I guess he has a working camera again :) New this one set me back about $700 with AC Adapter and a few other necesities. Now you can sometimes find them on eBay for $200 or less. NOTE this camera has had a recall on it.

All images I've personally shot for the Rambling Reports between 9-5-02 and 8-23-03 were shot with the Kodak DC 5000.

sample ORIGINAL images from the Kodak DC5000
Other Digital Cameras - information from Rambling Reports Readers!
I welcome anyone who's interested to submit a quick review of their camera used for fishing. What do you like, what don't you like, how much did ya pay? Please also send 3 unresized, unretouched high quality (fine quality) images from your camera. If you shot with any particular settings go ahead and send those too! So tell us about your digital camera!

Matt Tucker's Fuji Finepix S5000 - I shoot a Fuji FinePix S5000 Digital Camera. The camera is a 3.2 Megapixel camera with 10X Optical Zoom and 2.2X Digital Zoom. The camera takes XD memory cards, of which I use a 256mb card and a 128mb card, and will store 325 photos on the 256mb card at the highest resolution jpeg format. This camera also has the ability to shoot in the RAW format, but I haven't messed around with that yet.

Features are why I bought this camera. I was intrigued by the 10x optical zoom. I was searching for a camera that had enough zoom that I didn't have to leave my spot in the river to shoot a photo of my buddy's fish, and this camera definitely handles that well. Like most digital cameras, the digital zoom is pretty much a joke when shooting at long distances, just move closer. I also wanted a camera with a good flash for shooting night photos, this camera does the job well but doesn't have a hot shoe and that really leaves it lacking in flash in some instances. Even though the camera has all the manual settings that most SLR film cameras have, I still don't know how to use all of them. I am still learning the photography aspect of shooting fishing photos, and it is a big learning curve. But the settings are there, and I have played around with them and recognized some good results. I also wanted a camera with movie and sound capability, which this one does nicely. In fact, unlike some cameras you can shoot a movie until you fill up the video card. I haven't messed with it much yet other than recording birthday wishes and the such, I ought to use that feature to capture the thrill of the fight sometime. Polarized Filters were a must on any fishing camera, and the 55m threaded sun shade accepts all 55m filters and accesories. I currently shoot with a Circular Polarizer Filter and a UV Filter. Lastly, I wanted a camera that felt sturdy in the hand and had an SLR feel to it. This is smaller than a normal SLR but feels just as solid in the hand, and you can definitely tell you are holding a camera when shooting.

I paid $400 in December of 2003 on my S5000. Now you can pick one up on ebay with a really cool accessory pack for about that, and the camera itself can be picked up for about $250. It is a great camera, and I am happy with the digital prints, as well as how they look when I print them at my home computer or take them to Walgreen's to have printed. All in all, I don't regret purchasing this camera. It does a great job on fishing pictures. And the continuous shooting mode really rocks when taking fishing photos. It is a little cumbersome to carry on the water when fishing, but I think the photo quality for the money is worth it. Best of all, it survived a complete dunking in the Norfork River in Arkansas and dried out for 4 days on the dash of the pick-up truck and then fired right back up and I am still shooting photos with it 5 months after its first baptism. You can see the photos that I have shot with this camera at

Fish Hard,

Matt Tucker

sample ORIGINAL images from the Fuji Finepix S5000 (Copyright © Matt Tucker)


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