Astrophotography Images By Camera Type

From the Northern Lights, to Constellations and shooting the Moon, Astrophotography can be very exciting. Let's also not forget about UFO's, too, which seem to be getting photographed and filmed more than ever these days. The skies are filled with weird and wonderful imagery that's just waiting to be seized in time by you and your camera. When people think about amateur Astrophotography they usually associate it with expensive DSLRs.

But DSLR's, while offering superb clarity for Astro scenes, can be the most expensive way to get started in this sector of photography. You see, most of the cheaper DSLRs come with a standard kit lens. This will not be able to offer much in the way of an extensive zoom range if you want to, for example, get some nice close up shots of the moon.

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Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) with what looks to be some pixel damage, taken with a Nikon-D50

So you will more than likely have to buy an additional lens, one with a much better zoom range. Depending on how deep you want to penetrate the world above, you could always attach your DSLR up to an Astrophotography telescope, which is what a lot of people do. With this method you can't go far wrong. To keep costs down, one superb entry-level DSLR well worth checking out for this type of set up is the Nikon D3400.

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SpaceX Satellite with the Nikon D3s

Dedicated Telescopes. The downside to this for beginners is that many dedicated telescopes, made specifically for the purpose of being able to directly attach the camera body are expensive. So unless you make your own telescope / camera mix (a DIY job, though not hard to implement), for the individual just getting into this kind of photography, spending a considerable amount of money on something like an Orion ED80T CF Triplet Apochromatic Refractor Telescope is probably out of the question. You can find cheaper models, such as the excellent Starwave Classic 102mm F11 Achromat Refractor Telescope with 2" Crayford Focuser, but even this model isn't exactly cheap.

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The Moon. Captured with a Canon-EOS-550D

However, If you want to go down the lens route, depending on the make and model of your DSLR, some powerful zoom lenses can be found on sale for cheap, especially in used condition. While others can far surpass what a lot of hobbyists are prepared to spend on an extra lens.

With the advantage of a potentially huge zooming capability already coming built-in to many Bridge models as standard, this is one of the main reasons why Bridge cameras can be a sensible, and more affordable choice for many people who want to get into Astrophotography. And to some extent, amateur photography in general. Fair enough, generally their sensors may not be as big as the ones found in many DSLRs, and the majority won't be as good at capturing certain details in low light conditions, but they are still very capable and extremely convenient in so many shooting scenarios.

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SpaceX Satellite - Nikon-D3s

That includes Astrophotography. Bridge cameras are not just for the novice either. Bridges are also a smart choice for the more seasoned photographers who want a small all-in-one camera that doesn't require any additional lenses. With a Bridge camera, carrying a big bag around full of equipment is not needed. If you're not aware, Bridge cameras have just one fixed, stand-alone dynamic lens that can handle many different shooting situations.

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Super View with the Nikon D3s

There are so many great Bridge cameras out there that work very well with Astrophotography, but one Bridge camera that instantly springs to mind is the Nikon P900. Although there is no RAW file option, and it is rather big in size, with its massive 83x zoom you'll have no problem getting those close up shots of the Moon! The P900's zoom capabilities are truly amazing. And just as good, if not better on paper, is the Nikon P1000 with 125x zoom.

Other models that are great for those just starting out with Astrophotography, or with amateur photography in general are the Panasonic DC-FZ82EB-K, with an impressive 60x zoom, and the Nikon Coolpix P610 (great for low light), which has a 60x optical zoom. On a tight budget? Those with not much to spend, but still in need of a great zoom range and a respectable level of features should certainly give the Fujifilm Finepix SL1000 some consideration. It's not a bad starter model for the price. Second hand, they are now a steal. Whatever you choose, DSLR, Bridge, or something in between, keep your lens, or at least one eye to the skies, because you never know what you might see.
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Double Pase Reflective Graffiti

Double Pase Reflective Graffiti. Took these photos last year some time. A terrific one word piece with its reflection being shown in the canal water. The artist must have gotten wet doing this one. Either that or he came prepared wearing some knee high wellington boots. The colours used in this Graffiti are almost pastel style. These images were captured with a Samsung WB500. The shooting conditions were really good on this day, nice and overcast. The camera did a great job of picking up the true likeness of this piece.

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Zoomed out to show the surroundings

Credit to the artist, who I believe goes by the name Forms. I'm not sure if this piece is still alive and burning, but it does stand a good chance of survival with it being done above water. I doubt the any of the local art destroyers are determined enough to wade through canal water to diss this piece. Anyway, I'm glad I went and grabbed this one when I did. -Still Paused.
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White Dog Rose With Hovering Bee

Been messing around with the mini Canon IXUS 127 HS a bit lately. Read about that camera here. And with early Summer basically being here already in the UK, there's a lot of wildlife doing the flower rounds. In fact, there's a lot of wildlife around in general. That means plenty of photo opportunities.

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Anyway, here's a quick picture of a Bee hovering over a White Dog Rose flower just about to make its entry for the pollen. Image was captured with the IXUS 127 HS and is non-edited / non-enhanced except for some cropping + zooming in a little.
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Canon IXUS 127 HS Camera Review

This isn't really a full in-depth review, but more of a first impressions type post about the 16.1 mega pixel Canon IXUS 127 HS. I could be wrong, but from my limited research, I believe that the 127 HS is the same as the 125 HS. If not exactly the same they are at least very similar. Anyway, I've got the 127 HS model, and the reason I bought it was mainly because it can record video @ 1080p "Full HD", and its extremely small in size. And of course the price.

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In used condition the 127 HS can be found for sale very cheap. With any camera there are good points and bad points. This one is certainly no exception. Straight shooting: All images in this post (other than the one of the actual camera itself) were taken with the 127 HS (Class 10 SD memory card) and have not been edited in any way except for either being made smaller or zoomed into a little to show more detail. Also worth noting: None of the pictures in this post were taken in auto mode. They were all shot under the Program setting. With all that said, first I will talk a bit about what I don't like.

What I don't Like


The Screen: This might sound crazy, but the LCD screen is too good. What I mean by this, is that you take a picture and it looks amazing on the screen, but when viewed on a computer monitor it's not the same. The quality isn't as good as what I thought it was, and the noise is quite noticeable. Basically the clearness of the camera screen makes you believe the image is much better than it really is. For example: The other day I took a really close up photo of a sock. Just testing the cameras macro ability.

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It looked extremely sharp and detailed on the LCD screen, but once I viewed the image on my desktop computer the clarity wasn't all that great. Don't get me wrong, the image quality isn't terrible, but this issue is quite disappointing. It's almost the opposite of another Canon camera I was testing a few weeks back. The Canon Powershot S2 IS.

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Image Quality: A bit of a let down. The images are not as good as I expected they would be. I think this may be due to the cameras small sensor - huge pixel count combination. I mean it does have 16.1 mega pixels, which is a lot. Images seem to come out rather noisy. But like I said above, for such a small camera the pictures aren't that bad. They just seem to lack some sharpness. Or was I expecting too much. ISO range is from 100 - 3200.

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A Ladybird (Ladybug) Pupa on a car door

Auto Mode: When in the Auto setting, for some reason the camera won't let the user select the super fine quality setting. It automatically selects the quality setting below, which is fine. And there is no option to change it. The IXUS 127 HS is so "auto" that it literally only lets the user change a few settings, like the aspect ratio of the image, flash on or off, burst mode (continuous images), and the image size.

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One of the main settings (image quality) is preset and cannot be changed. Or at least I couldn't figure out how to change it. Quite annoying. I would have had a look through the manual to see if this was covered, only the booklet that comes with this model aren't actually the manual. Those are just a quick start guide showing the absolute basics. The real manual is contained on a CD ROM Disk (included in the box), and I couldn't be bothered to take a look. However, in Program mode the picture quality can be easily changed.

Limited Video Recording Duration: The Canon 127 HS is limited in the amount of video footage it can record at one time. It's either when a single recording reaches 1GB in size, or once 10 minutes of recording has elapsed the camera will stop filming automatically. I say this because I'm not sure on the file size, but I was testing out the 1080p quality on this camera by using it as a dash cam in my car, and after 10 minutes it shuts off. You can apply a CHDK hack to get this limit removed, but still, another inconvenience with the IXUS 127 HS.

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Battery Life: Due to how small the camera is I can give it a bit of a pass for having a pretty poor battery life. Tiny camera = even smaller battery. The battery (680mAh) is very small. And while duration isn't great, I have still been able to make it last around a day. That's with mixed usage like turning it on and off a lot, taking a few pictures, recording some footage etc. So definitely acceptable, but could, and should have been a lot better.

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Build Quality: While the build quality isn't too bad at all (admittedly it has a bit of a "disposable" feel), it is finished in a very slippery, smooth material. There is nowhere to grip, and as a result I've almost dropped it a number of times. And let me tell you, if this camera suffers a fall from any reasonable height, it is not going to fare well. I'd say one drop and this camera will be broken. It's small and delicate. So if you do buy this model be sure to always try to remember to use the wrist strap when holding it.

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Buttons are also quite small and hard to use, especially at night time. I've got finger nails and even I have trouble using the camera in the daytime, let alone at night. So for someone who's nail-less, I'd imagine they would end up feeling quite frustrated using the 127 HS. Someone with sausage fingers probably wouldn't even manage to take a picture! One more thing worth mentioning is the zoom function / ring, which is located on the outer circle of the shutter button.

This feels very flimsy and I wouldn't be surprised if it fell off sometime soon. However, it is still intact and doing its job well. While on the subject of the zoom I should add that the 5 x zoom works fairly good. Not great but far from the worst. One thing that is bad about the zoom, is how loud it is when filming. It's very loud.

What I Like


So Compact: Like I've mentioned a few times already, the size of this camera really is one of its best selling points. Being super small, It truly is a take-anywhere point and shoot. Some point and shoot cameras are pretty big. I own a few that are. Same with Bridge cameras and DSLRs. If you're someone who wants none of the size associated with carrying a capable camera, and want the convenience of having a real pocket size camera, the IXUS 127 HS is well worth considering for that aspect alone.

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A Curled Up Millipede

Great In Low Light: This has really surprised me. Comparing it to other point and shoots I already own, this one beats them all hands down when it comes to shooting in low light with no flash. I'm yet to really test the video footage in low light, but pictures in dark settings have been really good.

True Colours: One thing about all the Canons I've used and own is how good they are at capturing the true colours of a subject. Luckily, so far for me they have been spot-on. This model is the same. Some brands and models (I'm sure some are potentially Canon's) have problems with certain colours, and others can't seem to capture a true likeness and are washed out. Definitely not the case here. Images are a bit soft and do have noise, but colours are very good.

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Lots Of Cool Features / Modes: There are so many excellent settings on this camera. From the usual different colour modes like black and white, Vivid, Sepia and Neutral, to Positive film, lighter / darker skin tones, and also custom colour options. But there's much more than that. In Program mode there are many cool features to experiment with.

Some of those include: Super Vivid, Colour Swap, Poster Effect, High-Speed Burst, Toy Camera Effect, Miniature Effect, Long Shutter, Underwater, Soft Focus, and the very funny, Fish-Eye Effect. There's also an excellent Super Slow Motion Movie Mode available which records at both 240fps and 120fps. Choice is yours. The only downfall is that when recording a slow-mo video there is no sound. So the videos are silent. Still a lot of fun though.


Quick test video @ 1080p. Canon IXUS 125/127 HS Full HD Test - Duck Quack
If you want to see the video at 1080p you must change the setting on the video. Default is auto (360p)

Excellent video quality: Again, as mentioned, one of the main reasons for purchasing this camera was for its high quality video. I'm happy to say I have not been disappointed. The highest quality its capable of recording at is 1080p @ 24fps. On this setting the footage is very clear and crisp. Excellent and very convenient for those times you want to quickly record something in HD at random. 640p and 720p@ 30fps are also available. 720p is excellent and can help save some SD card space if running low from filming too much 1080p.

To Sum It Up


For such a small camera, it's a great all-rounder. It's so convenient to carry around. When you see people write online about small cameras, and they say it fits easily in any pocket, sometimes in reality that's not always the case. Yes, they fit in the pocket, but it feels like your carrying around half a brick. Well with the Canon 127 HS, it really is a true pocket sized camera. Not the sharpest, best quality picture snapper out there but still has a lot going for it. A really good everyday carry mini camera. This "review" has turned out to be much much longer than I intended. I hope it gave you some insight into what to expect if you are considering purchasing the IXUS 127 HS.
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Seam Graffiti Piece

Seam graffiti piece from the UK. Birmingham to be more precise. Had this one tucked away for a while. Forgot all about it. Nice piece. Isn't that the painter and decorator from the old Pink Panther cartoons? Haha, I thought he looked familiar. These photographs were taken with a Samsung WB500, but both have been popped a little using an online photo editor, as they came out a bit dull looking.

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The Pink Panthers Painter is in Birmingham

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Seam from a further distance

Haven't been to this location for a while, but fairly certain due to how much the art work changes there, that this piece is now most probably gone. Either that or destroyed by people going over it with lame tagging.

Update: Those two tower blocks you can see in the background of second image (Holbrook Tower and Warstone Tower) are now gone. Demolished not long ago. I don't know who the artist is that done this work. But credit to them, it's a cool piece. -Still Paused.
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Samsung WB500 Close Up Test Image

How are the close up capabilities of the Samsung WB500 point and shoot camera. I've owned this camera for a good few years now and I have to say, the close up shots aren't too bad. Overall its an excellent camera, very well made and takes good pictures. It can also record videos @ up to 720p quality. I will post a review type post about the WB500 soon.

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But in the mean time I just wanted to show a quick test image of how close the WB500 can get to a subject, in this case a Ladybird, before it blurs out of focus. Above is an image taken on the scene setting in "close up" mode. Kind of like this models macro. Quality is Super Fine. No zoom has been applied. Any closer to the ladybird and the camera couldn't focus clear anymore. The distance of the lens from the insect was around 5cm. Click the image to enlarge to really see how close the shot was taken to the subject.
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Canon S2 IS Super Macro Sample Photos

I recently wrote about the Canon Powershot S2 IS in a quick review type post. That can be found here, and there are a few sample photos in that post. I basically talked about what I like and dislike about this camera. One of the things I liked most is the Super Macro feature. I've been doing a little messing around with it, and its been a lot of fun. I really like using this camera. One issue I have found though while getting macro'd up is deciding whether to use normal macro or super macro.

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Willow Flower - Click to enlarge

I know it depends on how close or far away the subject I'm shooting is, but the latter is always more tempting to me. However, that choice may not always be the right one for certain situations. Normal macro would probably be better suited. And as a result, the Canon S2's Super Macro mode might not always produce the best results for each and every subject. But its all about testing and learning.

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More Willow Flower strands

More experimentation and time with this specific camera, including learning its limitations, should gradually result in capturing much better photos in the future. So stay tuned. But in the meantime, check out a few of the pictures I was able to take while testing this camera out. Straight shooting: None of the pictures have been edited / enhanced in any way other than made smaller + on a few (The spider images) zoomed in a little closer to create a more "Macro" feel.

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An extremely small blue / purple flower

 
Alder tree cones close up

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Harlequin Ladybird (More of a normal macro)

And now for one of my absolute favourite spiders in the world, and common in the UK; the Jumping Zebra Spider. Widely considered to have some of the best eye sight / vision in the whole insect world. They are amazing.

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Zebra Spider

I was moving a little twig from side to side in front of this spider, and I kid you not, its head and eyes (check out those big, front facing eyes) were moving from side to side in unison with the twigs movement. Just like when you see a video clip of a cat watching a game of tennis. I should have filmed it but just never thought about it at the time as I was trying to take pictures. Maybe next time.

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Here it is just about to jump. Pressed the shutter a bit too early but just caught its matrix leg in action.

Bear in mind, the Zebra spider is not the same size as many of the jumping spiders you may have seen being displayed on YouTube. Those are also beautiful and have vision that is just as good. However, Zebra spiders are much smaller than most of those. I expected the spider images in this post to come out better than they did.

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Looking straight at me, or the lens at least. Click this image to enlarge for a closer look at those big eyes. They have another smaller set. One located on each side of the bigger front facing pair. You can see them when viewing this picture at full size.

I had plenty of opportunities to capture good shots of the Zebra spider, but just found the focus and sharpness was slightly lacking. Possibly due to how small the spider is. Overall though, not bad for a quick mess around. More practise with the Canon Powershot S2 IS is needed, and would no doubt produce better results. I'm looking forward to putting some time into this camera. Much more to come.
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Canon S2 IS First Impressions "Review"

First impressions. Those two words seems quite funny considering how old this camera now is. But I have recently purchased an S2, so they are relevant. This is certainly not an in-depth review on the Canon Powershot S2 IS, but more of a quick review / first impressions of what I like and dislike about this camera. First I'll cover what I don't like about this camera. Straight shooting: All images in this post (there's not many), except the ones of the camera itself, were taken with the S2 and have not been edited / enhanced in any way what so ever other than resized (made smaller).

What's not so good


Well, the two errors consisting of the memory card error issue and "change battery pack" message have been slightly annoying (now fixed). Although neither of them have been difficult to fix and don't present a serious problem really, so they are more of an annoyance than anything else.

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The electronic view finder (EVF). while it is an old camera in 2019 / 2020, and in its day was a top-of-the-range model, by today's standards the view finder on the S2 IS is fairly poor quality. The EVF screen makes it quite difficult to confirm if the picture being taken is in full focus and of good quality. Sometimes its easier to confirm depending on the shooting situation, but a lot of the time it seems a bit hit and miss. Overall the EVF is very usable (some situations make me really appreciate having it) and actually not too bad considering the age of the camera.

The S2 uses the Digic II processor. Image processing seems quite slow and it can take a while to save an image and be ready to take another one. Auto focus is also rather slow at times, and can sometimes completely lose itself when zoomed out and needs to be reset back to zero zoom to correct itself. However, that can be the case for many bridge cameras, some of which are much more up-to-date than the Canon S2, so it kind of gets a pass for this.

Worth noting is that the S2's maximum SD card size is 2GB. Not an issue for me, as 2GB is more than enough for several hundred photos, but could be an issue for some people, particularly those who don't regularly move their images / video footage off SD cards and on to another device, such as a laptop, desktop or stand-alone external hard drive.

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As others have mentioned online, the viewing display LCD screen is small, but adequate. I actually quite like it. Yes, it is on the small side, but it soon becomes the norm and is easy to use. The screen also flips around and can be turned inward when the camera is not in use so its protected from potential damage. This is one of the features I like. One last thing that's not good, though only a minor niggle, is the loose lens protector cap. It's constantly falling off. Oh, and one last thing. There's no sports mode.

What I like about Powershot S2 IS


Start up is fast. Has great weight and feel. Sits great in the hand. I love getting those close up shots of things, so as you might have guessed, the standout feature for me is most definitely Super Macro mode. This feature allows the lens to be so close to the subject, that it can basically be touching it. Zero centimetres.

For an old, 5 mega pixel camera, its really impressive. Also, normal macro mode. Again, very good. I was doing some macro testing recently between the Canon S2 IS and the Panasonic TZ3. A friendly Vs type test on the same subject being shot under the exact same conditions. While the TZ3 did well, when compared to the S2 there was no competition. I know that super macro isn't the TZ3's forte, but it was quite surprising to see how much difference there was when both examples were inspected more closely.

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Willow bud using super macro. Click to enlarge

Auto mode on the S2 is also excellent. If you want to use the Super Macro setting you must be in certain modes on the dial. "P" being one of them. It can't be activated in Auto. Normal macro can be selected in Auto. Some of the images the Canon S2 is capable of capturing in auto mode really are excellent considering the age of the technology incorporated within this camera.

Zoom and image stabilization are equally impressive. Far zooming needs a steady hand, and as usual, digital more so. But closer zooming is very forgiving. I was recently taking some macro shots of a tree's flowers which were blowing in the wind, and the image stabilizer was still able to capture a sharp, non-blurred image. See that picture below.

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Blowing in the wind but still captures a steady shot

The cameras menu is easy to use, and browsing through the image library and viewing a single image is so simple, and very nice when combined with the zooming in / out controller when wanting to look closely at a taken image. I haven't really tested the video capabilities yet but looking at some of the sample videos on YouTube, it appears to be very good.

Even by today's standards the video quality is totally acceptable. When the batteries don't have enough power left to fully operate the camera (take pictures), you can still view images that have already been taken. There's also hacks available for many of the older Powershot models, including this one.

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Zooming in on pegs sample - Blurred background

Once applied, they open up a whole host of super features usually only found on DSLR's and more expensive cameras, including RAW, live histogram, time-lapse, motion detection and much more. It's called the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK), and you can find out more information about that here.

There are still many features that I'm yet to play with, and in time I will discover more likes and dislikes, but all things considered so far, the Canon S2 IS is an excellent early model bridge camera. And for the low price the S2 can now be purchased for second hand online, it really is a sensible option for people who want a great, versatile camera at a cheap price.

When I say cheap price I really mean it. I bought an S2 from eBay about a month ago. It came with the original box, all leads, manuals and guides, 16MB memory card, 4 rechargeable batteries and charger. I paid £10. That £10 is including postage costs. Like I said, for the price this camera can now be found for sale online, its such a bargain purchase. A fantastic camera. Buy one.

What's the difference between the slightly newer S3 IS (6 mega pixels) and this one. The quick answer is, not much. It wasn't a big upgrade. So don't buy the S3 unless you can find one very cheap, as it isn't much different to the previous model. Other than a few minor upgrades, the only real difference when compared to the S2 is the price. It's usually a bit more expensive. Either one at the right money will serve you well.
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Somewhere In Birmingham UK

Random image of a road on a rainy day in Birmingham UK. I'm protected from the rain, watching the people and cars pass by from the comfort of my car. But I didn't escape the downpour, as I could only sit tight for so long before I had to hit the street. This picture was taken with a Samsung WB500.

A still pause of a rainy road somewhere in United Kingdom


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