A Trip To The Park

A few days ago, I decided to head out to one of the local parks in the area. It's fall now in the Midwest, so I figured I'd get some pretty beautiful pictures. Here's the results of that trip.

I also decided to use this trip to show how far digital photography has come. The two cameras I used are the Sony Mavica FD7 from 1997 and the Sony A6000 from 2014. While it's obvious digital photography has come a long way, let's look at just how far it's come.

Settings Used:

Sony Mavica FD7: Fine quality, frame mode

Sony A6000: Landscape mode, RAW and JPEG, 16:9 20MP mode. Images are  the JPEGs generated by the camera, scaled to half size and compressed.

Image 1: Gateway Into Autumn

This footbridge surrounded by trees is a spot I knew was going to be beautiful. It didn't disappoint.

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Here's the same picture from the A6000.

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While the FD7 produced warmer colors, the A6000 produced more accurate colors. Detail is much better, but that's to be expected since the A6000 produces pictures with more than 60 times the pixel count of the FD7's pictures.

Image 2: A Taste Of Autumn

While I was getting the footbridge picture, I spotted this picnic table amongst a backdrop of trees. I figured it would be a great picture, so I snapped the shutter.

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Again, here's the A6000.

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Same situation as the last picture. Colors are more accurate, detail is better, and the extra horizontal resolution captures more to the sides.

Image 3: Lunch At The Park

I noticed this picnic table next to a tree, and figured it would be a good subject to photograph. I positioned the table to be in line with the tree, and took a picture.

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Here's the A6000.

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When looking at the FD7's picture for the first time, I thought the grey-ish thing near the bottom right was a duck or a leaf that managed to find its way into frame. The A6000 clearly shows it as a fire pit.

Image 4: Lounging In The Clearing

While on my way to photograph this park's lake, I spotted this clearing with some picnic tables. It looked like a good place to take a snap, so that's what I did.

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Here's what the A6000 produced.

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Same things, colors and detail are better. Weird, almost like the A6000 is a newer, better camera.

Image 5: Leave The Kids, Eat The Adults

Next to the lake was a sign detailing how long a bass has to be for you to take it. I figured it would be a good shot to show detail, so I took a picture.

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Here's the same picture from the A6000.

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This is the image where the FD7's tighter field of view becomes obvious. For the other shots, I got closer with the A6000. This shot had both cameras at the same distance from the sign. Much more of the surrounding area is visible with the A6000 than the FD7.

Plus, the enhanced detail comes into play. With the FD7, you'll have issues reading the smaller text, if you can read it at all. With the A6000, you can just about read the numbers on the measuring stick.

Image 6: (Not) Falling Into The Water

The dock I was standing on was sloped slightly towards the water. Fortunately I didn't fall in. Instead, I got this picture.

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The same position, but with the FD7.

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This is another shot where my position was the same. Colors and detail are better (naturally), and the wider FOV of the A6000 captures more of the scene.

Image 7: A Floor Of Leaves

I guess this is why they call it fall, huh? This bridge and most of the surrounding land was coated in leaves, which I figured would make for a good picture.

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Again, the A6000.

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Like the previous two, my position stayed the same for both cameras. Wider FOV shows more of the surrounding area, colors and detail, all that jazz.

The Conclusion

So, what have we learned from all of this? I'm sure there's something patently obvious: the Sony A6000 is a better camera than the FD7 in just about every way. More natural colors, larger resolution gives you better detail, blah blah blah. However, even though the FD7 kinda sucks by modern standards, there's a reason why it, and all of my other old digital cameras, are fun for me to have.

Early digital cameras have a certain charm to them. The pictues they produce can look like a snapshot of past times (see my Midwest Outing gallery for proof). Almost every digital camera from the mid-late 1990's produces different results, and even the same camera can produce vastly different results depending on what the camera's mood is that day. They tend to have fun quirks, like firing the flash whenever you're not directly in the sun. They can use weird storage formats, like PCMCIA or SmartMedia.

If you're looking for the "picture from a 1998 Geocities page" look with your photos, the only way to do it is with an old digital camera. The best part about collecting early digital cameras: they're all cheap as dirt now. I got my Mavica FD7 for $8 from a local thrift store, and my other old digital cameras were purchased for under $20. I'm sure if you look around your local thrift stores, you'll find an old digital camera waiting for you to put some fresh AA batteries in it, waiting for the next time it's able to take a photo that takes you back to a different time.

Thanks for taking a look at this trip! I hope you enjoy the results as much as I did.

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