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Cameras, Photos and Compression

The first digital camera used, from 2009, was a Panasonic Lumix TZ6 which delivered some excellent photos. It is very easy to carry and fits into a belt pouch on some rucksacks. Later a full blown digital SLR system based on the Canon EOS 550 was bought with three lenses. This is very good but virtually a non-starter for taking out on the hill as it occupiesa rucksack on its own. About 2012, bought a compromise between the two systems: the Canon Powershot SX40 which is a bridge camera. In simple terms, it looks like like an SLR but lenses cannot be attached and detached so it is essentially a large compact. It is very good but, on many occasions does not outperform the Lumix TZ6. It can be carried in a rucksack sometimes but it is much heavier and more bulky than a compact. It is a good camera to keep in the car! By late 2013, only the Lumix was being taken out on the hill. If starting out again, would only buy the Lumix cameras.

Unfortunately, on a very bad storm day in February 2014, rain managed to get inside the Lumix TZ6 (it is not waterproof) and it stopped working. Tried taking the SX40 out but its size meant that it had to be got out the rucksack every time a photo was taken which slowed progress somewhat. After two days of this, decided to buy a new compact so bought the Panasonic Lumix TZ35 which has a much higher specification, including greater zoom than the TZ6. Made enquiries but the so called “expert camera shops” said the TZ6 was not worth repairing and that any repair would cost more than it was worth (£100 - £150). This turned out to be complete nonsense. Searching the web turned up a one man business called Clearer Images which is based in Ashton-under-Lyme. This was only 8 miles from where I was based, in Glossop, that week so I made contact and they said about £35. Took it over one evening and it was ready the following day – completely fixed for £35. A bargain!! I now have a spare camera. Mindful of future rain damage, decided to buy a waterproof camera and settled on the Panasonic Lumix FT25 which will be used on very wet days. Unfortunately, to be waterprooof, its zoom must be internal and is only up to 4 times but now feel covered for all situations in the British climate!  After about 18 months, the TZ35 needed repairing due to rain getting in so a TZ70 was purchased which also had a "spirit level" in the viewfinder so no more sloping lakes!  Unfortunately, the TZ70 is slightly larger than the TZ35 which meant it would not fit into a belt pocket so a larger carrying pouch was needed.  A Sony WX350 was also purchased and this is even more compact than the early TZ models.  However, it seems that one has to download a Sony program to be able to transfer photos via a lead between camera and computer which is unfortunate.

Each photo is coded. If taken on a Lumix it starts with the date eg 20140314, followed by a letter to signify the order taken on the day so 20140314j and 20140314zg would be the 10th and 33rd photos taken with the Lumix camera that day. If the Powershot SX40 was used, all this is prefixed by P, eg P20140314x. If the full Canon SLR system was used then the prefix is C.   Any Sony photos used will be prefixed by "S".  Hovering the mouse over a photo gives the date taken and the photo title. Clicking on a photo enlarges it. Clicking again reverses the enlargement. The photos are all displayed in “landscape” format even if they were taken in “portrait” which can produce interesting distortion! However, if clicked to enlarge, they then display in the correct format.

PHOTO QUALITY

The quality of some photos is not as good as it should be.  This is down to the compression method used on the originals.  Photos taken before the end of February, 2014, are likely to be affected and may look banded especially the sky part of the photo.  A better compression method has now been found and these unsatisfactory photos will be gradually replaced as the originals are recompressed.  This may take some time before the better version get uploaded.  In the meantime, new walks will get priority and it is hoped that no new poorly compressed photos will be uploaded.

A simple way to compress photos, with reasonable quality, is to right click on a photo icon then select EDIT.  This should open PAINT.  Then choose PERCENTAGE then RESIZE and replace 100 by, say, 25. Click OK and the photo will be compressed to about 10% of its original storage.  Close the window by clicking X in the top right corner or ALT F4.  Click SAVE or press RETURN to save.  If you don't want to save, select DON'T SAVE.  Best to practice on a copy before trying it for real!  It is possible to select up to about 9 photos in one go by using SHIFT but each compression will have to be done individually.