From the Vaults: Teaching Multimedia, Teaching, Teaching Multimedia

Which Camera to teach? To buy?

I love the Ricoh GR-D recommended to me by a photog-friend last year. The camera is beautiful to handle and for an old film lover like me — it feels a lot like the Nikon F2 I used to shoot with. Of course, as a point and shoot, the quality of the image does not come near the old SLR. Still, it has a wide angle lens (rare in point and shoots) and it also has full manual aperture and shutter controls, making it a great tool to teach with for my non-photography students.

My students are mainly print journalists but as with most journalists in the multimedia online era, they are required to get skilled in multiple ways. This means: getting adept at shooting and editing video, shooting and editing still photos and recording and editing audio interviews. Not to mention, they still need to be concise, accurate and lyrical writers. It is a lot to ask, so I try and make it easy on them (and me — as I have to teach all the above). To start with, I aim to get them simple and light tools.

Right now I am in the midst of a major decision. My program is growing and I need more equipment.

Unfortunately, (I have been told by the local Henry’s camera store), the Ricoh which I love no longer has local distribution. This is frustrating. I wonder why it is such a difficult camera to obtain. When I ordered the first batch, I was initially dissuaded by Henry’s who suggested there were other cameras out there for better value. But I stuck to it, and I’m glad because the cameras have held up well and the learning curve is actually fairly low, considering its full manual controls.

After hours and hours of research, this camera still comes out on top. I’ve picked up other simple point and shoots and none match the feel of this camera. But it seems not to be available in Canada. So now what to do?

At the outset, there are actually very few cameras with the features I need for my classroom:

1. wide angle lens for street photography
2. manual control
3. light weight
4. under $600
5. durable

I’ve narrowed down the choice to:
1. The Ricoh GR-D
2. Ricoh Caplio G-100
3. Panasonic Lumix – LX2
4. Canon G9

I’ve already lamented losing out on the Ricoh. I ruled out the Canon because of its lack of wider angle, so I picked up the Lumix.

I haven’t played too much yet with this camera yet so its hard to say what’s next. I’m missing my Ricoh – but that could just because I am used to it. In the meantime, I’ve been given the opportunity to learn not just one, but two of the top pro-sumer point and shoots, so I’m going to learn to adjust to the shiny, slippery Lumix.

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