This weekend I plan to shoot the Blue Angels at their show in Rhode Island, and there's no better camera for shooting an air show than a Canon 1D Mark II with a Canon 100-400 lens. The lens is long enough to get tight on the solo planes, yet can also widen out for larger formations.
Yep, nothing better. And nothing heavier. I've been mulling over an Ireland trip for the past year or so, but I just didn't see lugging the heavy artillery with me. My research indicates the interesting photographic subjects in Ireland tend to be 5,000-year-old stone structures. Additional research revealed that they are easy to sneak up on, eliminating the need for an image-stabilized 100-400mm white lens.
But I wanted something with more capability than my little S45. I bit the bullet and put in an order for a Canon Powershot G6. It's somewhat large for a point-and-shoot camera, but tiny compared to an SLR. The G-line has been well regarded for a number of years now, and the G6 has been around for nearly a year. Including charger and two batteries, my G6 travel kit weighs in at less than two lbs. (26 ounces). My 1D Mark II travel kit including the charger, two batteries, and the light 28-300 lens that I don't really like would be more than seven lbs. (116 ounces). With two good lenses instead of the cheapo, add another 3.5 lbs for a total of nearly 11 lbs.
I probably sound like a Canon commercial sometimes (and I hereby volunteer to appear in Maria Sharapova's next Powershot ad), but one reason I went with a Canon rather than equally-capable prosumer cameras from Sony, Olympus or Nikon is compatibility with what I already have. It's not just that I don't have to buy new memory cards. I can use the battery from my ZR-60 videocam as a backup for the G6. (As a side benefit, the G6 came with an external charger which the ZR-60 did not.) I can even use my Speedlite 380EX flash unit. The external flash gives the option of using a much more powerful flash when the situation requires (although it does make the camera rather top heavy). The G6 has been officially designated as my "Ireland camera" and I hope it lives up to its name in September.
Until then, it goes to Kansas City in place of all my other stuff. The 35-140mm equivalent lens really isn't long enough to do sports, but I'll take to St. Louis for a couple of Cardinals games next weekend. I'm also looking forward to shooting fireworks with it. The little remote that's included will be ideal for setting off 4-second time exposures of fireworks. Next I'll probably figure out what attachments I need to use it with a telescope.
I'm sure there will be many occasions in the future when I'll lug the heavy backpack, but now I've got an alternative for those times when it just doesn't make sense. Here's one of my first attempts, a macro shot of a daisy that popped up in my unmowed front lawn.