After months of research, dithering, and soul-searching, I gave in and bought a new digital camera. It's a Canon Powershot S5 IS. My old one's a Powershot also, and served me well for six or seven years. But I kept bumping up against its limitations, especially zoom-wise. Also, I knew that my low-light photos and less-than-steady hand would benefit from image stabilization, which is fairly standard in today's generation of cameras but wasn't even a gleam in the eye of Canon's R&D department when my S20 came out. And... I'll stop rationalizing now. I love this camera.
I took it on its first outing, with a couple of birding friends, to the Crystal Springs Rhody Garden, and put the zoom through its paces. The great blue heron was all the way across the lake. The squirrel was maybe 20 feet up a tree, the wood duck about as far away. The cormorant on the pilings and the crows perched overhead, I know from previous futile efforts, would have been nearly invisible without whatever fraction of the 12x zoom I deployed to frame them. I love the feeling of-lots-more-zoom-if-I-need-it; I can actually pull back and hold some in reserve. Yowzah. I admit it; I'm a zoom slut.
At the other end of the focal length, the macro's pretty impressive, too. I know nothing about image stabilization technology, but it seems to kick in, like Superman, wherever it senses it's needed. I got totally into this gorgeous red amaryllis. Literally. Must avoid getting pollen on lens in the future.
Adorable-cat portraits, a significant portion of my repertoire, have turned out fine so far. Note Abbie's festive bandage. A little late for the holidays, alas; he had an ingrown claw extracted from his paw-pad, poor baby, and managed to tolerate the Santa-hat sock dealie long enough for a couple of humiliating photographs.
So. This is the last big-ticket solely-for-my-own pleasure item I'm going to buy this year. Stop looking at me like that, China Rose.