Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New Camera

New Camera
Originally uploaded by SunFlowery.
I've been meaning to get here and tell the story behind my new favorite possession, but the longer my to-do list gets the further behind I get on my blogging.

I got a new camera. And I LOVE it! I've been saving for a few months and then Bob said I could use half the tax refunds to get it. Once I knew that it was inevitable, I began doing research on which camera to get. At first, I was all about the Nikon D70. It was D70 this, and D70 that and D70 all the time. Then I discovered the Canon EOS XT and I was all about the XT. Until I saw the prices. Then I began to expand my research.

I settled on the Pentax K100D for a couple of reasons, one being price. When I first learned how to use an SLR camera in the 80's, it was on my dad's Pentax K1000. This is probably the camera you used to learn on too. It was the camera that launched a thousand photography students. It was basic, easy to use, and took fabulous pictures. One day my dad gave me his to keep and I fell in love with this camera. Unfortunately, it was stolen from my car in either 1999 or 2000. (My car which was locked and also parked in the driveway!) Thankfully I also had a Minolta SLR to fall back on.

When I went digital in 2003, I never used film again. Like most people, my first (second AND third) digital camera was just a point and shoot model. I liked it and learned to use all the features but it was limited in some aspects. The white balance was off and I could never get it right even with the best of Photoshop. The AF could not be adjusted and photos would often turn out blurry if the camera deemed the AF to be off.

Back to the new digital SLR. In doing research, I found that Pentax came out with a brand new SLR in October and I really wanted that one, the K10D. However, the price was once again in D70 and EOS XT areas. So I talked myself down to the K100D. It features shake reduction, compatible lenses and flashes, manual, programmable, and automatic settings.

Once I knew what I wanted, I had to figure out where to get it. There are a couple of national camera stores, a local camera store, and the big box stores nearby. I started at the local camera store. I chose them because they will accept trades and exchanges for store credit which can be used to purchase new and upgraded equipment. I took my old Minolta and flash in and got $60 in return. Not to shabby for a camera that hasn't been used in about 5 years. However, when I went in to buy, I was given a price that included 2 lenses and the camera body but did not include a case, a memory card, a tripod, cleaning solution, or anything else. I went online and did some shopping and found a place that sold the camera I wanted plus the same two lenses, a memory card, a tripod, a bad, and cleaning solution for almost $250 less.

The store would not and could not match the online price. Still, I had cash on me and told the sales guy as much. I said, "I have $XXX in cash on me right now. What can you do for me?" Turns out, he could not do much for me at all. He told me to check the Sunday paper for President's Day sales and come back and he could match local stores prices and gimmicks. I left knowing I would not buy my camera there even with the $60 in store credit. (I am going to use it to buy a tripod.)

I went to one of the big box stores and found they only carried the Canon and Nikon but they did not have a deal on either. I went to Target and found the same. I went to a national camera chain store and found that they had the camera I wanted. It only came with one lens but because I had cash in hand on my person, they threw in a 1GB memory card for free. Plus, they were helpful and knowledgeable, and answered all my questions. They wanted to sell me an extended warranty thing but because the cash I had on hand would only cover the camera and lens, I said I'd have to come back. They said I had 10 days.

I went home and played with my new camera. Bob said I should get the care plan and gave me the $ to get it the next day. I would have gone to sleep holding my new camera if I could have. However, in the morning, I woke up with a bad case of Buyer's Remorse. I wondered if I had made a huge mistake. I wondered if I should have bowed to the Nikon/Canon pressure instead. I wondered if perhaps I had been too hasty in buying and should have saved longer and waited.

That morning, I went to the camera store to buy my care plan. When I got there, the sales guy from the night before told me there was a $50 rebate on my camera and he had printed out the form and duplicate receipt in case I came back. He also mentioned classes they hold on digital camera usage and offered to sign my up. I picked four and signed up for the next offerings in March. As he rang me up, I chatted with the store manager who told me about features she thought I would like on my new camera. She also told me about a dad who was just in before me buying his 12 year old daughter a Nikon D70 with extra lenses. He also bought his wife a D200 which is the professional model and costs about a million dollars. I have to admit I was insanely jealous of that 12 year old and wife. Still, I don't think that 12 year old will appreciate what she has as much as I appreciate what I have.

So, it's been 5 days and I have to say I really like my camera. Granted, about the only things I've taken pictures of these past 5 days have been my 4 cats and my husband, but's a blast. And I am loving the digital aspect because I'm not wasting a lot of money on film to find out if the settings are working or if the flash went off. If it doesn't turn out? I just delete it.

Now I need to build my photography equipment pool. Next purchase will be a tripod. After that, an auxiliary flash. After that, a telephoto lens. After that, a wide angle or fish eye lens. After that, who knows?

I have loved photography since receiving my first camera in 8th grade. I think I've come a long way since then. I've had lots of cameras and I've had my favorites. What I've learned though is that you can have the crappiest of cameras and still get great pictures as long as you understand light, shadow, framing, and sizing. I had a craptastic freebie camera I got from a magazine subscription and yet some of my best photos came from that camera. The reverse is also true, you can have the best photographic equipment money can buy but if you don't know how to use it or you don't understand the concept of light, shadow, framing, and sizing then your photos aren't going to be all that good. Granted there is Photoshop and online tooling that can help, but you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear. Or something like that.

I have received more recognition for my photos these past 6 months than in 20 years of taking photos. And the photos I'm getting attention for were mostly taken with a Fuji Finepix point and shoot. It's all about lighting and framing. I can't wait to see what I can do with my new camera!

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