So Now He Thinks He’s A Photographer

Angela want­ed me to get some­thing nice for my birth­day and after hav­ing hung out with Kevin O’Mara a cou­ple of week­end’s pre­vi­ous, in addi­tion to look­ing at his pho­tographs over the past few months, she decid­ed a dig­i­tal SLR cam­era would make a great gift. She would leave it up to me to pick which one, since Kev­in’s Canon XT was real­ly the only one she was famil­iar with.

The Sat­ur­day after my birth­day, I went over to the Ritz Cam­era just down the street (seri­ous­ly, it’s like five blocks from here) to see what they had and talk to a pho­tog­ra­ph­er about cam­eras1. I had been in the same shop a cou­ple of years ago and thought the guy was kind of a prick for just brush­ing me off as some­one who had no busi­ness own­ing a dSLR. Of course, he was more-or-less right, but it still kind of both­ered me. Well, I sup­pose maybe I’d learned a thing or two since, because he seemed to think that I was at the per­fect lev­el to con­sid­er get­ting into more advanced equipment.

My first ques­tion was that I was equal­ly impressed with the entry lev­el Canons and Nikons and want­ed to know what ben­e­fits each had. My take on his response: they are both real­ly impres­sive cam­eras for the mon­ey and will pro­duce great shots in the hands of some­one who is will­ing to learn how to use them. How­ev­er, the Nikon is much eas­i­er to learn for begin­ners, plus it is a cou­ple of Ben­jamins less than the Canon. Okay, so if the D50 is the way to go, why does it take bet­ter pho­tos than a high-end point & shoot? Well, it’s not so sim­ple as that, but any dSLR is going to have much more ver­sa­til­i­ty than any P&S… all right, you’re get­ting bored and this went on for over an hour. The short of it is; I got a Nikon D50 kit and every since have been try­ing to fig­ure out how to use it.

Right out of the box and on full-auto mode, it takes some real­ly impres­sive pic­tures (at least com­pared to many of my oth­er just-mess­ing-around-the-house pho­tos). I’ve start­ed to get more com­fort­able with using the viewfind­er for every pho­to (I used it a lot any­way) as well as rotat­ing the lens bar­rel for zoom­ing. I’ve also begun to make use of the sort-of semi-man­u­al modes, which allow for user con­trolled shut­ter speed or aper­ture, but the cam­era con­trols most of the rest of the variables.

I’m a long way from real­ly being able to cre­ate any­thing impres­sive with this cam­era, but I’ve got a 2GB SD card for it (which was on sale for $30 at Ama­zon) and one month to fig­ure it out. Angela and I are going to Alas­ka in the mid­dle of Octo­ber and we want to be able to real­ly get some great pho­tographs of Anchor­age, Fair­banks, Denali, and every­thing in between. I’m not mak­ing any promis­es, but I won’t be using the cam­era as my excuse for sure.

  1. …as opposed to a per­son in a blue or red polo at a big box store, who may or may not even own a dig­i­tal cam­era, let alone a dSLR. If you’ve got ques­tions, it’s a real­ly good idea to talk to some­one who actu­al­ly knows how to use the prod­uct you’re inter­est­ed in and worth the small pre­mi­um in price you might have to pay (in this case, about 5%). []