Camera Question

[Meta-post on blogging. Others.]

I need a camera. This blog needs a camera. I am getting tired of the unbroken expanses of text. You must be getting tired of the u. e. of t.

My camera armory used to be a Nikon D50 slr and a Canon PowerShot point & shoot. The Nikon obviously took better pictures but the Canon was small enough to fulfill the adage ‘The best camera is the one you have with you’.

The Nikon is a doorstop. The electrical bits have died. They tell me the rest is not worth fixing. The camera’s advanced age of over 5 years makes it obsolete for a digital camera. Mind you, Hubby’s film Nikon that was ancient when I used it in the 90s probably still works. >Insert old fart rant about the ephemeral nature of modern life<.

The Canon is nearing retirement. It has developed dust spots on the processor. Hubby cleaned it once using widgets at his work. It needs to be cleaned again. The last time I used the camera, the viewing screen had a little degraded spot that looked like a UFO in the sky of the picture. The blemish did not show up on the images, but such a spot can't be a good sign. Plus, the camera box has developed a parallelogram shape from being carried in my back pocket so often. The majority of photos in this blog have been taken with the Canon. It doesn't owe me much at this point.

What to get?

Point & Shoot
Last time, I called the nice folks at B&H and asked the fellow for the smallest camera with the biggest viewing area. He recommended several. I sat on the line and hummed until he said, This one. Buy this one. I could do that again. Find the most portable camera that takes blog-quality snapshots. It wouldn’t be much use for weird lighting or tricky focus distances, but it would cover more than 90% of what I photograph.

Big Camera
If I were to replace the D50, I have decided on the D7100. It sits on the border between a high-end amateur camera and low-end professional equipment. It is reputed to be good for sports photography. I do not consider myself a true professional photographer. I lack the eye for light and the mindset for the technical details. If I sell photos, they go with an article, perhaps covering shots while the assigned photographer was busy elsewhere. Nor am I a hobbyist. I take photos for the same reason I write – when someone is offering me money. (Except for the blog, which I still can’t explain. Aside from a few spasms of text here and there, this is the most unpaid writing I have ever done.)

What if the little p&s is enough? I don’t want to buy a big, expensive camera just to have it sit on a shelf. No one is waving money in my face for photos. So, right now, I’m good with the little Canon. I don’t need an slr. OTOH, if I never have a fancy camera, I will never be able to sell photos taken with it. Should I buy a camera and be open to opportunities? Or should I accept that that part of my life is over and move one to whatever window is supposed to be open in its place?

Furthermore, when I looked at the specs for the D7100, I didn’t understand half of them. Do I need a camera that will let me frambulate the wharnickel ratio when I don’t know what a wharnickel is nor why I would want to frambulate one? Or should I see it as an opportunity to explore the exciting world of wharnickels? Foto-Friday on the blog would be an excellent practive venue. Or am I kidding myself? The D50 stayed on automatic more than I care to admit.

I could find a camera that was portable enough to carry with me yet big enough to take at least the easy paying shots, for example a grip-and-grin in bright daylight. This strikes me as the worst answer. It wouldn’t be quite right for either task. Too big to slide into a pocket yet not hefty enough for real work. I don’t carry a purse, so I’d be tempted to leave it behind. I’d try to use it where a zoom lens and adjustability were required only to end up with lame or useless shots.

Which way to go? A question of purchase and of philosophy.

8 thoughts on “Camera Question

    1. Unless I find a really suitable middle-of-the-road camera, I will probably replace the Canon. The question is – Would having a big camera in addition be an investment or a boondoggle?

  1. A big camera is boondoggle. I have both. I have to PLAN to use my Big Girl Canon. Sometimes I feel like I’m packing to go on a trip. Great pics, but lots of baggage and expense. Especially when it comes to buying new glass (lenses). Which you’ll probably need to do at some point. And if you put crap glass on an expensive camera then you’ll still have crap photos. But now you can have both a big DLSR and a point in shoot in one. Both Canon and Nikon make them and they are fantastic. If, for learning curve reasons you want to stick with Canon, then my choice would be the Canon Powershot G15 or the slightly fancier Powershot G1 X. Go to the B&H website and watch the video for both cameras. (The G1 X doesn’t have a talkie video, but there are lots of pictures and a good description of the features.) B&H does a good overview of what you’re getting for your money Yeah, they’re both pricy, but you’re really getting the best of both worlds in a smaller, more portable package. No, they will not slip into your pocket, but they’re still much lighter and compact than even the smallest DSLR, yet they perform like one. Pretty amazing stuff!! Don’t try to rationalize that for almost the same price you can buy a Rebel or something similar. Look, once you get into the bigger DSLR cameras the cost never ends. And they’re overkill for what you want to do. You’ll only use about 1/3 of a DSLR’s features, but you can have 98% of the stuff you’ll really want to use in a much more portable package if you stick with the point and shoot. Had these cameras been around when I bought my D7 I would have bought one of them instead. No kidding! My only non-negotiable criteria for buying any camera is that it MUST have a normal eye piece (Viewfinder), which eliminates 99% of the P&S cameras currently on the market. I refuse to shoot pictures from an arm’s length away, while squinting at a washed-out screen. Fortunately, both these cameras meet my criteria and I’ve been thinking about adding one to my arsenal so I can take pictures and video while riding. The very idea of toting my DSLR around is pretty hilarious. I’d need another horse. Wait ….. that gives me an idea ….

    Sorry for the length, but you asked! 😉

      1. The G15 sports a pretty nice zoom. I would have to think the G1 does too. I’d pour over the B&H site, then call and pick their brains. They’re really patient and good at answering lots of questions. IMO, they bend over backwards to make sure you’re getting what you really want and need. Obviously, the best thing would be if you could find a camera shop locally and test drive them for yourself, but I know not everyone is lucky enough to have that option. If you really don’t want to spend that kind of money there are other lower-end P&S models that would probably work. The P&S has come a long way!

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