Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lies and half truths about cameras

Last week I became the proud owner of a new camera.  Well that's a half truth because you shouldn't be proud to be the owner of anything unless you have won it in a contest or made it yourself, and I merely bought it on ebay.  So I  merely became the owner of a new camera.  Well that's another lie because it's a second hand camera.  So I became the owner of a new (to me) second hand camera.  Well, that's only a half truth because it was only half a camera.  Until today it had no lens.

Perhaps I d better start telling the whole truth from the start.

After our recent free ride on the Thames tideway with Sue and Richard on Indigo Dream, Richard sent me some copies of the photos he took.  Now this was very interesting because I had taken my own shots of the same scenes at the same instant, so I was able to compare.  Most of my pics weren't bad, but in a number of cases Richards were better, especially in terms of colour.  He had also taken some shots that my camera just won't do in terms of depth of field.  

Seeing Richard's photos prompted Kath to repeat her advice that I ought to get a "good" camera.  My portrait shots of the grand kids are never as good as those taken by their uncle Peter with his digital SLR.  Now before you accuse me of being disloyal to my Lumix TZ4 point and shoot camera,  I am not.  It is a supr little camera and I will continue to use it, especially when we are on the move.

However, I do miss the old days when I had SLRs and would take time over camera settings and I especially miss the ability of a lens to take a good portrait with a nice blurry background.  After we tie up for lunch or for the evening I do like to wander about and try to take some more composed pictures.  When the light is good and the subject is right, the little Lumix does well, but there are shots where it can't compete with the superior lens and bigger sensor of an SLR.  More than that though, I do miss the old days when you could have more control over the camera settings.  So here I am struggling to get to grips with a camera with 20 odd buttons to press and a user manual of 190 pages.  Nerdy heaven!  I estimate I'll master it before I'm 80.

Why second hand?  Well not to spend less, but to get more / better for the same money.  I had budgetted for a new entry level Nikon but then I realised I could get a higher grade camera for the same money if I could lay my hands on a good used one.  My very best cameras in the past have all been bought second hand.  Expensive cameras are often sold by enthusiasts trading up for a newer model, and such people have often taken great care of the equipment.  This is certainly the case with the camera I have bought.  It actually looks like new and the included, more or less essential, extras alone would have cost me £100+.

The problem is that people trading up usually want to hang on to their detachable lenses, hence my lens-less purchase.  I had to look round for the best deal on a new lens.

Will you suddenly see a startling improvement in the photos on the blog?  Well I doubt it, for a while anyway, because they have to be compressed right down in order to post them.  What I hope is that I'll be able to have a go at some more difficult shots.  If I can learn to do night shots as good as Andrew of Granny Buttons, then I'll be right chuffed. Be patient with me.

I just realised I haven't said what the camera is.  It's a Canon EOS 40D about 2 years old, now with a new 18-135 mm lens.  

6 comments:

Halfie said...

I think we need to see a picture of it. You'll have to use your old camera for that! (Unless you're clever with a mirror, of course...)

Andrew Daykin said...

I use Canon cameras and when a new one arrives the main job is to turn 90% of the Gizmo's off. I like being in control - aim to use manual settings at the end of the day.
Have fun with it !

Rusty said...

Have fun with the 'new' camera! I'm looking foreward to seeing some of your adventures with it. Speaking of all the settings on these things today - I'm close to eighty and don't expect to 'learn' most of them - ever. (Nikon D70). Auto, manual, priority settings - thats enough. (Grin). ATB!

Sarah said...

I've been thinking for ages that I must do this. Still got about six rolls of film to use up first though...

Captain Ahab said...

Neil
About six months after getting my Canon digital SLR I enrolled on the Open University Digital Photography Course. It ran over 10 weeks and was really helpful, and it came with a Copy of Photoshop Elements 8 and spent a lot of time explaining how it works.
The course cost the same as a budget telephoto lens and was well worth the investment.
Andy

Anonymous said...

Ah you went for the 18-135 lens. I need to watch out for more installments as I have still not chosen a new lens!

Richard