Sunday, August 10, 2008

Camerageekery


I've had a weird little journey with photo gear these last four months or so. I was blathering to my friend Andrew about this earlier in the week and thought I'd turn it into a post for posterity (can't imagine why anyone else would want to read it).

For the last few years I've mostly used our Canon S2 IS point 'n shoot. It's smaller than an SLR and a few years old already, so I never hesitate to bring it everywhere without worrying about damaging or losing it -- it also has a ridiculous 12x zoom, fantastic video capability (stereo sound!) and great macro. It's the perfect family camera. In spring I also started using my old film SLR again, really enjoying the nostalgia and quality of it (both photo quality and the equipment itself).

Then in May I succumbed to a form of technolust and picked up a Canon 30D that was almost brand-new, and a couple of zoom lenses (one 18-55mm kit lens, and a better quality 28-105mm f/3.5). Thinking it through now, I was keeping up with the Joneses, because I was paying attention to the photos other people were taking (on Flickr, mostly), and of course they seemed so much better, so it was easy to rationalize the "need" for new gear.

And of course the 30D is an amazing camera. It does take better photos than my old S2, and is way more convenient and easier to use (digital, autofocus!) than my old Minolta manual-focus. It works better in lower light and snaps instantly when you hit the shutter, and fires off five frames in a second if you want it to...it's a serious piece of photographic genius. A few of the photos in that set make me melt.

But for whatever reason, I wasn't having more fun with it. Initially it was frustrating because I had to relearn everything, but even after my photos were getting pretty good and I was finding it easier to use, I kept wondering why I had spent $900 for a small improvement in picture quality. I realized that I'd have to spend another $1500 to duplicate the lenses I loved from my old kit, and just wasn't willing to spend that kind of money. So yes, part of the problem is that I'm cheap. I also found that I was leaving it at home and wasn't taking it out biking with me, both because of bulk and not wanting to damage it.

Anyway, I've decided to sell the 30D and go back to my old tandem. Myron may take it off my hands, or we may arrange a trade of sorts that lets me keep one toe in the DSLR world. But if someone has $800 burning a hole in their pocket and wants a complete digital SLR kit in perfect condition, let me know. That's it in the photo up top...

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