August 1, 2012

Candid Camera

Bursting with big news here at Odd Bird.

I ordered a digital SLR today!

One small step for mankind, one giant leap for Laurie the (selective) Luddite.

I even went so far as to request a quote to sell some of my film camera equipment. Nothing too hasty, mind you. I have two identical camera bodies, only one of which I use. So why not sell the other one? And one of the lenses I dug up I didn’t even know I had. Where did it come from? Why do I have it? Have I ever used it?

I’m not sure how I feel about all this commotion beyond my stomach being all a-flutter (unless that’s just due to my left ear being out of commission for the last week and a half leaving me by turns slightly feverish, nauseated, and off-balance [then again there’s nothing remarkable about me being a bit off-balance]). The arrival of the camera and the credit card bill will, perhaps, help me sort out my confliction. Oh, and putting the new camera to immediate use to take decent product shots for a much needed overhaul to the Etsy shop. Definitely looking forward to that possibility. Also thrilled that I can now stop obsessively reading camera reviews.
The most recent addition to my office looked over my shoulder all afternoon while I hemmed and hawed over my camera purchase
For anyone interested, here's what I ordered and why.

I looked for a camera and lenses that would replicate my film camera's capabilities. I use a manual 35mm SLR with a 28-70mm macro lens exclusively. Nothing fancy. No bells or whistles. But it works for me and what I do. As my lens(es) are manual focus, none are compatible with digital SLRs. With absolutely no limiting factors, I cast about and asked questions of photographer friends.

The answers came back suggesting no one will go wrong with either a Canon or Nikon. With a little intimidating research, I made up my mind to get a Canon 60D. As an afterthought, I went to the store and tried one out before placing my order with B&H. (I rely on B&H for all my photo related product needs.) So glad I did. I hated the feel of the Canon in my hands (this is highly personal - I know plenty of people who LOVE their Canon cameras). The Nikons felt better to me, were far lighter than the Canon, and had fewer buttons and dials to mess with. Fewer buttons appeals to me. Plus, the controls and menus on the Nikons were more intuitive to me. And the lighter weight is a factor since I shoot with natural light (the lighter the camera, the more control I have to take a low-light shot without camera shake before having to resort to a tripod).

From here I narrowed it down to the Nikon D3200 (24MP) and the Nikon D7000 (16MP). The D7000 is available as a body only and as a package with either an 18-105mm lens or 18-200mm lens. The D3200 is only available as a package with an 18-55mm lens.

Initially I was leaning towards the D7000 because I prefer the versatility of the 18-105 lens over the 18-55 lens with the D3200. But, comparing them side-by-side, the only major differences were megapixels (24 for the D3200, 16 for the D7000), number of pre-set white balance modes (more on the D7000), kit lens, weight (approx 1 pound for the D3200, 1.70 pounds for the D7000), and price (D3200 is about half the price of the D7000). Oh, and the fact that the D3200 is classified as an "entry-level consumer" camera while the D7000 is a "mid-level" camera. (I didn't consider anything in the "professional" camera range simply because they were beyond my budget.)

I overcame my snobbery against purchasing an "entry-level" camera. Price and megapixels won me over to the D3200. Plus, if I decide I need the 18-105 lens, purchasing it in addition to the D3200 with basic accessory kit and 18-55mm lens, the macro lens, the extra battery, and my *splurge* on a $250 paper cutter that's been on my wish list for at least a decade, I still will come in below the price of the D7000 with the 18-105 lens.

An important thing I learned, none of the digital SLRs I considered have full-frame sensors. In practical terms all this means is that the lenses essentially perform at a higher magnification. Hmm, I'm not sure if I am describing that accurately. Well, the "magnification" rate depends on the sensor. For the Nikons I was looking at, the 18-55mm lens performs like a 27-82.5mm lens, the 18-105 is equivalent to a 28-157, and the 40mm macro is like a 60mm. So, in the end, the kit lens with the D3200 covers a bit more than the range of my film camera lens, except that it's not a macro. 


  1. Good move. I'm glad that you've taken the plunge. Enjoy your new tools.

    1. Thanks for the reassurance. Everything should arrive Monday! You'll be hearing from me if I need help.