Had a couple of people ask me why did I go in this direction and why did I pick the camera I did, so here is the answer hopefully.
I started out in photography with a horrible camera I was given for my 21st – it was a Samurai something and half frame and looked like a movie camera and was a pain to use. My partner at the time had a Minolta Dynax 3xi film camera and I started to use that once I started to get into gardening. In fact my interest in photography completely follows directly from us buying a house and me getting started in the garden. There is something about pretty flowers that make my hands itch for a camera.
I had lots of fun with the Minolta but it cost a fortune in developing the film to only get a few good shots, but over time the percentage of good shots to bad slowly increased. My partner and I brokeup and I spent several years moving around flatting and I didnt do much photography in that time as a result, and I bought the house I am in now 4 years ago. About 6 months later I bought the Canon S3IS.
I absolutely adore the S3 – I wavered between that and the G7 (I think that was the right model of the time) but one of the things I really liked about the S3 was the macro – macro has always held a fascination for me, and it had it nicely built in. It was small, and light, and did everything I felt I wanted in a camera, had both manual and auto and, more importantly I could afford it. I took it everywhere and had a great time playing with it, and I have been pretty pleased with the quality of shots I managed to get out of it sometimes. It was a great camera to learn on, to understand in real time about lighting and focal length effect and stuff like that.
But after a while I started to get frustrated with what it *couldn’t* do
– it did great wideangle, and had some zoom, but sometimes not quite enough
– the macro was fabulous to play with but the working distance was only a few mm away from the lens, and if the light or flash was at the wrong angle, you get really bad shadow
– cats dont like having a lens shoved right in their face if you are trying to get funky eye closeups
– its TERRIBLY slow to take the shot – I belly danced for a while and shot two shows and the good shots I got are mostly miraculous or accidentally good timing
– its a bit soft with image quality – I need to sharpen almost every image
And so I daydreamed about getting a ‘real’ camera one day, but being a mortgage payer on a single income, I thought it would be a long term day dream. Then in May/June this year I acquired a significant quantity of vouchers that could be redeemed at a local mall – and right across the street from work was the Head Office of the camera shop that was in the mall. I went in and enquired about disposing of my vouchers and they said they would take them! Save me having to drive across town to the mall.
At the time the value of the vouchers was approx $1500 NZ – and this was enough to get me looking at the new 500D that had just been released. I had enough in my savings account to make up the difference if I wanted to get a kit. So I went online to dpreview and started reading up.
I am pretty keen on Canon, but not inflexible, and the 500D was nice but not overwhelmingly so, in fact I was still considering the 450D as an option, and I looked at the Nikon D500. But none of them were anything more than ok as far as the Pros vs Cons weighup.
So I went back into the little camera shop across the street and found the guy I spoke to originally, and told him my problem. And he said the magic words “you don’t want any of those – you want THIS”
This was the 40D!!!!
And because it was on special at the time, it was affordable – the vouchers covered the cost of the body, and I had enough to spring for a lens (discussed in the How to buy a Lens post). And the reviews were excellent – I knew enough to know that this was ‘serious camera land’ and that it was good quality gear.
The 40D gave me these benefits:
– larger sensor size so better pix quality (and ability for larger prints)
– bigger body and HUGE screen
– flash hotshoe
– interchangeable lenses
– fully manual operation
– very fast focus and shooting action
Now its not all good, the body and lens combo is a lot bigger than Im used to and a lot heavier as well. I think its unlikely I will ever go up to a full frame camera, I dont think my hands are actually big or strong enough to hold one!
And the other downside was I needed to get all the extra bits to go with it – filters, tripod, flash, bag etc, and that adds to the cost as well.
So far I am loving it, I have some landscape shots that I took last week up on my Flickr site – here is one below I quite like (and the one in my header image on the top of the blog is another one) – my Flickr site is in the links section for the rest of the pix