After losing my DSC-W120 at Columbus, I couldn’t stay long without a camera. I will be in Florida this month end and travelling again possibly for work in California. I decided it is time to step up to an SLR. I visited www.dpreview.com – an awesome site for reviewing cameras. I check consumer reports as well, but dpreview is much more technical. Another site I visited was www.photo.net. I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars, but knew I wouldn’t get an SLR for, say, $300-400. I finally went for an entry level DSLR. An SLR – Single Lens Reflex – uses the same source of image for the view finder and the path taken to create the image. So you get what you see; for professional photographers this is huge.
My choice boiled down to a Canon or a Nikon. Canon is the leader in the Camera space, with Nikon coming in second. I saw a great deal on Costco.com for a Canon EOS Rebel 1000/XS. The camera body, with the 18-55mm lens, an additional zoom lens 75-300mm; a 2 GB SDHC card and a canon 990 Pixma printer after rebate – all would cost me $650.
It was exciting to open up the box and take the first few shots. I read the Owner’s manual once; but feel I need to read it again. With a DSLR in an automatic mode, you don’t do much different than a point-n-shoot camera. The excitement/creativity comes in with operating it as a real camera. For this, you need to understand what aperture, shutter speed, ISO and many other factors are. A great automatic camera makes some of the routine shots, such as a landscape, portrait, close-up, etc simple.
So far, all these years, I always didn’t want to spend too much time with a camera. The bulk of carrying it around was too much of a challenge. A small camcorder, such as my Canon HG10, was wonderful. However, when I was at some great occasions such as my son’s award ceremony or spring concert, I come back to look at the photos I took with my P&S, it was disappointing to see grainy images with subjects blurred out. The video was fine with the HG10, but the photos was a let-down.
I used the Rebel to photograph the awards ceremony in the Montgomery College’s auditorium. Without a flash, I was impressed with the quality of the photo. I came back home and experimented with some close-ups. They turned out to be awesome as well. One thing I noticed with the Rebel was you get so much picture out of it i.e., when you take a photo, you will be amazed at the depth and width it covers compared to a P&S.
I was wowed by the zoom lens. After all, it is an impressive site. Heads turn when you put your zoom lens on and it sticks out that long. The sound of the shutter shutting itself is another impressive thing. But with a zoom lens, as much as the subject is magnified, the hand shake is as well. This can result in terrible pictures. What good it is if you have a great zoom lens and you can’t keep it steady. The alternative is to carry a tripod; but you know how much a task this is. The second alternative is to improve with technologoy. Canon has the USM lenses – checking the price on amazon was enough for me to look away from it, at least for now. For now, I will do what best I can with the investment I have made!