Friday, February 25, 2011

My New Camera

I mentioned yesterday that I had a serious post about cameras, and I did.  We have been talking about getting a new camera for about a year and seriously researching it for the last 3 weeks.  I love my camera:
However, we bought it in 2004 and it is only 3MP.  We chose it because of its small shutter lag (for its time) and great lens.  It can usually capture the image I want but it has the same limitations of most point and shoots for indoors and I was starting to find 3MP limiting.  

So the question was, do we purchase another really nice point and shoot now or splurge and get a DSLR?

We could not decide because the point and shoot we liked the best because of its reputation for great indoor shots due to a better sensor only had 3x zoom and I LOVE my 12x optical zoom.

But if we bought a DSLR would we actually take advantage of its flexibility and use its different settings or would we be lugging around a large camera and continue to take basic shots?

So my husband started researching cameras and I started researching photography.  I found 31 Days to Better Photos at Life with My 3 Boybarians (can I just say I love that blog name) and started working my way through the lessons with my Panasonic.  I found the series about a year after she posted it, so I cannot get feed back from her, but I've been doing the lessons and I've learned a lot.

It took 5 different photo shoots and the help of my husband to get my camera to capture the differences changes in aperture can make:
My Panasonic only ranges from 2.8-8 which we have learned is not a very wide range.  We took pictures at all the options in between, but only by looking at first and last could we see a big change and learn what she meant by depth of field.

Anyway, this is what we were pondering and wondering what other people thought when our friend could not come over last night as we were hoping.  Because he wasn't coming we went to Costco and bought the Nikon D3100.  (We had researched many, many cameras and had the Nikon, Cannon T1i, and a Pentax on our wish list at our price point, but Costco had the D3100 kit for $200 off).
I feel a little ill about it and I blame our friend.  I am not a real photographer.  I only took like 3000 pictures last year, not over 10,000.  I really don't have a lot of time to adjust settings when taking pictures of my zing, zing two year old.  And honestly, I think I got a better shot of my Nikon with my Panasonic than of my Panasonic with my Nikon--though that probably has more to do with the color of the cameras, the lighting (same spot but time passed) and my familiarity with the Panasonic than the quality of the Nikon, but I worry.  I could sponsor a child in a third world country for 27 months for what we spent.

However, we bought it at Costco, so we have 90 days to return it, but I am cautiously optimistic we will keep it (unless the T2i kit drops by $300).

This picture from my Panasonic:
is more interesting than the same shot with my Nikon today:
But that has more to do with the weather than the camera (though I never would have taken the Nikon into the falling snow, so I never would have known what it was capable of capturing.)

But I am liking the vibrant colors that still look natural, the lack of any shutter lag, and all the math that goes into photography.  
And since we got the camera yesterday my husband and I have taken over 300 pictures so I'm thinking it won't go to waste.

Now if I could just remember that the smaller F-stop number means larger aperture and larger aperture means smaller depth of field (I think) because:
I wanted her feet to be crisp and the rest of the picture blurry.  Oops.  I guess I've figured out how to keep busy while waiting to go to China.