Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A decision, and a new toy!

Looking from the outside (of my head, that is) it probably looks like today's wonderful purchase was a spur of the moment decision. The truth is, I've been thinking about it for a long time, reading, researching, pondering.

My new toy? It's a new camera, a digital SLR - the Canon Digital Rebel XT. I've been happy with the pictures my Canon S400 takes, but on both of my trips last year there were days when I really wished I had more control over the focus and the exposure. I really think that if I'd been shooting an SLR that I would have had better pictures of the puffins last year. In fact, I'm so sure that I might have to repeat that trip out to Machias Island to visit the puffins again this year!

It took two trips to the camera shop, not one. The first was yesterday, and the second today. I guess I was really lucky that we got minimal snow this morning instead of the initially forecast all day affair since driving conditions were dry for my jaunt back to the camera shop!

Oh, but starting at the beginning... I started out by thinking I would order the camera online. That idea was pushed to the side by a conversation with a friend at work. He suggested some different lenses to me, and while I was pretty sure I knew which camera I wanted, as soon as anything other than the simple stock lens came into play I also knew that I should see them - or really feel them and play with them - in person. It's a good thing that I did, because the longer of the zoom lenses that I tried was one that I couldn't hold steady without a tripod. That wasn't the right lens for me! In addition to scenery photos, I really enjoy taking close-ups of flowers. It turns out that my baby camera has a close-up or macro setting that allows me to do this. With a zoom lens, the closest I can focus is 1.6 feet away. I'd like to also have the ability to focus on the petals of flowers, so the next piece of the puzzle was to look at a macro lens. I think the second lens is what threw me over the edge yesterday. I needed some time to think it through, one lens or two? Steve - the saleman who was working with me at Hunt's Photo & Video - gave me a list of everything we had been talking about, camera, lenses, filters. While I don't need the camera today and could have taken more time to think about it, there is a Canon rebate program that ends today - of course.

After thinking it through, doing a little more reading, and essentially arguing with myself, I decided that it was time to take the plunge and I headed back to the camera shop today. Steve surprised my by pulling a stack of boxes out, my choices from yesterday. I commented that he seemed more sure than I was that I would be back today. He said he really thought that I'd return, and if I hadn't he would have reshelved everything today. So yes, I am now the happy owner of a digital SLR with not one but two lenses. My next task? To learn all of the capabilities of my new toy, of course!

My current plans are to continue to use my Elph since it fits so nicely in a tiny fanny pack. That will still be handy for quick cycling stops - and the Rebel will be hiding in my pannier or trailer to jump out for the more complicated shots.

I wonder if my new camera can improve upon photos like this one - a very overcast and somewhat foggy day, with puffins and razorbills posing for my camera.