“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
― Meister Eckhart
I say it began on a sultry night last August.
Like many Canadians, I was gathered around a screen watching the CBC broadcast the magnificent final show of the Tragically Hip in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. Standing on “that checkerboard floor” of the Horseshoe Tavern (ref: Bobcaygeon, 1998), I got to speaking with an experienced photographer and editing artist. Listening to his joy of capturing images, sharing these with others and finding new ways to highlight ordinary objects, I felt something inside me quiet. Creativity had an outlet! I recognized this was something I wanted to do.
That’s not to say I hadn’t been there before.
One of my first purchases as a child with an allowance diligently saved in a pink plastic piggy bank, was a 5 x 15 manual camera ordered from the Sears catalogue. The film came in cartridges and the flashes were limited to eight pops.
Various point and shoot cameras followed – each giving way to the next iteration by accident, obsolescence or boredom. I used my first digital camera in 2003, although like the first cell phones, the size and heft of the camera wasn’t welcoming. My smartphone camera took over from there with all the fun of underexposure, blur and lack of easy zoom.
Add to that a view that only special occasions deserved to be recorded and photography went by the wayside.
Until, that is, a conversation on a sultry night – but you’ve already heard that.
From there, the research began. Consumer reports, photography blogs and reviews all over the internet helped narrow my focus. I spoke with anyone I knew with a camera, including people I didn’t know but carried a camera. Like pet owners, parents and salesmen, everyone was happy to talk about their product (breathing or not) and how wonderful it really is.
I settled on a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) because I wanted versatility, room to grow and a challenge. I was also willing to make an investment.
The great Nikon vs Canon debate emerged quickly. I narrowed the focus to these brands based on advice that bigger brand names often* offer greater flexibility and room to grow when compared with niche or smaller brands with more limited lens, accessories or servicing capacity. Budget-wise, it is also more expensive to change systems down the road.
In the end, my Nikon D5500 purchase came down to luck and a pocketbook advantage. There was a sale at Henry’s.
I chose Henry’s to make my purchase based on a number of things – reputation, selection, opportunity to take training courses, locations, trade-up/used offers, etc. Most important to me was the knowledge of their staff – and I wasn’t disappointed.
In the end, I upgraded my kit lens (the one that comes with the camera body) to a 18-140mm zoom and also got a prime lens 35mm with 2.8 aperture (oooh what’s that you say? More on that later). Two batteries, two memory cards and a bag to keep it all safe rounded out my purchase.
And the journey began ….
- People with cameras are a friendly bunch. Talk to them about their experience.
- The above lesson does not apply if someone is taking a shot – in fact, it is aggressively opposite. Stay away.
- People have their preferences – cameras and otherwise. A diverging view from yours is not wrong, just different. But don’t ask a Canon user for help with your Nikon.
Opinions on stores and products in this post are the writer’s own. No endorsements or testimonials were sought by the organizations mentioned above.