When I went to see Gary Numan with my photo pass at the University of East Anglia in Norwich last December, I came away from the event feeling that my fabulously trusty and loyal Fujifilm S2950HD was simply no longer able to achieve the sort of results I wanted. It was a moment when I knew that I had finally out-grown this amazing little camera and I had to move up to a digital SLR.
Through a bit of luck and a fair wind, I managed to save some money over the Christmas period (not many about who can say that!!!) and I found myself in a position whereupon I could order the aforementioned camera.
I did a bit of research, looking for what I wanted in terms of specification, alongside what I could afford. I didn't have a king's ransom to spend, but enough to get a decent piece of kit. The choice came down to two cameras, the Nikon D3100 and the Canon EOS 1100D. During my research, I found what appeared to be an ever-present war between the users of Nikons and the users of Canons. I've had good friends showering me with advice (all gratefully received thank you as it all helped with my final decision) and defending their marque of camera. So, when the choice came, I was a little torn as both are great cameras. But it took one thing to settle my angst. The Canon EOS 1100D has Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) and the Nikon D3100 does not. Now those of you who follow my photography know that when I bought The Fuji, it was AEB that sold me to it as I do like to do the HDR thing. It was argued that if I were to shoot in RAW (a very high quality image format) instead of JPEG, then I wouldn't need to use the three shot method. But there are times when I need/want to work quickly on my processing, so I like the immediacy of the three shots.
The final decision was of course, the Canon EOS 1100D. It comes with an 18-55mm zoom lens, battery and charger as well as a good strap. I also ordered a second spare battery, a digital remote timer/shutter release (for long exposures and time lapse), a UV filter, a polarising filter and a new tripod. Still waiting for the filters and the tripod to arrive (should be any day now), but everything else is here and oh my, the difference is astounding.
I have an old 35mm SLR kit in my garage which I had 25 years ago, so I already have something of a basic working knowledge of SLR cameras. I spent the day yesterday with the camera and the manual (unusual thing for me to do!!!) and by the evening, I had it sussed. I now can't wait to get out and about with it. Just taking silly daft pictures around the house showed me the difference in quality. It wasn't too long before I abandoned the automatic settings and started using the manual settings, and it felt like going back in time to when I first had my 35mm SLR kit. It's even better this time as I don't have the expense or inconvenience of film and developing charges. I've got lots of things that I want to get out there and take pictures of, not least long exposure landscapes/cityscape, gigs and of course my on-going Synth Studio Photo Project. I also thought that I would need to start saving money for lenses, but again, I don't think that this will necessary as the supplied 18-55mm kit zoom lens appears to be quite a flexible piece of equipment. The only things I now require are a 50mm lens (very good for low light situations) and a wide-angle zoom for landscapes/urban exploration.
So, exciting times again as the photography moves up to the next level. Let's hope the images come out as nice with The Canon as they have done with The Fuji (which isn't going to be retired as I shall keep it in the camera bag as a second camera because it has great HD video!!!)