I finally did it. I went out and got myself a brand-new DSLR. The research involved a bit of time online, but most helpful was the trip to San Jose Camera & Video and a conversation with a very knowledgeable and passionate salesperson. Here’s what I discovered:
- most people recommend Canons or Nikons because those are what most people have and therefore those are what they know, but most of the major brands are relatively competitive.
- Canon and Nikon both have image stabilizers built into various lenses (the ones with the VR appendage) which causes these lenses to be much more expensive than those without the stabilization. The other brands put it right into the body of the camera. Meaning if that is an important feature for you, going with a Nikon or Canon could become much more expensive once you start to build your lens collection.
- Sony is the only company in which the live view on their DSLRs does not suck. This is because they use two image sensors, one dedicated specifically to the live view. Some models also have an articulated screen for those shots that need to be taken at wacky angles.
- Pentax uses double AA batteries. That is frickin’ sweet.
Based on that information, price, and the feel of the cameras in my hand. I chose the Sony A300. I’ve been happy with my choice so far. I definitely am the wacky angle kinda person so the articulated screen has already come in handy. I also have become accustomed to the live view so that was important to me. I was tempted by the AA batteries because I have trouble remembering to charge the proprietary battery and sometimes find myself in locations where a plug is not available, but in the end the live view won out.
I’ve only had one issue so far. Before even my first upload a handful of my photos were corrupted, are no longer viewable from the card and won’t upload. I’m hoping it’s just a problem with the memory card and I can simply return it to the shop. I plan to start by emailing Sony to see what they think the problem might be.
My new toy has already proven to be a conversation starter. I met a woman waiting in line for the Space Needle in Seattle two weekends ago, who is also a prolific shutterbug, when she saw my A300 and wanted to know why I had chosen it. Normally shy and socially awkward, I launched into a confident description of the reasons for my purchase and even showed her some of the shots I had taken earlier that day. Amazing how the shyness dissipates when I’ve got something technical to talk about.
Now for the fun part. Here are some of the best of the first round of shots I’ve taken with my new Sony A300. Keep in mind I’m mostly shooting on auto until I get some time to refresh on the technical details I learned over a decade ago on a 35mm.
I know I have a lot of kitty pictures, but how do you resist a perfect subject?
A savory crepe from Bubbles in Seattle. It will end up on Meal Advisor if I ever get caught up.
I really like this one, but can’t explain why. What do you think?
Can’t you just tell Dave is about to say something incredibly witty?
Mount Rainier as seen from the side of the road. Had to pull over and take shots with cars zooming by for this one. Too bad it’s got dust spots. I’d love to hear tips on avoiding them. I’m always quick to change my lens, but other than that how can you really avoid dust all the time?
The city is unnaturally dark, but I decided to go with it in order to show Mount Rainier clearly. I was lucky to get up in the Space Needle on a pretty clear day.
There’s downtown Seattle folks.
Here’s the view from our back porch. Isn’t it nice?
Hey, look at this awesome shot of Prashant! You should have that framed man.
The tasty cajun pasta I ate at the restaurant featured in the previous photo. It was as good as it looks.
What do you think of my practice round with the new baby?