Saturday 27 December 2014

Bought myself a new DSLR camera

I bought my first DSLR camera (a Pentax *ist DS) more than a decade ago, and it produced nice quality images despite the limited 6MP image resolution. One nice aspect was that I could continue to use the old K-mount lenses I'd bought in the 80's to use with my previous Pentax SLR 35mm camera, although I had to focus and adjust exposure settings manually when using those lenses.

However, that old camera had developed an electrical fault (the inbuilt flash would strobe and cause the camera to shut down when you turned it on) and despite twice trying to have it fixed by the local authorized service center, the fault kept recurring, so I decided to finally buy a new camera.

My wife and sons all have compact digital cameras that take nice 'snapshot' photographs, but I still fancy myself as a bit of an amateur photographer, so I decided to buy a more expensive digital SLR camera. In the end I opted for the Nikon D3300 camera twin lens kit. It comes with 18-55mm and 55-200mm zoom lenses, and with the inbuilt lithium battery it only weighs about half my old Pentax DSLR that required four AA batteries. It's one of the cheaper DSLR Nikon cameras, but I don't need the features of the much more expensive 'professional' cameras, or even the 'bells and whistles' that come with models such as the D5300 (who really needs WiFi connectivity between their camera and tablet, or automatic geotagging? Especially when it costs an extra hundred bucks and doesn't improve the image quality one iota?).

I took a few test snapshots during a weekend away over Christmas, and will need to watch a couple of videos on how to use it properly before we go on a two week cruise around New Zealand next month (I didn't even change the settings from the default medium-res JPEG and AUTO mode during this first outing - although I did manage to drop the new camera in the dirt once when the neck strap came updone!). One good thing these days is that SD cards are so cheap that you can buy an 8GB SD card for about the same cost as a 24 exposure roll of 35mm print or slide film used to cost, and then simply save it as the backup media after downloading the contents of a full SD card onto your PC. Even when saving each 24MP exposure in both RAW and high resolution JPEG formats an 8GB SD card will hold around 180 exposures. I've bought a handful of SD cards to use during my holidays so I won't have to worry about downloading images during the trip.

SD cards are fairly robust (according to Digital Camera Shopper "The memory cards in most cameras are virtually indestructible.. Five memory card formats survived being boiled, trampled, washed and dunked in coffee or cola" but the digital data may only last 10-15 years in storage before a significant amount of corruption or data loss becomes apparent. So for true archival storage gold CD-R are probably more secure (whether or not any of my photos will be worth preservation is a separate issue!).

Ellenborough Falls, NSW. Copyright 2014.

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