New Camera, what did I let myself in for?

My New Toy

D5100, my new toy

After much consideration, I decided that I needed to buy a new camera and spend more time taking pictures. After all, memory is  cheap and I can click away to my hearts desire and if I don’t like a picture, I can press the delete button and lo and behold, it has disappeared.

I stopped as Sam’s and Best Buy and took a long look at what both of them had to offer. Sam’s had a couple of cameras that were “bundled” with lenses and bags and stuff and looked pretty tempting. Best Buy had several cameras but as no one stepped forward to offer any suggestions or assist me in any way, I left determined that if I was that unimportant to them,  they were not going to get my business.

I sat in the car thinking about the best move and settled on taking a trip to Precision Camera and Video located at Lamar and 38 Street. I had been there a couple of times and they were always helpful and very knowledgeable and as I was a complete greenhorn and didn’t have a clue at what I wanted to buy, this seemed the smartest move for me to take. When in doubt, talk to the experts.  I wasn’t asking for directions on how to drive there as real men are not allowed to do that but it was perfectly OK to ask for help with buying the camera. That doesn’t fall under the same category as asking for directions…

A few years ago, I purchased a Kodak Easy-share Z650 which is a nice little digital camera. It is basically a point and shoot camera with a few additional settings. I was frustrated with it because I couldn’t take really close up pictures of various subjects as I really wanted to do. This coupled with the fact the Kodak was cutting back and was closing their pictures web site, Easy-share, prompted my quest to get something better.

Twenty minutes later as it was not rush hour traffic, I pulled in the parking lot and made my way inside. As usual, the place was pretty busy but as they carry a pretty big staff, I didn’t have to wait very long before someone came over to me. The gentleman helping me was David Newman and he proved to be extremely helpful and knowledgeable. He walked me through several scenarios and we finally settled on a Nicon D5100. he mentioned that Nicon had price reductions on this camera and an accompanying Niccor lens with a 18-55 zoom. It sounded like a good deal but what did I know but I bought it anyway. I also purchased a 55-300 zoom for the really long-range stuff as I plan to walk the woods and see what pictures I can find. Then of course I needed a bag and filters to prevent the lenses getting scratched and a cleaning kit and an extra battery and charger and finally, a video of how make it all work.

I happily paid the bill and left the store with my new toys eager to get started at all that this wonder could offer me. I rushed home and carefully followed the instructions to assemble the camera and program it so that it would be ready to take pictures. Honestly, it took a couple of hours with charging the battery and getting the camera ready.

Then came the moment of truth as I pushed the video into my laptop and proceeded to spend the next three days watching the videos (there were 4 of them altogether) over and over and trying to locate the correct buttons and follow all that they were doing. For a break, I went outside and took a few pictures desperately trying to remember all that I had been watching. Most of the time, the pictures were point and shoot with the camera set to the very basic controls but every now and then, I remembered something and tried it.

I had already loaded the software into my lap-top and downloading the pictures was very easy. About the only thing that is so far. Even with point and shoot with basic settings, it was obvious that the quality of the pictures far surpasses anything I have taken before. Wait until I really get a hold of it and then let’s see what I can produce.

A week later, I decided that I needed  another lens to complete my arsenal so I drove back to Precision Camera and Video and this time, a different salesman waited on me.  He proved to be just as knowledgeable as David and got me exactly what I needed, a Micro lens for real close up work. While I was there, I happened to mention that I spent 3 days watching the video. The salesman suggested that I attend the free seminar that the store puts on for its customers. I eagerly accepted his offer in the hope that it will take some of the mystery out of  my new toy.

In the meantime, I have been taking lots of pictures and experimenting with whatever settings I can remember. I am getting much better and the camera is not quite such a mystery as I handle it a lot more. The class is not until the end of the month. Maybe, by  then, I won’t be such a complete idiot with this thing.

As it’s raining as I write this, (Yeah, honestly it is), I will put the video back in and add a little more knowledge to this pea brain of mine. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Sure is a hell of a lot different from the old Brownie box camera that I had more than half a century ago.

Kodak Brownie 2A Box Camera

3 thoughts on “New Camera, what did I let myself in for?

  1. That’s a great setup. You’ll enjoy the free digital clicks. When I started out in film, every 24 exposure roll was $5 to process. So learning was expensive. The only other thing I’d recommend is Lightroom 4 to manage and edit your pictures. It’s superior to any other digital workflow product I’ve ever used.

    Congratulations on your entry to DSLR.

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