Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Camera Upgrade? And plenty o' pics

Here it comes.

Are you ready?


You're about to be hit with an overdose of pictures. 

We'll start with our 'lil beauty, the tree. (Elevated because Oscar loved to eat pine needles. Weirdo dog).

Someone gave us this ornament last year; I think technically it's a pug.  But since Oscar's mouth is black, we pretend it's a bulldog.

How adorable is this?! An Ugg ornament?  Only my MIL would pick up something so cutesy. Love it.

In recent years, I try to collect ornaments from vacation spots.  This is from our CO trip in July.(Unfortunately I forgot to get one in FL though.  I may have to ask my friend to send me one).

Oh Christmas Tree!

One of Ben's childhood ornaments.  I think it's so cute that he likes putting them on the tree too.

Mmmmm, presents.


Coffee table decor.

So simple; left over pine needles, cylinder vase and candle.

The bar-top. (Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a holiday table runner? Like takes five stores hard.  I finally wound up getting this at Target)

I made good use of our tree's pine needles.

Again, simplistc: IKEA ornaments in a vase


You see, for a few months now I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a more advanced camera than Ben’s digital point and shoot Canon.  While I love it, and I think it takes some good pictures; you can totally tell the difference in quality between point and shoot cameras and something more advanced, like a DSLR (be patient, pics are coming).

Now, I have to admit, I don’t have the best track record with electronics (such as my Krazor phone that accidentally had coffee spilled on it, or my last digital camera, which I woke up after a night out to find mangled (but I swear, Ben did it, not me)); so I haven’t been surprised when people like Ben and my sister look at me like I’m off my rocker when I say I am thinking about spending hundreds of dollars on a camera. But…..the way I see it, is that I love taking pictures (and I’ve been told a few times, mostly by my dad, another amateur photographer, that I have a knack for it; plus one of my FL trip pics was chosen for our company calendar that goes out to all employees and clients)

Okay, so I’m not great and probably biased, but knowing that we have our trip to Europe coming up in Spring, I’d love to have a new camera for it. Plus, Europe will be a great trip to capture. On top of that, any camera I’d buy now would be an investment and hopefully something that we’d have for a long time to come.  Besides, we’ll still have been little point and shoot for going out, etc.

After taking with friends with SLRs and my boss, who’s into cameras, I’m still torn on if I want to get a DSLR and deal with a bigger camera and multiple lens, or even if I want to get an advanced point and shoot. Now, for SLRs, my research has concluded that Nikon and Canon are the best of the best. People seem to say, you like one of the other.  And you’d better be sure to know what you, because once you buy it, that’s what you roll with and you just get new lens (although there’s always ebay and craigslist if you don’t like it, I suppose)

Nikon D3100 is supposed to be a great “starter” SLR and the Canon Rebel series (I’m probably get the 12.2 megapixel EOS Rebel T3; from what I’ve read, jumping up to the T2 18 MP doesn’t make that big of a difference unless you’re planning on doing HUGE prints).  I almost went bizerk and purchased on a whim Monday, when I realized Sears had the Canon T3 on sale and ebates had a one-day 10% back offer.  It would have taken the price to $200 less than retail, the cheapest I’ve seen since the beginning of November.  But I just couldn’t do it.

My other option, is to get an advanced point and shoot.  My dad has a Kodak that he loves and was pretty cheap (around $150), but I’m not a fan of Kodak cameras.  My boss has the Canon G12, which he swears by and likes since it is good quality, but still fits in your pocket (If you’re a man I supposed.  I can’t find much of anything but hairties, a phone and gum in my pockets).  But the G12 is comparable pricing to the Canon T3.  Then I think of the one friend who has the Nikon D3100 she bought last spring; and she’s used it a total of three times.  I don’t want to spend so much money on a camera that is either to big/annoying to haul around or that I don’t feel comfortable taking with me.  Hence, the appeal of the advanced point and shoot option. Hmmmf. Decisions.

So, anyways, in an effort to make a thoroughly educated decision before purchasing a new camera, I realized our office has a Nikon D3000 (so similar to the 3100 series) and I offered to take pictures at the holiday party.  In order to “prepare” for using the camera,  I borrowed it this past week and had a mini photoshoot with Oscar (and also the above holiday pics).

I think this was pre- or post- bark.  O was not a fan of the huge camera.

Oh bully face!


And this is pretty much what he does. All. Day. Long...

...untill I bug him enough that he gets up to see what I'm doing.

But after he decides it's nothing, he goes back to bed.

Gets up for a drink.

And back to bed.  This guy lives a tough life.

Okay, so enough with the pictures.  A few thoughts on the Nikon D3000:  I have to say, while the quality of the pictures were great (more-so with close ups), I feel like the camera itself was really slow in processing.  I’m wondering if that’s just this particular model, a Nikon-thing, or what.  My other concern is that I used the automatic setting and only messed with the flash. So part of me is thinking, the technical/nerdy part, is it really worth spending $500+ on a camera that you are fine with just the auto settings?  Granted, I would take the time to read the manual and even have investigated photography classes in the area.  For those of you who are in Chicago, Lakeview neighborhood is apparently the Mecca of photog classes.  Just look at Yelp! 

No decisions have been made yet.  I need to take some time to go to Best Buy or something where I can pick up the Canons, test them out, feel them, etc.  I’ll keep you posted.  Regardless of what I decide to get, one thing is certain – I want have to have a camera before our big trip!

What about you?  Do you have a digital camera you love?  Or one you’d avoid?


  1. I went behind my FI's back and schemed with his whole family for Christmas 09 to all go in on a Nikon D3000 for him. It was a black friday special with a package deal (camera body + 2 lenses). It has transformed him into a huge photography nerd -- and i love it!

    He did a LOT of research and ultimately liked Nikons better - i think he just liked the interface and button locations. I agree that the D3000 or 3100 would be a perfect starter DSLR for you to learn on. DEFINITELY learn how to use the manual settings and adjust white balance, iso, f-stop settings, etc. Judging by your first photo shoot.... the flash you used overpowered the photo (which is why you see a lot of white/brightness on Oscar, and not much background detail... which could be fixed by other settings =)

    As far as processing -- that might have to do with what kind of memory card you use. DSLRs usually use a higher speed memory card than point and shoots.

    Though it wouldn't have warranties or things, Craigslist or ebay might be a good place to start. Many photographers are looking to sell their D3000s since the D7000 came out (my FI is itching to do that too without breaking our savings for the wedding! haha)

    feel free to ask if you need more help. I'm sure he's got links and how-to videos he can share to help you learn =)

  2. I am a Nikon girl all the way! My senior year in college, I broke down and bought the D3000. For just amateur use, it is a great little camera. I began doing photography as a part-time business, so I quickly grew out of it. It is definitely a wonderful starter, especially coming from a point and shoot! Definitely learn on a "cheaper" DSLR before splurging. I traded in my D3000 for a D7000 and love my new one so much more. The D3000 was great for learning on and I would definitely recommend it!

  3. Thanks for the insights ladies! It's funny to see how people are hardcore Nikon or Canon.

    Do you think buying used is a good way to start off?

    Tamara-that's so cool you have turned your hobby into (what sounds like) some income! Congrats!


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