Recently I gave a nephew my Nikon D3200 digital SLR camera to use for a high school photography class. Was kind of hard parting with it at first. But he’s got such a knack for bringing out good poses in portraits that I figured it was at least getting put to very good use.
Being pretty old-school, having taken film photograph in high school which included darkroom work, I missed having a DSLR around. Even having the great photo capabilities of modern iPhone at my disposal, it’s not the same. Also figured it was time to graduate from consumer grade DSLRs like the D3200 into more professional gear.
Whilst researching newer cameras, I stumbled across Ken Rockwell’s incredibly thorough and long-lived website. He provides so much good information about cameras, lenses, technology, technique, and even life skills!
After many days of reading reviews on Ken’s site and others, I eventually settled on a 45 megapixel Nikon D850. It is one step below the uber-professional flagship camera, the Nikon D6, but certainly leaps and bounds better my old D3200. And it is on sale now for $500 the orignal MSRP. Bought it from B&H Photo using one of Ken’s affiliate links, so hopefully he got some reward for all his website work. No doubt, this D850 is an absolutely stellar camera in terms of features, build quality, and image quality.
Since I’m also a collector at heart, I could not resist the urge to get a “backup” camera! Back to Ken’s site to pore over reviews of “legacy” DSLRs, all the while crusing eBay for good deals. Since the “mirrorless” cameras are all the rage now, there are a LOT of DSLR cameras and lenses on the used market.
To my surprise I found a very gently used 12 megapixel Nikon D2x, with only 8,000 shutter actuations. This was the flagship professional grade camera almost twenty years ago, and cost over $5000 new. Many of the flagship D2, D3, D4, etc. series cameras on eBay have over 400k shutter actuations, and are still running fine. What a find! It had no bids and was ending soon, so I offered the seller $200 and they accepted. Sometimes it really pays to buy from individual sellers who don’t feel pressured to add mark-ups to used gear like the brick-and-mortar resellers akin to Robert’s Camera.
This D2x seems to be 100% functional and looks mint. Takes great photos, too. I am finding that often the lens is what makes the shot anyway. Like Ken has said quite a few times, one really doesn’t need much more than 6 megapixels. You would have to print your photos on a giant piece of paper to see the difference between a 6MP and 12MP sensor. The autofocus and shooting speed of this D2x is absolutely phenomenal. One of the reasons I am staying with DSLR technology is because the compact point-and-shoot cameras just cannot keep up with my shooting pace. I have a couple of the Canon SureShot ilk, and they are slow and poky; the iPhone will outdo them easily.
I will post some photos in follow-up articles. Right now I’m spending a fair bit of time just learning the features of these more advanced cameras! And I have a long way to go to learn better artistic photo techniques.