Matthew – Before I can really help you, you really do need to be clear in your own mind as to exactly what it is you want to achieve with a DSLR, and in particularly how regularly you intend to use it for various ‘types’ of photography. For example, in my own case I first of all wanted a camera that would be much more responsive than my Sony F717. The Sony would take 1-2 seconds, sometimes, between shots before it could capture the image, refocus and be ready to take another shot! As my kids were beginning to play sports, I needed a more efficient way to capture the action. I also wanted a bit more pixel resolution than the 5 megapixels in my Sony, and a lot less noise than the Sony, especially in low light.
However, as I really thought through my own process of acquiring my DSLR I realized it was actually a significant point of development of me as a photographer. In essence, I started by seeking a more agile and functional tool, then became enthralled with the camera itself. I was then forced to re-examine my motivations as I realized I simply didn’t have the money to get what I thought I really wanted. I had to look around. This caused me to realize that I was confusing the objective and the means to get the objective. In my longing for a great (expensive and yes, very nice, but expensive) camera, I was really after the camera itself and not the photograph.
I realized I needed to reset my thinking a bit and began thinking more about really “seeing” images and figuring out what I really wanted to take pictures of. This has led me to truly see the camera as a tool that provides a means to an end. The version of the tool I have now has more capabilities than my F717 has by far. But, it also has some limitations that are becoming a bit difficult for me. This actually has more to do with my lenses than my camera body at the moment, but that’s for another day.
Chris – Thanks! If I knew that I doubt I would have such a big dilemma going on in my head.
Unfortunately there was no getting away from it though. This was the question that I needed to visit and re-vist until I was sure in my own mind.
Photography is a subject that I have always wanted to be interested in, but had never really found the time, or to be honest the temperament. I love the idea of spending a whole day up in the mountains taking pictures, or framing different shots of the same part of the marina, but when it comes down to it in the past I have been a quantity over quality person. I set off with good intentions but somehow lack the patience or the application.
Many (many) years ago when I was a teenager playing a lot of cricket in the UK I would spend hours at games taking pictures, but whilst that certainly whetted the appetite I have never really taking it any further. I have always had a camera and have always taken photographs, but more in a ‘spur of the moment’ way than a structured way. I think I have a good eye for a picture but I know this is totally different than creating a good photograph.
I have owned digital cameras since they first came out, and currently have two; a Sony DSC – F707 and a Sony DSC – T7. I use the T7 a lot when I am out and about in general as a fun camera, and I have recently been using the F707 more and more to take some pictures of the RockDoves and our cat, Moreno. I am still in a ‘rush’ though – I tend to take a lot of pictures without spending too much time setting the picture up, and then import them to three Macs, a PC and 4 Flickr accounts. And that is really part of the problem – I am a rusher who hates to have projects and things ‘to do’ hanging around to be done another day.
The good news is that I am getting better, not least because we have made a real effort to simplify our life, slow the pace down and concentrate on doing less things but do them better. SO far this is working well, so getting a DSLR is part of this plan. I want to take a lot longer creating and capturing the picture, a lot longer managing the image after the event, and to simplify how many Flickr accounts and computers I upload the pictures to.
Getting back to the question though, there are three specific objectives that I have in mind:
– I want to take pictures (both action and close up) of our cat, Moreno, and the Rock Doves that live on the cliff behind us,
– I want to take some trips on the Harley and take some pictures of Spain (landscape) and culture (buildings, cities, people), and
– I want to develop a project I have in mind to really document and capture the marina that we live in.
I suppose that makes it an ‘all round’ requirement, but I doubt I will take many ‘snaps’ or night pictures (with a flash) as I have the T7 for that, and I may keep the F707 as well (although I really should sell that once I get a DSLR)
Hope that helps? It seems that our start point is very similar, and our objectives closely aligned, so hopefully I can benefit from your experience!