Thursday, February 28, 2008

More High Class Problems

The problem with buying something precious and useful is that to use it you always need something more. Here more also means, of course, more expensive.

I bought a used Nikon D40 10 megapixel camera with a standard lens (the name of which I really ought to look up). It's probably a quarter of the weight of my old camera with a trillion more functions, maybe a trillion and a half. I'm really going to have to read the manual and I really wish I had a partner in crime to walk me through some of this stuff but I'll learn by trial and error, too (first up, how to work without the flash!). Trial and error is cheap here in the land of the digital. Don't like it? Don't keep it! Don't know how this works? Try it. Doesn't work? Try something else! No waiting, no processing, no extra cash outlay.

Had to buy a new memory card, though. The D40 takes an SD card and I got a cute little 2GB card (should hold up to about 400 pics) that is its own card reader. You just swing back part of the card on a hinge and it becomes a USB doohickey that you plug right into the computer. It's so fascinating to me and it only cost $30. The camera with taxes and all cost me just over $600.

Yes, that's a little more than I'd thought I'd spend on a Digital Rebel but it's less than I at first expected and this one fits my old lens. Abe in the used department at B&H showed me how truly gorgeous my old lens is in conjunction with the digital camera. So much better than the standard lens. It does better things with the light and the depth of field (what's in focus and what's not). He told me that you really can't get them much any more and that mine would sell for around $400, if I was selling it which I am absolutely not doing. I am not sure but I suspect that's more than my parents spent on the whole dang (beautiful) camera when they gifted me with it almost 30 years ago.

You know what I don't have? Something to carry my camera in. I was just chucking the old one in my backpack with all my other crap. It's made out of metal. Really sturdy metal. Journalists in Vietnam used to pound in tent stakes with their cameras like mine. This new one is light and fragile. It has a screen on the back for the love of Mike (Hi Mike!). It needs to be protected so I can bring it places. I really want to (and probably will) bring it to Boston for my 10 second trip this weekend (I'm going to take the Chinatown bus up and back really quick on Sat to have lunch with Queen Bee, check in on Joe and see the other 2 Bee sisters, this whole ordeal is lengthening and I feel like we need to lay eyes on each other just to be safe) but how will I carry it? It may be raining, there will be other stuff in my backpack to amuse me for 10 hours on the bus and I do not own a camera bag. The short term solution is a nice soft pillowcase (which is what I used when I brought it to a bar to ask Peter Weekly to put the strap on) inside a waterproof sports backpack, I think. The long term solution? I don't know. I'd like a Shootsac since they're so purdy and hip but am I really spending over $200 for a camera bag? Probably not. (Which cover should I get in my dream land where a $200 camera bag is feasible?)

Then, of course, there are lenses. I have the 2 which should hold me while I learn and will even be passable for the June photoshoot but I've dreamed of having a telephoto lens since I was a kid. Being able to sit on one side of the street and shoot portraits of people in the diner across it is a dream. Perhaps I just wish I was Veronica Mars but that's not too bad a fantasy to have. Everybody and their dog has a macro lens, too. Chili keeps saying how much she likes the way I pick up the small things inside of our big world and the sense of place it gives her. Think what a sense of place I could get if I could get all up close and personal with a macro lens.

Larger memory card? Tripod? Photo printer? The evil possibilities are endless. I think I'll be able to keep myself in check but, wow, this could easily spiral out of control.

For now I'm just trying to find a time I can get out and shoot some photos. Daylight time that's not too cold or too slippery or too rainy or too something has been at a premium around here. But I'm sure that'll change soon.


  1. While a $200 camera bag sounds so lovely, let me tell you 'bout something. At amazon, I found a Canon brand camera backpack. It is well-padded, although not good enough if you really drop it, has compartments for lenses and things, and was less than $50.00. I bet Nikon makes them and that B&H probably carries them, as well.

  2. PS - do you have a Costco or somesuch? Because, here, I can upload my pics to Costco, have them printed and pick them up the next time I am there. 17 cents for 4x6. $1.50 for an 8x10. It is much, much cheaper than the ink you buy for photo printers. I have one. I use costco more often.

  3. Anonymous6:07 AM

    I had the same problem when I got my first ipod. I ended up buying a new computer to hold all the music.
    I like the Lowpro bags and cases. They seem to be well made..

  4. In your fantasy dream world, you are going to need a couple of the covers: you know, something fun and lively for shoots with MusicBaby and Alita (festive), something sophisticated for nights out (lavish), something earthy for park romps with the dog (bamboo), something festive for holidays (gold strike). I think I like sensitive best though. You?

  5. I'm with the ladies - I'm sure you can find some suitable carrying device for less than two bills. I, too, like Lowpro, though the bag that our little digital lives in is a Tamrac. We got it at Best Buy, I think, for $12.

  6. I will have to check out the camera bag offerings. I'm sure I can find something WAY under $200. However not quite so cute. :)

    I do have Costco but my membership has lapsed. I've been using Shutterfly for prints and been having good luck. I don't know that it's as cheap as what you're listing, Seester, but it's pretty good.

    JRH, you do always go balls to the wall in the dream world. Love that.