New Camera

This entry was posted by on Wednesday, 14 June, 2006 at

So I have to admit… like every new parent, we’ve been videotaping the baby and taking lots of digital photos. Our main audience seems to be grandparents, who eagerly await uploads of grandson photos every few weeks. But after seeing the photos taken by my uncle and co-worker, I realized the gigantic difference between our 4-year-old, 2-megapixel digital camera and the “real” digital SLR cameras they were using. Holy moly.

So I couldn’t take it anymore, and bought a digital SLR last weekend… after a bunch of research, of course! The camera of choice was a Canon 30D, for a few reasons: first, my co-worker can give me tech support, since he’s a Canon user; second, Canon and Nikon seem to be in 3rd and 4th generation products, whereas other companies seem to have 1.0 products; third, my wife already owned a few Canon lenses from her analog camera, which are automatically compatible.

I’ve not used an SLR since I was in high school back in the mid-80’s. I owned an old Pentax ME Super (now on the cover of Autumn War’s Camera album), and it was almost totally manual. Manual focus, manual aperture. The most it could do was use its light meter to set the shutter speed. The best feature, though, was a fixed-length 50mm f/1.4 lens which let in a lot of light. It was the perfect camera for learning black & white photography. (In those days, I even had a darkroom in my parents’ basement!)

So this new Canon 30D is fascinating to me. It autofocuses for me if I want, which is nice. I can choose either aperture or shutter speed, and it will choose the other for me. Or, if I don’t want to think, it can do absolutely everything for me. What really blows my mind is the abliity to set the “virtual” ISO light sensitivity on the fly, as well as the exposure. This thing will do auto-exposure bracketing, and can even do rapid-fire photos for a moving subject. Point camera at wiggling baby, and bam, 25 photos taken in 5 seconds. One of them will look good, right? Hey, if you throw a bunch of spaghetti on the wall, something is gonna stick!

The only thing I was unhappy with was the zoom lens that ships with the camera. Yes, it’s a zoom lens, which is a nice thing, but it has a maximum aperture of f/3.5, which doesn’t cut it. I hate using a flash in low-light situations, and want the ability to do short depth-of-field photos. So at my co-worker’s recommendation, I bought a really basic lens just like the one on my old Pentax: 50mm f/1.8. My wife and I will just have to switch lenses. She can enjoy the zoom, and I can use my wide-aperture lens.

People have been asking me for photo samples, so here are a couple of early photos. The first photo ever taken, showing the boy attempting to eat some cat food. Later that day, he decided that mom’s toothbrush was in fact the most exciting toy ever, crawling all over the house with it in hand. He ultimately fell asleep on me, still clutching it.