Picture Pages

Bandit

Neil and I were planning on taking an impromptu vacation over the Christmas break, partly to try and avoid being home to see if we could postpone closing on our new place until after the GST goes down on January 1st, and partly because we’re sad we won’t be in our new home for Christmas – something we’d really been looking forward to – and wanted some sort of consolation prize.

Then we were told by our Lawyer that there will be a transitional period around the GST change, and while we may have to pay out the 6% tax initially, we can fill out some paperwork to be reimbursed for the additional 1%. Huzzah!

Wine

So we re-thought the vacation thing. I’ve been away a lot lately, and Neil is going off to Ohio next week, so another set of flights wasn’t really appealing. That, and with the upcoming moving, new furniture and wedding costs, we could afford a small getaway, but really couldn’t afford to chase the sun.

But dammit, we still wanted our consolation prize!

So we trundled off figuring we’d start looking at new digital cameras, since we were planning on buying one for the honeymoon anyway, and thought it would be nice to have something that wasn’t 2 megapixels and 4 years old to take holiday photos with.

Sasha

We walked into Lens & Shutter, intending to look at the latest in point & shoot technology. But for the kind of pictures we want to take (travel landscapes, low-light and night-sky shots) we admitted to ourselves what we knew all along – a pocket camera was going to be completely inadequate.

So we started looking at larger cameras – and by that point, in terms of price, one might as well start exploring the world of entry-level digital SLR’s. So we did. And walked out of the store with the Pentax K10D.

Neither of us has followed the world of digital SLR’s particularly carefully, so we weren’t even aware there were entry-level options other than the Canon Digital Rebel and Nikon D80. But Pentax, despite coming a bit late to the digital SLR game, has put out a camera that competes on price with the lower-end Canon and Nikon lines, but competes on features with the much more expensive Canon EOS 30D and Nikon D200. It’s a pretty incredible value for money.

The three pictures in this post represent the 3 best (read: only passable) pictures of the 200 or so we’ve taken so far (wine by Neil, dogs by me).

Next step: picking up a book on digital SLR photography to figure out what all the features mean (seriously, I don’t even know what an F-Stop actually is) and taking a short course on digital SLR photography. Any recommendations?

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5 thoughts on “Picture Pages

  1. Derek K. Miller

    Pentax is a venerable name in cameras, and you made a good choice — the K10D is probably the best bang for the buck in DSLRs today (and this comes from a guy who’s owned Nikons for 25 years).

    For the basics about photography stuff, read this good introduction from photo.net:

    http://photo.net/learn/making-photographs/

    I learned my photo geekery on the fly from people like my dad (former wedding photographer and long time astrophotographer), colleagues and teachers with the high-school yearbook, and a lot of trial and error, so I have no idea what kind of courses or resources to recommend.

    I do, however, recommend that you go out and get yourself a nice inexpensive fixed-length (i.e. non-zoom) 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 lens as soon as possible, and use it as often as is practical. That’s what cameras used to come with, and the ability to let in more light (that’s what the smaller f-stop number means) and requirement that you actually MOVE to get a different perspective will make your photos better. Plus that lens is smaller and lighter and easier to schlep around, and will have better optical quality than the lens the camera came with. Here’s an example:

    http://www.cameracanada.com/eNet-cart/product.asp?pid=20817

    Generally, as you buy more lenses, it’s a better idea to buy from the manufacturer (Pentax in your case). Even though off-brand lenses from Sigma and Tamron can be good, they don’t have much resale value.

  2. jen

    I just picked up a 50mm f/1.8 lens from bhphotovideo.com for nearly half of what it’s going for at Best Buy and Future Shop. This is a Canon lens, but they sell Pentax as well. Happy picture-taking!!

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