Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nikon Girl

I was going to major in art at college.  The drawback to that was that I really can't draw.
I'm plenty artistic but the drawing thing, no.  So after a couple weeks I decided to go into photography which would meld with the writing and I could be a photojournalist.  There was a great tradition of that.  Unfortunately more in movies than real life.  But it was possible so I said yes.

My father had a Leica but the professor insisted on a medium format camera for the first year or something, so I got whatever it was, a Mamiya?  But it only took 1 semester and I got a Nikon F.  That was a really good camera and I think you can pick them up now for about 1/10th of what we paid for the body and telephoto.  I think it was a 300 mm lens.

Some years later I was at a combined training event--it was entirely a nightmare, so bad I don't even want to go into it--and somehow the camera dropped.  I'm sure Nikon could have fixed it but within a couple hours it was stolen.  I was devastated.  I lost my camera, I was stuck with the world's worst boyfriend who had two of the brattiest kids on the planet and then the truck broke down in Yonkers on a Sunday evening.  Wow.  How can things get worse?

Yes, I later found out that things can get very much worse, but that night will live on in the records as one of the worst.

I got a less expensive model as a replacement.  For some reason every time I picked it up the battery was dead.  It had one of those little disk things.  The light meter always seemed wrong.  I was too busy in television to bother, when I wasn't in the studio, I was in the car commuting.  I stopped being a photographer and was just a writer.

Then digital came in and I ignored it.  I was very busy.  I got a cheap Epson to use to sell stuff on ebay.  You don't talk about quality except can you see the objet you're trying to sell.

Everything went like that until I got a contract to do The Complete Idiot's Guide to Knitting Projects.  I thought the job was to...well I thought it was what they TOLD me it was.  Come up with 20 projects and some variations.  And you've got 10 weeks.  Okay, pressing it but I'll do it.  Then I read the contract and someone is supposed to provide photos for all these projects and oh by the way it's not 20 it's 100.

In a crisis--which that was--you revert to what you know best so I knew I had to get a Nikon, whatever the budget would allow because I had to pay for EVERYTHING out of my advance (here's some advice, don't do one of these books unless you must or love being under horrible pressure).  So I got a D70 and never understood it.  I couldn't understand the manual.  I couldn't find anyone who could explain it to me.  But apparently I was doing okay because I shot all the photos for the book and that's what was published.

I don't remember why I got the D7000 other than I hated the D70 because I didn't know it.  The manual was better and there was a lot more help available on the internet and I got Photoshop.  Everything fell together.  I worked hard with it and with Photoshop.

And then I got the D600 which is a fantastic camera.  But the D7000 is great, too.  And when I stumble upon what's left over from the D70, they aren't bad.  A little tweak, some sharpening and they're very acceptable. 

Digital cameras aren't like film cameras which you expected to have for a lifetime.  Digital is semi-disposable.  You expect to turn it in for the new model in 2 years.  Luckily all Nikon lenses work on all their cameras because if you had to get new glass every 2 years, you'd better be rich.


Jim Self said...

It takes a very special love of cameras to write a whole blog post about them. :)

I think you're right about digital devices being semi-disposable. It's becoming less and less about the device, and more about the content the device produces or gives you access to. TV's, cell phones, laptops, etc. It's a lot more obvious than the planned obsoletion you see with stuff like cars.

The Hostess with the Mostest said...

I am pretty enthusiastic about what cameras can do.