Impulsive Nikon D7000 purchase marks return of another hobby

Nikon D7000 boxshot

On the 21st December, I decided to revive photography as a hobby to ensure I had at least one pursuit that involved outdoor activity (the gym doesn’t count). The thing is, whenever I bring a pastime back from the dead like this, it is usually accompanied by an expensive spend to bring related tools up-to-date.

This time was going to be different: I was going to make do with what I had, at least initially.

I had two cameras at my disposal: the Canon Powershot G10 and the Nikon D100.

The Nikon D100 was my first serious Digital SLR. I remember soon after I bought it a colleague at work bought a Canon that seemed to have better specs in all departments – except perhaps colour vibrancy – but it didn’t dent my enthusiasm for my Nikon. The whole experience of framing shots, pressing the shutter and processing the resulting images on the PC was relaxing and satisfying.

Over time, in the process of taking over 5500 pictures, the camera and lenses got dusty. I spent more and more time cleaning up images but I couldn’t bring myself to part with the camera long enough to get it professionally cleaned. This contributed to a slow reduction in usage but the main reason the hobby declined was that I became disillusioned with the drab surroundings in my neighbourhood and wasn’t prepared to travel further afield to stimulate creativity.

The Canon Powershot was an attempt to make photography more accessible and acceptable to my partner in the hope that having a small-but-powerful camera with me when we went out for walks or on holiday would reignite the spark.

The plan worked initially because, let’s face it, the PowerShot was a new gadget and it was indeed easier to carry around. However, the feel of the camera as you prepare for a shot, using the LCD as a viewfinder, the lack of a true shutter action, the limited depth of field… these and other small details all combined to deliver a lack lustre experience compared to the D100 even if the resulting PowerShot image had a higher pixel density and no dust artefacts.

Nowadays, the Powershot is little more to me than a point-and-shoot camera for snaps and web images.

So you see, the Nikon D100 was the only serious choice if I wanted to rekindle my passion for photography without spending any money. I duly dug it out of the hallway cupboard yesterday and recharged the battery.

Whilst the D100 was recharging, I figured I might as well take a look at the state-of-the-art. I mulled over a switch to Canon’s EOS5D MarkII and drooled over the specs and some of the wide angle lenses. I estimated it would cost me £3000+ to switch to this camera.

Picture taken today with Nikon D100. Some colour adjustment and resizing in Photoshop.

How about just replacing the body of my Nikon? That would be a LOT cheaper and bring me up to date. I research the lineage of Nikon cameras since the D100 came out back in 2002. The D300S appears to be the latest incarnation of this camera but the specs looked a bit outdated and it was very expensive. Rumours abound of a D400 in the works too. I decided this was not a viable option.

Nikon full frame (FX) cameras were extremely expensive and most had older specs. I ruled Nikon FX cameras out too.

The Nikon D7000 looked just right if I was going to spend any money. What’s more, it was an absolute bargain at 1/3 of the cost of my original idea.

I did some research over lunch break and found a local Jessops stockist selling the camera body for £949. By local, I mean 30 miles away in Worcester. By 4pm on 22nd of December, I’d worked myself up into a frenzy and left early to go get the camera.

By 7 pm, I was scurrying back to my car with the Nikon D7000 kit with 18-105mm lens (image stabilization tech and smooth auto-focus) and some 8 gig SD memory cards.

It was just past midnight when I took the first shots with the D7000 in poor lighting conditions with only the built-in flash to help but it did a much better job than the Powershot. The powershot tends to bleach objects when you use the flash whilst the D7000 fills the room with just the right amount of light to take a reasonable shot.

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