As photographers go, I consider myself an amateur who occasionally gets a lucky shot. The trick is to make many shots to increase the odds. I usually have a hard time finding willing subjects to model in front of the camera, so my repertoire mainly involves non-human targets such as clouds, sunsets, nearby flowers and insects.My current tools of the trade are:

  • Nikon D40x(since May 2008)
    • Nikon DX AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 GII ED kit lens
    • Sigma DC 55-200mm 1:4-5.6
    • Tamron 70-300mm Tamron lens (cheap of the art with the wobbliest autofocus known to Man)
    • Nikon DX AF-S NIKKOR 35mm 1:1.8 G
  • Canon Ixus 70 (since December 2007)
  • iPhone 3GS (since January 2010)

Previous weapons of choice:

  • Canon Ixus 400
  • Sigma SA-5 (analog 35mm film camera, from 2001)
    • Sigma 28-80mm 1:3.5-5.6 Macro (kit lens)

The Ixus 400 was my first digital camera, which I got in June 2003 and used enthusiastically, until it retired itself in December 2007 when it refused to read from or write to memory cards anymore. I’ve learned that this was a common problem with some of these cameras, and probably caused in part by my habit of taking the card out of the camera to transfer the photos to the computer (via a card reader), rather than connecting the camera to the computer by cable and leaving the card in (much because I can’t stand Microsoft’s photo import wizard). As a result the connector pins for the Compact Flash memory card may have gotten worn out from the repeated inserting and removing of the card. Although it only had four megapixels (actually a little less), the image quality was better than what I see today in most compact cameras with much higher pixel counts. The main reason for this is that the Ixus 400 didn’t have noise reduction, which is used to reduce electronic noise from the image (as the name implies), but which tends to leave the image blurry and less detailed. This is a problem in my Ixus 70, and it’s not possible to turn the noise reduction off. The actual camera part of the 400 still works fine, so if I feel inspired I can always hook it up to the computer by USB cable (and preferably a power source) to use as a webcam.

The Sigma is also still in fine working order, aside from the auto focus motor in the lens being largely shot, but with digital being so convenient, it’s difficult to find inspiration to deal with rolls of film again.

I have found that the difference between using a compact camera and an SLR goes as follows: With a compact you are often considered silly for going around taking pictures of all sorts of stuff, and people in your immediate surroundings will not hesitate to move into view of the lens and express this view quite audibly. With an SLR, they tend instead to get out of your way, and tell each other to not disturb the photographer at work. Obviously sporting a bigger caliber helps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: