Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Green Vote

An Avenue Awaits Every Photographer

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

A lot of bloggers have asked me for advice on buying the right camera. I really enjoy questions like this. Which camera is right for you? Well, there is only one way to find out. My advice is always the same - it's a bit like buying a car. First of all you have to decide what category you're looking for, otherwise the choice is simply overwhelming.

Allow me to repeat what I've privately told several bloggers. Which camera are you going to use the most? Macro? Digital point-and-click with multi functions? Digital SLR? Film-based SLR? Digital SLR with multi-function lens? Or a camera with several lenses?

The next part of my answer also addresses a specific question from a blogger who asked why I chose the Pentax K100D, which is a digital SLR (or single-lens reflex). I liked the feel of it, enjoyed the functionality, got a kick out of handling it, and so it became an extension of my soul. I have a single multi-function lens, a Sigma 18-125mm lens, which allows me a wide range of options.
If you want a camera that fits into a handbag or can slip into your pocket, you need a slimline digital and there is a stunning range of these available. If you want more control over what you do with a camera, then I guess you're looking at an SLR.

When it comes to buying a camera, you'll probably have more than a couple of options, even after you've decided what sort of camera you want. So why not rock up at your local camera store and ask if you can test three or four cameras in the store before you make your final choice.

Bear in mind that prices have dropped sharply in the past couple of years and you can get a bells-and-whistles camera for a lot less than you would have paid even eighteen months ago. And when it comes to memory cards - the lifeblood of a digital camera - their prices have fallen through the floor as well. Two years ago I was paying $200 for a one-gigabyte memory card, whereas a two-gigabyte card (depending on the brand) can now be found for $50.

I always have my Pentax slung over my shoulder - which probably enables me to get a couple of great shots every week that I would otherwise have missed. The shot at the top of this post was taken about three weeks ago. I was walking across the street to photograph a rooftop sign, when I had to negotiate this side street in Caulfield South. I looked right to check for traffic - and was gobsmacked by the beauty of the avenue.

I grew up on an avenue, with trees on either side that formed a welcoming archway. That is exactly what I saw in this street as well. The branches looked like a salute from a timber guard of honour, while the green canopy just swept upwards in endless profusion. I included the parked cars in the frame, as well as the grey surface of the street not just for points of reference, but also for contrast.


imac said...

Just love that Avenue of trees.
Marvo shot David.

New post now showing
(think you might like:))

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Hi David, I have noticed myself over the last couple of years how much prices have dropped, I think this tends to happen a lot with technology as they are constantly being updated.

I know a good camera will take good pictures, but do you also think that even if you have a cheaper camera like my Samsung digital (£159), unless you know exactly how to use the camera they won't be any better than buying a really expensive one with far too many lenses and gadgets?

Best wishes, have a good Tuesday.
Crystal xx

~Fathairybastard~ said...

I took a shot very much like that one on a streetin Perth, back in about 92, Beautiful. I think my problems with my camera are mostly me, and not the camera, but it's tempting to get a new toy. I wish the one I had was about half the weight and size.

Neva said...

I love your information. Thanks you...you have a great way of making it seem less overwhelming. You must be a very patient man.

Queen of My Domain said...

What a great shot. I used to live on a street with a canopy of trees. They were just lovely, thanks for the reminder.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Thank you for the advice, David.

distracted spunk said...

Hi David, thanks for commenting! Congratulations on getting a second book published by Penguin. Was it optioned when you sold your first book to them?

At any rate - there's a great photography website - beyondmegapixels.com if you ever get a chance to check that out.

And about NaBloPoMo - I've been trying to get into the habit of writing daily for years. This helps. :)

Kimberly said...

There's a small town in the North West that I fell in love with once. And I fell in love because of one street. And it looked like that.

Mushy said...

That shot reminds me of the Elm canopy that used to line the main street in Waverly, TN...I think it is gone now.

Cowgirl said...

Some great advice there, David, what suits one doesn't necessarily suit another. I started out with a trusty old Nikon FM2, with a fisheye and a zoom lens, what a great camera it was. Very restful scene, there.

2 LMZ FARMS said...

Thank you for visiting me, and yes, I would love all the helpful hints that you are willing to pass me way. I have enjoyed reading your post and have bookmarked your site. Sorta funny for me, having someone all the way from Australia to visit this lil redneck from MS.lol Hope you and yours have a blessed day.

Corey~living and loving said...

first off....love that photo. I have been after a similar one on logging roads around here. :)

secondly, great informative post. :)

Merisi said...

thank you for the great tips!
May I suggest not to get to fixated on the small(est( slimline digital? I have been checking many brands and cameras during the last couple of months, and my kids are using two of the smaller size ones, because they insisted on that size.
I find that at least with some models you can get a lot more bells and whistles with a camera size a bit larger than the trendy slim ones, which are still small enough to carry along in a coat pocket. In my experience, some of these also make better photos.

Anh said...

David, thanks for the lovely comment on my blog. Appreciated!

And about the right camera, I still shoot with my 2nd hand Canon 300d, which I got from my friend. It worked very well for me, a beginner. I love to play around with the camera and different settings... :)

Misty Dawn said...

I love this shot David - it's awesome!

I'm dreaming about my future Digital SLR all the time. Unfortunately, I've got a LOT more saving to do before I can make it happen. Oh well, that will make me appreciate it even more.

joan said...

Love the photo of the tress. It reminds me of a place that I go to near Hilton Head, South Carolina. There's something so beautiful about those trees. And good advice about the camera. I just bought my second sony cybershot. The first one cost me alot more than this one did and so did the memory card. My new one is touch buttons all on the screen. It fits my needs, which is to go with me in my purse. Have a great day!

bygpowis said...

the trees here look like an old cartoon. like they're about to come to life. nice shot.

Helena said...

Oooo wonderful trees!

It's 20 years since I visited Oz, but I remember driving down an Avenue where each tree was dedicated to a fallen soldier, WWII, I think. Do you know the one I mean?

TZT said...

Beautiful image. And thank you for your thoughts on cameras - I'm currently considering getting an SLR. I'll have to take a look at the Pentax.

Lee said...

David, thanks for the camera buying tips. My sister and I are in a discussion about getting me a camera for Christmas. I've researched and asked for a Canon PowerShot A570 IS. Right now that seems to be the most camera for the dollar in compacts. Hope to have it in time for Christmas so I can take family photos.


karoline said...

luv the trees david..what forethought..


Mahina said...

i think the key to "getting the shot" is what you mentioned. you always have your camera with you! i wish i had my camera with me more often! though, maybe that is for another time and stage in my life altogether! i already have a diaper bag with me 24/7 and other days i have a swim bag, as well, taking our girls to swim lessons, etc. the thought of adding yet another bag to the mix might just push me over the edge!!

like i said, i'll have to save that for another season of my life!