Wax on, Wax off

July 27, 2008  •  1 Comment

Summer 082008-07-26_11-09-06

With the release of Nikon's new full-frame D700- a remarkable camera I'm sure, I've hit some sort of techno-wall. Since August of 2006 I have been active on the digital photography forums such as DPReview. I have learned a good bit about equipment and technique, had some important questions answered, shared photos and even built friendships with people I have never and may well never meet. Overall it has been a great journey.

But...
Whenever a new camera is released, something happens. The forums buzz with everything from exalting jubilation at this new piece of equipment (been there), to bitter accusations about how their present camera (maybe the cream of the crop 6-12 months ago) is no longer adequate and they feel somehow betrayed by the manufacturer (haven't been there). And just about everything in between. I call it the lemming factor (reference to people who go along unquestioningly with popular opinion, with potentially dangerous or fatal consequences).
 
p764108-2 All the deliberations and arguments/ramblings about sensors, high ISO performance (or lack there of), totally subjective image quality drivel, post-processing sharpening arguments, FX vs DX, angry D3 owners bashing Nikon, insecure D300 owners being pushed over the edge in to buying a camera they don't need... others losing their shirt in the resale market, how the 70-200VR has gone from a legendary lens to a joke in such a short span... people placing multiple orders for a camera they don't need and confusing vendors just so they can have the latest and greatest camera to post pictures of their cat on the forum... please... enough already.

So this weekend I staged a silent protest. We were blessed to have a camping trip scheduled with our small group. We were to head up Cache la Poudre Canyon (one of my favorite spots in Colorado-and not coincidentally very close) to hang out with a handful of close friends.

While packing, I briefly deliberated over what gear to bring and made my decision. My digi-cams would stay home this time. This weekend I was going back to the basics. I grabbed my Nikon F5 from the Pelican crate, checked the batteries, grabbed a few rolls of black & white film, two lenses (50mm/f1.4, and the 105VR/f2.8), my tripod, cable release, and called it good.
 
It was cathartic... way sweet to simply focus on photography again. I shot 72 pictures, all on black and white film, and loved it. I thought about and applied my best technique to every shot. Some will undoubtedly tank, but I also think I got lucky on a few. I'm excited and anxious to see the photographs maybe Monday or Tuesday. I'm also not now faced with deciding which image is just a tad sharper than another, or which of the hundreds of (duplicate) photos do I delete and which do I keep "just in case..." or pouring over hundreds of pictures for hours on end. Many of those decisions were made prior to snapping the shutter-a natural consequence of slowing down, assigning higher value to each shot, and actually thinking about what you're doing-before you take the photograph.

p38364721-2 Don't get my wrong-I love my digicams and use them heavily just about every day. They're great tools. But this weekend it was nice to get back to the basics and just have fun making photographs again. The moral of the story? Just shoot, and know that if you're shooting a DSLR from this century, you're using one of the finest & most advanced camera systems on the planet-no matter WHAT they come out with next (and-you can pick up incredible film cameras for a song now!).

Comments

1.Len Foster(non-registered)
John,
Good on ya! I was actually looking at a couple of Nikon digital SLR's last week. I made a big mistake though.

I had been out shooting a sunrise near the Gulf of Mexico and had in hand my tripod, cable release, etc. But going into the store I didn't want to leave my camera in the car, so I slung it over my shoulder and headed into the store. They had a D7100 in stock, and I laid down my camera and picked up the D7100...wait a second, this display model must just be an empty shell. A salesman finally came along and showed my the "in and outs" of the camera...the problem was that I wasn't listening very well at that point. I just kept starring at my F5 that was laying on the counter in front of me.

I realize that I wasn't comparing "apples to apples", but the Nikon digital that would "compare" to my F5 would have been $3,000 up.

So I came home, logged onto e-bay and started watching a couple of "near mint" F5's. Waited until the last minute to put my bid of $300, and darned if I didn't win the camera for $265...for an F5 owed by an "enthusiast" that was simply switching to digital. $265 bucks for an F5...there should be a law against it. If they stay this cheap, I may pick up a few for stocking stuffers.

Glad you enjoyed your weekend with your F5...how sweet it is.

Len Foster
Spring Hill, FL
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