Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Tale of Two Cameras. And a Tray of Cupcakes.

I've had this digital Canon Rebel for almost seven years now. My parents gave it to me as a college graduation gift. That and my cell phone bill. And my car insurance bill. And a pair of scissors to cut up my "emergency" credit card that was billed to them. It was a bittersweet day. The price of adult freedom came at a cost. At least I had a sweet new camera to document my adult-hood with. 

I remember on Spring Break 2000 we were all laying out on the beach with our point and shoot cameras. Maybe one would have been digital, but most were not. Incidentally, what is the opposite of digital? Film? Non-digital? The digital era just hadn't happened yet. Heck, we were just getting into basic cell phones at that point. 

A friend who was with us, Adam, had a 'big' camera, or what's technically referred to as a SLR camera. I didn't know fancy terminology at that point and I wasn't impressed. In fact, I thought why does Adam have that ginormous camera? What a weirdo. As the days went by and our skin got tanner I became intrigued with Adam's camera. I mean, he was a pretty cool guy which obviously meant that his camera must be cool too. Maybe I was missing something. Maybe big cameras were cool.

When we got back to school I started doing a little research. Then I started saving my money. As it turns out big SLR cameras were expensive. Like $350, way more than my student budget could afford. 

Finally, my sophomore year I invested in a Canon Rebel - the non digital kind. I loved that camera. I spent my life savings constantly keeping it full of film and developing photos. Back then I used to go water skiing several times a week and I would take my camera with me. When I went backpacking through Australia during my Junior year my camera went every step of the way. I didn't know how to use it either. I just put it on auto and snapped away, happy as a clam.

When I finally graduated, 56 years later, digital cameras were finally becoming affordable. Except the Rebels, at that point they were extremely expensive. But my parents, being the generous people that they are, went all out and upgraded me to my digital Rebel. I loved it then and I love it even more now.

In the past year I've finally started really learning about it. No more auto for this girl. I'm learning how to better control my manual settings and have even added a few fancy lenses to my arsenal.

Let me repeat: I love my Rebel and have no desire to upgrade. It is all the camera I need.

Which brings me to my point.

Last week, I got on Craig's List (Canadian translation: Kijiji) to look for a new desk chair. Low and behold the first item to pop up was a Canon 40D - not a desk chair in sight. For those of you unfamiliar, the D series is the notch above the Rebel series and move into the professional line-up. You've got your 60D, 7D, 5D and the 1D. The 60D is the new version of the 40D. Cameras are constantly evolving so the names change every few years. For the record, if I was going to buy a brand new camera tomorrow I would buy the 60D and it would cost me about $1200.

Anyway, there I sat staring at the advertisement, that was only 14 minutes old, selling the used version of my dream camera for less than a quarter of the cost. Like, the price was so good that it would have been worth buying it just to turn around and sell it on eBay. But all I could think was that I didn't need a new camera. My camera is perfectly fine, thank you very much. But's such a good deal...

After quickly consulting The Canadian I emailed the seller and asked him a few questions. He said that the 40D was in perfect condition, almost three years old and he was selling it because he was getting out of the wedding photography business. He also said that he had already received several emails about it and it wasn't going to last through the afternoon.

"Well, then let me be the first to take a look at it. I'm available as soon as you are ready. And let me sweeten the deal by throwing in a plate of my delicious cupcakes. I'm quite the baker," I replied.

Note: This is a bit of a lie. I am not "quite the baker" and my cupcakes are average at best. However, I do make my own frosting which can be worth its weight in gold.

His reply was, "You sure know the way to a man's heart. I must be a pushover. Is there anything better than photography and cupcakes? I'll see you tomorrow with the camera."


So, the next morning I whipped up of batch of chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and some vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting. I even bought an aluminum roaster to pack them up. It was the biggest disposable tray I could find.

That day the seller, Paul, came by to let me check out the camera and make the exchange. Cash + Cupcakes = Camera. Negotiation of the century.

The 40D was perfect. I took several test shots and uploaded the photos to my laptop to make sure everything was in working order. Paul gave me the full run down on the settings and even threw in two batteries, an 8GB memory card and a few filters just for fun.

This camera is amazing. It also came with a grip, which is basically a really expensive extra battery pack that attaches to the bottom to hold dual batteries. Ever wondered why wedding photographers seem to have the biggest camera you've ever seen? It's because they need extra battery life. Wouldn't you hate it if the camera died right as the minister said You may kiss the bride?

It's got a different set up and two different wheels. The screen is twice the size of my old camera and the ISO goes twice as high. It's also got 9 points of focus compared to the 7 that I'm used to.

My favorite feature (besides its all around awesomeness) is the high speed continuous shooting. It sounds like a mini machine gun when I set it to rapid fire.

Basically, it's amazing.

It should be noted that the purchase was just the camera body. Often this grade of camera does not come with a lens. Someone willing to take on this kind of beast typically uses an array of specialized lens that are bought separately. Because I have all Canon equipment my lenses will work on both my Rebel and 40D. If that wasn't the case it would have been a deal breaker.

If that wasn't enough I also got on Amazon and ordered myself a Kensington card reader. No more long cord to connect my camera to my computer! Small, convenient and fast as lightening when uploading. The best $20 I've spent yet. 

All this being said, please don't expect amazing professional photos from me any time soon. The camera does not make you a pro. It just makes you look like one. I've still got a lot to learn and desperately need a lot of practice. Therefore, if you're in the mood to do some modeling please let me know. Our town is currently offering a great snowy setting that would be perfect for that ski bunny look you're looking for.

One final note, my beloved Rebel is still my favorite. It's my first love and I plan on using it 'til the day it dies. The 40D and Rebel are going to be best friends. Fric and Frac. Bert and Ernie. Hobie and Maple. Or something like that...

1 comment:

  1. I'm taking another photography class soon. I bought a groupon for a photography/photoshop class, plus you get a "photo safari" at night where the teacher takes you out and helps you learn the right settings for things! So very cool!