Getting Started in Digital Photography

I have recently been considering a new digital camera.

Not that there is anything wrong with my current Olympus XZ-1. It is a very fine prosumer grade point and shoot. This means that it has many (if not close to all) the options of a professional DSLR camera, but it has a fixed lens. No option to swap out and change your lenses for different situations. And the fixed lens it has (i.ZUIKO 6-24mm F1.8-2.5) is actually a superior lens for this grade camera. I bought this about 2 years ago and there really is nothing wrong with it at all. It is very small and can provide stunning images, even in low light due to the fast 1.8 lens. So why do I find myself researching an alternative?

I had been looking for a little more zoom than my current 4X. That was one reason. And the other was of course image quality. Anything that could make my photos look better. One thing I had to consider was that I am not a professional photographer and nor do I aspire to be. I got my first digital camera in 1997 and posted my first online photo album in 1999. I am no stranger to digital photography, but I have always been one for simplicity. I cannot lug around a full kit with multiple lenses and a huge bag. Plus I need to be able to pull out my camera and snap some shots quickly when the moment presents itself.

Recently Sony’s new NEX line has shown some great improvements in the compact space. Providing interchangeable lens with a camera body similar in size to my current Oly XZ-1. I have spent many hours recently researching the NEX and some other compact options from Olympus and Nikon four third options.

I narrowed my options down to the NEX 6 and new NEX 3N. I arguably created a case for both models and really just needed to see and feel each one to make a decision. Fortunately for me, there is a Sony Store in a nearby mall and off I went. After spending about an hour in the store playing with both models (and some of the other NEXs and several different lenses as well… Thanks Sony!) I had come to a realization that in order for me to make the considerable investment into a new system, I would really need to spend the time to learn the camera and learn general photography skills. Meaning I would need to know much more about manual shooting than I currently do.

When I got home that evening, after my trip to the Sony Store, I took a new look at my old Olympus Xz-1. This camera had all of the basic feature I needed to learn more about photography. Why spend the money first and learn after? Maybe I was just in the need for a new gadget to play with (it has been about 6 months since I got my last phone). It made more sense to hone in my skills as a photographer first and then when I have pushed my PS camera as far it will go, look to upgrade to a new system.

Well the next day it was off to Barnes and Noble and now I am going through “Getting Started in Digital Photography – From Snapshots to Great Shots” by Khara Plicanic. Even though this easy to read handbook is not specific to my particular camera model, it provides enough insight and activity for me to dig into the settings (even though I have to use my own manual to find many of them) and start experimenting with my camera.

I feel like I just spent $1000 on new equipment when in reality, I just spent a little over $20 on an inspirational book. Who knows, maybe in a few days I will turn this into a photo blog and start posting some new photos on a regular basis.