Weapons of Choice

19 06 2007

I’ve recently gone back to something I like doing a lot, which is taking pictures. I got my first camera, a Konex 35mm film compact camera when I was in 4th Grade back in the late 80s. It was fixed-focus but it took decent pictures and had a powerful built-in flash. Many a Kodak/Fuji film roll were used up using it.

Throughout the years I’ve had a compact film camera of some sort (usually a Minolta or a Pentax) and as of late had used my brother’s film Canon EOS 66 SLR camera. I arrived late into the digital age 3 years ago with a 3.2MP Olympus Stylus [mju:300] Digital.

Olympus mju300 Digital 

There’s not much in terms of manual controls, shutter response is quite slow, weak built-in flash, and uses the XD-Card. Given these flaws, I end up with a lot of images that IQ (image quality) sensitive people would find a lot of room for improvement in. Nevertheless, the dark underexposed and blown-out overexposed images did capture those important moments; nothing a little post-processing couldn’t fix. To be fair, there’s really a lot of shots that turned out well. Plus, it’s a very well-built weatherproof digicam that has served me in light rain showers and has survived several trips to the floor.  You can see a review here.

A couple of months back, I had an opportunity to go watch a live Formula One race. I’ve been lusting for a nice upgrade to my Olympus, and I took this opportunity to finally get something more substantial like a DSLR I could use in that event. I had looked at several worthy options such as the Canon 350D/400D and the Nikon D40/D80. After testing those units I found them to be a bit plasticky and a bit lightweight for my taste; I know these are very good cameras that can take excellent pics, but they just didn’t feel right or just didn’t meet my expectations of heft.

That’s just me, and I decided to get a mid-range camera as they had that feel I was looking for. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the budget to get a brand new Canon 30D or a Nikon D200 so I had to looked for a used one. Fortunately there was a local photography forum that had people selling used stuff and just a few days before I had to fly out for Malaysia I found a reasonably-priced preowned Canon 20D.

Canon 20D

The owner was switching brands and was disposing the 20D to fund his upgrade, and after checking the unit out, got it along with the 18-55mm kit lens, three batteries, and the usual accessories. My 20D had a few cosmetic scratches, and the rubberized grip was loosening on one side, but nothing that would get in the way of doing the job. In fact, I’m very happy about how it performs. I’ll write more about it next time.

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