Dracil’s BlogJournal

June 3, 2008

The road to obsession is paved with hobbies

Filed under: personal, photography, Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — dracil @ 12:50 am

As far as my sudden interest in photography goes, I think my interest has just been growing exponentially. For years I just thought cameras were a total waste of time. Part of it is I hate having pictures taken of me. Then I got an old camera from my parents. I still didn’t use it for the longest time. Then I started using it, and it was kinda fun. And then one day I lost that camera. And I felt a little empty.

But that gave me an excuse to get a new camera. And after much research I picked up the Canon SD870 IS. Good camera. I love its wide-angle lens and ease of use. It was cool seeing how many people around me got the same camera. Great minds think alike. ;) I started taking a lot of pictures after that. Started carrying it with me all the time. Heck, I’ll even admit I started attending events just so I could take pictures.

My shooting spree was abruptly halted when I ran out of space on Picasa. Their pricing plan seemed rather bad in the long-run, so I decided to look elsewhere. Flickr’s free version is junk, but their paid version is pretty good. But then I saw all the features over at Smugmug (2.5 minute videos with no size limits? Sign me up!) and I decided to settle there (BTW, if you use PKROb2JeSlvik as your coupon code, you can get $5 off (and I get some money for my subscription)). Given that the site seems to be catered to professional photographers, somehow or the other, I ended up looking up photography books on Amazon.

So I bought Scott Kelby’s The Digital Photography Book. I also got Volume 2. Great author. Love his humor and the books are quite useful (though I have to say, the books themselves aren’t of the best quality, I had to look through 7 books to find a copy of the first volume that wasn’t obviously worn). It also made me realize a lot of the limitations of my P&S camera.

I even tried the CDHK firmware hack for my camera. But like 3rd-party hacks in general, it comes with some fairly annoying limitations (having to use a 2GB card to load the firmware on my camera, and I couldn’t quite get the RAW to work, and it was painfully slow to use anyway).

Well, since I had received a pretty sizeable tax rebate, I decided I might as well bite the bullet and use that to get a DSLR. After looking around I decided to get the Canon EOS 450D because it’s rather new (I like new). Being Canon, I assume I’d be more familiar with its interface, and it seemed like Canon cameras perform a little better under low-light conditions (compared to Nikon). It also helped that there was a sale and some other discounts that I used that made the price more reasonable. I really liked the Sony A700 too (awesome viewfinder), but it’s almost twice as expensive and has some other limitations (IQ seems to be worse than other comparable DSLRs).

Of course now that I have a DSLR I am also learning its limitations (it is a Single Lens Reflex after all, and that means changing lens and that means dust problems). Though hopefully I’ll find one awesome general use lens so I can kinda “cheat” and not change lens often. :P

I’m still a fairly unformed ball of glop as far as where I want to specialize (with how expensive good lens are, it really is specialization). Though I’ve been more interested in close-ups of stuff recently (which the default lens aren’t very good at), I also like taking general pictures of animals/nature.

The lack of a movie mode in DSLRs is also disappointing. It’s actually kinda ironic since good video support is why I got into smugmug and down this road.

To a smaller extent, I think my interest in expensive photographic equipment may be channeled frustration at not really being able to do as much astronomy because of the weather conditions here. They’re both about buying and looking through expensive glass and then fretting about whether or not using it will damage it. :P Heck, some of the companies are even the same (Canon). And there are quite a few people who have an interest in both hobbies and wind up doing astrophotography, which I’ll have to try some time.

Part of the fun (of either hobby) is definitely looking up all the options and thinking about all the things that can be done. I think it reveals a bit about my personality, for better or worse.

I can envision a similar process going on when I finally get a car.

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