About My Cameras

(about cameras)

If I am going to write about photography, I should start with equipment. Every “serious” photography article starts with equipment, right?

My main camera is a Nikon D300digital single-lens reflex (DSLR). By now, using Nikon is as much by habit as by choice. I have had a number of Nikon digital and film SLRs since about 1980. Back then, Nikon was known for the best optics. So when the bug bit again and I wanted a DSLR, Nikon seemed the natural choice. I don’t suppose there is much difference between the major camera makers today, but I know Nikon. Nikon still has superb optics, and their cameras are fairly rugged and can be used in most environments without worry — in dust, light rain, heat and cold. I think that Canon may be marginally ahead in the sensor itself, but Nikon might have a slight edge in optics and ruggedness. I have also used Sony cameras, and I would swear that they have the richest, most advanced preprogrammed feature set and automatic processing in-camera. It is hard to take a bad picture with a Sony — no matter the light or conditions, the photo is bright, colorful, clear, and attractive. On the other hand, I think you have more creative options and control with Nikon or Canon (more options to create something unique, but also more opportunity to mess it up completely). My apologies to Pentax, Minolta, Fuji, Olympus, and the others: I know they take great pictures, but I just don’t know the rest of the field very well.

For underwater, I use a Canon PowerShot G9“semipro” point-and-shoot, with Ikelite underwater housingand two Ikelite DS-125 digital strobes. (Typically, I bought my G9 about 15 minutes before Canon announced its successor. Today, I’d buy the later model, the Powershot G10 and Ikelite case.) I have gone through several underwater cameras, starting around 1982 with a Nikonos V (underwater film rangefinder camera). I “went digital” in fits and starts. I tried a very expensive and complicated SLR setup for underwater, but quickly learned that rig did not suit my diving style. (And my focus through the viewfinder really bothered my nervous main dive buddy, my wife Nancy. She was sure I could not be watching her at the same time. She was right.) I finally settled on a “high-end” point-and-shoot system. I prefer a point-and-shoot for underwater, because I can frame and shoot while holding the camera away from my face. (And a point-and-shoot rig is much less expensive than would be a DSLR underwater setup.) I can enjoy my free perspective underwater, can track my buddies, and can take reasonable pictures too.

We will talk more about lenses, features, and settings in later posts. For now, I would love to read anyone else’s recommendations or thoughts on cameras.