I saved and scrimped. For fifteen or so years I have been relying on cheap digital cameras and more recently, my cellphone to take photos. Point and shoots have come a long way, cellphones even more so. For casual photos, they suffice 99% of the time. Hell, I used an Olympus and later a Canon digital point and shoot for all of the photography I used in my newspaper, Inferno. Nine years, tens of thousand of images. Macro shots of coins and jewelry I sold on eBay. I really can’t complain.
But there comes a point you want more control, need more features, and with some shot you just cannot do it without a telephoto lens. I spent two months reading reviews, and researching websites and retailers. I didn’t want to spend a fortune – I could have drained my savings and bought twice the camera. This is the first time in my life I actually have a reserve of ready cash in the bank – money that I don’t touch except for emergency. I have a credit card that I use for small purchases and pay the balance off monthly. I am going to need a good credit rating eventually when I am ready to replace my truck.
So after all my research, I opted for the Canon EOS Rebel T5. I used to have three different 35mm Pentax SLR’s. I played with the idea of getting a Pentax. I worked for Canon USA for fourteen years, and so I have an affinity for the product line. Canon treated me well. I opted for Canon.
I had a full working darkroom. Some people wax nostalgic about those days – not me. Fuck chemicals, and processing fees and film and delayed gratification! I delayed my gratification long enough! I wanted full digital and the ability to experiment creatively without spending a ton of money on processing.
I bought a kit from Focus Photography through Amazon. The kit included the camera body, two lenses (18-55mm autofocus with image stabilization, and 75-300mm with autofocus) two batteries with charger, a Vivitar tripod, 32G memory card, three filters, slave flash, lens attachments (wide angle, telephoto and macro) lens and camera cleaning accessories, a camera bag, and a half dozen other accoutrements. And I didn’t have to take a second mortgage to afford it.
The next morning after my shipment arrived, Liz and I were on the Lost Dutchman Trail. I couldn’t wait to try out my new toy. It has full-automatic abilities – put your brain on hold and let the camera do all the work. All you have to do is worry about composition and shoot. That morning I used the automatic features and shot away.
I wasn’t worried about making creative shots. I recreated shots I have taken many times with my point and shoot. I chose a trail that was familiar – and was surprised to find petroglyphs I had missed on previous excursions. I am guessing these are trail marks lefts by the Spanish, and not by native tribes. This trail was used by the Spanish and Mexican miners over a hundred years ago.
This weekend I will get to play some more at the local rodeo, during the Lost Dutchman festival. I hope to get some good action shots. So far I am extremely satisfied with my purchase. The camera is user friendly, and anyone can pick it up and take acceptable photographs. And, it has all the features for the more experienced photographer. Just like riding a bicycle, I expect my experience with the all manual and mostly manual Pentax SLR cameras I owned in the past, I hope to be up to speed shortly.