Yesterday I felt like a kid at Christmas! My husband and mom went half and half on a new present for me. It’s my “birthday” present (I guess kind of like Christmas in July seeing as my birthday is five months away). Last summer my husband surprised me with my first DSLR camera, a third-hand Nikon D3000. It was such a thoughtful surprise! He had gotten me the camera, a tripod, a camera bag, and a course for beginner photography. I’d loved photography from a distance all of my life and never gave into it. He took away any excuse I could make for not giving it a try.
I loved the beginner course and started to learn as much as I could about photography. I researched so much that by the time I started the advanced course a month after the beginner course ended, I hadn’t learned anything new. I practiced nearly every day and got to know my camera very well. While I was thrilled to have it, it wasn’t long before I outgrew it. About three months after getting it, I realized I needed a new camera. There was nothing wrong with it, just that it wasn’t capable of performing the way I needed it to. The good thing about starting off with the D3000 is that I was able to discover exactly what I wanted in a camera and what I could do without. Although a new camera wasn’t something I felt I could justify at the time given I’d only had it for three months and I wasn’t going to make money off of it anytime soon. So I decided to let it challenge me.
I pushed myself to focus on the basics and getting as much right in camera as possible. That helped me to be aware of the details and not rely on touching things up in post processing that would take longer than just making adjustments as I shot. I knew my camera performed best in ideal lighting situations and anything less than that had a lot of noise. I started shooting in full sun and learning how to use it to my advantage (cloudy days were ideal!). I also played with light painting and got great results shooting things that were still in pitch darkness. I was able to grow as a photographer but the thing is, I’m a candid portrait photographer so I needed to have a better tool for the job.
It was finally time for me to get a camera that was able to perform better. After doing a lot of research I wanted the D7300. I loved it on paper, compared it to other models and thought it was the one for me. It wasn’t until I went to a photography meetup and I held my friend’s D7300 in my hand that I realized it wasn’t a fit for me in that moment. It was so big and bulky and cumbersome to maneuver. I wanted to upgrade from my D3000 but not in the literal sense. I was so disappointed because I had been lusting after it for so long.
I went back to researching and ultimately decided on the Nikon D5500. Although the D5600 is newer, there wasn’t a significant difference and the D5500 performed slightly better in low light situations. Seeing as I’d sacrificed quality in low light situations for a year, that was the deciding factor to go with the previous model. When it was delivered yesterday, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! I couldn’t believe how light it was and how easily it fit in my hand. The D3000 often made my wrist hurt if I used it for more than a few minutes at a time. So that was an advantage already!
Isn’t she a beauty? I use a scarf as a strap because I prefer to wrap it around my arm and the strap is too short and gets all twisted. This is much more comfortable (and fashionable according to my daughter). The other thing I like is that it makes it fit nice and snug inside the bag and prevents it from moving around.
I took a couple of photos and was impressed with the quality of the images on the screen. As much as I wanted to play, I decided to charge the battery after the initial menu setup and waiting until it had a full battery to try it out. As excited as I was about getting a new camera, there was someone who was just as excited- my daughter! The moment I mentioned upgrading, she asked if she could have my D3000 when I got a new camera. Since the battery was fully charged, she eagerly listened as I showed her the basics and took to the back yard to practice.
I got my new camera bag organized as I waited for the battery to charge. I absolutely love the bag I got! With over 5,000 reviews on Amazon, what can I say that hasn’t already been said? It’s a lot more durable and versatile than the bag I had for my D3000. It’s light-weight and compact but very sturdy. I try to travel light when I shoot so there’s plenty of room though I’m going to try to refrain from using it.
When the battery was finally charged, I went out back with my daughters to test my new present. I was in love with it! The light-weight, the ease and comfort of holding it, the amazing screen quality, and I already knew how to operate it coming from another Nikon model. The only thing I have to get used to is the flip screen. The screen was just on the back of the camera body on the D3000 so having a screen that comes out will take me some time to get used to. I’m sure that it won’t be long to adjust but I do wonder what the advantage of a flip screen is. I honestly could do without it and prefer to have the screen on the back of the body but I just wasn’t willing to go with another model because of the screen alone. Overall, I’m not only impressed but grateful for my new present and I can’t wait for the images I’ll be able to create with it! I’m so happy to have a more efficient tool to do the job!
Thanks for reading, I’ll leave a list of the goodies I got in case you want to check any of them out for yourself.
Until next time,
What do you shoot with? Feel free to share in the comments!