Back in 2003 I was fortunate enough to have a Canon 300D at my disposal. Besides my first real camera; a Nikon F-401 (a generous present which I was only able to use sporadically due to the cost of film and processing), the new Canon 300D was a mind blowing experience for me. Not only did it offer a price far, far below any other SLR out at the time, it also offered 6-megapixels, great image quality and a chunky plastic body making it comfortable to use for those who fumble with the tiny buttons compact cameras bristle with.
The 300D whilst good, maybe even great, was never a camera one could love (and loving the aged F-401 was outta the question!). It wasn’t in fact until I received a Nikon D200 as a very generous wedding present did I fall hard for photography. Coupled with the supremely versatile 18-200mm lens this thing ate through the scenery as fast as I could press the shutter. Gone was the agonising startup delay of the 300D, gone was the plasticky feel of a camera you knew would shatter like a glass bowl full of pin ball parts - the Nikon D200 was a brick and it could really take pictures, unless of course - you were in poor light. Ah yes, the D200’s Achilles heel, as the light level fell, the D200 would compensate by raising the ISO (sensor sensitivity) and hence the noise.
If I lived somewhere other than Britain (where the sun is harder to find than rocking horse poop) poor light would not have been a problem. But given that on any slightly cloudy day I would see the ISO creeping up to 800 and beyond (and noise permeating my images along with it) I’d clutch my sturdy D200, nod sympathetically at its limitations and soldier on.
Love mon ami, is what kept me and my D200 together through that and I am reluctant ever to sell it. But may she rest in peace for I have been seduced (and how!) by the delights of Nikon’s latest baby, the D700.
Offering all the qualities of a D200; superb build quality, the always excellent Nikon ergonomics, and a plethora of features, the D700 also offers one thing I had been longing, nay aching for - low noise. And if that weren’t enough - a 35mm, ‘full-frame’ sensor. I’d found heaven, and it took far too many pay-cheques (and a birthday gift of Bank of England vouchers) to purchase it.
With time I might just find that elusive artist’s eye in my camera bag, but until then with a D700 also in there - I can gladly say that my camera gear does not limit the image inside my head.