As the end of 2015 gets near I was thinking about technology-related changes in my life I hadn’t blogged about this year, and I found a couple of them I would like to write about. The first one is I bought a Nikon D5300 camera back in July.
My son was born in March and he’s our first baby. For the first three months or so, we used mobile phones or the family compact camera in every picture we took of him.
I was a bit disappointed with picture quality, mainly from mobile phones, but when I tried to use the compact camera more frequently I found it was not easy to get good pictures either. Being three months old then, the baby didn’t pose for pictures at all (and he still does not). He moved his head, arms and legs constantly when happy, which is when you want to take pictures. Moreover, most of them were taken indoors, in less than perfect light conditions. Light was simply too dim normally and, to make matters worse, I realized to be able to take good pictures I needed a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second or even a bit faster to freeze movement, and I wanted to avoid using the camera flash so as not to disturb the baby. With our compact camera that meant very dark pictures and/or very noisy ones.
I was then and I am now a total photography newbie, but I try to understand the main concepts behind photography, and apply them if I remember them in the few occasions that turn up. From that point of view, I was totally in love back then with the Fujifilm X100T. It’s not as small as a compact camera but it’s still relatively small and it gives you very nice pictures (stunning quality from the reviews I read). It also removed the lens question by giving you a single fixed 35mm equivalent one. The problem is it costs a thousand euros.
When asking some colleagues about it, most of them told me I should get a normal DSLR camera. They are bigger but they are also way cheaper and much more flexible. After they talked some sense into me, I went ahead and got a Nikon D5300. I was initially planning to buy one from the 3000 series, but there was a noticeable discount in the D5300 at that moment, and they said the price difference was so small it was better to go for the D5300. I bought the kit that included the camera body and the 18-55mm lens.
The 18-55 lens gives you the typical angles you’d get from a normal compact camera. Any picture I was taking with the compact camera when traveling could be taken with that lens. The low 18mm end is enough to get a wide picture in close quarters while not spending many hundreds of euros in a specific wide-angle lens. The 55mm end (equivalent to 84.15mm with this camera’s crop factor of 1.53) is good enough for portraits and zooming a bit into some specific detail or object if you use it while traveling.
At home and for taking pictures of the baby, I also bought the 35mm prime lens (equivalent to 53.55mm), with a maximum aperture of f/1.8. I read it’s ideal for pictures in low light and the angle is good enough to be used indoors for the baby, when I don’t have much room to get far away.
Normally, when I set it to 1/125 in shutter speed priority, the camera automatically chooses f/1.8. I have to go into manual mode if want to close it a bit more sometimes. With that aperture and the focus a meter away or less from the camera the depth of field is ridiculously thin, but if I focus on my son’s eyes I get some incredibly beautiful pictures even indoors with artificial light at the end of the day in winter. In fact, we had to review all our pictures several times already for different things and the jump in picture quality when I got the camera is very noticeable. I take pictures of him from time to time and I’m sure he will have lots of good pictures as a baby and as a child when he grows up.
All things considered, I’m incredibly happy with my purchase and being able to capture those moments and remember them better in the future. The cost of the camera kit and the 35mm lens was still less than the Fuji. To complete my set I planned on getting the 55-200mm VRII lens in the future. That one would be good for outdoor sports, school theater or similar events. But just a few days ago it went on sale in Amazon with a discount that was close to 50% of its normal price. I didn’t want to lose that chance and I bought it right away. I’m now served for a long time to come, I think.