Friday, 15 June 2018

Joyful moonwalk from DSLR to a pocket Camera

Joyful moonwalk from DSLR to a pocket Camera
My journey around this fast evolving globe of digital photography had begun clutching onto the robust hand-grip of a Sony Handycam DCR-HC42E. Undoubtedly it was a huge upgrade over the Yashica MF-2 film camera I had been merrily using till then. The new gadget looked so posh and technology rich that I missed the basic point- it wasn't a still camera! It was built for serious videography. Clicking still photos with this highly potent camcorder was like using a smartphone as paperweight. Despite the minuscule resolution, its brilliant Carl Zeiss optics could produce some decent photographs. My sole purpose was travel photography. Carrying that beauty in any trip meant not only putting up with her poor battery backup, but also paying the additional video recording charges wherever applicable.

Having already parted with a hefty sum on buying the camcorder, I was too broke to fix my unmet need. It was the phone camera of Nokia 3250 that kept my point and shoot zeal alive for many subsequent years of travelling, till I got hold of a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350 which belonged to my girlfriend. Although I had liberal access to that pink shooter and few best journeys of my life owe their gratitude to her, she was too automatic for my taste back in those days. In spite of a thin wallet, hunt and struggle for a proper camera was still on. It took another couple of years to bring home my first capable still shooter, a Nikon Coolpix L120. It had an astounding focal reach of 25-525 mm which translates to 21x of optical zooming ability! It was the time when camera manufacturers were aggressively competing on megapixel (resolution) and zoom range numbers.
 
Joyful moonwalk from DSLR to a pocket Camera
Most of the consumers who fell prey to that gimmick were either too naive to understand the importance of image quality in a camera, or, too tempted to let go the opportunity of capturing remote subjects even when their photographic purposes didn't call for it. Thankfully, L120 was better than most other bridge cameras of similar price bracket, and could produce decent images. It'll be mean nitpicking the cons of your already sold camera which had accompanied me for about 6 years. Somewhere in the middle, increased affordability and persistent craving for better image quality added a Nikon D3100 into my photography arsenal. You realise the profoundness of the saying- photography is an expensive hobby, only after you purchase your first DSLR. Before exploring the full potential of 18-55 mm kit lens most DSLR enthusiasts contemplate on upgrading to a better lens.

To put it simply, point and shoot photography was my genre, and travel photography my purpose of owning a camera. It didn't take long to fathom the futility of the new acquisition, but I wasn't ready to give up so soon and let the D3100 accumulate fungal filaments inside a dark cabinet. My DSLR with its kit lens couldn't take up the role of L120 satisfactorily by any standard. The lack of its reach was constantly bothering me. Added to that, photos captured in automatic mode were much dull when compared to those of L120. My disappointment took an exponential route during a zoo visit. I couldn't fill my frames with any member of the zoo except the generous giraffe. It was time for another impulsive decision. Soon, the kit lens got replaced by a Tamron 16-300 mm lens designed for Nikon. 

Joyful moonwalk from DSLR to a pocket Camera
Tamron AF 16-300 mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD is an extremely versatile and probably the most value for money travel lens you can get till date, but it comes with its limitations. It slows down your DSLR, makes the auto-focusing unpredictable, makes the camera relatively heavier, slightly bulkier, heats up the system pretty fast and drains battery extravagantly like a shopaholic fighting out of depression. Despite all conscious efforts to keep my photo gears light, I was never carrying less than 2 kilograms of weight with the Tamron mounted Nikon D3100 and Coolpix L120 packed together with their bare essentials. It took a while to confront the bitter truth. During my travelling, I was mostly using my iPhone 6S Plus camera unconsciously, almost all the time to be precise!

Last time I had documented a trip exclusively using the D3100 was in last August, during my Ladakh motorcycling expedition. Thereafter, the camera bag turned a huge white elephant to my travel baggage, and the phone camera serving me as a sincere mule. It took almost a decade to break out of the bubbles of confusion and firmly decide which type of camera would suit my photographic need, but better late than never. Motorcycle touring and backpacking are my primary methods of travelling. Note it as I emphasise, nothing gives more freedom and creates more photographic opportunities than a light camera which slips into a backpacker's pocket. If only my iPhone had a little telephoto range I'm sure I could do without a new compact camera. After thorough research I zeroed in on a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX220

Joyful moonwalk from DSLR to a pocket Camera
In a sense, it was a retrograde journey as I stepped down from DSLR to a simple pocket camera. But reality is, internalising a single book is more enriching than sleeping inside a library. The WX220 is a kilogram lighter to my DSLR (lighter and smaller than my smartphone too) and captures more vibrant photos in auto mode which are easily comparable to flagship mobile phones. There's more to it. It costed me a small fraction of the DSLR system or even the iPhone, which allows me to remain carefree while travelling. No, I'm not a careless user. Yet, it gives immense relief to know that I won't have missing heartbeats in case of an accidental fall. I intend to click more photos in coming trips and rejoice my moonwalk from DSLR to a pocket camera.

Now you know that the objective of this post was not to review my golden WX220, but to share the story of my indecisive years with digital cameras. It doesn't matter which model your photo enthusiast friend is using. How much you can spend is also of little value. Only thing that should guide your camera selection is your photographic need. Monsoon is yet to embrace the southern parts of Bengal. I'm eagerly waiting to get drenched in rain. Then I'll happily resume my tales from #GQRideWithBenu. Oh, I've finally brought her home from the workshop. A lot of cracks on her body couldn't be fixed due to unavailability of parts from Benelli. We'll talk about those later. Take care till we meet again.    

6 comments:

  1. Yes the journey behind the cameras is drastic. Now everyone tries hand at photography, I am one of them. Shall share pics soon , hope they turn out good.

    Cheers
    MeenalSonal from AuraOfThoughts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, thanks to digital photography! Keep clicking without unnecessary apprehension and over-expectations. Cheers.

      Delete
  2. I realise how much I miss my pocket camera now. After having a phone with a pretty kickass camera (not iphone) I have said goodbye to carrying a camera on travels too. But truth is it took some pretty good pics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy mobile phone photography my friend :-))

      Delete
  3. Travel and photography go hand in hand. I have a point and shoot and a dslr. For travel photography I use kit lens of 18-140mm but the point and shoot comes in handy for the mountain peaks. I have a photography blog too.
    You can check:
    https://click-kgp.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pocket cameras were pretty cool but smartphones are have taken over

    ReplyDelete

I really appreciate your efforts in exploring my poetry of roads. Thank You!