Graduation gift to myself

Three years ago i made a promise to myself – that i will get myself a D-SLR when i graduate. Then, i was frustrated that my Kodak Minolta finally succumbed to wear and tear and although i did have a film SLR with a pretty impressive lens passed on to me from my dad, i was finding it too difficult to work on my photography skills. It was difficult not to see the photo you took instantly, rather you have to wait to develop the whole roll of rather expensive film (and usually rubbish photos because i took a few just to make sure i got the composition/lighting/technical details right) and by the time i save enough money to get the prints, i don’t know what the hell i wanted to check anyway.

I also did not want to ask my parents to get me such an expensive product – i wanted it to be mine, that is paid fully for by me. The professional tripod i bought six years ago (just before medical school) when i participated in a professional photography course with a college friend, laid sadly in my room, still in its cling wrap from the airport customs, collecting dust. Every time i see the damn tripod, i am angrily reminded of how much sacrifices i made for damn Medical School (but rage no more because i am almost at the end if i pass the final hurdle on Wednesday, and really is there any other way out if i insist on working in Healthcare? Med school sucks, period. Now just suck it up and get on with it).

Since graduation is in two weeks and me shooting straight off to Japan a few days later, i have been scouting and researching on the various D-SLRs on the market. I have spoken to friends who are semi-professionals and they actually discouraged me from getting a D-SLR because apparently compact cameras are made so well these days, unless you want to shoot in really challenging conditions, there ain’t any point in forking out so much money. He told me to save the money and have an expensive meal instead. I was amused – i don’t care much for food but i do know what i want, and i am going to get a D-SLR, and if i find out that it isn’t for me, then all right, i will not be getting another D-SLR then. There has to be a first to everything, the only difference is the price and i guess if i really want to risk it. Six years? Hell, sure.

The other thing is that i have been contenting myself with the use of the camera on my handphone – first Sony Ericsson then Nokia and now my Blackberry. Although they suffice, they are not exactly ideal. Also there was once i took a photo of a rather picturesque iconic attraction, uploaded it onto Flickr and was pleasantly surprised to find an email from an organization who informed me that my photo had been shortlisted to be included in an upcoming travel book or something. And that photo was taken on a 2MP Nokia. Anyhow, i let the offer lapsed because i was too busy with my medical elective at the time and i uploaded the photo on a pseudonym; i was afraid my anonymity would be busted, and i needed more time to think about that. I however, did keep their email to remind myself that i did not dream that up, and to encourage myself despite the misgivings of other people.

Anyhow, I know i want a Nikon. My first ever camera was a Nikon compact. The colours were amazing although the speed of operating it was appalling. I steered clear of Nikon since, but i bet Nikon has worked on improving itself so that should no longer be a problem anymore. I was looking at the Nikon D7000, the latest that was released. Unfortunately, the same friend advised me to get the Nikon AFS VR 18-200mm lens if i was hell bent on getting a D-SLR. Problem was it cost a staggering $1k just for the lens. So i thought maybe i could drop back onto an older Nikon model since i was still a rookie and i probably would not know what to do with all those fanciful functions anyway. I will probably just ignore them and use the auto function till i find my footing. So i am looking at the Nikon D90 now.

Nikon D90

The Nikon D7000 is actually an upgrade of the D90. The D90 with the lens was more affordable and reasonable, considering i am not even sure how i will complement my photography hobby next year. I mean there are only that many holidays i can take in a working year. I am already working on plans for next year to ensure i will be honing my photography skills. That includes road trips on my days off and the dog is coming along with me for the fun. (On a side note, i am a little worried about the dog. She seems to be gaining weight. I think i need to take her running again, or at least take her to a leash-free dog park where she can roam free and get those extra calories burnt off. I could decrease her intake, but apparently the last time i did that, i overdid it – relax she wasn’t emaciated, what did you think i was doing? But she was a little slim according to my (medical) friends although the vet said she was a picture of health.)

Then i am also going to invest in a compact camera. The same friend this time vehemently insisted that i should get a Canon S95.

Canon S95

Apparently it is the only two compacts he will ever get – the other is out of production. So why should i get a compact? Because i do know the realities of a D-SLR. It is tough work lugging a D-SLR around and sometimes when you see a moment you want to capture, whipping out the compact is much faster than the D-SLR. Plus, I will be snowboarding in Japan and have also lined up wakeboarding and kayaking activities with various friends when i return to the Homeland (time to get back the tan that was supposed to be mine a long time ago!). There is no way i am taking the D-SLR with me; i will cry my eyes out when i see over 2k of equipment go into the sea.

Anyway, in the afternoon i was busy calling and discussing with my Dad about the prices back in the Homeland. It is much cheaper back home (almost 1k!) and i am hoping they will be able to get the cameras for me and bring them to Workland. Let my Dad do the bargaining – he’s good at it. Me? I will just give in. I hate the haggling.

So that’s it. Sit tight and wait i suppose. I am actually quite excited that my parents are coming over. There are a few things we have planned out; plus with my brother having a car here as well, it is less stressful trying to coordinate our itineraries and i am not expected to entertain them 24/7 (not to sound ungrateful but i do need a lot of personal space). Yay.

Now, back to studying. I still have an exam on Wednesday! Reality check!


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