The Life of Bon: Why I can't have nice things and other stories of camera woes

Monday, November 04, 2013

Why I can't have nice things and other stories of camera woes

The truth is folks, I am very much so afraid of this.

I have been blogging like a fiend for the past two years and as far as the camera goes, a dinky point and shoot and a camera phone are all I've got to show for myself.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I have known for a long time that I need to get one of these bad boys.  Every day I see blogs with beautiful photography and I wonder if I could do that with a nicer camera and a few tips.  But alas, all I've got is my point and shoot.  I tell myself I will make a DSLR my next big purchase and then every time I am about making the jump to a DSLR I inevitably talk myself out of it.  I'm an indecisive crazy!


9 REASONS WHY I HAVE NOT INVESTED IN A FANCY PANTS CAMERA FOR MY BLOG

1.  To start with, I can't even get the name down.   The camera is called a DSLR.  Or is it DRSL?  DSRL?  Ah, screw it all, we'll just call it a fancy pants camera! What in the world does that acronym mean? If I can't even figure out the name of the camera how am I supposed to figure out what it does?

2.  A thousand bucks.  That's what most of these bad boys cost and that's just the base price.  One of my good friends who loves photography says she has bought lens that in and of themselves are that expensive- in addition to the camera itself.  Shizer!  There goes every penny I've ever earned.

3.  I am overwhelmed easily.  Especially by things I don't do well.  I can see an absolute panic fit going down when I realize there are buttons, buttons and more buttons and I have not a clue how to use any of them.

4.  It's so big!  Definitely not big enough to shove in my purse, which is what I do now.  Does that mean that I have to carry a purse around everywhere AND a big, honking camera bag?  Because I think we all know that is never going to happen and the expensive camera will just get left in the car.

5.  I've got some pride and the fact of the matter is I am afraid that people who don't know anything about cameras will make fun of me for carrying around a big old camera. It's huge!  I'll look like an idiot!  Last time I got a pedicure the man doing my nails made fun of me for how big my point and shoot camera was, and that's just a little old thinger.  In the ever swelling "iPhone cameras are God" crowd how will I ever fit in with a DSLR?

6.  On the flip side of #5, I'm afraid that people who do know something about cameras will make fun of me for fiddling around with an expensive bugger and not having a clue how to use it.  I am already kind of afraid of real photographers anyway.  They're so intimidating with all their gadgets and lights and filters.  I'm afraid the real deals will be able to spot me from a mile away as nothing but a wannabe.  I feel like if I did have a nice camera I would have to go around with a sign around my neck that said "This camera cost a lot of money, but I am not a pro, I don't think I'm a pro, and I will never be a pro. Please judge accordingly."

7.  I am afraid people will make fun of my pictures.  I've seen some people say some not nice things about un-photographers who have DSLRs.  Facebook statuses abound, "Just because you have an expensive camera doesn't make you a photographer!"  I mean, rude, right?  So I guess I'll just take my camera phone and crawl into a corner now.

8.  I have a history of not taking care of my stuff as well as I should.  For example my point and shoot camera I keep in a sock in my purse.  I faithfully lose my keys every four months.  My car is missing its right rearview mirror.  AND I THINK I AM RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO HAVE A CAMERA THAT COST OVER ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS?  I think not.

9.  What if I buy a big fancy pants camera and then my pictures are STILL awful?  Or I am too dumb to figure out how it works?  So my pictures look just the same as they did before and now I am out a grand.

Now it's your turn.  Camera people- go.  Tell me every reason why I should or should not invest in one of those expensive little buggers.

36 comments:

  1. I totally feel your anxiety! I bought myself a DSLR before I went to Israel in 2011 and the first pictures I took didn't look ANY better than my phone pictures. Not bad, but not magical, for sure! I bought my Canon Rebel T3 kit for $549 on Amazon, and I'm saving up for my first prime lens, an f 1.4 50 mm. They're around $350, but the photos I've seen taken with it are gorgeous. I was totally afraid of the size and being made fun of for carrying it around, but I've never had anyone say anything to me, and I got a larger purse to carry my camera around (along with my wallet etc). Also! The best thing I did was buy a Groupon for a photography class. In 3 hours, I went from treating my DSLR like an overpriced point-and-shoot to shooting on manual and understanding a lot of the lingo. I want to take an advanced class, so I got another Groupon! I think getting a DSLR is a great investment, not just for blogging, but for puppy pictures, husband pictures, house pictures, vacation pictures... definitely do it! Don't be afraid!

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  2. As an on-again off-again photographer who occasionally gets paid to do stuff photography related, I feel qualified to say...get a DSLR because you love photography, not for blog photos. I've gone from old school film Canons to the Rebel XSi to, more recently, the 70D...but when I'm not carrying that, my iPhone works just fine. I even have a macro and a fisheye lens for it. I'm that geeky.

    The Canon Rebel series is a good starter. Get one of those on Amazon or Ebay and take a quickie course on how to shoot in manual {I took an awesome continuing education course at our local community college}. It really opens up the world of photography. Then, if you enjoy it, invest in the lenses. Don't go right for the $3500 Canon 5D Mark II if you haven't mastered the basics of manual.

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    1. Totally agree with Kristin.

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  3. My husband just got one similar to the one you want. He got his off craigslist for under $300! and it's nice! Nice enough that he won't let me touch it. He also just got a brand new car. He won't let me touch that either. He also just got an iPad, not allowed on that either. I don't know why he's SO MEAN! The point I was trying to make is that I'm not allowed to have nice things and there's probs a reason but the more I think about it the more I'm realizing that maybe it's not that I'm not careful and instead just that my husband is selfish with his toys!
    I'd really like to support your risking it and just buying the camera but I'd be afraid for all of the reasons you mentioned. :/

    LittleBirdBlogs

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    1. Sounds like you need a brand new husband! Haha! Sorry.. I couldn't resist. ;)

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  4. I have been feeling the exact same way! Your points are spot on. We are planning to do lots of traveling soon and we live in an incredibly beautiful place. I feel like I need a DSLR to capture all the beauty. I am too afraid to take the plunge, though, because I am worried I won't ever figure it out and will have wasted all of that money. Here is to hoping we figure out this dilemma soon!

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  5. I actually HAVE a DSLR but can understand your reluctance to buy one. mine is a few years old [2009] and last year my husband bought me a Canon EOS M for my birthday. I have barely touched my DSLR since! the EOS M is the size of a large point-and-shoot but takes SLR quality photos. it is SO much easier to carry around, it fits in all of my purses and has traveled to three different countries with me. it also has all the full auto and creative modes you point-and-shoot probably has. PLUS the controls are all through the rear touchscreen [which feels like using an iPhone] and it has live view that will make learning to use manual mode SUPER EASY if you ever decide to go that route. and the cost is less. I think you should look into it! [and sorry if I sound like an advertisement!]

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  6. I have a DSLR too (yay Canon) but my problem is that it is MASSIVE. And heavy. And carrying it around is a pain. So awkwardly, I almost never take photos with it, and almost all the photos I use on my blog are from my phone. In saying that, I'm not trying to grow my blog in any way shape or form so don't feel the pressure to take fancy blog photos :)

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  7. My husband got me a fancy pants camera for my birthday without consulting me. I actually love it. Mine has an automatic mode that does everything, even cropping around portraits. I did have to get an extra bag but I think if I used a big purse I could make that happen. I am SO self conscious when I'm out taking pictures but that's improving. And I think you can totally tell a difference from before when it was all iPhone photos. You should do if! Get a fancy pants camera!

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  8. Do your homework - an entry level DSLR is not $1000, although good lens can run you that much (or more). The Canon EOS series starts out about $500 or so and comes with a nice starter lens. You can rent lens to help you figure out what you want to spring for - and really (this is coming from professional photographer friends) if you have good lens with a decent body, that's all you need.

    I recently made the upgrade because I was selling photos along with some of my free lance pieces - although honestly, I've sold just as many photos taken with my point & shoot as I did my big new fancy camera. There's a huge learning curve in learning shoot manually - I've been doing it for a few months and still don't entirely have it down.

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  9. I'm right there with you. I would like, in theory, to have one of those bad boys..but lets get real here.. I would never do it justice. I am amazed at home some people can take a normal camera and make amazing looking pictures. Mine come no where close...so how can I justify buying a camera that cost enough to feed a small country and then produce the same quality pictures that I am taking now??

    Laura @ Mice in The Kitchen

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  10. I saved up my money to get a Nikon DSLR camera and loved it so much. I used it for years, brought it on vacations....then my husband dropped it and broke it! This is why I can't have nice things : /

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  11. Part of me wants a fancy camera too... but honestly, my point and shoot takes awesome pictures. It's not fancy, but it gets the job done. I've taken some great photos with my point and shoot and a lot of times I get great videos from it too. Who needs the fancy camera???? You rock that point and shoot and iPhone girl!

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  12. I cannot wait to make the purchase of a DSLR. I haven't been able to actually jump into it and spend the money, but I'm definitely doing it this year on Black Friday. I've heard about some good sales and I feel like if I spend that much money, I will watch videos and articles on how to use it properly!

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  13. I think a fancy pants camera is a good idea in theory--but DO NOT go for it unless you are willing to spend the time and money on it. Yes, you can probably take better pictures but that's after getting some nice lenses and taking a photography class. It might be something to start thinking and planning for now, so that you can be ready once you have kids and want to take nice pictures.

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  14. Girl...i hear ya! I wanted to get a nice one so that i can take family photos with it, have nice pictures for my frame but I always get compliments on the pictures in my house and they were all taken with a point and shoot. My thing is, i always miss great photo opps because i am more focused in enjoying the moment rather than capturing it. I spend my sons kindergarten graduation holding a camcorder and I felt like i missed the entire thing. Maybe one day I will make the jump!

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  15. I totally hear you! I had been thinking about buying a nice camera for years, but always talked myself out of it. I had the same concerns you do. You know what, though? After you get over the first few weeks where you're crying and freaking out that you just paid $1000 for something that doesn't work right, you figure out a setting that you understand and all your pictures start looking so much better. I've been so impressed with my camera. You don't even have to be that great of a photographer for the pictures to turn out well. The lens will do that for you. I really dislike people who are snobby about taking pictures. We're all just doing this to capture our moments and express ourselves, so they need to quit being all elitist. I got a Canon 60D at Nebraska Furniture Mart (body only) and then bought a Sigma lens separately (supposed to be as good as the Canon's). I promise you that if I can figure it out, anyone can:) Also, you can get a Rebel style which is smaller and easier to carry around. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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  16. Hello! I am a new reader and first time commenter. Based on your concerns, blog, and your lifestyle I do not think you need to buy a fancy camera. You do not need a better camera to improve your photography. Have you seen those iPhone photographers that take amazing stuff? You can shoot well with any camera, I would recommend you learn how to use your point-and-shoot and your phone camera really well: read the manual cover to cover, test all the settings. If you don't know how to use your camera it will never give you what you want. And I would also recommend checking out any book on photography basics. This will improve your photography regardless of what camera you are using. "The best camera is the one that's with you." http://www.amazon.com/The-Best-Camera-Thats-With/dp/0321684788
    If, after you feel more comfortable with your current setup, you still want to go further with photography then definitely check out a starter DSLR or a beefed up point-and-shoot with manual settings. Just my two cents. :)

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    1. I totally agree! A fancy pants camera will help with quality, but if you don't know how to compose a great photo then you won't notice too much of a difference between your point and shoot and the DSLR. I think working with what you have and a photography class would be beneficial before you take the leap! Good luck deciding. :)

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  17. I was in the same boat about 6 months ago. I really wanted a nice camera but not to spend a whole bunch of money on it. But I've always wanted to go into photography so I figured that I would need to invest in a nice camera eventually. Jake recently bought me a Nikon 3100 for my birthday. He found a way good deal on KSL and we drove to west valley (eh, I know) to go get it. Then I started looking on ebay for lenses and I found a really good lens for $30! there was nothing wrong with it!! So there are good and simple ways to work your way around the expensive stuff. But I would say if you really don't think you wont use it too much then don't spend the big bucks. As for the bag: http://www.jototes.com/collections/all this website has camera bags that double as a purse, and they are adorable!! They are a little bigger but it will definitely fit everything in it that you would need. So you could keep your camera in it and switch over your wallet and keys when you wanted to take your cam. and for all the buttons: http://www.kevinandamanda.com/whatsnew/tutorials/photography-tutorial-a-quick-guide-to-understanding-your-digital-slr-camera.html#
    I was given that website when I first got my camera, and read the whole thing and took notes. It was very very helpful and I understand my camera a lot more than I did before. Also on pinterest there are many helpful tips. Also studying other blog pictures, or just pictures in general can help to make your photography better.
    I would say if you really want better pictures on your blog and think you would enjoy using your big fancy camera, I say yes get one! I wouldn't worry about what other people would say about you being an amateur. It all will come with time. All great photographers had to start out from nothing. Don't let other people decide what you really want (if you really want it! :)) that's just some of my thoughts! love ya gal!

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  18. I have felt all of these things. I think it's a feat to have a successful blog with a large readership and NOT have a fancypants. I feel like to "take the next time" it's what you're supposed to do to be a good blogger. Annoying. I think if you're thinking of doing it more to keep up, then no. But if it's a genuine interest and something you think of often, I think you should invest!

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  19. You don't have to get a huge fancy camera. I have a Panasonic GF-2. And the body is not that big. And it has interchangeable lenses.

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  20. dSLR = digital Single Lens Reflex camera :)

    And of course practice makes perfect, but I've read camera books that say that you can get great photos even with point and shoots!

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  21. Bonnie, don't worry about not having a nice fancy camera. We just got ours, which was a big deal, but we got it because we were coming to Europe for three years. And we certainly don't take it everywhere we go, because, yes, it is a pain to carry around and somewhat cumbersome. Ben will never just let the camera hang around his neck, he insists in carrying it in the bag at all times. He's such a paranoid weirdo. Anyway, maybe one day when you have kids you'll want to get one. But I use my iPhone quite a bit and it takes really nice photos imo. And don't be intimated by them. I bought Ben a book on his particular camera, and Friday we're actually taking a photography class. Should be fun! Hey, I want to chat with you. I'm going over to fb right now to see if I can get a hold of you.

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  22. Speaking as someone who studied photography and had all the technical stuff down by the time I was 15, you won't be judged for trying! It's the people who buy the cheapest one, start photographing their extended families, title themselves a photographer and start up some cheap photography business while shooting with a kit lens on auto that annoy us. Their cocky, they usually suck and we hate them. Hah.

    But for bloggers and individuals who want nicer quality to captures their favorite moments, you won't be judged! Just play around and venture off the automatic setting! Take your time, experiment and indulge yourself in all the free tutorials online! While even the cheapest SLR's will give you great photos - they usually still need a little fine-tuning on the computer. Adobe Lightroom (about $100) is a good starter if you don't want to spend the (or don't know how to pirate) money for Photoshop.

    And honestly, I'm tiny and my camera is huge, but I never use a camera bag or keep it in my purse. I usually know when I'm going to use it and slung it around my shoulder - it strains my neck but if I carry it like I would a bag it's nothing.

    Otherwise if you really don't want to deal with an slr, Cannon has a pretty good range of point and shoots that are decent quality for the camera size. For SLR's I prefer Nikon. Even point and shoot pics are fun to play around with in photo editing software like the one I mentioned above. I have friend who's and amazing Illustror (Teagan White- look her up!) and I noticed she started posting some really gorgeous photos - all she had was a point and shoot and was playing around with them in Photoshop! They seriously looked nicer than some photos I've seen taken by amateur photographers.

    Sorry for the long-winded comment! I get all excited about cameras :)

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  23. I hear you. WE lost our fancy camera at a trail in California. I have an amazing camera course on DVD--24 hour hour lectures given by a National Geographic photographer. Maybe we could watch them together.

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  24. Lately, I haven't been too happy with the quality of my iPhone pictures and began considering using a "fancy" camera as well. BUT - I feel you on #4! Using your iPhone is so easy because it's always there and fits EVERYwhere. So...the other day, I whipped out the trusty Canon PowerShot that got thrown in a drawer when I got my iPhone a few years back. Pocket-sized and perfect solution!

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  25. I'm with you on ALL of these reasons sister! I just can't see myself toting around a giant camera everywhere I go--that's why they invited the camera phone. That my mean that my pics are sub-par but I never claim to be a photographer on my blog. Maybe one day I will have time to deal with learning how to take pics with a fancy pants camera but right now it's just not high on my list. However, my husband got a pretty good one for work off of eBay for a great price, so don't forget to check them out there if you decide to take the plunge!

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  26. Haha I love that your camera is in a sock! Mine is in a Crown Royal bag! I'd be way too overwhelmed with a DSLR. I never even use my point and shoot, just use my iPhone.

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  27. I love photography and would love to go pro, but I'm still FAR away from ever doing that. (In fact, I just did a post on that very fear/desire.) I'm sure some pros probably look at me with my DSLR and wonder what the heck I think I'm doing, but I don't know---from what I can tell, most people in the photography community that I've met seem pretty friendly and helpful (unless you're trying to steal their clients of course, which I'm not). In the end, having a nicer camera has been awesome for me because it's given me fresh motivation to look at the world through new eyes (or rather, lens)---I've already been so amazed at some of the shots I've been able to get, and if you're into art or design at all, you'll just eat up every last bit of photography advice you'll hear.

    I'd say go for it---and hey, if we're ever in the same town, I'd even be willing to go out with you and show you some of the tips I've picked up :)

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  28. I feel in the exact same boat as you! I would like one cuz everyone else has one and it makes you "more professional" as a blogger because now, not only are you a writer, but also a photographer! But, really, I'm not. I can appreciate the beauty that is good photography, but I just don't trust in my own skills to make that beauty!

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  29. I didn't worry about a fancy camera, as I call it, until we had a baby. Now I cherish those fancy photos with my fancy camera. It has nothing to do with blogging, though I do enjoy having mostly nice photos on my blog now. It has to do with getting those great shots and memories from my camera!

    I have a Nikon d5100. It took a bit of learning, but that's the fun of it. It was only $700.

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  30. I completely understand you on the "my camera is way too big and I look like a dork carrying it around" stuff. I felt that way a lot, but then I got over it. Most people aren't really paying attention to you and a lot of people carry around DSLRs these days anyway. In terms of the pricing, you won't need to spend $1000. Get an entry level DSLR for around $400 that already has a lens with it. Those cameras still take great photos and give you the option of shooting either in Auto or Manual until you can figure out all of the settings and such. I personally suggest the Nikon D3100 as a starter camera, though Canon lovers might suggest the Canon EOS Rebel T3. I have quite a few lenses, so I recently bought the Nikon D3100 as a second camera body to put lenses on so I didn't always have to swap them out. I have been extremely happy with that camera in comparison to my larger and more expensive Nikon. Honestly, at the end of the day, there isn't too much of a difference between the final product if you're not a professional, but just looking for a camera that will take beautifully crisp and clear shots. Those starter cameras also usually come with a good lens that will shoot wider angles as well as zoom in. Then once you have gotten used to the camera or have decided that you really like photography, you can start thinking about other lenses. And lastly, I highly recommend shopping online at Adorama.com. They are a fabulous online camera store with really good prices. You can even purchase refurbished versions of the cameras I suggested for around $300 or so-- a really great deal!

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  31. You've officially thought too hard about this lol. I promise it will make your pictures better, and it feels fun to be official - kind of like you're playing a game. If you can make it happen, I highly recommend it.

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  32. I just bought a fancy pants camera, also known as Fujifilm x20. Other then being absolutely beautiful. I have no idea how to use the dam thing. So many terms?! So many buttons. I want to push them all at once, but I know that's no way to treat a lady. So like you, i'm sure photographers are looking at me thinking what a moron with a wicked camera. Theres no way to find out how to use this beauty then doing a little trial and error. I mean, how hard can it really be (here's me convincing myself that the amount of money i just spent on a camera is compeletly worth it)? Shutter speed, ISO and Apeture- Game on!

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  33. I must obey that you have tole about this. Today I will setup this step for my office and home besides that car. If i be benefited then I will come to you for salute. Thanks..
    Devid khan

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