nikon…my love

disclaimer….if you are a professional photographer, or just someone who knows alot about photography, you might laugh your brains out at this post and how i try to explain the very very little that i know about photography and equipment….so don’t say i didn’t warn you! i’ve been very hesitant to write this post, for fear of sounding like an idiot…but i’ll take the chance!

clearly, you can look at my pictures and know that if you enjoy any of them, its most likely because of the cute subjects in front of the camera and not the talent behind!! but photography has been a love and a passion of mine since i was a little girl. my dad was a professional photographer and photography professor, and we had a studio, loads of equipment, and a darkroom in my house growing up, so i’ve been around photography my whole life…but its only been recently that i’ve really started learning the more technical ins and outs. he tried to encourage me to take photography classes in college, and i would give ANYTHING if i had listened to him!! (sorry dad!) but he’s a great resource to have, and although we laugh that my style is way more artsy and his is way more technical, he is my go-to man when it comes to learning stuff!

so…i’ll attempt to tell you a bit about the camera i use, but don’t get too excited, cause its nothing fancy!!

i’m a Nikon girl, only because that’s all my dad used, so when i was in the market for a camera, i didn’t even really look at Canon’s or any others, since i knew i would purchase a Nikon. so…i have no clue about Canon’s and can only speak about what i know, but i’ve heard they are very comparable!

so…i shoot with a Nikon D40:
Nikon D40 Camera Body
…pretty much (to my knowledge at least) the least expensive Nikon Digital SLR that’s been on the market. i don’t think they are selling the D40 anymore, unless its a refurbished model, which i would be hesitant to purchase (although i don’t really know why!)

if you need info about Nikons, i would suggest going to check out Ken Rockwell’s website here. he is known in some circles as “the nikon man” aka…the man to go to for any and all Nikon info!

the following are some quotes directly from his website about the D40…i figure he can explain it far better than i can!

PS: please know that i am not simply trying to compare cameras to tell you how great mine is. but i do want to include information that helped me make my decision in case you might have the same questions that i did. if you happen to have one of the cameras that Ken compares the D40 to, please don’t be offended! this is just one man’s opinion! but this info just helped me alot when i was shopping around for the best camera to suit my needs!

fyi: the D40 has 6.1 megapixels, which seems SO small in comparison to other cameras on the market, but unless i was enlarging photos to a humongo poster size (which i’m not), you’ll never notice the difference.

from Ken Rockwell:
(this is how he explains how megapixels may not make as big of a difference as you might think)

“the Nikon D60 and Nikon D40x are slightly downgraded versions of the D40, but with more pixels and a higher price. I prefer my D40 over the D40x and D60, even for the same price, and since the D40 costs less, the D40 is the deal of the past two years! In place of the D40, the Nikon D5000 is the next best thing….I’ve made great 20×30″ prints from my D40. More pixels doesn’t help: holding the camera still does. Your skill as a photographer is more important than your choice of camera.”

“I own all sorts of serious cameras like the Canon 5D, Nikon D200,D80 and D70, but my D40 is what I grab most of the time (as 2007) when I just want to make good photos easily.”

so basically…what my buddy Ken has taught me is that you don’t have to believe that you need the fanciest, most expensive equipment to get great results! and that no matter what camera you have, the skill and art of using it is what is most important!

now…let me be clear…if i had all the money in the world, i would probably purchase a way more expensive camera! but if you are like me and can barely afford the least expensive (after saving months and months for it) then don’t be discouraged!! a less expensive camera does not necessarily mean less quality pictures!!

okay…so that’s my plug for the Nikon D40! if you can happen to find one, i cannot speak enough good things about it. its super lightweight, which makes it so easy to cart around everywhere (like to Disney or the ball park!) and if i did have money and could purchase a more expensive one, i’d still keep my D40 and probably use it a whole lot!

now…if you were to ask my opinion, i would also tell you that i think the body of the camera is WAY LESS IMPORTANT then the lens that you use!

with that said, the lens that i use all the time is the Nikon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6. i love the range it gives me, as i typically don’t need to zoom more than 135mm for the kind of pictures i take. i can actually get some good depth of field with the aperture on this lens, but am in the market for a lens that gives me more bokeh (more on that later). but its sharp as a whip (is that even a real phrase? oh well…sounds like it should be, so i’ll use it!)….but i really do feel like it gives me super sharp pictures. basically…i LOVE this lens! it was a gift/trade between my dad and i, and i’m so thankful…cause its such a perfect, universal lens for me and i would’ve had to save a long time to get it.

i’ll show you the lens next, but please excuse the poor picture quality…since i couldn’t use my camera to take a picture of my camera, i took these with my cell phone!

here’s the lens on my D40 at 18mm, with a lens hood, which i do use when i’m outside:

and zoomed all the way out at 135mm:

have i mentioned that i LOVE this lens??!!

however, the two things that i wish this lens offered was VR (vibration reduction) and a wider aperture.

my preference (most of the time) when shooting photos, especially portraits of my kiddos, is to have the forefront image super super sharp, and the background blurred, also called bokeh, or shallow depth of field, possible when taken with a lens that has a wide aperture (or smaller F-stop number). the smallest F-stop that my lens has, which is the widest aperture, is 3.5.

the following pictures are some examples of some degree of shallow depth of field, and were all taken with my D40 and the 18-135mm lens. you can see how the background is blurred out, therefore making the main subject(s) of the photo pop:

these type of photos are my favorite, and i think the lens i have does a good job of capturing shots like this when i am in good, outdoor lighting. however, i would LOVE a simple lens that offers a wide aperture that would allow me to really get a sharper image, greater background blur, and more options inside my house, shooting without a flash (which, for the record, i avoid using at all costs!)

so, with that said, i am in the market (aka: SAVING $$$) for a new, simple lens that i’m hoping to purchase before July and our trip to Haiti. i am presently looking into this lens:

Nikon 35mm f/1.8

its not my perfect, ideal lens for what i want to do, but its pretty darn close, and is the only one in my price range that will do the job! i actually think i will love it and i know that i’ll use it often. ideally, i’d get a Nikon 50mm f/1.8, that’s half the price of this one, but it won’t autofocus on my camera body, which is a must with small crazies!

in a dream world, i’d get a Nikon 50mm f/1.4, or the new Nikon 24mm f/1.4…but let’s be serious people…the hubs is in full time ministry and i’m a SAHM, so the chances of even saving enough to buy the less expensive 35mm are slim, let alone a lens that’s $500 and $2,000!!

i do have some $$$ saved, about half, and am hoping to do some small jobs and sell some items on craigslist for the rest, so i’ll keep you posted if it comes to fruition! a girl can hope, can’t she??

but i must say…i cannot believe that i even have the camera that i do have, and no joke…i use it everyday! i am in love, completely, and am so thankful for the way God delights in me, as i delight photography!

okay…i think that’s enough for today! i’m guessing that’s way more than what you were wanting to know when simply asking “what kind of camera do you use??” but i could talk all day, so i’ll stop myself here! if i didn’t cover something you want to know that you think i can answer, leave a comment and i’ll try to address that too!

please tell me your thoughts and experiences and what kind of equipment you use! i have SO much to learn…and am hungry to learn it, so start sharing!!!

i ♥ Nikon,