I guess I chose wisely


Foreign Dispatches posts some digital camera recommendations, with explanations. I just went through a fair amount of research before going out and getting a new camera myself a few weeks ago, and it’s all good—most importantly, his best choice is the same camera I got for myself, the Nikon D50. Whew, what a relief. Don’t you hate it when you dump a bucket of loot on something and then you find a good review that tells you you should have got something else?

As he notes, how many millions of pixels you’ve got are no longer the most important criterion for a good camera. What settled me was that I finally wanted some good optics—the teeny-tiny cheap lenses on your standard point-and-shoot have always bugged me, and I wanted a camera body where I could actually mount some good lenses. Since my working camera for film (which I have hardly used in years now) was a Nikon 6006, that pretty much settled it for me, so I went with the camera body that would handle my Nikkor lenses.

One other thing Abiola didn’t mention in his review: a good camera is useful, but it isn’t the most important thing in good photography. I don’t consider myself a good photographer, but I’m not bad as a microscopist, and know by analogy what works. On a scope, you get the best objective you can afford, but when you’re working at micrography, you just sort of aim that at the specimen and forget about it. Where you put all your effort and fuss and tweak is in the illumination, and what you learn to appreciate is a condenser with all the knobs and dials and filters. Same with a camera; you want to be able to point a good light collector at your subject, but the difference between a blah picture and a great one is the lighting.


  1. #1 Ichthyic
    August 6, 2006

    actually, if you really want to pick up some great tips, get ideas for photo composition, and meet some generally friendly and knowledgeable photo geeks, I have spent fair bit of productive time here:

    check out the digital photography forum there, the how-to section, and the reader gallery, especially.

    Also, just in case you weren’t aware, your slr nikkor lenses won’t exactly have the same image size on the digital sensor that they did when you used them for 35mm (basically, the image gets cut off because the sensor is smaller than a 35mm film frame).

    there are plenty of guides that will give you specific translations out there, though.

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