Fun with photography again - D80

Started Sep 14, 2006 | Discussions thread
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Brent DeShazer Contributing Member • Posts: 742
Fun with photography again - D80

If anyone cares, a bit of a story and a few photos....

After being a Canon DSLR shoot for many years, having gone through the D30, 1D and 5D, I got fed up with it all and gave up photography completely for a while. I got tired of spending hours on post-processing (I only shot RAW of course), constantly looking for the next great lens (I owned everything from the 15mm fisheye to the 500mmf4is) or accessory (CF tripods, studio lights, filters, software, etc., etc.) and it just wasn't fun any more. So I sold $18k worth of equipment and told myself I'd just get a point-and-shoot for stuff here and there and not worry about it. (Final straw was the 5D I bought for the resolution but which couldn't focus-track in servo mode worth a dang, and I wasn't about to plunk down $8K for a 1DSII!)

Trouble is, it is VERY difficult to go back to any kind of p-n-s after using a DSLR. Shutter lag, burst, DOF, etc... I couldn't find anything I liked. I thought about a digital rebel, but if I wasn't happy with a 5D...? And of course I'd need lenses again...

Then one of the security guards at work who was a Nikon shooter that I chatted with on occasion asked me if I'd seen the previews on the new D80, so I went out and checked it out online, and liked all the specs, price, kit lens range, etc. and figured I'd give it a shot. It took me four days of convincing myself to go ahead and pick one up at the local Best Buy (got the last one) and a Brand-x (PNY, I think?) 2GB card.

Before I did, though, I made myself a few promises - NO additional photography purchases for at LEAST a year, JPEG shooting only and NO thoughts of turning "pro", selling photos, etc. (I have a good-paying job in IT and a family to support)

After one day, so far, so good 364 to go...

As for the D80 and kit lens, I'm loving it. Ergonomics and controls are a lot easier to use, high-ISO performance is great (LOVING auto-ISO!), and the d@ng AF can actually track my dog running across the yard (no 1D of course but once I got things tweaked after figuring out some of Nikons terminology in the manual and trying a few different combinations, it works!)

Is the kit lens perfect? No, of course not, but it is "good enough". It can produce quite-sharp photos with proper technique and has a good range, and focuses quickly enough for most uses.

So if pixel-peeping, worrying about hot pixels, what other vendors are bringing out, whether the kit lens is sharp, trying to keep up with "The Joneses" (pros and lens collectors), etc. are what you want to spend your time on and that makes you happy, by all means keep at it. Eventually you'll probably burn out like I did and realize that you're not having fun any more. Actually, even when I had my 1D and 5D I'd lurk in the 300/350D forum because in general those were the people still having fun with their hobby.

To wrap up my little essay here, a few photos with the D80 and kit lens, shot in JPEG with sharpening +1, ISO 800, f 5.6 @ 135mm and either 1/80 or 1/125 second (shot manual mode). Reduced for the web. All shots are quite sharp full-sized except for the last one which shows a slight amount of camera shake because it was 1/80 @ 135mm and I was in quite an awkward position when taking it and couldn't brace myself appropriately. A lot of people might not even notice it, but sharpness is one thing I'm still an@l about I couldn't believe these were ISO 800 (I was on auto-ISO with minimum of 100 and max of 800).

FYI, this is the largest of four frogs that have made their home in a small pond ( 1400 gallons) I built next to our front door this summer. It let me get quite close to him, these are all full-frame, no cropping.

Thanks for listening, all comments appreciated. If anyone needs to see the full-size images let me know and I can post them or send them to you.

Have fun,

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