We have just begun 2014 and I've been doing a lot of researching and talking about gear. It seems like every month there are new photographers joining the DSLR world. And those others who started a while ago, but are now looking for that second round of lenses/cameras. Exciting times indeed.
Only recently have I been thinking a lot about the gear I've owned and all that money spent..... Ok let me not think about that part right now. But, I recall the progression of my equipment. If you're looking at getting into photography up your credit limit or just walk away now as you're in for a never-ending journey for your and your credit card.
I started with the Nikon D3000: - This was just what I needed when I was starting out with DSLRs because it was at a good price point, had built in instructional settings and came in a good bundle. Want to throw in another lens and a bag and memory card? I'll take it.
After a few months I decided I had outgrown the basic controls and was enticed by the D5000 and after that the D90. I bought and sold these in progression and to this day I consider the D90 the absolute best entry level (in price) camera out there offered by Nikon. Today it can be found for around $400 used.
The D90: - I loved this camera because of all the controls on the outside of the camera and the nifty top screen. I always wanted that. Early on I thought, if I have that screen then I'll be big time. Trust me when I got it I felt big time. I cut my teeth on this camera. I learned aperture priority and manual mode as well. I shot with this camera non stop. I later paired with a macro lens (as I have owned a few) and just loved it. Fantastic camera.
The D7000: - After using my D90 for a bit and taking tons of photos I became very interested in shooting weddings. I shadowed at one wedding and later was hired as a second shooter for multiple weddings and I knew I needed something better in low light. The D7000 at that time was the most expensive thing I'd purchased and it was scary taking the plunge as my first camera body was around $499 and this one was $999. But I took the plunge and started working at weddings with this camera as my primary and the D90 as my secondary. I later upgraded from the D90 to another D7000 and worked with them in tandem. The photographer I worked with had the same setup so it was easy to learn from him.
D610: - Fast forward to the end of 2013. The year went well with business and I already had a couple things booked for 2014. I decided I was ready to go to a full frame camera. Its funny because since day 1 of owning my camera and talking to photographers they all tell you full frame is where you need to be. Its pro, and you'll appear more pro. And somehow I had listened to it even though I didn't really know it. But, I had decided that I wanted even better low light performance and be able to work better with available light. I took the leap and spent TWICE as much as I spend on the D7000. Ouch! But, knowing the benefits of doing so. I knew about losing the crop factor. I knew all my lenses would appear shorter. I knew the depth of field would shrink which would be a good thing and I knew the files would be much larger. AND....... anticlimactically it was all those things. The resolution was better, the low light capability was better and details were better, but I spent all that money. This biz is expensive!
IN comes FUJI: - Recently I'd been doing a lot of research on possibly what lens to buy next and I started running into blog posts about Fuji and how they were causing big waves in the industry. My curiosity got the best of me and I had to find out more. I had heard about mirrorless cameras a while back, but at the time everyone I knew was putting them down as this hybrid technology that was a glorified point and shoot. Wish I had paid more attention... So I read more and started seeing photos and images taken with them and wow. These are smaller, image quality rivals most full frames and its good in low light? Wow. So I read more and discussed more and learned more. Now I have a Fuji Xe2 as my backup to my D610 and wow its been a long road.
So what's next?
Who knows. The mirrorless industry continues to develop and improve every six to twelve months. In a couple years they could fully catch up to the best DSLRs of today. They pack a lot of punch in a small body. And for some people that decrease in size, weight and even cost has already been making people jump ship from a DSLR to a mirrorless setup. I'm not sure where I'll go from here as this has been a long journey so far, but its exciting to see a solid alternative to a DSLR. On the other hand DSLRs continue to improve as well. The Nikon D7100 is a big improvement on the D7000 and I was considering that camera as well when I decided on the D610. So maybe that will be my last full frame camera or just my first of many.