Monday, January 10, 2011

Improving Photo Quality

You may have noticed I'm a bit of a perfectionist. The fuzziness in my photos has been driving me crazy, and I've finally accepted that my beloved little Olympus Stylus has done all it can.  Now I am learning all about the current line-up of DSLRs. (Digital Single Lens Reflex.) I haven't used a "real" camera since junior high school, and I never had the patience for it then. I've had little Instamatics and point-and-shoots most of my life, and have to re-learn the whole process of picture-taking now. But a friend of mine came over this weekend with his Pentax K200D, and we played around with it in the studio. Holy cow! Here, let me show you the difference. Here is the absolute best quality photo of those dental tools that I could coax out of my Olympus:
And here is a photo with the Pentax (no tripod, even):
No contest, I'd say. I had been thinking I would get the not-quite-newest generation of camera to save some money, maybe even buy it used from a reputable company. Some people I talk to think that is sensible. But other people I talk to say no, absolutely get the newest one, you can get 16 megapixels now! Which is also tempting. I could blow those puppies up huge! Oversized crab shells and beach stones. Sea glass posters. Wouldn't that be cool?

Here are the contenders (as of today, right now) and I'll give you just the minimum of data:
Nikon D7000 (about $1200 stark naked, meaning no lenses.) 16.2 megapixels, ISO 100-6400.
Canon EOS 60D (about $1400 with one or two lenses depending on where you shop and what you know about lenses. I have a lot to learn there!) 18 megapixels, ISO 100-6400.
Nikon D90 (about $950 with one lens.) 12.3 megapixels, ISO 200-3200.

Canon EOS 50D (about $800 naked.) 15.1 megapixels, ISO 100-3200.

You can see this is a major investment just for the camera body. So I'm talking to everybody, testing other peoples' cameras at parties (yes, just last night!), looking up photographers I admire to see what they actually use, and reading page after page of chat boards and reviews online. I finally had to give myself a deadline or this could go on forever. By the end of next week I must order a camera! Really, I could probably get just about anything made in the last two years and see massive improvement. But I don't want improvement, I want perfection! Meanwhile, I'm still gathering data, so, hey, what do you use, and how do you like it?


  1. I have Nikon D40x. It's not the bee's knees, but it's pretty good. A photography class helped :)

  2. I noticed yours when I visited but hadn't started obsessing yet. And you get such a variety of styles out of it, like the wonderful clear portraits of your kids. And I loved that dreamy one from the London Bridge. What lenses are you using?

  3. I have just the regular lens that the camera came with and then a specific portrait one. The dreamy ones are taken with my iPhone actually, using Hipstamatic :)