Don’t Buy a New Camera

Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich

How often have you been tempted by a brand new, all shiny with bells on, super duper camera? I have more times than I’ve taken photos. Well, not that many, but it’s so easy to be caught up with the excitement of a new snapper coming out, with lots of features you can’t imagine living without.

But how often do you decide to stick with what you’ve got, even if you have the cash to upgrade? Amazingly I have, but maybe that’s because I’m using a couple of Nikon D700s, which at time of writing (July 2014), still haven’t had a proper like-for-like replacement. I like my workflow and have all the computers I need, using Lightroom and Photoshop, and all this cloud business.

That being said, that D810 looks alright, doesn’t it? All them pixels, fancy video, and double memory card slots.

No, definitely don’t need one.

But this got me thinking, how many of us have upgraded our equipment without actually using our old kit to it’s full potential? I investigated this, and found that there’s still features I haven’t used on my D700, and going back further to my D300 and even D50. AF-On and Custom Banks I settled on looking into.

Generally, I take photos of people, weddings and parties mostly. Fast and spontaneous, not much time to stand still. I thought that using the AF-On button wouldn’t be that useful. But after reading Steve Perry’s article on Nikon Rumors I gave it a go, down at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich. Turns out, it’s great for focussing on a subject and then recomposing so it’s on the edge of the photo, and seems to be sharper and easier than using the shutter. Will be useful for unusual party shots!

Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich

Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich. Focussed on the door using AF-On, then recomposed. Turned out sharper than using the shutter to focus. Interesting..

But how to conveniently switch back to ‘normal’? Put the “Custom Setting Menu > a Autofocus” setting at the top of My Menu, and set the Fn or Preview button to go to the top My Menu item. Nice.
This could be taken further, into using Custom and Shooting Banks for a complete set of configurations for say, indoor shooting with flash, to outdoors for landscapes, to an easy setup for my other half, with auto ISO and beeps and things.

This has all been said before many times I realise, but it doesn’t hurt to hear another opinion that you don’t need to buy a new gadget. Unless you really need to. Maybe your kit has been smashed in by a Bridezilla out of control, with cake all over her face. Then it’s acceptable.

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