If there is anyone out there who actually follows my blog posts, they know that I have been frustrated with my ability to capture good photos of my girls playing soccer and other assorted shots. Typically these shortcomings occur whenever I use the telephoto lens with my Nikon D40. Even when I do manage to catch a shot in focus, there still tends to be some bad (imo) fringing going on - which I attribute to the cheapness of the lens. It surely does not help that the telephoto lens has no autofocus or image stabilization technology built into it.
Alas, things recently took a turn for the worse. First, the telephoto lens has gone missing (which may not be entirely bad given the problems noted above). But, the night my son was attending his eighth grade dance, I discovered I could not zoom the normal lens out. So, once it got to 55mm, it was stuck there. And, when I went to process the photos, they just did not look right.
In fact, things were so bad, I actually used my HTC EVO to take the pics for the satellite radio write-up that I did.
This past Friday night, the girls got to attend some soccer training with Mia Hamm, Cindy Parlow, and Carla Overbeck. Cindy took the camera in hopes of getting some shots. But after the first few shots, she could not take any more. The view through the viewfinder was just black. Looking at it when I got home, I discovered there was some piece broken down inside the lens.
This meant - 1. regular 18-55mm lens broken; 2. telephoto up to 300mm lens missing (not that it worked well); 3. Nikon D40 getting a little old and picture quality just didn't seem the same.
I could have gone and purchased some replacement lenses. But, that would mean still contending with the D40 body. For not much more moolah, I figured I could invest in some new equipment. And while I hope that maybe one day I could be good enough to capture stuff without relying on technological gimmickry, I'm not there yet. Plus, getting some new tools into the toolbox may help me a little bit in improving some skills like composition.
I found a pretty good deal on a Canon EOS Rebel T3. Not a cutting edge camera at all - in fact, probably near the end of its life as a product. But still, probably a step up from the D40. From a technical standpoint, not much more to it than the D40. But, the base lens has image stabilization technology. And, I was able to get a package deal that included a 55-250mm telephoto lens with both autofocus and image stabilization. Yes!!! I give up a little bit of zoom, but get some (in all likelihood) better ability to catch an image in focus. Having worked with soccer pics on the computer for a few years now, I don't think the reduction from 300 down to 250mm max zoom will be an issue.
The other big change will be the ability to record video! This factored into the value equation as it means I don't need to invest in a separate video camera. Granted, it is only 720p. But I usually record in that anyway when using the GoPro (so I can do slow motion better since it will record at 60fps), so the videos should mix and match well. And in recordings where the GoPro may not have been involved, I'm better off than I was before - resorting to the HTC EVO's video capability.
The T3 is not the most advanced camera. I looked at a couple other cameras that were a little newer and had a few more features, functions and capabilities. But for where I am now and how I use the camera, just couldn't justify the extra few dollars. I look forward to trying it out over the next few weeks on a variety of subjects. I've even managed to already grab a pic of some cupcakes for Cindy to post to Pinterest. Maybe a halo effect from having a new camera, but I thought it came out better than what I would have been able to do with the D40.