Thursday, December 12, 2013

Checking it Twice

So there’s someone special on your Nice List and you’ve decided that they really were nice and should get more than a lump of coal under the tree, the question is what?

Get them a DSLR.

What? Much scratching of head, tilted chin, blank expression…

A digital single lens reflex camera.

Yeah sure and I’ll do that right after I win the Mega Millions lotto.

Well, you could or you could just go ahead and do it.

Now I am the first one to admit that I have railed against DSLR prices and complained to high heaven about an entry level $1159.00 camera and all of that is still true. But being as how I am the Ole Trawler and determined to make all of your wishes come true, I’ll tell you how to do it for under three hundred dollars including shipping.

There is nothing in the whole world like a digital single lens reflex camera. Yeah, I guess the new ILC cameras have come a long way and since I started out on rangefinders and still find the shape of a Leica or even the old Argus C3 Brick pretty darned hot, I’ll admit that the Fiju X-1 makes me fidget and drool a bit, but when it comes to the real work of taking pictures, the single lens reflex is still tops.

So how in the world do you get one without selling the kids to Romanian human traffickers?

You start by knowing what you are looking for. Now the Ole Trawler has a thing about running out of battery power. I guess when I bought the Sony the technology hadn’t worked out all of the kinks and the batteries while they did recharge they never seemed to be ready when I wanted to take a picture.

So finding a camera which uses triple A batteries was high on my list, I had no idea of where to start so I did a bit of online research and found a nifty, neat and cool site, Snapsort. Now Snapsort will allow you to compare cameras for all sorts of things. Oh, you probably want the link?

Plug in any camera you like and Snapsort will offer a bunch of useful details, including how it compares to other cameras in its class.

One of the other things which was on my list was the size of the camera. Now everyone wants one of the tiny little things that fit on your key chain and has humpty-hump megapixels and can shoot underwater, except me. I don’t have hands so much as I have paws and they just don’t work well with little bitty stuff. Fortunately there is another site, you knew there would be didn’t you, you clever thing and here is the link…

These guys will let you find out what size the camera is without having to schlep around to every store or drive to Eugene and pick it up in your own hot, little hands.

So now you have a way to find out all of the stuff you need to know to settle on a camera.

I picked a Pentax KX cause it runs on triple A’s and it isn’t pixie sized.

Where to get my hands on one?

You see the problem is the Pentax KX while it is a very good camera came out in 2009 and went out of production in the first quarter of 2011. So Wally World won’t have any.

But there are plenty of them out there and you can find then at…KEH

or Adorama

or B&H

In fact all of these guys do a great job of working with seasoned equipment. I dealt with KEH and in spite of me not know my ass from my elbow they managed to get the right camera and lens and get it all sent out to me in a fashion that would make the packers at Amazon shudder with fear.

Two things, the nice part about older technology is that if it is digital it either works or it doesn’t. This means you shouldn’t have any reservations about buying a vintage camera from any reputable seller. Every camera company designs their cameras to take a lot more abuse than the average person can mete out, they say 100,000 shutter activations is the life span of a DSLR. Now if that means nothing to you, you can take a camera with half of that number on the clock and take 2800 pictures a day, seven days a week for the next twenty five years and not reach the 100,000 mark.

And if it really worries you, download PhotoMe

And it will tell you how many clicks have been run off so you can stop sweating the small stuff.

And the whole Megillah came to a grand total of…I won’t say. Wally World has a DSLR on for $399. The Pentax KX cost more than a quarter less with shipping to the edge of the earth. Now that should make you think about revising your Naughty List. You could be pretty bad and still deserve a camera at those prices.

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