Launching the “buy Mark a new camera” appeal

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As couple of weeks back, I started a digital photography course (evening classes) at my local college. I’m been taking pictures for about 25 years and I’ve attended courses before (when I lived in Australia I signed up for a black and white darkroom techniques course – it is truly amazing to see images come to life in a darkroom – as well as a photography course with pro photographer Naomi Burley which looked at everything from the basics of aperture and shutter speed to form, composition and generally taking good pictures) but I’m hoping to fill in the gaps between my traditional photography experience and my IT skills. Then I’ll finally pull my long-overdue portfolio together!

I’m not sure if there is something about IT that attracts people to photography – or if it works in reverse but, over the last couple of years, I’ve learned that many of the people I know in the world of IT are also keen on photography. Take for example, James O’Neill, IT Pro evangelist at Microsoft in the UK – I haven’t seen any of his photos but I know (from his blog) that it’s something he’s really into. Then I got a Flickr invitation from Atila the Hun… at first it seemed suspect, until I realised that it was Windows Server guru Austin Osuide‘s handle.

For the last week or so, I’ve been working with an experienced IT Architect by the name of Sean Mantey and it turns out that Sean is also a very talented photographer (check out his Flickr photostream, coverage on the BBC website, and his own website). And then he showed me his camera.

I always lust after the latest toys from Nikon but having held the camera that Sean uses and taken a couple of test shots, all of a sudden I knew that my trusty D70 is due to be retired… in favour of a D700. The D700 is, quite simply, fantastic. It has a decent, weighty body, a huge screen (big enough for a preview, histogram, and technical data all at once) and, most importantly, a full-frame (FX) format sensor with 12.1MP and stunning light sensitivity – so I can use my lenses (which mostly date back to my F90X film days) to their full effect. In short, the D700 will undo all the compromises I made when I switched to digital and give me back even more.

Then there are the lenses – I already have an AF-S 80-200mm f2.8 IF-ED lens so, although a modern VR lens (i.e. the AF-S VR 70-200 f2.8G ED-IF) would be nice, its the AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED that I desire in order to capture some full frame landscape photography goodness when I’m on holiday in France this summer (instead of stitching frames together in Photoshop, as I do with my DX sensor and a AF-S 24-85mm f2.8-4D IF lens).

So, this is the deal: I need to save around £2800 for my new kit but that’s a lot of pocket money (more than the family holiday will cost!). This is where I get cheeky because there are a lot of people who read this blog and if I work out how much I earn from it, it’s quite depressing (let’s just say it’s well below minimum wage). If you subscribe to the RSS feed you don’t even have to look at the ads so, if you find what I write useful, how about sending me a PayPal donation? I don’t ask for much but if I’ve written something that’s saved you some time, effort, even some money, a contribution towards my camera fund would be really welcome. In return, I’ll keep on writing a mix of (hopefully useful) IT and photography-related articles whilst I try to take some good pictures and publish them on my Flickr feed.

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