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Entering the DSLR world... with a Nikon D90

nikond90-1.jpgA few days before Christmas I joined the ranks of DSLR owners with the arrival of a Nikon D90, the kit 18-105mm lens and an additional 50mm/1.8 prime lens. (Shown on right, with the picture taken by my iPhone.) Amazon.com had a great price and I decided that it was the time to make the leap.

I had been debating for probably a good 8-9 months as the prices kept getting better and better. My big dilemma was, of course, the almost religious divide between:

Canon vs. Nikon

And, of course, the issue is that you are not just buying a single camera... you are buying into a system. Lenses, batteries... all of that is unique to a brand. The lenses are the biggest issue, because you naturally accumulate more as you do more with photography. I also realized that as a family, we'd probably soon be a multiple-DSLR family and so the decision was for more than just me.

I didn't have a particular historical bias between Canon and Nikon. For most of probably 20 years I shot very large amounts of slide film with my trusty Olympus OM-10, but I put that down probably a decade ago when I started to play with digital point-and-shoot cameras. I looked at the Olympus digital cameras but wasn't impressed... and still have a lingering dislike of Olympus for their proprietary xD cards that were a pain with an Olympus point-and-shoot we owned.

So in my typical Dan-dives-deep style, I consumed huge amounts of online reviews, including all the incredibly detailed ones at DPReview.com... I read Duncan Davidson's "Advice for the $2K camera budget"... I spoke with large numbers of friends... I asked on Twitter... I asked on Facebook... I spoke with colleagues at work... I tried out cameras from friends and colleagues...

I couldn't decide.

You see... all of the folks around me came down pretty evenly on both sides of the divide. Good friends who take incredible pictures and whose opinions I trust used Canon... and other friends shot pictures of the same caliber with Nikon. So in the end I was debating about the Canon Rebel T1i, the Nikon D5000, the Canon EOS 50D and the Nikon D90. The reality that became clear was:

Any of these cameras will take outstanding pictures.

For the typical hobby/home photographer, it's hard to lose with whatever choice you make... you just have to make the choice. As a colleague in Germany said to me in a Skype chat:

But the most important thing is: Don't look forever. Buy now, whatever the choice is today. And go shooting :)

So in the end, I chose a Nikon D90. Why? Two primary reasons:

  1. When I tried it out, the D90 just "felt good in my hands". A purely subjective reason. The controls all worked well for me. I just liked the feel versus the Canon models I tried.

  2. A number of colleagues at work all have D90s and so I have a local pool of D90 users to talk to and learn from.

winter-nikon-1.jpgThat was my choice of what worked for me. And I've been VERY pleased with the results... as has my wife... so much so that we have a Nikon D5000 arriving soon as well. :-)

Now that I've made the leap to a DSLR, I find the quality of the shots so far ahead of my point-and-shoot camera that I don't know that I'll be going back much at all! The DSLRs are now also so incredibly easy to use. It's also great just to have the feel of a SLR-size camera back in my hands and to be able to tweak the settings of a shot and experiment and play with photograpy.

I'm having fun... taking a ton of shots... some smaller number of which I'll start adding to my Flickr account once I finish a writing project this week that is consuming all my outside-work time.

Have you made the leap yet? Are you in DSLR land? What was your choice?


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