Well, I guess it’s time I’ve written another blog entry. I’ve decided to sell off all my Pentax gear and switch to Nikon. Why? Mainly AF performance and the CLS, which is Nikon’s fancy wireless flash technology (it stands for “Creative Lighting System”). And by “decided to sell off” I mean “already sold off”. So I’m waiting for the camera I want to get into stock. The camera I’m considering?
Why Nikon? Well, like I said, better autofocus performance and the CLS.
First up, autofocus. With my K-7, it was a great camera, but honestly, it was a huge pain to focus on anything relatively fast. The D7000 has a brand-new AF sensor for Nikon. While not as fast as their top-end cameras, it comes very close. The Nikon cameras I’ve played with focus VERY fast, and are very accurate. Much better than me struggling to find focus on my K-7 with only 11 focus points. The D7000 has 39 points, so it will be much easier for me to fine-tune my focus.
Next, the Creative Lighting System. My favorite book I’ve read on Photography has been the Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNally. The images he can make from just a few simple TTL hotshoe flashes are incredible. And I know 99% of that is the person behind the camera, I feel very limited by the control in wireless TTL flashes that Pentax gives. And with the K-7, it was very unreliable. CLS offers complete control wirelessly with the flashes. I can change the exposure settings and even dial them into manual mode. In manual mode, I can control the flash’s output from the camera. With Pentax, I had to walk up to the flash every time I wanted to change a setting.
And of course, there’s the rental sources that comes with choosing a more popular system. I had only found one place to rent Pentax lenses online. With Nikon, however, I’ll have as many choices as there are rental companies it seems.
Lens selection and price also plays a role. Pentax produces very few lenses for its digital cameras, while Nikon has a huge selection. If I wanted an inexpensive prime lens, I’d have to go with an older, manual lens. For autofocus, there was no “thrifty fifty” 50mm f/1.8 lens. You had to dole out for the more expensive f/1.4 lens. A better lens, sure, but not the best thing for budding photographers to have to buy.
That’s the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G. Not a “thrifty fifty” exactly, but on a crop camera (meaning the sensor is smaller than 35mm film would be), it pretty much turns into one. It’s a good focal length since it comes closely to what the human eye can see. I’m pretty much giving up every other lens for this, but I think it’s a good start. I already ordered mine for $160 refurbished straight from Nikon, USA.
Finally, I plan on eventually getting the SB-700 flash when it becomes available. It’s Nikon’s newer mid-range flash, offering very easy to use controls and many features. I plan on getting it over the older SB-600 simply because of the easier controls, even though it’s not really as strong as the SB-600. It pretty much just came out, so it’ll be a few weeks before I’ll be able to get my hands on one. It runs about $100 more, but I think it’s worth it to be able to use it as a commander for CLS (where it dictates the other flashes how to behave) and also simply for the easier controls and interface.
Oh, I almost forgot. The D7000 has a fully manual video mode, with up to 1080p at 24 frames per second. The main reason I’m choosing the D7000 over the older D90 is because the D7000 includes a mic-in jack, which I need for video recording. Onboard audio is a big no-no for video.
So there you have it, I’m switching systems. In other non-photography news, I’ll probably be moving to Philadelphia soon to find work. It will be easier to start there since my sister lives here and I will be more comfortable with family there than on my own in some other city. From looking at jobs, it should hopefully be easier to find a job in my field, whereas here I’d be a “Floor Technician” or a “Sales Clerk”. I’m sorry, but I actually want to do what I want with my life instead of resigning myself to a job I hate for the rest of my life. Life is too short to do that.
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