Method to justify a dslr over a point-and-shoot

February 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

My family never really celebrated the holidays the same way that all my American friends’ families celebrated the holidays when I was growing up. We did go to family friends’ parties and celebrate with laughter and good food, but we never exchanged gifts. It made the segment of Show ‘n Tell post-winter break somewhat awkward. However, even when I was little, I understood my parents’ point of view. They always figured it would be easier to give me what I wanted as long as it wasn’t outrageous and the idea of waiting for a certain day to give me what I asked for seemed kind of silly since my family isn’t religious. Christmas is just a day off from work; to be honest, December 26th is much more interesting to my family because of all the sales. Instead, I would tell my parents what I wanted, and if I could justify my wanting and give a plan of usage, my dad would do around three months of product research before buying me whatever it was that I wanted. From start to finish, some times took a month while other times it took several months. The process was long and required way more thought and planning than writing a letter to Santa and making sure that my backward “s” looked adorable enough to score that Easy-Bake Oven. It taught me to put careful thought in to the things I wanted since I had to justify having the toy and I had to make sure I would still want it in three months. And also I had to make sure that I would actually use toy since if I lost interest too quickly, it would hurt my chances the next time I asked for something. It also helped that I understood that my parents were pulling from the family’s pool of money so that if the money used for me turned out to be reckless, I felt guilty that the money could have been for used for some thing, anything, more substantial for my brother or my parents.

It’s different now that I’m working. The money from my paychecks is actually mine, and I don’t have my parents keeping me in check. All I have is my upbringing and the system of checks to keep me from buying every passing want that disguises itself as a need. As a rule of thumb, for every one hundred dollars the object costs, I ponder, plan, research, and stalk the product a month. In other words, it will take me several years to “save up” enough months to buy a car and around eight months to “save up” enough to buy a dslr. The only exceptions to this rule are vacations since I spent so many summers either volunteering or studying and not traveling or truly taking a break, this is a promise I made myself years ago.

Wayne and I have several vacations planned for this year, and I’m trying to decide whether to invest in a good quality dslr camera to capture all the special and mundane moments of our trips and our daily lives, especially when we bring home a puppy. Without my parents, I have to demonstrate to myself if there is an actual need for a dslr camera. It’s not a passing thought of, “Oh, that would be nice to have”. While I already am well aware of the deficiencies of a point-and-shoot, I need to pinpoint which issues can be remedied with some photo manipulation on Photoshop or just better planning and lighting at the time of shooting. I would love to have more control over the shots I take and the shots the camera produces since I get bothered by the restrictions of a point-and-shoot: the smaller ISO range, shutter lag, amount of noise, and inability to switch focuses. However, I know that when traveling, a point-and-shoot would much more convenient for travel since it is so compact and portable, plus there is the comforting knowledge that point-and-shoot is only a quarter of the cost for a dslr if it is damaged or stolen. I also acknowledge that it has been a very long time since I’ve done any photography so I need to practice the basics of artistic composition on the point-and-shoot before I can allow myself to upgrade to a dslr. While I know that there is a learning curve to using a dslr and understanding technique, I truly believe that the learning curve to composing an artistic and interesting shot is more steep. I need to practice framing a shot.

This is my favorite picture that I’ve taken in the past year:

I feel your pain, little buddy.

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