Tuesday, October 04, 2011

in the meantime

I told you my camera died.
For those of you that have been around long enough for other camera deaths, you know how devastating this part of life is for me.  I don' like it!

I'm not especially brilliant at photography, and lord knows it isn't something that I'm learned about, but it is something that I love.  I love keeping my eyes and heart open, seeing spectacular things, and then trying to capture them as I see them.
And the mundane, too--love sitting across a boardgame from my babes, and snapping little memories of that.

So it works for me.

My camera died the other day.  It wasn't anything dramatic... I was just taking pictures of some autumn nature for craft ideas that I have, and the viewfinder kept going black (I never, ever use lcd screens for shooting or viewing)... I thought it was batteries, but it turns out, no.  Prob'ly the processor.
That camera doesn't owe me anything, I've had it for three years: it's been smacked against umpteen trees and tables (I carry it over my shoulder), dropped numerous times in the dirt, and even fallen out and landed hard on cement a few times.  oof.  (But that's what happens when something is constantly attached to you, I guess.)

I've had high-end point-and-shoots for several years.  (This last one is/was a Canon SX10is.)  I wanna be able to shoot something exactly the way I want to, and I want the picture to be decent, but I know very little about aperature and ISO... though I've learned some the last few years, as I never shoot in automatic mode.

So I've known for the last year that my camera would stop working at some point, as it's been groaning and squeaking when the lenses engage for a while now.  Hates humidity.  I figured I wanted the next year make after mine, the SX20is.  It has fantastic ratings.  Last year's model, the 30, I do not like at all.  And the newest one, that came out less than a week ago, the SX40is, is very similar to the 30.  Ick.  Don' like it.

A friend on facebook said  "You know, if you have a Canon to send in, they have a Canon Loyalty Program.  You can get like 30% off a refurbished Canon."
I didn't even pay any attention at first, as I'm a brand-new kind of girl when it comes to things like this.  Mojo and history are very important to me.  I need tools that understand me, and love me anyway.
But then, I somehow ended up on the refurbished page.

My daddy is a photographer.  I mean a real photographer.  He doesn't do it for money, though he certainly could.  He's been a photographer since the late seventies.  He spends thousands of dollars on his cameras, and thousands of dollars on his lenses.  So... you know.  I know that SLR's and lenses cost thousands of dollars.  Each.  That is not a hobby I can afford. 
"This one's fine for what you do, Steph.  This will do just as well for you as an slr."   When it's come to replacement time, first I go to him to see if he's got anything kicking around that he doesn't want  - :) - and then to say, "what about this one?" He's right.  My last camera had the spectacular range of 28 (and 0 inches) to 560mm.  Yeah.  You see why I chose it.

So I go to Canon's site... and there on the refurbished page is a Canon Rebel XS.  For $399.


Oh.  For the first time, I start to seriously ask myself, "am I ready?"  The more I read about it, the more I fell in love with the idea of having my very first dSLR.
So I started looking at lenses, and came into the knowledge that there are actually lenses for people like me... ones that are in the $100-200 price range.  I had no idea.  My knowledge is of the $2-$7k range.
I started getting very excited.
So then I noticed that Canon had a PowerShot (that's what my point-and-shoot is) page, too.
Huh.  Do they have the SX20is?  I wanted a brand new one, but Amazon had them for $499, instead of the original $429 they were two years ago... that seemed wrong enough that I wasn't considering it...
They do!  for like $279!
But, you know.  By this time, I was already falling in love with the Rebel XS....

I called Canon.(1 866 443 8002, in the U.S.) to ask them a few questions.  Turns out, not everything on their refurbished page is available for the trade-in program.
"Is the Rebel XS?"  I asked, very nervously, my heart was in this, now, you know.
"Yes, ma'm... the Rebel XS price would be $319.99."  Are you kidding me?  I can get a dSLR for $320!?!, I thought.  Granted, it's refurbished, but I had long gotten over any qualms about that at this point.  I have absolute trust that the Universe will send me the right one.
"And what about the SX20is, I saw that on there, too..."
"Actually, the SX20 just went off the program a couple of days ago... we now have the sx30 on the program."
"No.  I don't want the 30."  I loathe the 30.  For some reason.  The body, the feel, I really don't like it.  No offense to anyone, it's just not for me.  (I went into a store last year and picked it up to feel it... put it down right away.  Not interested.)
"Okay... so I don't have the money today, how does this work?"
"We send you you a box for priority, your camera gets here in two days, you have another in two more days.  You pay for sales tax.  We pay for all shipping."
Works for me.

I should say that it's not as if I have extra money lying around, it's just that not having a camera is just not an option.  It's well understood and appreciated in my family's life that the Camera is a priority.  We each have things that we are not expected to do without, and that's that.
So.  As you can imagine, I was thinking, "320 bucks.  I can so do that!  And even have enough for a (an additional) lens!"  Squeeing I was.   I could even pull that off (the 320) next week when Eric gets paid.

So I did lots of research on lenses and the Rebel XS.  It has great ratings.  The only real downsides are that mine has video capabilities, and it's a 10mp, and Rebel doesn't have video, and it, too, is 10mp.
But, you know.  It's an SLR!

But I went back to the Canon page to see what else they might have.  (I'm getting more and more open-minded, you see.  : ) )
"Oh.  They have a Rebel T1i.  For $600."  The Rebel t1 has 15 megapixels.  That's pretty good.  And hd video.   But look... here they have the T2, (Canon EOS Digital Rebel T2i SLR) with 18mp's.  An' it's a year newer.  Only one year old.  That's pretty dang modern.  And it's only $40 more...
That'd last me a while.  :)  I'm thinkin', see.

Research, research, research.  Talk to my dad.  (Have had three verra long conversations with him about cameras, processes, and lenses by this point.)
Pretty much get my heart set on the T2.  All the "Best entry-level SLR's" lists that I read had the Rebel T2i at the top of the list.  'Course, I can't pull that money out of a hat as easily, so it means waiting another two weeks.  Definitely worth it, though.
"Daddy, I was reading a review on Amazon, and the guy said that to keep in mind that the T2 has 18 megapixels, so if you don't use good lenses (and use ones like in the lens kit), you'll be able to notice it.  I'm never going to be able (or willing) to buy the expensive (L series, big glass) lenses... I'm worried that that's gonna be a problem."
"No.  He means that if you're blowing it up for a print, like to a 13x17, or 17x22 inch or larger print, you'll notice a (focal) softness in the picture.  It will be fine for what you want, but if you're printing pro, it wouldn't be good enough."
Aah.  Got it.

So now I had my heart set on the Rebel T2i ($640, compared to $899), but then I remembered that not all of the cameras on the refurbished page were available for the trade-in price.  I tried not to panic, and tried to console myself that the XS would be quite good enough for me.
Called Canon.
Mmhmm.  The T2i is on the list.  :)  I can have it with my broken trade-in for $511.  Which is a little less than a hundred dollars more than what I had initially expected to pay (about $430).

My dad has a 70-210mm lens that I can have, as well as a 2x for doubling all lens distances.  And lots of filters.  (I told him to send me whatever he didn't want.  : )  )
So yeah, I've made up my mind.
And I'm so, so excited about all the new things I get to learn, and am so, so excited about the fortuitous events that have led me to this new place.

So I get to be very, very thankful that things have happened the way they have, at a time that is manageable, and with help from friends and the Universe.

No photos for about three weeks, and autumn and October (my favorite and birthday month) is a lousy time to be without a camera, but anytime is a lousy one to be without a camera, to me.

But I have plans.  Sparklifying the house.  Cleaning the carpets.  Laundry.  Not being rushed or stressed out about a time schedule.  A sort of slow sabbatical, is how I'm looking at it.

Not having quite so many things to do leaves me in a space free to be slow and easy.

So that's my plan.

A note about Refurbished:  I spoke with the Canon Loyalty Program lady today... she told me that since I'm buying directly from Canon, 'refurbished" means that it's either overstock, or a box that might have been untaped in the store.  Sometimes a box that has been damaged some.  These cameras have never been owned, never shot, and never repaired, though they have been carefully looked over and checked by Canon technicians before being stocked for Refurbished.
Okay, then.  I get a brand new Rebel, arriving to me in two days, free shipping, for $388 less than retail price.
Fine.  Consider me the newest Canon Spokesperson.  !!!


  1. I LOVE My Rebel T2i!!! LOVE it! Did you see how the ISO goes up to 6400, so that you can take photos practically in complete darkness? Oh, and did you see that it makes videos? It's one of the features that I just never expected to use, but I make videos now pretty much every day--talk about saving money on buying a separate video camera that I'd never use!

  2. I'm so glad, Julie! I've only heard from one other person that have it. Was hoping to hear good things about it. :)
    I'm not looking forward to embarrassing myself with lame pictures while I get used to a new camera, but oh well!

  3. Actually - I am looking forward to it... I can handle embarrassment!

  4. How very exciting. I am still learning how to use my slr.

  5. It's like loosing an arm for those of us who snap away constantly :) I am sorry for the wait, but look forward to seeing all your new photos. Someday I will learn how to use a real camera. For now I am happy with mine.

  6. We went through something like this at the end of last year, and I am still not happy with the camera we ended up choosing. It take ok pictures, but I just don't love the camera so I don't take as many pictures as I would otherwise. I dream of the day when I can have an old school SLR with real film and my own dark room. That day is far in the future, but I will eventually have an dSLR. Who knows, maybe for my birthday next year...

  7. That is awesome!

    Now - you can shoot with a Rebel in full automatic mode, but I suspect you're going to want to learn how to actually take that baby for a spin, right? I highly recommend this little e-booklet: http://kristendukephotography.com/?p=2851

    I have no affiliation with the author; I ran across a giveaway for the booklet on someone's blog months ago & when I didn't win I went ahead & bought it. I have been pretty good with my dSLR from the start—I have a long memory, and I took a lot of photography classes in high school & underrate—but George doesn't know an f-stop from a hole in the ground, and he couldn't ever remember what I told him about things. He loves this little booklet.

    I can't wait to see your beautiful pictures on your blog again—taken with your brand-new camera! xo

  8. How exciting, although I can't imagine 3 weeks without. Do we at least get some phone pictures in the interim?? :o)

  9. Melissa - that would be the obvious choice, hmm?
    But, sorry--we are the last family on the country that just has no interest in cell phones! :)

  10. I am feeling your pain. My camera was dropped in the sand the last time we were at the beach. I have the phone and some apps I use on my phone, but it's not the same. I've been looking on craigslist, but after seeing this post, I'm thinking I need to save all my money and check out Canon Refurbished!

    Sorry your without a camera for so long, but I'm looking forward to your soon to be even more amazing photos.

  11. Somehow your blog is not the same without your pics! We had a Canon EOS500D sitting around for a while, but I was using my point and press Olympus. Anyhoo, one day I got out the Canon, got on the Canon website and read up on using dSLRs and started using it!

    I love my new pics - they aren't fabulously wonderful or anything, but they are an improvement.

    Looking forward to your wonderful new pics too!

  12. Hooray for Canon girls! I'm on my second Canon camera but its the first SLR and I do love it and have grown very attached to it.

    I remember loading the first pics onto the computer after getting my new camera and I was just full of oohs and ahhhs..... I am so excited for you!

  13. I waited nearly 2 months for my new camera to release August 1st. My old camera died a similar death, except the shutter button stopped working, just done.

    I went on a vacation and missed many shots until it arrived on 8/5. My hand was literlly itchy and tingled as I hear happens when you lose a limb. I can so relate to what you are saying! I have one lens with my PEN and I'm dying to get more. I want the creamy bokeh that you can get with the fast prime lens. I want a telphoto for birds....ah once you start with a dslr, you want more lenses. Christmas is coming up. :)

  14. Exciting! I didn't know about the Canon program. I have the Canon Rebel xTi (love it) and it does get banged around, so it's good to know there's a sort of backup plan. I'm the kind of person who just wouldn't be able to spend that kind of money to buy myself a camera. Thankfully, my hubby knows how important it is to me and when I recently banged up my lens, he bought me an even better one. He buys our camera stuff off ebay, but I'll tell him about the Canon program. Thanks!

  15. You will LOVE your Canon!! Some things are just worth it.....Canons are!! I "just" have the Rebel, and it is the perfect camera...I can't even imagine the higher-end ones. I'll bet they're incredible. Hope it comes soon. Enjoy!!

  16. um, my head is spinning here, but i'm really really happy for you!! in the meantime, i'll "settle" happily for some word pictures...

  17. We don't have cell phones either....YAY! There are others. I'm so excited. :)

    Can't wait to see your AMAZING photos with your new camera. You are going to rock that Canon. xo

  18. Debbie- Well, we are in two different countries. :)


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!