Upping My Photographic Game, Part 1


I recently decided that after years of writing for various websites and, as a result, taking tons of pictures, it was past time for me to do something about my photographic skills. I’ve been shopping for gear that would really make a difference but not break the bank, and I wanted to invite you along for the journey – especially since my new camera and lenses arrive tomorrow.

Before we get into that, let’s take a quick look back at my “photographic history”.

When digital photography first became popular I picked up a simple, inexpensive point and shoot. Over the years, I upgraded my camera numerous times but stuck with the simplest of the simple. When the iPhone came along, I began using it quite a bit as well despite the fact that the early versions of the iPhone or no camera wizards. When I co-owned and was the main reviewer of an early iPhone application review site pictures weren’t really an issue since all I needed to do was use the iPhone’s screen capture functionality to get the various images I need it.

Of course, that changed when I began writing for Gear Diary. Priding ourselves on large and plentiful pictures that offer a good sense of what various products look like, I began taking more product shots than I ever imagined. I began doing more video too. And I was lousy at both.

Image from dpreview.com

Some time after I began writing only for Gear Diary, Judie upgraded her Canon G9 to the new Canon G11. She gave me her G9. Yes, in part, Judie did it because she is remarkably generous, but there was an anterior motive. She hoped that improved camera gear would result in improved pictures. She was right. My pictures did improve. A short time later I upgraded to the G11, and I sent the G9 to Carly. Yes, that camera has certainly made the rounds.

My video improved somewhat too, thanks to the G11 and more experience with editing. Still, as awesome as the G11 is, it is still a point and shoot camera.

Then I had a chance to learn about the new Sony A57 before it was officially announced. It got me thinking that it just might be time to upgrade to a DSLR. I thought about it more and decided that it was definitely time. It also didn’t hurt that I had spent time in December and January with Judie and Kevin, and I had been lusting over their assortment of cameras!

Fast forward to last month. Think Tank camera bags reached out and asked if we might be interested in beginning to cover their products. The synergy was amazing and sealed the deal. I was buying a DSLR.

Three Think Tank bags arrived for review, and I knew it was time to bite. The only question that remained was… Which camera?

I looked at the Sony A57 that started the thought process. I then looked at the Sony NEX-5N. Then I went back to the A57. Then I looked at some Nikons. Then the NEX-5N again. Then I looked at some Canon cameras. And the I was back to the A57. It was right out of the book The Paradox of Choice. Seriously, there were so many good options I didn’t know which one to choose. I did finally choose a camera, and it arrives tomorrow. More on that when it does.

In the meantime, a quick word about the Think Tank bags we received for review. They are amazing, and I’m looking forward to doing the series of reviews once my camera is actually here. We liked the bags so much that we signed up for the company’s Photographer Support Program. With this program, any time you visit the company website using this special link to go to Think Tank  and, when you order $50 or more you will get free gear added to your order. You will also help support Gear Diary in the process, and we thank you in advance. Yes, it is a win-win-win prospect and, best of all, their camera bags are awesome!!!

More details on the camera I ordered, the kit I’m getting to use with it, and the Think Tank bags tomorrow.




Categories: Editorials

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3 replies

  1. I have been wanting to do the same for a long time. However, if I had the money and the choice at this moment in time, I would go with a Micro 4/3rds or mirror-less camera. Why? Because DSLR’s are unnecessarily heavy. Micro 4/3rds maintains a smaller form factor AND provides the ability to switch lenses out. Even accomplished photographers, while not giving up their DSLRs, ar epicking these up now. They also happen to usually be cheaper too.

    On the other side of the coin, if some one gave me a DSLR, I would definitely take it! :-)

  2. I started my photography hobby way back in college, and here were my big take aways….

    1. I had stopped carrying my SLR around, because it was too heavy/bulky. This is the main reason why I went with the micro 4/3rds system and the small E-PM1 (although I should have gotten the E-PL3 for the flip screen and extra dial).

    2. Backpacks suck as camera bags. It takes so long to get your camera out that you either leave your camera out all the time, or you never take your camera out. That’s an exaggeration, but not much of one. In comparison, messenger bags rock as camera bags.


  1. Think Tank Photo Announces Their Mirrorless Mover Camera Bag Line