Nikon to Nokia – a photographer’s journey

Despite an occasional straying here and there, I have been shooting with Nikon camera gear just about my entire career as a photojournalist.

In this millennium many of my duties have been restructured, with tasks added as well as getting a new title – editor.

But all along I have been shooting Nikon.

Until this week.

My first digital Nikon camera was the Coolpix 950, then on to the D1 digital SLR (which I hear is being called the “classic”).

A host of other D-SLRs have come and gone and with this most recent Christmas, the Nikon D300 (which I thoroughly love).

Through the years, toting all that gear has taken a toll on bones, muscles, tendons and joints. I am constantly reminded (as are many still and video shooters of the latter part of the 20th century) of the punishment we have put our bodies through over the years (decades).

While I still have plenty of spring left in my step, I find myself looking for ways to lighten the load while still being able to “tell the story.”

I found myself shopping for a new cell phone recently, along with a new provider on a combined package plan for economic reasons as well as technological ones, and stumbled across some posts about these new phones that shoot with a resolution of up to 5 megapixels.

Now, I have come through the digital revolution since its beginning as it relates to photography – brought the newsroom kicking and screaming through it as well – and these newfangled devices intrigued me.

I could make phone calls and take pictures with the same device?

What will they think of next – gasoline made from vegetables?

I did my research – much of it through the pages right here at GearDiary.com – and came to the conclusion that I must have the new Nokia n82 – in black.

My Nikons were all black, my laptop is black – heck, my paper shredder is black – so I must have this new black phone that takes these pictures at more than double the resolution of my first Nikon Coolpix (also black).

A little wizardry with the computer mouse and Fedex is bringing me an overnight package from New York.

After a quick stop at my local AT and T store, I have a camera that makes phone calls and surfs the web – a long way from a box with a pinhole in the end and two cans with a string in between.

OK, so I got a new camera phone, so what?

This first week I vow to carry just the n82 and see what it will do for me.

First, some pics of the feature truck for the automotive section this week as well as the cruise-in and some of the hotrods from the local car clubs. Next off to a press event with OnStar. This afternoon the real test – blazing sun overhead with police on the scene of a reported burglary and shooting.

While the Nokia is certainly no replacement for my Nikons when the “stuff” hits the fan (it would NOT have held up last month covering the tornados at 4 in the morning) I am certainly impressed with its performance so far on easier assignments. As well as the “stealth factor” when approaching a scene. I blend in quietly – mostly.

The Nokia won’t survive Friday night lights, nor will it render me some spectacular images of the visiting Mississippi Kites nesting in the top of a tree next door, but it does allow me the freedom and flexibility to explore the bounds of the future of journalism as it is capable of still pictures for print and web, video for web (or even broadcast thanks to the 640×480 30fps resolution), and the ability to stream live from a scene if I ever get that Qik or UStream account set up.

And my shoulder, neck and back thank me for it …


About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.