Musings On Cameras, iPhones and Hobbies

My birthday is coming up, and my friends are on my case about thinking of a gift idea. Normally we just go for dinner and skip gifts, but this year is a 'big' birthday for the three musketeers so a gift exchange suddenly came about.

I got to thinking about what I wanted/needed and could only come up with the usual: job, house, cat, soulmate - none of which my friends could buy for $120. (I suppose they could get me a cat, but that would only work if I had the house first. Such is the circle of my life).

Then someone mentioned a camera (which was actually this years gift for friend #1).

My camera sucks lots. It's a Nikon Coolpix 7mpx point and shoot. I bought it off of friends #2 and #3 for $100 when they won it at a raffle a couple years ago. I previously had a Nikon Coolpix 2mpx which I was very happy with - we travelled Europe together during the London years - so I figured the upgrade would be a good deal. Wrong. It's a crappy camera. It takes terrible terrible low light pictures and don't even ask about night shots. What bothers me most is that the colours are dull, even when compared to older point and shoots. It's a crappy crappy camera.

But, as I'm not much of a photographer, that's never really bothered me. I take pictures twice a year - when I travel and at Folk Fest. I usually get disappointed with the photos during these two weeks, bitch a bit about my crappy camera, and get on with life. I'm pretty nonmaterialistic/anticonsumerism-ish so since I really don't 'need' a camera, I have never been able to justify spending money to upgrade the crappy crappy coolpix. I have a camera. I take pictures twice a year. I can deal.

Or not.

Now I'm thinking maybe it's time to get a new camera. Follow my reasoning:

a) My friends need a gift idea for my upcoming birthday, and besides gas station gift certificates, I can't think of anything else. Apparently they don't think gas station gift certificates are an acceptable gift for my 'big' birthday.

b) If I got a new camera, I would actually take good pictures twice a year when I travel or go to Folk Fest.

c) If I got a new camera, maybe I would take pictures more than twice a year. I don't want to be a photographer per say, I've already got one hobby I'm terrible at (note photo in blog header). So I wouldn't go on photo walks or anything, but maybe I would have more incentive to take photos. For what reason I'm not sure. Help me out on this one. Do people just take photos for fun even if no one ever sees them?

d) I've been thinking of doing the whole 'photo-a-day' thing, it being a 'big' birthday year and all. Mostly it seems people do that to improve their photography skills. The take lots of photos, edit them, then post the best to show off what a great photographer they are. That's not why I'd do it though, remember I already have a hobby I'm terrible at, so I'd really only do it to chronicle my 'big' birthday year. It might be interesting to look back and see what happened. And I guess in the process maybe my photography skills would passively improve. I wouldn't photoshop the photos or anything; I'd probably just take one a day and just upload them to this blog/a separate blog. Friend #3 said I wouldn't have to upload them everyday, so I could take a photo a day and post it once a week - I would be ok with that. It wouldn't take that long, would it? See, the new camera would help with this (so would an iPhone*), maybe make it more fun and not disappointing. But do I really have time? I've been working full time for a week and already I'm having trouble keeping up with Twitter and all the blogs I follow. Plus the other hobby I have starts soon and that's pretty time consuming, what with the playing and watching and blogging and famous boy ogling and maybe this year practicing. Plus I've been considering re-taking up the fiddle (another story for another post perhaps). How many hobbies can I do terribly?

e) If I'm going to get a camera though, I'm not going to get another possible less crappy point and shoot. I think maybe it's time I upgraded to one of those fancy SLR/DSLR ones everyone has started buying. That's a price jump yes, but worth it in the long run (?). Friend #3 was mentioning mirrorless cameras that are all the range, so maybe I could get one of them?

I think we decided I would spend up to $500 and that I needed to get one by Christmas before I go travelling. I'm supposed to be watching the sales, but really, I reckon if I decide to go full out with this, I'll have one in a week or so. Patient I am not.

* But why spend $500 on a new fancy camera I might not use very much when I could just spend the money on an iPhone. Then I could take crappy photos and upload them to Twitter in a timely fashion. And I could take crappy guerilla photos during concerts that I could upload to my blurry concert album on facebook. And I could take crappy photos and super easily upload them online for the photo-a-day thingy. And I could tweet and check email and apps on the fly and I could finally belong to that secret iPhone society.

I wants one. My precious.

Really though, $500 is only a few months of phone + data plan + buying out my Koodo tab. An iPhone is way more of a money suck. I already have an iPod touch which is sorta the same (no online/camera) so can't really justify the upgrade. And do I really need to spend more time online? And who would really see my crappy twitter photos? And aren't I supposed to be working on the other (three) hobbies I do terribly? And doesn't this not quite satisfy the birthday gift conundrum?

Oh my head hurts.

Do I buy a fancy camera? If so, which one? Can I justify it's use? Should I do the photo-a-day challenge? Should I just forget both, put $120 of gas in my car and work on my offline hobbies? Does it really matter and does anyone care?

Thought/comments welcome please and thank you!


  1. I care! :)

    Here's my attempt at being helpful: With an iPhone, you could keep up with Twitter and blogs more easily in the free moments you have throughout the day. You'd also have a smaller, less conspicuous camera for taking photos if you don't want to draw attention to yourself. You'll also save time because you won't have to learn how to use your new "camera." Yes, you can take fantastic photos with an SLR/DSLR, but you have to learn how to use it and how to take said fantastic photos (lighting, perspective, etc.) Also, I would love to see you do the photo-a-day thing, but do you have time for it? And you could sell your iPod Touch to help finance the iPhone...

    On the other hand, if you're trying to reduce your online time, iPhone = bad. It's also expensive on a monthly basis (unless you already pay nearly that per month for your current plan). It doesn't sound like you have a burning desire to be an amateur photographer, though, so if it were me, I would either get the iPhone or a kick-ass point-and-shoot. They're out there. They're not cheap. But you don't have to learn a lot, and they're smaller, etc.

    I secretly want to do the photo-a-day thing, but I have photo-taking anxiety, meaning I don't like taking pictures of other people, I don't like people watching me take pictures, and I just find picture-taking in general to be socially awkward. Yes, I'm weird. But you already knew that. :)

  2. True, the iphone would be handy for concert shots and instant twitter uploads, but do I really need to be spending more time online? And I really shouldn't be checking social media stuff at work anyways. Plus there's that pesky expensive monthly bill!! And I have a crappy cellphone with a bit of a contract left, and can't sell my touch, no one's buying them because they're all buying iphones, plus it's 1st gen/old.

    I think I've settled on a mirrorless (micro four thirds or somesuch) camera - they're supposed to be point and shoot easy with slr quality. They're not cheap though, but I think that's what I want. I can always get an iphone later, but need a new camera now (my old one seriously sucks).

    Ha! I also hate being in pictures and taking pictures of people, and don't like people watching me take pictures either, so that'll be an interesting hurdle to overcome! I think I'm going to do the photo a day thing though, see how far I get with it anyways, so stay tuned...


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