The end…but not the end!

Over the past years I have indulged myself in the “art” of aviation photography with a camera phone. Photography never was, and never will be the mayor part of my aviation hobby, but it is fun. Even more because I was one of the few, if not the only one between the hordes of “real” photographers, who did “it” with a small and simple mobile phone. Specially when I started pointing my mobile phone’s camera (a Sony Ericsson K810i) to some aircraft for the first time, back in 2007, the results amazed many!

Of course, camera phones have their drawbacks. Mayor ones in fact. Not so much in megapixels these days (my current camera phone, a Nokia N8, has 12MP) but the lens makes it only practical for very close range photography (static aircraft during airshows, museums, etc.) and often a lot of tweaking has to be done on the PC to make the resulting photos anywhere near as they were intended to be in the first place.

On the other hand, having a small camera with you all the time (I never leave home without my mobile phone) has its benefits too, and it’s a simple “point, click and shoot” affair every time. It’s like the small pocket camera every “professional” photographer seems to be carrying as well, because they are so handy.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to change course. Never an issue in the past, but lately I felt restrained by the camera phones shortcomings. And the only sensible thing to do then is….buy a proper camera! So I did.

I’m not new to SLR photography. In the eighties I started with a Praktica B200, then switched to a Minolta 7000i. I loved that Minolta, it was so good and never let me down. But it got stolen in France (actually saw it happen from a distance) and I bought myself a Minolta 7xi from the insurance money instead. I never felt completely happy with that camera, it just didn’t give me the confidence the 7000i gave me. The 7000i had spot-on autofocus, the 7xi sometime just missed the mark. I got bored with photography and decided to call it a day, even sold the 7xi when I was in need of some cash.

And then…digital photography arrived. It changed a lot! Direct results and no more being conservative with the number of times you press the shutter. And not forgetting the image quality nowadays that was unheard of in the time of my Minoltas. The benefits go on and on. This surely will bring back the fun in photographing, I must admit. Put one and one together and the decision to pick up a “proper” camera again (after 16 or so years!) is not a hard one.

I bought myself a Nikon D7000, with a 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR zoom and a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR zoom. It’s waiting to be used for the first time, probably this weekend, weather permitting. I know it’s a good kit and will suit me well. And oh…please…spare me the “Nikon vs Canon” discussion!

As a sort of farewell to my phone camera days, I have included some of the photos I made last week in the UK. They are the last of the many, and already the end of a (personal) era. Hopefully soon, my first D7000 shots. Stay tuned!

Marco