Monday, April 02, 2018

the wells fargo wagon is a-comin' down the street

The choice should not have been difficult.

Neither should have the choice offered in the 2016 American presidential election. But, it was.

Six weeks ago, as I was preparing to head south to Guatemala, my Sony NEX6 camera decided to die (shot down). Well, not the entire camera. Just my workhorse 16-50 mm lens.

I tried all of the tricks listed on the internet, but it was as dead as a Kathy Griffin routine.

Being a firm believer that all change is good, I immediately began planning on a replacement camera. The only problem was choosing amongst them.

1. Sony a9

I have long been a hobbyist photographer. It started when I was seven or so. My parents let me use their large Kodak camera in an era when the whole world was in black and white.

I shot pets. My family. The rugged beauty of Powers.

That early experience has stuck with me for over sixty years. I love finding and framing the perfect shot. And I have done so with a lot of cameras. From Instamatics to my beloved Canon F-1 SLR.

If I really wanted to step up my game, I could buy the Sony a9 and join the crowd of professional photographers who sing the virtues of this relatively new camera with almost unlimited potential.

Of course, I would also have to part with $4,500 (US) before I bought any lenses for it. But it would be the nicest camera I have ever owned.

2. Sony a7iii

Or for about $2,000 (US), I could buy my old camera's newer brother. A practical SLR with good ratings. And all of the positives and negatives of an SLR. Great depth. But also a lot of weight to carry around on my travels. I also need to remember, I am very rough on cameras.

3. Sony RX10 IV

That is why I seriously considering going back to a bridge camera. Some of the quality of an SLR, but with a fixed lens.

It would not give me the flexibility of being able to swap out lenses, but it would mean not having the extra weight of lenses when I trek through the wilds of highland Mexico -- or other destinations equally exotic.

And I could buy one for about $1,500 (US).

4. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

I briefly toyed with the idea of joining the Millennials by carrying nothing but a telephone camera with which I could indulge in the narcissistic exercise of photographing my beguiling image blocking out any famous site in the world.

And why not? In mid-March, I bought the perfect telephone for the crypto-photographer in us all -- a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (i am a camera).

For the past two weeks, I have been shooting away with it. Almost all of the photographs that have appeared in Mexpatriate during that time are from my telephone.  Including the one at the top of this essay.

Who would think that a telephone would produce better photographs than my first Kodak? As Dr. Nick would say: "What a country!"

But the reviews were correct. As good as the camera is (and it catches far more depth than most telephone cameras), its daytime shots are a bit flat. The night shots are outstanding.

So, the telephone held the inside post for two weeks in this run for the poses.

5. New 16-50 mm lens

When my lens died, I looked into the possibility of replacing it. My research convinced me that even though I could have it delivered quickly from Amazon, the import duties, taxes, and shipping made it less than a practical solution.

That -- and the fact that this will be my third 16-50 mm lens for this camera. The other two died differing, but just as terminal, deaths.

So, there were the choices. It was now time to make a decision.

I should add that two readers in Melaque provided me with write-in candidates of their own. Each had a new camera she was willing to sell. One, a full SLR. The other a point and shoot.

The winner was delivered to me today from Amazon by our local DHL franchisee. In the end, it was an easy decision.

I really like my Sony NEX6. For the past 5 years, I have been shooting with one. (I have owned two. One was stolen in Manzanillo about three years ago.) It is easy to use. The lenses switch out quickly. And the quality of the photographs are superb.

If I had bought any of the other cameras, I would have needed new accessories and the usual doodads that accompany the photography habit. You know. The kits you buy to sit unused in the bottom of your camera bag.

By simply buying a new lens, I can avoid all of that consumer hassle. And not use the accessories I have not used for the past few years.

So, that is what I did. I now have a new lens snapped on to my camera body, and I am ready to head out to capture the last vestiges of the Easter holiday.

Now, I just need to track down some words.   

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