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Abbey photography update


The abbey’s venerable Nikon D1X was starting to have occasional shutter malfunctions, so I went on eBay and bought a D2X, the model of professional camera that succeeded the D1X in 2004. The pros have moved on to D3’s and D4’s, so the D2X is now an affordable camera. I found a practically new one on eBay, with barely 3,000 shutter actuations. My D1X is now a backup camera.

It always seems shocking to me that, no matter how much professionals pay for their professional cameras, lenses can easily cost as much as the camera, or more. Those of us who don’t make money from photography but who take photography seriously must make do with the best lenses we can afford. I was greatly in need of a wide-angle lens, and I recently added a Nikkor 28-70mm lens to my camera kit. I also have a 50-200mm lens that gets a lot of use. And of course everyone has a 50mm so-called “prime lens,” which has the virtue of having a large pupil and the ability to see in low light, but which otherwise is pretty limited.

You’ll find as many opinions about cameras as there are photographers, but my preference is for Nikon professional cameras. They’re heavy, and they’re outrageously expensive when they’re new, but after they’re eight or so years old, when the pros have moved on to the newest model, the previous generation of cameras becomes easy to find on eBay. And if you watch the auctions carefully for a while, you can find a like-new camera that spent most of its life in a box, unused.

It’s amazing what the new digital cameras can do. But I remind myself that, even 50 years ago and more, photographers managed to get incredible shots with cameras, slow film, and lenses that we could consider hopelessly obsolete today. My D2X seems like a miracle, and it is so well-behaved, fast, and logical that it starts to feel like a part of your eye and brain.


  1. Henry wrote:

    How does one determine this?:
    I found a practically new one on eBay, with barely 3,000 shutter actuations.

    Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 11:59 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Henry… I’m familiar only with Nikon cameras. Since 2005 or so, Nikon cameras embed the shutter count in the JPEG EXIF data that is embedded in each photo. I believe other camera makers do the same, though.

    When buying a camera on eBay, the seller will often mention the shutter count, as a selling point, if the count is low. Otherwise, one would have to ask the seller.

    The data attached to each photo is very useful, by the way. All of the camera’s settings for the photo will be included, including focal length, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and a jillion other details.

    Monday, December 1, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

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