Wednesday, July 02, 2008

And all this time I just thought it was my fault.

A visit to Samy's Camera last night may have changed my life as a photo-taker. Who knew the mildly-annoyed-with-my questions salesman would make a single statement that filled me with frustration, but also hope? That single statement was, "I think it's the camera body."

One of the primary reasons to splurge on a DSLR camera is to have the ability to take TACK SHARP photos. All the photography websites, blogs and books I read show smiling (or not smiling) faces that are crystal clear and sharp (unless of course, the photographer deliberately chose to make things blurry for artistic purposes). "That!" I said to myself, "That is what I want."

But I have to admit, while Hugo & I have captured several images over the past few months that I like quite a bit, 97.9% of the time they are never as sharp as I'd like them to be, and definitely not like the thousands of other photos I've seen. Being new to this whole SLR thing, I assumed it was me, operator error. After all, there are so many things that contribute to a sharp photograph: lighting, exposure, aperture, shutter speed, the lens, the camera body, the photographer's ability to hold the camera still, ISO, and likely others I still don't know about. So I blamed myself and figured there was a learning curve (which there undoubtedly is) and assumed that if I just continued to play with the settings and learn more, I'd eventually get tack sharp photos.

But back to how the mildly-annoyed-with-my questions salesman at Samy's changed my life. In the course of demonstrating how to properly compensate for exposure differences, he discovered that my camera was not responding like the store's floor model. He first assumed it was my lens, a non-Nikon brand (Sigma). The lens would hunt and eventually focus, but never focus sharply. Eventually, after much switching of lenses and camera bodies he made his proclamation, "I think it's the camera body. Not the lens, not you."

{Insert Hallelujah chorus!}

What followed is a frustrating tale of a tech support call to Nikon where I was told they'd never heard of this problem, but as it's under warranty, they'd be happy to service the camera, run tests and make sure that everything was working properly. This would take 7-10 (business) days to conduct, plus shipping time on either end.

People! How in the world can I be without my camera for 2-3 weeks?! I almost howled in frustration as the tears built in my eyes. That only continued when he reiterated that they'd run tests but that if the camera was working "to factory specifications," even if it is on the slow, soft-focus side of factory specs, then there would be nothing they could do, and I'd live forever knowing I can almost never achieve a tack sharp photo. More howls of frustration!

There is no good time to be without Hugo over the next several weeks, so his visit to Nikon will have to wait until after I move. I'm not happy about that, but I've accepted it. I just had to 'howl in frustration' one more time for all the interweb to read.

Thanks for listening. And feeling sorry for me, which I'm sure you are.


DeniseMarie said...

Insert commiserative howl here.

TheWinnFamily said...

AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH oh Kel I'm SO sorry!! That is SO not okay. But know that even though its not currently "perfect" it looks pretty darn perfect. We are all still amazed at what you and Hugo can do and I'm sure it will only get better once the problem is diagnosed. I feel your pain, sorry friend.

Sarah S said...

so so sad... however your soo tenacious to press samy's camera about it... :) way to be kel!