I Have Soul Mates Out There. Or, don’t blow all your money on a camera body and neglect the lenses.

If you follow tech or camera news at all, then I’m sure you’re aware that Nikon has been updating their high-end cameras over the last couple months, first with the D4, and now with the D800. The D4 seems like a perfectly logical camera to purchase, and looks like a good, solid update to the flagship camera.

The D800, however, leaves me scratching my head a bit. At $3,000, it’s not as if it is a crazy-expensive piece of gear. It’s the 36 megapixels that I don’t understand. Half of that would have been just fine by all standards. Undoubtedly, some will get very excited about the megapixel count, and assume that this, therefore, is a great camera. I’m sure it will prove to be a formidable piece of gear, but for a very specialized type of photographer who has very specific needs.

Which brings me to my periodic reminder about the tenuous link between good cameras and good photos:

99% of what makes you love a photograph is unrelated to the technical specs of the camera used to take it. No one ever hung a picture on their wall because it had a lot of pixels. A great expression, a perfect moment, an important place, yes. Megapixels and ISO? No.

This blog post gets into how to handle equipment queries, and I second his opinion. You probably don’t need a DSLR. If you do feel you need one, you should get an entry-level model and spend the money on a good, fast prime lens. What I really recommend is either the Nikon P7100, or the Canon G12, which I think has just been replaced with the G1X. Compact, self-contained, more features than most will care to use, flexible and relatively fast glass. Did I mention compact? And affordable.

Even for me, I’m having a hard time seeing how the D800 will make sense. I guess I’ll wait to see what the D400 has to offer, and then decide how tech-happy I am.


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