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Putting the 30D out to pasture

July 18, 2011

I’m a geek.  I have been one for a long time.  As I know I’ve written about before, I have been using what we would now call personal computers for almost 30 years.  The obsession started with a Commodore VIC-20 in the early 80’s and hasn’t stopped yet.  If you count just basic handheld electronics, then you have to take it back to over 30 years ago with my timeless Merlin handheld game.  But I digress…

In spite of my geekiness, I am not a gadget junkie.  I don’t have to have the latest greatest digital camera on the market.  In fact, I tend to wait until new models come out and then buy the previous model.  I bought my Canon 10D when the 20D came out.  I bought my 30D when the 40D came out.  If the camera was good a 18 months ago when it was released, it probably is still pretty good today (and better than what has been around my neck).

But as sensible (or cheap) as I am, sometimes it is time to buy a new rig.  My 30D has been around my neck now for over 3 1/2 years.  Okay, if you count the time I was away at school that number is probably closer to about 2 years of use, but I digress.

By rough count I’ve made around 30,000 images with the camera.  Some would say it has hardly been broken in.  At least one website reports that I’m only about 1/4 of the way to the average death of the shutter mechanism.

But there are two things that are telling me that it is time.

First is that size does matter.  If you’ll remember my blog post from last November, the comparatively miniscule sensor size of my 30D cost me an opportunity at a second cover shot in 2010.  The 30D only sports an 8 Megapixel sensor.  Okay, compared to my first digital camera that is an improvement by a scale of 2400%, but when it comes to doing a magazine cover, 8 Megapixels just doesn’t get the job done.

Second is that sensor clarity and noise control has gotten much much better in the over five years since my 30D was introduced.  I would prefer to spend more time in the field and less time behind the monitor.  And frankly, I’d like to have better control over my depth of field by being able to run more than ISO 400 without having to drop the noise down to my comfort zone.  Don’t get me wrong…the 30D performs acceptably well to and sometimes about ISO 800, but it adds more work into my workflow.  Then again, compared with what we got out of fim 12 years ago, ISO 800 is not too far away from Kodak Gold 100 which was my favorite film to work with.

So in my mind it is time to replace the camera.  To add to this, my folks gave me a very generous graduation gift (thanks Mom & Dad) and it has been burning a hole in my savings account for the last couple of months while I finished up the additional training my employer requested of me.  So I made the jump and bought it the other day.  The “it” you’ll have to guess… until I tell you in a few days 🙂

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