We could argue for days for the reasons why I started with Canon and not with Nikon system, but I’ll just say it was by chance and not by selection. It started like this: I browsed e-bay for a while, searching for a camera update from my OLYMPUS 2-mpixel gadget at an affordable price. You see, cameras in Greece were a bit overpriced for my almost empty pockets. I had recently got hold of a Canon EOS 300D at some store in Greece priced around 1400 euros. I browsed the menus, but nothing more. I knew the power of interchangeable lenses, but didn’t have the money or the need to buy such an expensive present to myself for Christmas.
At that particular day, I was browsing e-bay for a price tag on that camera and I came across a very seductive set of figures in Canadian Dollars, which were translated in around 450 euros, while the same kit was priced around 1400 here in Greece. I immediately started trying to find out a way to make this camera mine. I asked around and they told me about the taxes, import duties etc, but still, I thought that however large the additional fees it would come cheaper than buying it here in Greece. Well, it was just like that! The camera+kit lens were 450 euros+150 euros shipping fees+200 euros for import duties and warehousing. It came well over 800 euros and I was still getting it almost at half price!!! Of course, I had to go to the airport myself to pay all the fees and duties, after my working shift was over in the morning. I was dead tired, but very excited to get MY DSLR!!!
It was when I started using my newly purchased equipment that the real excitement begun. I was stunned by the quality of the photos I was shooting with my kit lens. There was little knowledge behind, that made these photos worth re-developing today and I knew it beforehand! The power of RAW!!! I shot only RAWs (I still do!) and this has never failed me. There were few occasions when I shot JPGs and thankfully there were few photos shot at that lousy 8-bit format.
Eventually I purchased a Sigma 70-300 Macro APO Super II lens, which I still own today, a x3 Kenko Teleconverter (which I sold because I needed to combine it with very expensive lens to keep quality to high levels) and of course a tripod (I now own 3 of them!). All of the above equipment helped in shooting some good photos and I exercised my curiosity for macro and tele photography, which also helped me to find out camera and lens limitations. At that time all I had to do was to “invent” a workflow to minimize time consumed on post processing and get the best results I could.
Then, I found a little program called CaptureOne which processed RAW photos in a way that it could extract extra details from the “Digital Negative”. I was shocked to find out how sharp it could get, exposing camera and lens limitations up to a point that it really got to you sometimes! Macro seemed crystal clear when resized to 800 or even 1024 pixels, but I still knew I had to work my way up to crystal clear full size 1:1 photos, if I wanted to be really satisfied. Apart from that, the photos still needed color and light management, processes that still eluded my attention (and intention).