If you’ve read my previous articles on choosing a good camera for use here at Ztrains.com you’re probably thinking… just buy a camera already!!! I know, I know… but I can be a little picky and I’m sort of a research junkie when it comes to things like this. During this process I’ve also driven several people slightly nuts, having them look at images upon images… trying to find the perfect camera for what I’m doing here. Well I think (and I really hope) my search is over for now.
I’ve decided on my slightly retro, 2005 model year Nikon 8800. Considered a bridge camera, the Nikon 8800 should be a really good fit for me. A bridge camera fills the niche between the single-lens reflex cameras (SLRs) and the point-and-shoot (P&S) camera. It allows for quick, no fuss shooting but it also has enough manual control to allow the user to grow in to some more advanced photo techniques.
I had purchased, and returned, a few of the newer pocket P&S cameras as I found they cut just too many corners for my liking. Lots of noise, image distortion and perhaps most important… I didn’t really like the images I was seeing in low light and in macro settings, two things that are important to me.
The Nikon 8800 is only an 8MP camera but frankly I think this is pretty much a non-issue. If you look at what a lot of the camera companies are doing now… they’re actually reeling in the megapixel count in their high end P&S cameras as well as on many of their DSLRs. More megapixels sounds good but often this just results in noisier and grainier images.
I guess in part I’ve also been a bit partial to the older Nikon cameras as they generally had really terrific macro capabilities… something I find useful in Z scale work. In addition there’s a certain smoothness I find in these Nikons. Not a lack of sharpness in the images, but a pleasant lack of noise and grain. Now this 8800 isn’t a top flight DSLR, but after looking at lots and lots of user images online (here for example) and looking over my photos from the old Ztrains website which were taken with an even older Nikon… I took the plunge and bought the 8800.
It should be arriving this coming week and I have to admit I’m dying to fire it up and see what I can do with this new, old, camera. Of course buying the camera is the easy part, learning how to take really good photos… that’s where the work begins.