I came to a realization early on Tuesday morning. I was in a Dupont Circle soup kitchen taking portraits with Jen for an annual report she’s been working on. I was shooting with my Nikon D7000 and she was shooting with a borrowed Canon 7D. The results I was getting were just not as clean or as sharp as hers. A big part of this, as I admitted later, was due to the skill of the photographer: Jen has an innate knack for framing and shooting people that I don’t naturally possess, and was immediately connecting with her subjects and knocking off professional shots with ease. But another big part of this was the feel of the shots I was getting and how they differ from the shots I’ve seen and taken with the Canon–they just look better to my eye in a way I can’t describe.
This could be due to several factors. The photographer, as mentioned. The glass, which is the key difference in quality: She was shooting with a full-frame f/1.4 L lens, which is a full order of magnitude better than the crop-sensor f/1.8 lens on my Nikon. Faster, sharper, and better. It also could be shiny new toy disease, wherein some small part of my lizard brain convinces the rest of it that we’d be much happier with that more expensive thing over there instead of what we’ve got in our hands.
I’m curious if the camera body is as important as the glass. I’m considering the rental of a Nikon full-frame body and FX lens to see if I like the results–I’ve always liked Nikon’s approach to ergonomics and user experience more than Canon’s annoying scroll-wheel/joystick controls, and the way things work is very important to me. I haven’t given up on Nikon yet, but I’m seriously evaluating a (costly) migration to Canon full-frame gear.
One thing I didn’t mention about last weekend was the fact that I picked up another 100+ bricks from Second Chance for the front walkway. For the grand total of $50 I got a bunch of oversized, weathered brick that then got cut down to size (adding a $45 rental fee) and stacked under the back porch. If the weather holds out this weekend, I’ll get the supplies needed, rip out the hedges on either side of the walkway, and get the last of the brick installed before the ground freezes up.
The other major project I’m hoping to tackle is getting the hardtop back on the Scout while it’s still somewhat warm. I spent a good bit of time last weekend attempting to get her started, to the point where I ran the battery down. It just wouldn’t get any gas into the carburetor. Then, after taking 10 minutes to cool off, I dumped a gallon of gas into the tank, jumped it from the Accord, and it fired right up. I must have backed it into the garage on fumes before I left for Abu Dhabi.