Back in 2002, I took my dad's FM2 on an expedition to the mountains. It was my first encounter with an SLR. After having bashed it many times on the rocks and dropping it into the river twice, it continued to give me spectacular shots (where I chanced on the right aperture and shutter speed).
After that expedition, film shooting became too expensive for me. Then began the anti-photography period when my doctrine changed to one of experiencing the moment rather than recording it through the claustrophobic viewfinder of a camera.
However, it dawned on me after some time that it was a joy to see beautiful things but a greater joy to preserve them and to share them with others. This was when, dictated by my outdoor exploits as a jobless biologist, I procured a weatherproof 3mp pocket camera at a sale. I figured that 3 megapixels point-and-shoot was enough (which I realise now to be partly right, partly wrong). I even managed to shoot a 10-day volcano expedition well enough to give an interesting slideshow at my adventure club. However, I became increasingly dissatisfied as the shortcomings of a compact camera made themselves felt one by one. You not only look strange holding a small rectangular gadget out in front of you but also can't get something decent out of it when you desperately need it to.
Then I heard of the D50. The enthusiasts were raving about it, public buses all over Singapore were painted with full frame pictures of it, and the reviews were full of praise for the value for money. It was the obvious choice after I convinced myself that I could ignore the child mode (and the other scene modes) or imagine that it was meant to shoot unpredictable wild animals. The resurrection of the SLR had come.
All this while I had brief acquaintances with the D200 in related reviews and brochures. There was something profound in that camera which drew attention, but each time I passed it off as unattainable and undeserved for such a novice as I was. The D50 was more than enough for me to handle, wasn't it.
One night, I had a dream. This is true. I dreamt that I was using a D50, and I also had a D200 new in its box in the cupboard. I decided to take out the D200 and use it. The feeling, even in my groggy dream, was one of power. The power to have the camera listen to your every command and execute it instantaneously, no matter how demanding. You are in charge and responsible for everything, not the camera. It was a quantum leap.
It took a week or two for that dream to develop its full impact and for me to double check all the reviews. Then I walked into the shop and said, 'I want the D200'. It was the very last piece.
The legendary FM2 left an indelible impression in my mind. One of the capability to deliver the most intense artistic and spiritual revelations where others fail. I read both Nikon and Canon reviews. I am not saying which is good or bad, I am just saying that Nikon feels like a camera I would take out to Everest to shoot National Geographic, not a collection of high megapixel counts and full-frame CMOS sensors and other high-end specs with Ni-MH batteries. Alas this is subjective; everyone has explained it thousands of times that camera doesn't matter. Except when something fails at 8000m.
I am indebted to certain online sources, including Nikonians, for bringing me up to speed faster than I can manage. Regrettably, it will be a while before I can contribute something substantial. In the days ahead I intend to take the D200 to its limits.
#1. "RE: From FM2 to D200" | In response to Reply # 0jdbower Registered since 12th Jan 2006Mon 23-Oct-06 01:29 PM
>Then began the anti-photography period when my
>doctrine changed to one of experiencing the moment rather
>than recording it through the claustrophobic viewfinder of a
I can certainly understand that philosophy. I've managed to use it to my advantage. I use the limited view of the camera to see if I can limit the view and experience of something in a way that I wouldn't otherwise have noticed. I rarely take portraits or follow the lead of the tourists who take a picture of themselves in front of a monument as evidence of their visit, for me the composition of the shot is the important thing - even the sharing is second as I don't really feel disappointed when the shot doesn't come out. My image is realized before I even lift the camera to my eye, but when a shot does come out well I'm more impressed that I was able to figure out the camera settings than about the actual image. The camera lets me slow down the capture of the image and try to figure out how best to present it. When hiking a brightly colored mushroom would receive a glance, with a camera I study it for quite some time to figure out how to best isolate it from the surroundings.
At any rate, I hope you have fun with your new toy - try not to spend your life savings on lenses
I wish my D200 body was a significant portion of my NAS-related expenses...