I have a (good) problem…
I’m obsessed with Nikon digital cameras, their DSLRs. Obsessed is probably too strong a word. I am just always on the search for a new camera that can be my companion, and a good workhorse. This year was no exception that the search for a new Nikon camera continued. Why? After some great travel experiences in the past few years, I finally came to a conclusion with my Nikon gear.
I want, definitely don’t need, but want a great travel camera, and want an extraordinary zoom lens to go with it. Imagine walking around a foreign city and seeing a spectacular church and capturing its full facade in one shot, and then zooming in to get the details of a carved statue that adorns that facade in the next. Imagine being on a safari and seeing a whole field of elephants, and then zooming in to capture the face of just one. Sweet. That’s what a zoom lens can do. No questions asked, just shoot and create.
I have my heart set on an 18-300mm lens. Nikon makes one as well as a few other brands. But that’s the one. That’s the range. I started writing a whole lot about the differences in digital cameras and how there are two different sensor types, but I’ll just get to the point. An 18-300mm lens needs to go on an APS-C sized sensor or “DX” camera. I have a Nikon D90 that fits that description, and for all the wonderful images it’s given me over the years, I think it will sit on the bench as my super travel companion camera. Sorry D90, I just need a little better image quality.
I test drove Nikon’s best FX camera (as of 2018) the D500, in August thinking that it might be the one. Not only did I think it could be my travel camera, I thought it could takeover everything and even be a work camera for events. The following images are from a day with the D500, riding up the PCH from Los Angeles, as far north as Carpenteria, CA. The sites included standard California coastal charms and a few things you don’t see everyday. Ocean views, surfers, mountains, train tracks, farmland, a few animals, oh my…
Two quick stories before:
1) In spite of these very good images, the D500 did not end up being my answer. I used it for an event shortly after this day and I was not impressed by it’s low light performance. It was not all the D500’s fault. In it’s defense, I was using an 18-105mm kit lens. In fact, I was using the kit lens that came with my D90 way back in 2009! It’s the oldest piece of equipment I own. The D500 was working with a nine year old lens.
2) I had a near death experience on this day. By near death I mean, 60 seconds away from death…barring I completely fell down and had no way of moving. You’ll eventually see a few train track images in the set. Look for the one where you see me capture my shadow on the ground with the tracks. That track is in Capenteria along the Capenteria Bluff Trail. The trail is on one side of the train tracks, and there are a few small openings where you can access the tracks, cross over them, and then stand on the bluffs to view the ocean. I did just that, captured a few images of the water, and then turned around. On the way back to the trail, I captured the track images you see. It was incredibly quiet and still, peaceful even. After I returned the trail, a mere 60 seconds later…AN AMTRAK TRAIN CAME FLYING BY!
Here I was being artsy and emo capturing a train track and tree. How poetic, right? I even SAT DOWN on the track at one point to capture some images! There is no signage whatsoever at the trail that says not to cross or go near the tracks. No signage that states the track is a functioning track. No lights, no barriers. NOTHING. I felt a nervous shiver in my body after the train came by. Death.
In hindsight, I should probably write a letter or email to someone about that…
Hope you enjoy the images: