If you’re a fan of great-looking photos, I have some advice.
Get a Nikon Pronea S before they’re all gone off the shelves. They’re on sale or clearance in many venues, and well worth having. I just love mine.
I’ve long been a Nikon devotee. When I first got old enough to afford my own 35mm SLR camera*, I got a used Canon AE-1 that was pretty nice. I later added an AE-1P (more automation, faster grabshots) with various lenses (105mm, 35mm, finally a zoom 35-70) and an FTb (totally manual, for playing around with.) Finally I could focus in on one element and make the background blurry, or the other way around, or use filters that made all the lights sparkly or haloed or buttery, or bracket shots and mess with exposure, and all the things I’d been so jealous of with people who had other than the cheapest Pocket Instamatic and the cheapie Polaroid Square Shooter. (Every Christmas I’d ask for a camera, and every Christmas I’d get the newest cheap Insty or Polaroid. Such a collection. Worth nothing, they tell me today.)
But I didn’t realize I was missing out on clarity until I borrowed a friend’s Nikon FA and shot a couple of rolls. Wow! It was like comparing the Barbie digital cam with a top-of-line new Sony. There was no comparison. From then on, Nikon optics were for me. I finally got one of their worst models ever (from the standpoint of eating batts and being heavy and using up lots of money), the N4004. It cost $700 plus the lens, and it couldn’t focus accurately on my black-and-white cat. When I returned to Asshole Camera Store the next day to say it wouldn’t focus accurately, he said you couldn’t expect it to focus well on high-contrast stuff. They would not take it back, noway nohow. Bastards. I still hate them. Anyway, the FA was out of production and I was outta luck. So from then on, I missed all my grab shots and often had mis-focuses. Still, when it was good, it was very very good, and the Nikon optics helped make up for the deficiencies. (I used to be able to catch a Frisbee or a baseball at the top of its trajectory or catch a runner braking the tape–with the Canon, which never failed to click the shutter when I rolled my index fingertip across the release, basically because I had learned just how much before the apex to anticipate where the whatever-it-is would be and shot just before that so that the film would be exposed during the high point–if you’ve ever used a single-lens reflex camera (SLR), where the mirror has to move out of the way before the shutter releases, you know what I’m talking about. Over time, you learn how your camera works and it becomes second nature.) Anyway, I was conflicted for years because the Canon could shoot more often (it went off, whereas the N4004 often refused to go off and wouldn’t do my bidding and just sat there while I missed the blowing out of candles, the accepting of diplomas, the kissing of the bride, the first dance of the evening, and so forth–I went from “the little photographer of the family” to “she used to be good at picturetaking”), but I wanted Nikon clarity.
Also, after fifteen years of being the one walking around with a 15-lb camera plus bulky zoom plus electronic flash around my neck with a guitar strap (getting a psoriasis patch of on back of neck as well as developing that Hunchback gait), I was sick of the heavy stuff. I realize that the APS negative is smaller than the 35mm, and enlargements may suffer, but just try enlarging most digital photos and see how much worse they are.
That’s when I discovered the Pronea. Hallelujah!!
Go get one, *now*. The APS system ain’t 35mm, and you may miss using all those interchangeable lenses and all those filters (I suppose you could get filters, though, and if you already have lovely Nikon lenses, you can mount them on the Pronea S), but there’s a zoom and it’s got Nikon optics. I get gorgeous shots from this sweetie. And it’s a palmful that is simple to lug around. It has a wrist strap. I never hesitate to carry it. Get one!
(Better than digital. Digital is good for quick stuff, but the optics are not there yet. use the Pronea and this neat Nexia film from Fuji, ASA400, and you’ll never wanna go back.)
Now if only we could afford to go anyplace to take pix. . . .
*I can’t say “when I first became interested in 35mm and pro photography,” because that happened way back when. I used a Brownie Instamatic of my dad’s and his (Nikkormatic!) 8mm movie camera whenever he’d let me, through childhood. We have film of me filming him filming me, and so forth. Yet I didn’t get that good until I was about eleven or twelve, and that’s when I wanted a 35mm, but the Instys of my own started arriving. They all had cool cases and were easy to load, and I’ll say this for ’em, they weren’t as blurry as cheapie digitals.