First Impressions

Volume 6, Issue 58; 12 Jul 2003

Norm plays with his birthday present, a Nikon 5700 digital camera. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

The arts are not a luxury.

In 1999, I bought my first digital camera, a 2 megapixel Nikon 950Most likely coming to an eBay web page near you soon.. It was expensive, but the deal was, I wouldn't buy another for at least two years. I know I agonized for a long time about which one to get (hardly news, I do that for most purchases over about the price of good lunch). I don't recall exactly how or why I arrived at the 950, but I've enjoyed it very much, and taken a great many photographs with it.

It's 2003 now and a little mental arithmatic should convince you that I've upheld my bargain. So when my birthday rolled around this year, a new digital camera found its way onto the short list. When it reached the top of the list, I began sifting through the current crop of 5 megapixel beauties to pick one.

It's all about compromise, there's nothing perfect out there. I wanted 5 megapixels, a fully manual mode, macro capability, compact flash media, and the ability to add additional lenses (especially a wide angle) and a remote shutter release.

I choose the Nikon 5700.

What do I think? I'll probably write more as I learn more about the camera (it arrived just a couple of days ago), but here are some first impressions:

  1. Five megapixels. Sweet! (Click on the picture twice for the unscaled image in its full glory.)

    Wet Lily
    Wet Lily
  2. There's a lot to learn. This is a complex piece of technology. Fair enough: I want a lot of control over my camera, that means there have to be a lot of knobs to turn.

  3. 8x optical zoom. Also sweet.

  4. But it's a slow lens. And I think I'll miss the wider-angle available on the 950 when I head out on the road. (Look for some tourist snaps of Vancouver to test that theory.).

  5. Electronic viewfinder. The jury's still out.

  6. Yes, it struggles to focus in low light. I think it's ok though. Time will tell.

  7. It feels good to have a “proper camera” back in my hands. I really like the split-body design of the 950, but I have 35mm roots and the 5700 feels like a camera.

  8. I'm going to miss the unobtrusive portability of the 950. The biggest compromise I made, perhaps, was away from a “pocket camera” design. It was a compromise I had to make for the other features I wanted.

  9. Manual focus mode doesn't actually tell you the focal distance you've selected. And you have to select it by spinning the command dial up to a maximum of 63 “clicks”. What's up with that?