Sunday, August 15, 2010

What's it with women and cameras

I was chatting with my friend Derek this morning when he said, hey I bought a new camera lens.

What is it, I asked him, what did you buy?

It's a SIGMA something something, he said.

Actually, that's not what he said. He correctly named the exact model. But I usually get a dazed look whenever anyone reels off any numbers. So only the Sigma registered and I kinda lost the rest of the plot there :)

Anyway, Derek is off happily experimenting with this new super-zoom lens.

Talking to him, I felt that sharp familiar twinge I always get when I hear about cameras. When are you going to buy a better one, Deepa, I asked myself.

For two years now, I've been wanting something better than my point-and-shoot. But I haven't gotten around to buying it.

It's not that I cannot afford it.

As I was chatting today, I finally realised the real reason I haven't bought a camera in two years.

Guilt. With a capital G.

My ultra-conservative-about-money upbringing doesn't allow me to spend a hundred thousand rupees on a gadget.

And it's more than that. I also realise the real problem is that I'm unwilling to spend on a gadget that is purely for me. No one else in the family will use that camera. It's going to be just my own personal toy.

An expensive toy. That will lead to further expenses as I get into accessories, more lenses, photography lessons...

Guilt, guilt, guilt.

A peculiarly female thing? I guess a sociologist would have a field day over this. After all, this is a country where women eat last, after they have fed the rest of the household. Where women consistently undervalue themselves and their interests.

But is my guilt over an expensive purchase a female thing? I know many women who indulge themselves to death; usually in the form of jewellery or clothes or shoes or purses. They're buying fancy mobile phones these days as well; and cars and laptops. Many of these are women who don't have careers; it is the husband who brings home the bacon, so to speak. There is no guilt over these purchases - instead there is just pride and vanity, blessed by social sanction. Clothing and jewellery are a woman's way of telling another woman how rich she really is.

Unfortunately, that logic doesn't extend to womens' cameras. You can't show them off to other women, you see? :) Fancy mobile phones, even laptops and cars, you can show off. But the only people who seem to really understand cameras are men :)

Men really understand expensive toys, don't they? My male friends almost always egg me on to buy that new camera, and most of them offer advice on what model to buy.

My husband definitely has fewer qualms about expensive toys than I do. As I type this, the Bose he bought sits there twinkling at me. Before that, there was the custom-configured Wharfedale. But hey - to be fair to him, it's just two things in all our years together. So does he have guilt too? I *think* so. He certainly has the same ultra-conservative-about-money upbringing! Maybe that's why we don't squabble about money matters :)

Anyway, I think my camera story is drawing to an end. Why? Two things have happened - first, a new Croma store just opened near my house. Which means I am just ten minutes away from my camera. And second, we finally exchanged our credit card points for 35,000 rupees of Croma vouchers. Which means my guilt trip just substantially lessened :) Watch this space!

P.S. All advice welcome! Budget is anything upto Rs 100,000 for relatively light camera and decent zoom lens.


Sunil said...

I like it when u say....

"My ultra-conservative-about-money upbringing doesn't allow me to spend a hundred thousand rupees on a gadget."

it happens so much to most people brought up in middle-class/lower middle-class atmosphere....
and I would say more than man or a women guilt's more of a personal feeling....

Domesticated Bachelor said...

All my money goes on 1) Books, 2) DVDs - Films and Music 3) Gadgets (including accessories for my Camera)

Am getting ready to buy another camera and a prime lens as well :-)

As for your use, would suggest a Nikon D90, which will come with a 18-105 lens in the kit, which will give you sufficient zoom for normal trips. Will not be good for birding.
Since your budget is 100K, a D90 with kit lens will be about 50-55 K and you can spend another 27Kto33K for a Nikkor 70-300 and you will be set! :-)

Domesticated Bachelor said...

also ensure your lens' are VR lenses

satish said...

Do check out Nikon D3000,

Costs around 25k in Alfa or Fort.

Haddock said...

Yes it was an expensive toy in the film era.
But now with the digital, its just a one time investment. Then its just click click click at zero cost.
I too bought my second digital after a gap of 7 years.
My latest post is the product of that.

Aadil Desai said...

Good to hear you are finally getting a good professional camera, am sure it will improve the quality of your pictures as well as make it an interesting hobby to pursue. I just bought two digital cameras with lenses and I am having a blast!!!

Unknown said...

I would totally go for a d3000 or canon t1i..something that is light and easy to carry around with just the kit lens to start with.It is an investment of time and learning ,subscription photo forums,books on DSLR usage ,editing and publishing to photo web sites..on and on.And do you really want to lug around a waterproof lowepro bag for 2 lenses,filters,flash?

Unknown said...

Saw your article after surfing through the Delhi Magic website.

Many people believe that professional looking photos requires a DSLR and many lenses. While this will not hinder you from taking nice photo's particularly if you want a fast 200mm lens, you can take very professional photo's with a good point and shoot that has a manual mode.

I would suggest the Lumix LX3, which is essentially what Lieca uses for their digital point and shoot. It's far cheaper than even the entry level DSLR camera's.

It has a fast lens f2.0-2.8 and 24-60mm. This is ideal for street photography. It can be used reasonably well for landscape photography and architecture.

Altneratively if you are dead-set on a DSLR, picking up a used Canon XTi would probably serve you well and you could save 20-30% of the cost of a new camera.

Sri said...

you will be set with this. The best of the lot.

Nikon D3000 $450
sb-600 flash $220
nikon 18-200 vr ii zoom lens (good from < 1ft onwards)$760
I would also recommend going for the 12-24 zoom lens but that itself is $975 and would shake the budegt up. The 12-24 is mainly for panaromic shots.

All the best

Sri said...

Nikon just introduced the d3100

White Magpie said...

I completely jelled with you on the middle class thought about thinking a million times before spending that money. But 100000 is not entirely middle class you know :)

Go for a Hasselblad ;)

Sunita Mohan said...

yup! Its that "ultra-conservative about money ...." thing at work. with a vengeance. I felt guilty buying my Canon point-and-shoot but then it is something even my kids could use. But a DSLR? Or even a semi-DSLR? Hmmmm....
I've been urged to spurge on one for the last 2 years. Haven't got around to it yet though I'd happily pay the same amount for truckloads of cow manure and sacks of neem powder. Talk about priorities!
Then I find a comment on my blog saying someone enjoyed my photographs. And I wonder if they like what I click with a p&s, then why bother! :D
But I do have my eyes a great Canon DSLR which I've been promising myself as a prize if I ever break out of the "conservative ..." shackles.
All the best with getting your new camera.

Anu said...

I so totally agree with your "ultra-conservative about money upbringing". In fact I need to buy myself a camera and have been postponing it for ever...I guess its time I give up the guilt and buy one .

priya said...

I completely agree with every thought you expressed in you post... in India women are only now waking up to being individuals... from merely "the fairer sex tag"... also maybe true about world-wide as far as gadgets go... or even anything other than jewellery,clothes,shoes and bags go. the idea of show-off is absent in such things because she has not tried to understand this gadget so far... she atleast understands her mobile to some extent... wonder how much of the gold and gems she spends on does she actually understand !!! lastly am happy to read all those suggestions since i too am looking to progress to a DSLR not as expensive since am a starter to that segment but a good page to visit and take cue when i do get to it... have a few targets before i move into that.