Last month, I made the long-overdue upgrade from my old Nikon D40 (now discontinued) to a Nikon D700. My bank account felt anorexic after the purchase; I, on the other hand, felt invincible. It was a much-needed change and I hope the new gear will accompany me through some exciting developments in the future, but I don’t want to put away my old camera without a proper goodbye.
I bought the D40 more than five years ago. I was in 16; it took me 6 months to save enough money for my first DSLR. Unfortunately, I outgrew this camera within the first 8 months but I didn’t have enough money for a new camera; for the next few years, I invested in lenses and other equipment instead. So whenever I told other photographers the model of my little camera, they were shocked that I was still using the D40, which is not considered professional grade camera. While I sometimes felt the limitations of the D40, most of the time, and especially with the right lens, it served me just fine.
In the last 5 years, the old D40 has travelled with me to 3 continents, 25 countries, and survived all sorts of poor weather conditions. It got me my first paid photography gig, my first shoot with agency-signed models, and produced my first published works. Although it’s a little scratched up and it’s shutter count has long been overshot, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic about putting it away – some of my favorite photos were taken with the D40.
But, there is a catch here.
I’m not writing this to blog about my old camera or my new camera, because it’s really not about the gear at all. A camera does not a photographer make. Nor does the lens or the lighting. The right equipment can definitely help, but there are some brilliant photographers out there who use what some people would overlook as “professional” equipment. Rosie Hardy uses Gimp instead of Photoshop to process her photos. Anna Theodora shoots with a Canon Rebel. In fact, some of you probably use more expensive equipment than these two talented ladies do, but both of them are able to work with the resources they have to produce stunning images.
Cameras are so accessible now that almost everyone I know who can afford a DSLR is calling themselves photographers. I love that photography has become popular, but when I’m making images, it’s still good to remind myself that it’s not the camera, but the person behind the lens that defines the image.
Here are some of my favourite memories with the D40…