Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Hi, I'm stupid

So there is this age-old question among weekly reporters that goes something like this.

Weekly papers are notorious for having horrible camera gear. They don't have the budgets larger daily papers have -- but even some of those have obsolete gear.

Anyway, as a reporter who takes pictures too, do you just use the gear they provide, or buy better gear for yourself. Of course you can write the purchase off, and the added benefit is it's great for home use, but in the end if you damage your camera, you are stuck with the bill.

I have always been a "buy better stuff and use it on the job guy." Over the 12 years of my career it hasn't really been a problem. I have had only two camera-related issues, both of which have happened since December.

First off, my five-year-old camera died during a Christmas tree lighting. It was pretty old and after looking on the Internet and talking to a repair guy, I decided to replace it with newer technology. So for my Christmas present I bought myself a Canon 40D with all the toys -- battery grip, new lens and even a waterproof bag for those rainy assignments.

Then, last night, I dropped it after tripping on a curb and not having it secured in my bag. The camera is fine, but the battery grip is pretty banged up, as you can see from the photo above. Now the shutter button won't work on the grip, and the wheel is pretty much useless too. A new grip is $170.

The Appeal uses Nikon gear, and I have always used Canon. So if I do start using work camera gear there is going to be a learning curve -- but I could save myself the headache of having my own stuff get trashed. It isn't like weekly papers pay a huge salary or even a stipend for camera gear.

So once again the question: Do I continue using my own gear, and have way better pictures, or use the company gear?

I am going to talk with my editor about repairing the battery grip. If he isn't open to that, I think I am done using my own gear. Especially with one of our reporters leaving and some better gear opening up at work -- I will just have to take some time and learn how to use Nikon. How much different could it be?

Anyone have any thoughts?

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