I am generally a frugal person. The only thing I am willing to splurge significant money on is food. Other than that, I am a borderline nutcase between being frugal and being miserly. Before my travels to the US, I have never bought any branded goods for myself. My clothes are mostly from Jusco, my shoes from Bata.
I did say generally, didn’t I? Over the years, there were certain big ticket purchases that I made, and then regret almost immediately after I walked out of the shop. This guy is one of them. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you my DSLR wannabe, the Nikon Coolpix P520!
No, this one is not a DSLR. The lens does not detach. It only looks like a DSLR, but it is still classified as a compact camera.
I bought this when I was in the US, early winter 2013. I don’t know what possessed me back then, my usual rational judgement became nonexistent for a few hours and that’s it. I parted with US$300 (slightly below RM1000 back then) for this guy.
It was my fourth time traveling to the States, I expected to mostly remain couped up in the office or hotel. I did not expect to take a ton of photos, so I did not bring my compact camera with me. I did not expect that with nobody to take care of, I could actually give in to my crazier tendencies and drive further in search of sightseeing opportunities. Also, in my previous trips, I have always traveled with at least one other colleague. There was always someone to take pictures of me. I did not need to worry about having to take selfies.
A short while into my stay, I realized that I was mistaken, that I had to worry about good photo quality and about taking selfies. I was planning to drive 150 miles to Loveland Pass and Vail, where the scenery is supposed to beat whatever I have seen before. I became desperate to get my hands on a decent camera. I think that was it, the first reason for my undoing: DESPERATION.
A couple days before my planned road trip, I quickly went to Best Buy (big ass electronics gadget store) to hunt for my camera. I did set a budget of $300. I wanted a compact camera that has a flip screen for ease of selfies taking. I can’t take selfies without seeing the screen. I just can’t.
15 minutes into the hunt, I found that there’s only two cameras that met my requirements and budget. One was a Fuji brand, $250. It looked lousy. Another one was this Nikon P520. It was $300, on the dot.
The usual me would have thought: “This camera is so big ass, how am I supposed to hold it with one hand to take selfies?”
Instead, this was what I thought at that moment: “Che wah! $250 for a lousy looking camera, and Fuji somemore. Who buys Fuji brand cameras? Add another $50 can get a formidable looking, Nikon brand camera that looks like a DSLR!”
When one thinks this way, the outcome is obvious, isn’t it? So I parted with my money, and got the camera.
And thought of the right thoughts two days later, on my road trip. The camera was too heavy to operate one handed. To make matters worse, my head is big and my hand is not exactly long. It was impossible for me to take selfies with the scenery behind me decently. It was either me, OR the scenery. There was no me AND scenery. In the end I got a camera that was not able to do what I wanted to do the most.
If you ask me right now, did I regret buying this P520, the answer would be a definite YES! I definitely should’ve gotten the Fuji brand camera than this one. The usual me would think: “$50 cheaper is $50 saved, spending $50 more for some bragging rights I do not need is still $50 wasted”.
I did try to make full use of this P520 though. I brought this guy with me on my hiking trips. I spent a few days playing with aperture setting and shutter speed setting, and then gave up. I am not meant to be a photographer. I do not have the passion. Better to just stick to Auto mode 🙄 .
Since I came back to Malaysia, I have not used this camera for more than 5 times. I carried it with me back to KL twice, the second time to borrow it to my sister. I carried it with me when I was playing semi tour guide round Penang island. I carried it with me once to a buffet lunch in E&O Hotel to hoodwink the attendants to think that I was a professional blogger and not bother me when I took photos. That was about it.
Okay, enough of my complaining, less you think that I am a perpetually whining old man. Maybe I’ll show you some of the photos I captured with this Nikon P520 instead. Here we go 😀 :
Boyd Lake State Park, Loveland, Colorado
The first of my few hiking trips. It was a 3 miles (~5km) trail over 7 different lakes. The lakes were nothing spectacular, but I enjoyed the walk.
Lake Loveland, Loveland, Colorado
I had always passed by this lake while driving to and from the office, this was the first time I came here for a walk.
Loveland Pass, Colorado
The road trip that I mentioned. Loveland Pass is a mountain road 120 miles away from Loveland town where I was staying at. The main reasons tourists come here are to see the Continental Divide and to reach the Arapahoe Basin ski area.
These are all photos in original condition. I did not do any touch ups to them. Don’t know how to use Photoshop anyway.
Do you think my camera is good? Do you think I did not make a mistake buying it? Or do you think I am a bloody moron for wasting money?