When I look backwards, I have always been fascinated by a photography for quite a long time. But it really hit me about 4 years ago, when I bought some Panasonic camera with 16x zoom. It was only at that particular time that I thought zoom was the most important feature of a camera. Well, I can now say that it is cool to have zoom, but without vibration reduction you cannot do much on long focal length.

Anyway, time passed and I was taking some photographs, when I was showed by my old mate what was a macro photography. The view of detailed items really impressed me. But hey, it was all about taking pictures whenever I could, without focusing on advanced options.

After that, I bought my first high-end mobile phone. I was surprised (apart from specs of course) by its camera. Soon I realised that I really did not need the compact camera anymore, so I gave it to my brother. And stayed for good with mobile camera for the next 2 years.

During holiday time, my family came over and guess what – my brother brought the Panasonic camera with him – and obviously we were taking photos. After a day out, we sat in the front of my full HD TV and played some photos. That was it. I realised that camera from mobile phone actually isn’t that great.

I could clearly see a quality difference between dedicated camera device and mobile phone camera. As photos from my mobile phone were noisy, photos from my brother’s camera were sharp. But something was wrong! My mobile phone was a few times more expensive than this compact camera! Well, life was brutal this time.

I started to look for another camera. I learned that there are Compact, Bridge, System (or mirror-less) and DSLR cameras. As I wanted good quality of photos, with interchangeable lenses but not big and heavy camera itself, my choice went onto mirror-less camera. To be more specific – I chose Nikon 1 j1 with standard 10-30 mm lens. And it happened over a year ago.

Like before with previous camera, I was stunned by the quality of pictures. And the speed of taking pictures – this camera was able to take 60 pictures per minute! Anyway, another good piece of hardware made my days for a long time.

However, I found a few websites and blogs which were about photo business and/or hobby. I could see incredible pictures they had been taking. Well, I thought why shouldn’t I try? I armed myself in some online tutorials, YouTube videos and some settings. I did not know what Shutter speed was. Aperture was a mystery word to me. I knew that the higher ISO, the brighter picture, but I did not know high ISO causes noise to the pictures.

My proper manual photography education started off with 2 books: “Mastering Digital Photography” by Jason Youn and “The Digital Photography Book: Part 1” by Scott Kelby. The former book gave me all the theory I needed, the latter how to put theory into practise. In the meantime, I understood the reason to use tri-pod and why soft-light (or even golden hour) is what photographer is looking for.

As a result, my photo skills rapidly shot up and improved. I took thousands of photos and was never 100% satisfied. There was always something I could have corrected or improved.

About a month ago, I asked my good friend Robert to lend me his DSLR. He has Nikon d80 with 18-135mm lens. The quality of photos (bear in mind this DSLR was 5 years older than my Nikon 1 j1) was stunning. As I was practising my Nikon 1 for over a year, I could take a better quality pictures straight away with Nikon d80, and all the functions were under my fingers. With Nikon 1, when I wanted to change mode from automatic focus to manual, I had to go to special menu, change function, come back to taking photos mode, click ok, adjust focus setting, confirm, and take a picture. I know I missed many great possibilities of taking good photos. With DSLR the manual focus is a matter of switching mode on lens, adjust the ring and take a pic. It takes 2 second in comparison to 20.

I took me literally very short period of time to realise that what I need is DSLR, and my choice was Nikon d7100 with 18-140mm lens. I ordered it yesterday online, can’t wait to take it outside with me.

It was a long, all round journey to find my perfect DSLR. I wonder what it will bring me.