Four years ago when I decided to get a camera that was both small enough to carry around and good enough to produce photographs of the quality I wanted. After a few mis-steps and mistakes I settled on a Fuji X100s, and that has proved to be able to take just about anything I want except portraits.
I can even take portraits as long as they are portraits with the subject not taking up too much of the frame.
That Was Then, This Is Now
Well, that was four years ago. Now I decided I wanted a slightly more flexible camera for holidays. I am lucky that the local John Lewis store here in Cambridge has a good range of cameras – from top-end heavy beasts down to tiny compacts.
And the staff on the photographic counter have been very nice and they let me stick an SD card in various cameras and shoot off a few frames outside.
In the back of my mind I was influenced by Ming Thein, a photographer who is pretty agnostic when it comes to cameras, and by Thom Hogan, who reviews cameras. Ming recommended the Nikon D5500 camera (the previous model to the D5600), and I circled around trying other cameras.
I had my reasons for not jumping at the camera he recommended – principally that the viewfinder was not as big as on some other cameras (the Fuji X-T2 for example). On the other hand, the D5600 is much lighter. Weight is a big factor when you are carrying a camera around all day while being a tourist.
Thom Hogan also recommended the camera, with the proviso that the view finder was a bit small and it shoots compressed RAW, so a bit less flexible in post processing compared to the D5600’s big brothers in the Nikon lineup. But I am not looking for a dream camera, but for a camera that will do the job when travelling. Of course, I would like the images to be super wonderful. And maybe they will be.
Another plus was that the D5600 has a fully articulating screen (see photo) and – the biggest consideration of all – the image quality is excellent, at least as far as I could tell from the test shots I have taken.
I have been a Fuji aficionado since I started shooting with the X100s, but the Nikon files look fine. Will they have that Fuji creamy richness? Time will tell. It’s impossible to give a camera a fair trial when the light is poor. That is why the camera is about to get its test in Budapest.
Part Two: After Budapest
I bought a lens hood (a cheap knock-off from China) for £3.00 and that was well worth it – and after a week of shooting I can say that the camera is an excellent working tool, with one proviso.
The viewfinder is small, but that is not a huge issue. The big issue is that I could not see the data (exposure, shutter speed, exposure compensation, and ISO) in the bottom of the viewfinder in bright sunlight.
I was ready to take the camera back to the shop but then I asked on Nikon Cafe. I got an answer that referred me to the online handbook for the camera. Who knew there was an online handbook? Probably it was mentioned in the leaflet in the box, but I didn’t look and I didn’t know the handbook existed.
I adjusted the diopter in the viewfinder. I thought I had it set correctly, but I followed the instructions on page 340 and it looks better. The next step was to try it in full sun. We had a red sky last night, which boded well for today being a sunny day. I went out and… it works and I can see the information in the viewfinder – but only when I move my eye around in the viewfinder. It slows me down and it is unpleasant to use. So the camera is not a keeper.
You can see more shots in this post about the trip to Budapest.