Accidental Upgrade: Our New DSLR Camera

You guys get extra credit for being especially perceptive, because as some of you have noticed, we got a new camera (we weren’t paid or perked, we just bought it with our own benjamins for reasons I’m about to explain).

It’s a Nikon 3200 that we purchased on Amazon (here’s an affiliate link to the same model we bought) – basically the latest version of our previous DSLR, the Nikon 3000 that we got back in early 2010. The reason for the upgrade? Well, let’s just say the resident klutz around here (that’s me) finally klutz-ed it up a bit too much for our poor camera to handle. Can I get a womp womp?

It actually happened back when I was working on the deck. I was cutting my stair stringers and in a heat/sawdust induced haze, didn’t realize that I had set the camera down on the other end of my 2 x 10 board. Long story short, the vibrations of the saw subtly shook the board until the camera shimmied right off the edge and onto the concrete (I was looking down at my cut, so I was completely surprised by this turn of events). Here, allow me to reenact it for you.

It was not my finest moment. In fact it was up there with failing inspection when I had to tell Sherry the camera had fallen on the ground because of some dumb cutting incident.

This is not the first time this camera has been dropped. Considering the activities that we photograph regularly (we’ve taken about 300 photos a week for the past 2+ years with this guy, which adds up to over 39,000 photos!), it’s had its fair share of bumps, drops, paint splats, dirt smears, and sawdust-ings. But I guess this particular incident was too much for it to handle and suddenly we could only take pictures in manual focus mode. Awesome. Just kidding, it stunk (auto focus is amazingly helpful for us since we often grab pics of things in action- like Clara & Burger, and don’t have time to auto focus each time).

I called our local camera shop and learned they’d have to send it off to Nikon to repair it. And assuming it’s a fixable issue, our max cost would be about $150. Not too bad… except that it’d take 6-8 weeks to complete. And since we quickly realized we couldn’t survive (aka: blog) for two months without a camera, we thought about:

  • renting a camera while ours got fixed (it turns out that renting one for two months would have cost more than just buying a new one)
  • getting a cheap point & shoot camera for the next few months (but we decided that cheaping out on a just-for-now camera would be money down the drain, instead of putting it towards something we’d really want, like an updated DSLR with more capabilities)

So ultimately we took it as a sign from above that we should get ourselves a new one after over two and a half years of faithful use of our older one. We’re still going to get the old one fixed though, just to always have a backup DSLR on hand (so that if we should ever break the new one we won’t feel the same we-have-a-blog-and-can’t-be-without-a-camera-for-two-months pressure to buy yet another camera ever again). Hooray.

We decided to stick with Nikon (we’ve been very happy with our first DSLR) and go with something in the D3000 series (since we weren’t looking to relearn everything and it meant the 50mm lens we bought last summer would still work on our new camera). Of course our new camera wasn’t cheap (we got it for $699 on Amazon – it was about $250 more than our previous one) but at this point we’re looking at it as a necessary business expense. And the D3200 offered some nice improvements – like better shooting in low light, a more accurate auto white balance, and my favorite: HD video (hence the improvement some of you have noticed in our latest videos).

Yep, the image above is a video screenshot, not a still photo (which is a huge improvement from our Flip cam’s capabilities) and it gets me all hot and bothered. And not just because of my sexy wife.

We’re still getting the hang of shooting video with a DSLR. It does some things much better than our old FlipHD – like more true-to-life color and a wider lens – but we’re still working on mastering the audio and autofocus capabilities, so we’re hardly experts quite yet. But I actually shot a little side-by-side comparison just to see exactly how the two video cameras stacked up. How did I accomplish this little feat of geekery? It looked something like this – Nikon in one hand, Flip in the other.

And here’s what the video looked like when I edited them together:

So as much as we’re excited by the new features, we’re still definitely getting the hang of it. But overall we’re really happy with the new camera. Here are a few of the photos we took (all without white-balancing or worrying about lighting like we did with our prior camera):

It’s definitely a great upgrade for our blog (hooray for less time spent white balancing and worrying about low-light photos – and of course upgraded wider-angle videos are a big plus) and it’s also a nice little upgrade for our family (we shoot a ton of photos & videos of Clara and Burger). It almost makes that whole John-dropped-and-broke-something-again thing seem like a good thing. Right Sherry?

Psst- On another subject entirely, Sherry wants to talk about the finale of Bachelor Pad. So to anyone who saw it… what did you think? Honestly, I wish I had secretly taped Sherry’s reaction.


  1. Rebecca says

    My husband just bought me a Canon EOS Rebel T3i for my birthday. It has the video function too, so I am in LOVE. We definitely invested a good bit of money into it (and some other accessories) but we know it’ll last us a while. A much needed upgrade from my point and shoot which I always complained about.

    Sherry, my husband totally guessed the outcome as soon as we knew which couple was in the running! So no big surprise to me. Can we say your face looked a bit like Chelsey’s?

  2. Alison says

    I was a little shocked at the bachelor pad finale. I now know that nick is a jerk. And I was a little shocked that Tony and Blakely got engaged. Crazy town.

  3. Theresa says

    We have had Nikon cameras for many years, just love the quality. If you travel with it, considering getting a generic strap. You shouldn’t advertise the value of the camera to not so nice people. Enjoy.

  4. Marissa C says

    Umm…that re-enactment is seriously impressive.

    As is the differences between the videos. Muy impresivo. (I know that isn’t real Spanish)

    I’ve had a Canon 7D for over a year and haven’t used the HD Video yet. Isn’t that sad?

  5. Meredith R. says

    Bachelor Pad – I was absolutely shocked! I did not see Nick taking all the money – whoa! Poor Rachel! No guy and no money – and she was so super close to having both. :( I feel so badly for her.

  6. says

    Much much better! The color is so much cleaner (obviously). Its nice to see what you see! I’m still waiting on seeing that darn sunroom!!! Also – where did you get Clara’s crocs from? I saw some at our local Stride Rite outlet but they were much too big for my kids.

    Side note: I’d love to see a reenactment of Sherry’s reaction to the Bachelor Pad finale. :)

    • Jenelle says

      I wanted a pair of crocs for my 16 month old to go camping and play in the garden. I was having a terrible time finding them because she has super small- size 3 infant- feet. I ended up finding them at…. drumroll, please… Walmart.

  7. Karen says

    OMG…. I don’t even watch that show, but for some reason I got engrossed in the finale. I knew from the way they were acting and the way they kept promoting a dramatic finale that one of them was going to pick ‘keep’ but I figured it would be her. That guy sure played the game well and fooled everyone, didn’t he? (sorry… didn’t watch the show so don’t remember their names) LOL

    Just watching the recaps made me think the show is so deliciously trashy I might have to watch the next season. LOL

  8. Meredith says

    That’s a lovely camera, but Bachelor Pad—OMG!!! I can’t believe it! There’s a blog on that I read that recaps it (worth checking out for more BP discussion). Part of me feels like Nick had a point, but I mostly felt bad for Rachel. And how long do you think she’s going to feel badly about that FOR? Losing out on $125K? And really, she had no way around that—although it would have been awesome if she’d picked “keep”, too, since I’d prefer that all of them got $15-20K vs. Nick getting $250,000 in reward for being a jerk.

  9. says

    So I love all the posts you do on your house, your family, and your lives but… I love your behind the scenes blogging posts! As an amateur blogger, this is what really gets me going.

    We’ve been through the dropsy-time-for-a-new-DSLR routine, too (the culprit will remain nameless, but her name starts with a M and ends in an e). We’re loving our slightly-used-refurbished Canon Rebel T1I (I shout our fist video with it this weekend, you can see it here ), but we’d love to upgrade, too!

    Keep the blogging (and especially photog) posts coming!

  10. Amanda says

    That was only the second episode of Bachelor Pad I have seen but it was AMAZING! I think he totally deserved the money and his speech was perfection. According to my sister (she is a big fan of the show), he was spot on that no one cared about him and that his partner was so mean. She is way too much of a drama queen.

  11. says

    Yes please! Can we talk about bachelor pad!! During the previews I kept thinking Rachel was back stage yelling at Micheal, and then that whole situation just kind of blew over so I was confused about who she had been yelling at in the previews. Right towards the end I started hitting my husband’s arm because I was shocked and I kept saying “he’s going to keep the money! he’s going to keep the money! I can’t believe he is doing this to Rachel”. Thanks Sher-dog for wanting to talk about it!

  12. Stephanie says

    The pictures look amazing with that camera. I really want to get my hands on a DSLR for the next time I travel. I’ve taken some great shots with a point-and-shoot though and I’m cheap. :) Also, I’m poor because I just bought a house. lol

    Also, I love your kitchen color in the pic of the kitchen. It looks exactly like you always describe it, the inside of an avocado.

  13. Megan says

    Nick is such a jerk! I can’t believe he was acting so smug and cocky while she was sitting right next to him sobbing. Poor girl must be so devastated. So glad to know Sherri watches that show too! Totally my guilty pleasure :)

  14. Brenda says

    I’m not the most observant person, but even I can see the difference between the videos side by side. I love that you did that! It’s like I won’t necessarily notice an edited photo, but once you place it next to the original, it’s crazy obvious.

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