I am relatively new to digital photography. I used to have a film camera when I travelled for my work and took photos for a newsletter I edited. Mostly I used the automatic mode and had the prints developed at Photo Shop in town. Later when digital photography took off and Photo Shop disappeared, I bought a small hybrid camera (between compact point-and-shoots and single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras) which took very nice pictures. Then last year I joined the AIWC photographers group and became dissatisfied with the quality of my photos. On the first photo shoot I attended with the group, half the photographers had Canon SLR’s and the other half had Nikon SLR’s. They knew all about aperture and depth of field and shutter speed, and I felt out of my depth. Nevertheless, I decided that before I could ever move into their league I would need to learn the complexities of my own little machine. After about nine months, I started looking for my next camera.

In the meantime, the group held an exhibition and I participated with some of my old photos. I learned about enhancing the quality of my pictures on the computer and getting the best prints with the help of one of my fellow photographers. I loved the idea of exhibiting and it gave me an impetus to go further in my adventure.

There are quite a few shops in Geneva that sell cameras. I started with FNAC and Interdiscount, and went on to the more specialized Photo Hall and Photo Verdaine. I looked at cameras in the windows and in the stores. There was a dizzying variety, so I asked everyone I knew for advice: family and friends who know about cameras, members of the photography group and sales people who explained what was on the market. With all their advice in my mind, and after having googled a lot of photo websites, I decided to look more seriously at the Nikon DSLR 7000 that several people had recommended and the Fuji X-E1, quite popular in photo and life-style magazines for enthusiastic amateurs. I lucked out at Photo Verdaine with a very helpful salesperson. He was patience itself, answering my many questions and showing me the cameras and lenses I was interested in. He was not surprised when I hesitated and went back three times.

Finally I chose a Nikon DSLR 5200, a little lighter than the 7000, with a 16-85mm lens, perfect for a start. I have had it for about two months now and love it. I look forward to sunny days and go on walkabouts all over town to test it. You may have seen some of my photos on previous blog posts about art and architecture in the city. Except for my falling into the cactus patch in the hothouse at the Botanic Gardens on a recent outing with the photography group, we had an otherwise uneventful and enjoyable afternoon with some great photo opportunities (see above photos).

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/.