I have long been a fan of Nikon equipment. I learned particular respect for Nikon in my days as a camera repairman; I found Nikon stuff to be unusually well engineered and rugged. I own an extensive system of Nikon 35 mm bodies and lenses, and have been very happy with them.
When I got the urge for a high-end Digital camera, I naturally tended to gravitate to Nikon. I got to try out a Nikon Coolpix 950 that somebody had at a social function, and I was very impressed with the ergonomics of it. I particularly like the swiveling lens/viewfinder, which makes it ideal for shooting at unusual angles. As an old Rolleiflex fan, I often prefer a waist-level viewfinder, and the swivel also allows me to hold the camera up at arms length to shoot over obstructions.
I was also attracted to the Coolpix series because it is compatible with my existing Nikon-dedicated flash equipment. I'm very partial to bounce flash, and couldn't see spending a lot of money on anything that wouldn't let me do this. I've also got Ascor/Norman studio flash equipment that I'll want to be able to use. My first Digital camera, an early Sony Mavica, was pretty much unsatisfactor to me because it had no provision for using an external flash.
The 950 seemed very nice, but I learned that Nikon was coming out with a new version, the 990. This differed mainly in having higher resolution (3.34 megapixels) and...featured built-in USB support. Since I use a Mac iBook, which has only USB input, this made the 990 particularly desirable.
I had to wait quite a while to actually GET a 990, but finally got one in good old Newtonville Camera in early June, 2000. Writing in mid July, after over 1000 pictures, I'm quite delighted with this camera, and recommend it highly.
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Kenko 8 x 32 MonocularThis photo was made from Chandler-Hovey park, Marblehead, Massachusetts, with a Kenko 8 x 32 monocular and adaptor I got from http://www.ckcpower.com/.
The lighting was quite unfavorable, as I was shooting into the late-afternoon sun.
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