The joy and thrill of selecting a new lens

Published 10:40 am Thursday, August 1, 2013

Column: A Happy Medium, by Erin Murtaugh

Last week I made an oopsie. I was getting ready to leave work, and so I was packing up my camera bag. I put everything in it and picked it up. Somehow, I managed to forget to zip the front of it shut. My camera took a nosedive out of the bag and landed lens-first on the ground. Immediately, my heart stopped. My first thought was, “Oh, no! My camera is done for.”

I sat down on the ground with my poor, dropped camera. The lens looked to be OK. No broken glass or anything visibly wrong. So I turn on the camera to check everything over. Boy, was I wrong. Neither the zoom or focus ring would budge. I sat and tried to talk myself through this devastation. “Maybe it’s fixable. … Maybe it’s meant to be.”

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I went home and started to do some research on new lenses because the only other one I had was made for portraits. I picked out four used lenses to go check out at National Camera Exchange over the weekend. Two of the lenses I had picked were completely different from anything I’ve used before. One was a telephoto lens, a longer lens that allows more zoom. The fourth one was the exact same as the one I had just broken.

Luckily, I didn’t have a need for that lens until the weekend. Since I had a little extra time in my weekend, I headed up to Edina to one of the National Camera Exchange locations. I got to the store and was immediately offered assistance by a knowledgeable employee. He took a look at my lens and told me that for what the lens could be bought for it wasn’t worth fixing.

The employee went and got three of the four lenses I came to test out and couldn’t find the fourth one. I was impressed with how well the lenses were taken care of and how good of prices the store was offering. I also was wowed by how caring and helpful the employee was. He knew everything I needed to know about the lenses I was looking to buy. I decided on getting the three lenses. The employee was about to ring up my stuff at the cash register when he said, “Wait, let me show you one more lens.”

He brought out a used lens that was capable of doing what two of the three lenses I was about to buy. Not only that, but I could buy it new for just a little bit more than the used one and get a mail-in rebate. I tried it out, and it was exactly what I had been looking for.

I had been thinking about upgrading lenses for a while now, and I feel like my lens breaking was a sign that it was time to upgrade to something a little nicer than what I was shooting with.

I even brought it with to the Kellie Pickler concert the other night and got some great shots of the performance. I applaud Edina’s National Camera Exchange staff and will definitely be returning for any of my camera needs.


Albert Lea High School senior Erin Murtaugh’s column appears every Thursday.