The flip side of compromise is optimize.

Yesterday we had no work, officially. We had
clients who had work for us, though, so I just worked out of the office. Many
creative people in advertising have this delusion that ideas wander in malls,
and tend to enter these places in the hope that they will bump into a good idea
along the way from the food court to the shoe

decided to put that delusion to good use and obtain a new digicam in the
process. My old Nikon Coolpix 885 went to gadget heaven months ago and I never
got around to replacing it. Fixing it would have meant sinking in more time and
money than was reasonable, considering how steep tech depreciation is. I knew I
was going to get another Nikon, but I waffled between buying the latest and
greatest (i.e. the Nikon D70) and a whole host of other numerically-named
Coolpix options – 8400, 8800, 5200, 4800, on and on, with prices ranging from
P18,000 to an eyelash-curling P74,000.

The non-mommy Leigh would’ve forked out
the cash for the Nikon D70 kit with zoom lens (that was the P74,000), and gone
to sleep soundly. After all, purchasing that would have been Leigh-reasonable:
it works with Compact Flash, you can swap Nikon lenses in and out (that for me
means borrowing, of course), the D70 has killer pro looks, and its mix of manual
and digital smarts means it won’t depreciate as fast. White balance (assisted)
is the best bar none. And that is so important when taking jewelry pictures.
Also it’s a freakin’ Nikon. 😉

But mommy
Leigh is a different shopping animal. I’ve never been a counter – when I shop, I
just buy what I want and then do totals later, or just live with what’s in the
ATM. This time I asked for price lists, walked around, used the calculator in my
phone (!) and bargained.

And the winner

The newest baby of the household, the Nikon
Coolpix 5200! The Nikon marketing guys have positioned it as the ultimate in
red-eye reduction but that wasn’t why I bought it. It’s half the size (and
weight) of my old 885, the highest resolution is 5 mp (good enough for 13×10
prints of Belly!) and can record short video clips with audio. It has most of
the same features I loved with my old Coolpix (various scenes, customizable
modes, white balance measurement) and a couple of new ones (auto-focus assist,
blur warning); the grip is good; and I aim to buy a cheap tripod (I hear you can
get them for less than P200!) for better jewelry

It’s easy enough for my sister to
use, because at heart the 5200 is a point-and-shoot. If I can make my sister
deliver Belly and take pictures at the same time, it would be a miracle of

One of the things I
appreciate the most about the 5200 has nothing to do with taking pictures. I
felt quite good about buying it, and not cheated at all – as I have tended to
feel in the past when buying a “non-ultimate” gadget. I was able to get great
gifts for other people, restock beads, buy onesies for Belly – and come in way
under what I would have just spent on a single item. (I know that’s what’s usual
with other people but it’s never been that way with me.) Even when I shook my
head and walked away from 1) the 60Gb iPod Photo, 2) the Wacom Graphire 3
tablet, 3) the Sony Ericsson S700, and 4) all manner of Apple and Belkin
accessories, I felt not a twinge or pinch of regret.

I’m learning.