As a photographer, I am friends with a lot of photographers, and we as a group tend to regard cameras and lenses as more than just tools of the trade, but as prizes and even works of art.

It goes without saying that this hobby can get pretty expensive pretty fast.

It also hopefully goes without saying that cameras that aren't being used are a bit of a tragedy. It would be analogous to paint brushes that aren't use to paint or kitchen utensils that are never used for cooking.

I thought of this the last few days for two reasons. First, I was in Oklahoma City to cover basketball playoffs, and that put me just a few minutes away from Bedford Camera. Second, I read an article this week about a couple who discovered over 2000 cameras and lenses in an abandoned storage locker.

And no, I am not making it my goal to collect 2000 cameras.

One of my very realistic goals, however, is to have the right cameras and lenses in my bag when I need them, and that goal includes the ideas that I need to be able to make good pictures, decent video, accurate notes, and, of growing importance, I need to be able to do all this in a way that keeps me mobile and healthy.

Thus, as I was looking at some of the gear under the glass displays at Bedford Camera this week, one camera caught my eye, the Nikon D5500. This camera is at the top of the "advance amateur" game, so it's not really aimed at professional photographers like me, but it is small and very, very lightweight, and, thanks to a sag in the digital camera market and the huge upsurge in mirrorless camera sales, surprisingly inexpensive.

Hopefully this camera will fill a niche for me for all those times you see me prowl around for hours at a time at events like Cruisin' Main, AdaFest, the Stratford Peach Festival, and more, for which camera performance isn't as critical as when I am shooting sports, and where lighter, smaller gear means fewer hotpacks and Tylenol at the end of the day for me.

In the coming weeks and months, I hope to take this small wonder to its limits, and see how it can help me make better pictures for you.

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