A Date With Your Dream Gear – Mike’s Camera’s Demo Days

There’s no substitute in photography for a keen eye, but there are two things that can certainly make it easier to take great photos.

Great Gear

Photo by Macey Sigaty

Is there anything as satisfying as taking a picture you just know will be great, then zooming in and seeing crisp lines, exactly where they’re supposed to be, background filled with buttery bokeh? Your mileage may vary, depending on taste, but whatever image you visualize before clicking that shutter button, it is guaranteed that you’ll have an easier time bringing it to life with good glass & a quality sensor. The only downside is that quality equipment, especially specialized equipment (like tilt-shift, macro, or fisheye lenses), can be a bit expensive, and it’s hard to tell before you use it whether it’s just the right thing for you.

Exciting Subjects

Photo by Macey Sigaty

I love cats as much—and often more than—the next guy, but I must admit that between a portrait of Mr. Whiskers and that of a sloth dangling overhead (or an unusually intimate portrait of an elephant, or an intensely-colored bird, etc.), the latter satisfies an innate hunger for the novel that the former simply can not. There is a powerful delight which arises from coming face-to-face with the exotic and artfully preserving the essence of your encounter.

Photo by Macey Sigaty

If only there were some way one could have nigh-unlimited access to a variety of camera bodies and lenses, surrounded by captivating subjects!

Enter: Demo Days with Mike’s Camera

Even better: what if it cost nothing more than a zoo admission? Well, I’m happy to report that the Mike’s Camera Demo Days tradition is continuing this weekend and the next. Twice a year, we gather as many representatives of our manufacturers together as we can and get them to bring all the demo gear they can muster to the local zoo (or, sometimes, the botanic garden). At 9:00 AM, the zoo doors open, and for the next seven hours, YOU (the public) are welcome to borrow anything on our tables. We’ll be setting up shop in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Sacramento this Spring. Here’s all you need to bring:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • A credit card, which will be returned uncharged upon return of equipment
  • A memory card appropriate for the camera(s) you’d like to borrow (for most modern cameras, this will be an SD card; a select few may require a Compact Flash or XQD card)

Photo by Macey Sigaty

All the pictures you take are yours to keep—and we’ll be providing exclusive coupons for our Demo-ers, so you can get the best possible deal on that lens or camera once you’re certain that it’s right for you, just for playing with it at the zoo.

The Players

This Spring, you can borrow gear from the following manufacturers (alphabetically):

Tamron will be bringing something extra-special. As I noted in my previous post, the Denver and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Demo Days will be the second and third exhibitions, respectively, of their new 28-75mm f/2.8 for the Sony E-Mount; it will also be coming to Sacramento. The first will be at Mike’s Camera in Boulder on Friday, the 27th. Those are the first three days in public of the final production model of this lens worldwide. When we say we’re your trusted photography headquarters, we mean it!

The Picture Points

Photo by Macey Sigaty

As if that weren’t enough, select manufacturers will be bringing their “big boys” out to play. These are the enormous lenses you see on the sidelines of professional sports events, the kind for which a tripod is not just recommended but required—with costs approximately in the $10,000-$15,000 range, these lenses are practical for a very small group of people. It’s a rare opportunity to try these, but we’ll have them set up for anyone to test out at roving Picture Points throughout the day. (See any table in our setup for a flyer with a Picture Point schedule when you come by.) Get amazing close-ups you never dreamed were possible!

We want you—to go to the zoo!

Photo by Macey Sigaty

No registration is necessary, but click below for additional information about each of the three Demo Days. Be sure and get there early—all equipment is first-come, first serve, and everything must be returned by 4:00 PM!

Denver Zoo — Saturday, April 28 — 9:00 AM–4:00 PM
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs) — Sunday, April 29 — 9:00 AM–4:00 PM
Sacramento Zoo — Sunday, May 6 — 9:00 AM–4:00 PM

Photo by Macey Sigaty

This event is not only a perennial customer favorite, it’s a favorite among our employees as well. Everyone has a great time, and you’re sure to get some breathtaking images! Hope to see you this weekend (or the next).


  1. Will you be doing Demo day at the San Francisco or Oakland Zoo? Would love to have a demo day at one of these locations. Thank You.

    1. Howdy! We don’t have anything scheduled in the San Francisco area at the moment, but we’ve done it before and are certainly considering it for the future. I’ll be sure and pass your interest along to the powers that be.

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