Friday, November 23, 2012

Upgrading photography gear



I've spent the last month or so, wrapping my head around DSLR technology, and trying to balance my budget with the quality of lenses, cameras, accessories and functionality.

It's been at times frustrating, partly because there are so many choices to make, and also because the reviews of cameras and lenses are not necessarily similar between different photographers.

I knew I wanted to go Canon - they have excellent image stabilisation, and that's one thing I do need, especially with a heavier camera and lenses.

Camera body

I chose the DSLR camera body based on how it fit in my hand. Originally, I'd toyed with the idea of upgrading to a new Powershot with IS and a large zoom. But I mashed the buttons with the base of my thumb, plus it couldn't easily shoot raw.

The 7D and larger, older models were too heavy, and a little too expensive - I wanted to spend the most on quality lenses. The new-ish 650D fit my hand beautifully, and wasn't too heavy, at least with the lighter lenses on it.


Lenses

Luckily, I know my photography style, which helped in choosing the right lenses for me. I also wanted to only get EF lenses, in case I upgrade to a full-frame body in a few years or so.

Macro was a no-brainer - I love my macro flower photography. The 100mm IS L lens is the only Canon macro lens with image stabilisation. This wasn't a difficult decision.

I also love shooting wildlife, pushing my zoom on my point and shoot to its limits. The 70-300mm IS L won over the 70-200mm IS L, purely because of the extra 100mm of zoom.

I'd love to get a wide angle lens, but the 650D is a crop sensor. Most of the 'wide angle' lenses, become standard lenses if they aren't used on full frame camera. Plus, I have a gap in my range for portraits -- the 70mm/100mm can be used, but I'd have to be on the other side of the room.

Canon has just announced (at the beginning of November) a new 24-70mm F/4 IS lens, which fills my 'standard zoom' gap almost perfectly! I'm impatient for it to be released and tested by pro photographers.

Then the accessories, which have proven to be the most headache-causing and nightmare-causing choices.

Filters

I knew I wanted a polarizer, but wasn't sure about UV or clear filters, purely for protection purposes, until I thought I had a scratch on my new 100mm lens. I chose the B+W nano filters because of their super coating, plus they are available here.

Bag

this one has me stumped. I like the messenger style, if it isn't too heavy. Backpacks are great for hiking. But I want to be able to carry my camera every day, along with my purse, glasses and other little things.

Other accessories that I'm not yet sold on
  • I bought a hand-strap, and while it certainly helps prevent hand fatigue, I'm not happy with its quality.
  • I haven't yet decided on a tripod/monopod. I want carbon for its lightness, and a ball-head mount for its flexibility. But the prices have put me off for the moment.