This post is for Tara, who is venturing into the world of Digital SLR photography! I have posted before about taking photos and am always looking for tips and tricks and trying to figure out the power my camera possesses that I am still unaware of! It can be hugely rewarding when you figure it out or supremely frustrating (such as tonight's sunset shoot - which I think I have figured out the problem with....fingers crossed!). First though, you need to bite the bullet and buy the camera!
So...Canon or Nikon?
We went with Canon. When we were in Hong Kong, we purchased the Canon 450D - which is otherwise known in the US and other countries as the Canon Digital Rebel Xsi. I will be the first person to say that I am not using it to it's fullest potential, but I am trying! What I am finding is that there is a lot of really helpful advice on how to use it and how to get the most out of it. This summer is for me to take the time to apply it!
Our camera is a few years old and of course, there are newer versions. We bought it from DigitalRev and loved their service and sales people. One of the things we found useful is the way they really help you figure out what you need for what you are planning on doing. I went to their website and they have an excellent side-by-side comparison of the two 'entry level' cameras on the Nikon and Canon markets. Ultimately, they suggest the Canon (yay!) but they do offer really good advice to help you choose.
Standard Kit Lens or....? And what else?
When we purchased our camera, we did a deal with the store, allowing them to keep the standard kit lens and cut us a deal on the 18-200mm zoom lens. We have never regretted it. Popular Photography Magazine as published their review of the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 Image Stabilized (IS) Zoom Lens:
In the past two years, the 11X IS superzoom has become the ideal general-purpose lens — certainly for shooters whose cameras don’t have on-board shake reduction. This Canon fits the mold. Very light and compact, it’s a gracious and adaptable traveling companion. Impressively sharp, it’s also an obvious choice for handheld low-light pictures, including event and theater work. Its real fortes, however, are close-up macro subjects, distant wildlife, and almost everything in between. Sports? Go for it!
Additionally, we bought a polarizing filter for photographing in really bright light and a camera foot to protect from the glare. John had a tripod already that we have started to make use of and next on my 'wish list' is a remote shutter control for slow shutter speed photographs to prevent camera shake on the tripod. Yes....it does add up! Oh...and I almost forgot the bag! The bag we ultimately went with for it's comfort and durability and size was the Kata Holster bag.
I still have my heart set on a gorgeous, girly, CheekyLime bag however! There are times when I would like to take my camera with me more often and want a slightly bigger and more attractive looking option than the more industrial Kata. Now I just need to decide: green or red? (HINT: Telling my husband to purchase one for my birthday in 12 days would be an excellent idea!)
Best Advice...Get Advice!
Sometimes I find it can be really overwhelming to figure this all out - especially when you are going to be laying out a lot of cash for one of these guys! What I found to be most useful was to ask people who's photographs I really admired, about what they used. Yes, the actual camera is only part of the equation, but you have to start somewhere! Most people with an interest in photography are keen to share their knowledge and so it was helpful to me to have people who I could talk to and ask questions of. I also found the DigitalRev store people to be brilliant. I really felt like they were not trying to sell me on Canon or Nikon or Sony...but to help me choose what would best suit my needs.
Interestingly, on the same day Tara posted about buying a camera was the same day I came across the following graphic about Canon and Nikon. It won't give you the answer but it is interesting reading none the less! If you are a DSLR user and you have any advice for someone new to the game, please reply! I would be really interested in hearing what you have to say and I am sure Tara would too!
Ultimately the words of Ken Rockwell sum it up best: