Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What do I use?

Today I am responding to a question I have had from a few readers recently, "what kind of camera do you use"?

Well since last month I have two very different options, the latest is a tiny fully automatic digital I can stick in a pocket and the other is my less portable DSLR with all it's add-ons.

I like to always carry a camera so as not to miss a great picture and that's why a month ago I bought a Canon Powershot SD780 IS Digital Elph. This camera is tiny as can be seen from the picture and so I have it on me at all times now.

It has 12.1 megapixels, a 3x image stabilized zoom, face detection and numerous auto or manual settings, including a new feature i-contrast. This is my favourite feature, as a chip inside corrects the contrast automatically whatever the light conditions and I have yet to find fault with this excellent feature. I am having alot of fun with this little gem, good pictures are guaranteed from it and it enables me to capture anything quickly. Here are a couple of examples of pictures I have taken with it, it's definitely a camera I can recommend.

My main camera is a Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10.1MP Digital SLR , which I have had for almost 3 years. It has re-energised my interest in the art of photography and led me to take alot more interest in the technical aspects. As with most DSLR's they require more investment if you're serious and I have over time purchased additional lenses that expand my horizons. This is the beauty of an SLR, it enables you to pick the lens to suit your photography interests.

The camera came with a stock 18-55mm lens which is fine for everyday shots and is a perfectly acceptable general lens. But in addition I have bought three other higher quality lenses for specific requirements.

My first addition was a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom to enable me to get in tighter on subjects. My two best shots to date with this lens have been the following ones of a submerged car, and a totally unplanned moon shot. I would say having Image Stabilisation is an essential with a Telephoto Zoom.

My next addition was the Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM Standard Medium Telephoto, a superb lens for individual close-up subjects due to it's outstanding 'bokeh' (background blurring). This is the lens I love to use for portraits, as the f1.4 also delivers outstanding sharpness, here are a couple of examples courtesy of Cal-Jo and my mum.

More than a year down the road, it was becoming clear that my real passion was landscape photography and so after some serious saving, I paid more for a lens than the actual camera! But the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Ultra Wide Angle was worth every penny and has without doubt improved my photographs. This amazing lens was an absolute must for me, living in the wide open expanses and under huge skies.

I also invested in a multi-coated Hoya UV Filter that stays on the lens permanently for protection and a Hoya Polarizing filter that I use to really make clouds 'pop' as can be seen below. I LOVE this lens, it was a major investment in fact it's gone up $300 since I bought it, but to me it was worth every penny and repays me all the time with results like these.

I then have an assortment of protective or working filters for my lenses and also a nice set of Hoya magnifying lenses for really capturing details. I also have a nice portable, fully adjustable tripod and two batteries for each camera, essential when I often shoot 200 pictures in one day.

I have invested in three really good books I would recommend to anyone and they have all helped me develop my skills.

Finally when I bought my camera I also got a great Canon photographers backpack, which is where I keep it all safely stored. It's also quick to grab and sling in a vehicle or the storm cellar as neccessary!

And yes I am a Canon woman through and through. My first ever 'proper' camera was a Canon T70 SLR for my 21st birthday and I only sold it after moving here. I am used to Canon software, have all the cables and chargers I ever need and think their products are first rate.

So what out of all this am I hauling to Chicago on vacation? Well after alot of thought I have decided the tiny Canon Powershot will do fine for all the general snapshots and is easy to carry with guaranteed results. But I will also be taking my Rebel XTi and it's Telephoto Zoom lens for the view from the Sears Tower, and of course the Ultra Wide Angle with the Polarizing filter for all those skyscraper vistas.

And there you were thinking blogging was my passion!


Denise said...

This has been a great post with lots of useful information. I too have a Canon and love it, and a smaller one for pocket use. You took some amazing pictures. Not only do you have wonderful equipment but you have a great 'eye' for photography. Loved all your photos and I thought the one of your Mom was just beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Agreeing with Denise! As a very much amateur in photography this was fasincating to read. Your pictures are fabulous. I recently bought a Canon 450D EOS and I love it. It came with the 18-55mm Canon lens and I got a Tamrom 70-300mm lens too.

CJ xx

Oz Girl said...

I loved reading about your "gear". I have a Nikon D60, a gift from my hubby, so I really didn't have a choice in the matter, but that's ok! I love it. Since I just got it in Dec, I haven't had much time to expand on the lenses, but I hope to get a wonderful landscape lens sometime soon. (I have the stock lens 18-55mm and a 55-200mm that hubby got me.) I did get a gradated neutral density filter and it helps me get some great cloud/sky pics. You've gotten some great landscape shots with your lens!!!

I like your idea of the smaller camera -- a good one. I may just purchase a smaller camera. Sometimes I don't feel like lugging my big dSLR all over with me.

Thanks for a great post.

fishing guy said...

Sarah: Neat post and you have made quite the investment in the three lens.

Debra said...

That backpack is just what I need....where did you find it? I'll have to look online and see if I can find one because my camera case is just too big and difficult to tote around. I will also check out those photography books. Thanks for all of your helpful info! I am an amatuer and have lots to learn. :)