Today I thought I’d give a run-down on my kit, partly in case anyone’s interested but mostly as a note to my future self. Don’t worry, it should be short; one photography bug I don’t seem to have is the “collect ALL the gear!” one. I know myself well enough to know my favourite type of photography is wandering around and capturing what I see, and I know I just won’t bother carrying huge bags with multiple lenses. Of course, the downside is that I’ve lost some photos because I didn’t have with me (or even own) the best lens for the subject, but what can you do you? Actually, my answer to that is to find a decent telezoom, but more on that later.
I own one DSLR body, a Canon 550D/Rebel T2i/Kiss2. It’s well loved; the eye-piece cushion has fallen off, the rubber grip is coming away from the body; I really need to find a good local camera shop and put the poor ole thing in for repairs. I really like this camera. Of course there was, and indeed is, a learning curve with the menus and functionality, but I was impressed with the quality of the photos compared to my previous Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX28 since day one, and as it’s an entry-level DSLR, it didn’t cost the earth. I was worried that once I upgrade to DLSR, I’d just stick one lens on it and never change. What’s the point of owning a DLSR then? So I didn’t want to fork out too much cash initially.
Instead, despite me just saying I don’t want ALL the kit, not only do I get good use out of this camera, but I’m definitely tempted to get a second body, just so I can be more prepared when I’m looking for wildlife; I’ve noticed birds and animals don’t tend to hang around waiting for me to change lenses. But that’s a big investment, and would I actually use it? Who knows, maybe I’ll find out one day.
Sadly the lens that lives on this camera the most is the kit 18-55mm lens. I’ve found it’s the most adaptable for the kind of photography I take. I’d love to replace it but I’m not sure what with. Any ideas?
Initially I thought a good superzoom would be a good walk-around lens, and so I tried a Tamron 18-270mm PZD which seems to have lots of good reviews, but I find it slow. When looking back at the results, I’ve also found it to not be as sharp as any of my other lenses, and for me that’s ruined some otherwise good photos. But then this is the only superzoom I’ve ever tried; is this to be expected? I appreciate that there have to be compromises made to achieve such a huge range of angles, but I’m a bit surprised at just how noticeable those compromises are even to my novice eye. I’d love for Canon to bring out a modern 18-200mm for me to compare it with (hint hint Canon, hint hint!).
My other two favourite lenses are a nice wide Canon 10-22mm USM, which has scored me some great landscapes, and a Canon 70-300mm IS USM. I LOVE IS. I had the non-IS version (IS, if you’re not sure, stands for Image Stabilisation, which means there’s gyros and stuff in the lens to counterbalance any shaking in my hands) and the difference in camera-shake is enormous. I don’t like having to set up a tripod for every single photo so lenses with IS are the only way to go for me.
My only other lens aside from the to-be-sold Tamron is a Canon 50mm 1.8. A great lens, but this rarely gets out in the field with me, but I do use it at home for experiments and practise shots.
My wish list consists of the as-yet-to-be-built Canon 18-200mm (reviews of the one released in 2008 haven’t sold me on it), a macro lens of some description, and something better than my kit lens with a similar (preferably better) range. if you have a wish list for photography kit, what’s on yours?
Of course there’s also a pile of accessories, but that’s the subject for another post. Have instead my very first photo taken with my Canon 550D, on auto (a mode that hasn’t seen the light of day for a very long time now), no post-processing. This was a poinsettia that, through some miracle that had nothing to do with me, survived long past Christmas (and indeed, into the next two Christmases after, although I never managed to get it to grow red leaves again).