Sunday, 3 April 2011

self.has(dslr) == true; Now what?

Yesterday I picked up my shiny secondhand Canon 450D:
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I bought it from my father-in-law, who has upgraded to a much shinier 550D. Lucky for me, he didn't want the original bag the 450D came with:
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Yay! New crumpler! I've been eyeing off the crumplers anyway (4 and 5 million dollar homes) but this one will do just fine. I'm thinking about picking out the "EOS" though.

Now that I have my new shinies:
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the observant among you may notice something missing. I don't have a lens - yet. That's today's task - to find and buy my first lens.

The lens I'll probably be getting is the EF 50mm f/1.8 II. I really *want* the EF f/1.4 USM, but can't really afford it at this point. I'm going for a prime lens as I want to learn how to operate my camera well - once I've done that, then I'll figure out all the other fancy stuff that goes along with lenses that do zoom and all that stuff. Also? the f/1.2 weighs 130g, and it's tiny. As someone moving from a mobile phone to a DSLR, small and light are very, very good things while I get used to it.

But where do I buy it?

Currently I'm looking at secondhand on ebay, pickup (so I can test it when I get it straight away, and resolve any issues immediately) or some online retailer sourced via shopbot. Physical stores seem to be relatively expensive - a difference of about $50 on the 50mm f/1.2, which is a lot considering retail is $150. On new lenses, I imagine the warranty is with Canon rather than the retailer - can someone verify this? If there are specific online stores I should be looking at, please let me know - I'm a total babe in the woods here. At this point, I'm not interested in overseas retailers, either - I want the lens NOW. A week is about as long as I want to wait before I have it in my hands. The other consideration is, of course, return and complaints. It's a lot easier to do that for local retailers, online or off.

For my next lens, on the other hand, I would also like recommendations for reputable overseas online dealers. Also for things like filters and lens reversers and mount adjustments and bits.

Speaking of, what should my next lens be? I'm looking at the one the camera usually comes with - the EF 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. I'd be getting this one around Christmas, probably. I'm open to other suggestions, of course, but that one seems to be flexible, reasonably inexpensive, and has decent reviews. On the other hand - I really really REALLY want to do macro photography. I haven't investigated lenses there yet, although I plan to very shortly. Still, recommendations for a macro lens?

Finally, other bits. I would like to get from crumpler the Industry Disgrace as I have noticed the strap on the camera digs in and is uncomfortable after about 30 seconds. And tripods. I'll pick up a gorillapod or knockoff, but for a real one, I still have about no idea. I really need to get into a shop which has a) a large range, and b) helpful staff who are not run off their feet at the time when c) I have time to spend.

Okay, time for me to go read the manual. And do assignments that are due tomorrow ...


  1. I've got a similar cam body, and a EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. I think the lens was about $120 new. The ef50 is an equiv of 50*1.6 for cameras like mine. The fixed 60% odd zoom on natural eye can be annoying for indoor shooting where you can't get back far enough to frame as you like. Its also quite a noisy lens, but for the money its hard to complain. And indoor shooting sans flash is a nice thing to do^TM.

    I assume you know the usual suspects with physical presence within driving distances:

    I've been eyeballing the EF 18-135 IS lens. its about 450g as apposed to the 600g for the to 200 superzooms. But its also quite expensive. I have the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens and it is impressive the difference in exposure one obtains with the huge aperture 50mm prime. I find the standard lens to 55mm runs out of zoom well before I want it to, given that I'm normally using it at larger events.

  2. Thanks for the links :) I actually didn't really know about those stores.

    Zoom wise - well, I'm mostly interested in small things, things up close, and similar. Not so much things far away, people, or landscapes - with the exception of the occasional sunrise and sunset. I'm still learning also what I want to do and what I don't, as well as trying to learn what lenses do what, why, and how.

  3. Amazing links! I got the same camera now but I don't have that same big bulky bag you have. Although I don't particularly like the color, the bag is great, albeit smaller perhaps. Perfect for my camera accessories and all those stuff.

    1. Bulky bag? I don't know if you're seeing what I'm seeing in those photographs - but the bag in the photos is about twice the size of the camera body, perhaps a little more. My current camera bag is slightly larger, about the same size as a messenger bag, and holds the body plus three lenses, and functions as a handbag also, having space for snacks, my kindle, wallet, coin purse, umbrella, hat, sunscreen, and tissues. It is really quite compact for the amount of stuff it holds - I've seen many ladies handbags that are larger. I do occasionally bring a backpack to stow the bag in, for days I want to also carry a jacket, water bottle, or other paraphernalia, or days my shoulder is likely to start complaining after a while.

      Still, I'm told by other photographers that it's an amazingly tiny bag for what I'm usually carrying around in it.

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