Monday, December 1, 2008

An Equipped Camera

(This post has been backdated to drop it further down the blog - list originally compiled in 2009, updated constantly)

I wanted to create a post that linked to all equipment that I use and recommend. You can also check out additional posts that focus specifically on equipment and equipment issues.
[Most of the linked equipment is specifically for Canon bodies.]

Camera Armor
A Must have accessory to protect your investment. I dont even have to think twice about scratches, scrapes, sand, and even a little bit of moisture.

(A friend of mine ordered one for an Xsi, and it was not of the same quality as the one for the Xti - so I can't vouch for that one. He returned it)

Canon 50mm f/1.8 Lens
I didn't know it was possible to feel love for a lens. I use this lens for maybe 85% of the photos I take.

Telephoto Lens
I own the Tamaron 70-300mm Lens with Macro, its a workable telephoto lens if you need something very inexpensive. Don't expect super quality optics but its a well-made sturdy lens that works. Its a good value in this kit with the UV filter and other junk.

I do not own the Canon 55-250mm lens, but if I found it first I would have bought it. For the price difference (around $100), you are adding the Canon brand and quality and most importantly - Image Stabilization. My photographic mentor (Jkirlin) has the top review of this lens on Amazon and highly recommends it.

67" Monopod
A very inexpensive but well built monopod; and comes with a case also. You may want to invest a bit more when you are going to buy a tripod, but for a monopod I cant imagine anything built more solid. The only downside is a lack of a swivel (or ball) joint head.

Canvas Military/Camera Bag
This is the bag I use as a camera bag. It required some modifications to protect the camera and to work a little better; but its a very convenient bag especially if you don't like 'off the rack' camera bags emblazoned with a "Canon" ("steal me") logo. You can read about my modifications.

Right-Angle Lens Adapter
This is a great lens add-on for taking candid photos of strangers in public. It is a bit challenging to use sometimes, but its a fun accessory especially for the camera shy or the shy photographer. You'll need to buy a couple of the filter adapters to fit your lenses. I typically use this with my 70-300mm lens because it best allows for recomposition necessary when shooting at tricky angles.

I use and recommend the Lensbaby (2.0 version seems suitable, but the newer ones are pretty cool). I certainly don't have it down, but I would definitely recommend Lensbaby for a more advanced user. It is a completely manual lens - so you need to have a good understanding of aperture, shutterspeed, light metering. You'll also need a steady hand for manual focusing

PhatStrap Wrist Strap
You can read my post and see some photos here. I'm not a fan of neck straps, I find the camera gets in your way of doing other things (when you're not taking photos). Phatstraps are great, they are hand-made and custom and available in a bevy of designs. They now also offer some great accessory bundles/kits with a lens cozy, wrist strap and neck strap.

This is absolutely one of the best books for learning the basics of photography. Don't let the title throw you off, this isnt a book about lighting. It will help you learn the basics (and master the advanced) aspects of your DSLR (or SLR) camera and its settings. Lots of photos, and an easy read. Will give you a great understanding of F-Stops, Shutter Speed, ISO, Depth of Field, and much more.

There are so many things to spend money on in photography. So I employ the free options whenever possible. Here are a couple of free 'hacks' that I have used to actually build some of my own equipment.
  • Flash diffuser. If you dont have an add-on flash but you actually use the flash built into your camera sometimes - you've gotta make one of these. It could be easier. Its a flash diffuser made from an old film canister.
  • If you do any type of time value photography - extended shutter speeds and what not, you need a tripod. But if you are using a tripod and have a long shutter you'll also need a remote control. You can build one yourself for about a dollar.
You cant beat free. And if it wasnt free I'd pay for it. Google's Picasa is hands down one of the easiest to use image editors out there. Its got a super slick interface. It keeps your pics full res automatically. Touch-ups, lighting adjustments, and cropping are incredibly easy. The creative filters just work perfectly. One of the best features of it is that your original file is always preserved and you can undo everything if you need to.

I am a Walmart stock holder. Why? Because I love Walmart. And one of my favorite things about Walmart (aside from helping people 'Save Money to Live Better') is their photo printing services. Who doesnt live near a Walmart? You upload online, pics are ready in an hour, and better yet - they are cheaper than ANYONE. I've never had less than stellar quality with my prints large and small.


Horia said...

You forgot to mention what the book title is. Nice blog.

Joe Catalano said...

Sorry, I linked to the book. The title is "Understanding Exposure" by
Bryan Peterson

Horia said...

I figured out what the problem was. I had AdBlock on and that was preventing the Amazon links from showing up. Thanks a lot.