I did my research and waited until I found camera and gear that I really wanted, I used to buy older almost point and shoot cameras once digital came around. I finally decided to dive into the DSLR world. So for those wondering, here is my list of gear.
First things first is the Camera kit. I started looking at the Canon T2i many years ago, they had basic kits at Sams Club but I waited patiently for something that I could really love. Then along came the Canon T4i with its swing out touch screen. I was shooting up at Father Serra Cross in Ventura and showed a Canon 60d owner how the touch screen worked, he about flipped out. I love this camera, the features that limited me with other camera is gone and I can be creative without limitations of the hardware. This kit comes with a new 18-135mm IS STM lens which is completely silent when focusing.
* The T4i has now been replaced with the T5i. Almost identical in specifications.
Canon 75-300mm IS USM Lens. I was able to pick this lens up directly from Canon’s refurbished store. List price was $650, refurb price was $249 with discounts, could not pass it up.
The next thing that you should buy is a camera bag, I have had many throughout the years and settled on one that is a sling. Such that you can swing the camera bag in front of you and easily take out the camera. The key getting the camera out and secure quickly as the transition between bag and shooting position is where you are most likely to drop this investment. This Case Logic sling bag does the job quite well and holds all the stuff for a vacation photo trip. This bag does not have straps for a full tripod but a Joby will fit in the top compartment fine.
Ok, for many photos the use of a tripod is inevitable and in many cases a must. I wanted something that was light and easy to use. I will also be using this for creating youtube videos so a quick connect feature is a must. I found the Manfrotto MKC3-H01 for a reasonable price. I love the quick lock grip handle that makes locking the camera in place easy. It has a switch to allow the head to either maintain a level top for shooting video and releases to a free motion mode for vertical photos.
Another little gadget I use is a Hot Shoe Three Axis Bubble Level. Why is this important? Can’t I just fix the photo angle in post? That is what I always did. Then some research I found that when adjusting the tilt of a photo in Lightroom or other photo program, the image lost some clarity and reduced the resolution. So when you can, get the image straight the first time, and use a level to help.
Sometimes lens flare is good, sometimes its bad. To help control it I found a lens hood for the 18-135mm lens that came with the camera kit. There are different kinds of hoods. Some will screw onto the filter threads and have to be aligned and are more universal. These didn’t seem that ok with me. I found this Adorama lens hood that matched the special connection of the Canon lens. It has felt inside to not reflect light and negate its effectiveness.
One thing you can be without enough of is extra batteries. I found that the stock battery for the t4i has 1120 mAh of power. I was getting about 400 shots per charge, granted doing some live view does drain the battery faster. Many of the replacement batteries were similar or had bad reviews. I picked the Photive High Capacity LP-E8 battery. This battery holds 1700 mAh of power so if I use the camera at the same rate I should get about 650 to 700 shots, add that to the regular battery and a 1000 shot day is possible.
Another item I use for travel, if I don’t want to bring the full size tripod with me is a small Joby SLR-Zoom tripod with the Ball Head. This does sell without the head but that makes it kind of worthless as you cannot position the camera where you want. This tripod fits in the side pouch of the sling camera bag nicely. And it grips to a pole or fence to get a nice stable shot.
Other Misc Stuff:Rocketfish IR Shutter Release
Rocketfish UV Filter
Rocketfish Circular Polarizer
Bower Lens Cleaning PenMemory Cards:Transcend 16GB UHS-1 SDHC Card (facilitates the 5+ fps shooting)
Centon 32GB Class 10 SDHC Card
I use several applications to edit photos. First of which is Adobe Lightroom. This is where I manage and maintain my photo library.Next I use HDRSoft Photomatix to do most of my HDR image combining.For some live shooting direct from my computer I use the EOS Utility that allows me to control the camera from my laptop connected to it. I can see the viewfinder and adjust exposure etc.I use Photoshop Elements for editing with some various plugins and filtersI use a vector program called Xara for any line drawing illustrations