Equipment Used

Like most I’m absolutely fascinated by photography equipment, and specifically how technology has helped it evolve. And like many (of my) pastimes, you can get caught in a money trap.

I generally try and keep things simple, despite the temptations.

Canon EOS 550D

Until my birthday in 2011, photography was one of those things I wanted to do, but never really knew where to start. My loving wife consulted with a family member photographer to provide me with this great start to photography.

It was purchased in a kit with the Canon 18-135 EF-S lens (below). This kit was chosen specifically because of the versatility of the lens. It is a terrific all-rounder to start with.

The 550D is an 18 megapixel camera, and has what is known as an APS-C sensor (see below). Despite the technical differences with APS-C, in the future it will mean you have a choice between any of Canon’s EF and EF-S lenses, as well as third-party options for Canon bodies. The 550D is also capable of recording 1080p video at up to 30 fps.

The 550D was first released in 2010 and was superseded in 2012. The modern day equivalent of this model in this series is the 750D.

So what’s this APS-C (or “crop”) sensor? This took some getting used to – though most importantly it doesn’t affect what you’re staring at down the barrel.

A “crop” sensor effectively adds a factor of 1.6 to the focal distance of my lenses. For example my 18-135mm lens is more like a 29-210mm lens. But don’t over-think that …..

There are plenty of cameras that have APS-C sensors, from full-body DSLR’s such as this, to the compact mirrorless alternatives.

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS

This was the lens of choice for the ‘kit’ that was purchased for it’s reputation as both a capable wide angle lens, and mid-range telephoto. Anyone who has looked to buy a camera will know that Canon package their bodies with a number of lens choices.

It may cost a little more for this lens configuration, but I can’t recommend it enough. This lens got me through nearly the entire first year of the Daily Photo.

The lens offers a widest aperture setting of f3.5 when viewing at 18mm (wide-angle), but as you zoom the minimum aperture goes up to f5.6.

This lens also features Image Stabilisation (“IS”), which is a feature to become familiar with as you add any lenses to your collection. It’s also very light, making it useful in a walk-around/point-and-shoot context.

Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro

My first lens purchase. Still rather clueless at the time, I was after something different and macro photography has always fascinated me since taking my first night cicada photo’s early in the blog.

Macro photography takes some learning too. This lens doesn’t have IS (Image Stabilisation) which can affect hand-held use, however as I worked out through the year a tripod is a huge benefit for shooting macro.

Note there are two variants of this lens. The “L” version offers IS and weather proofing, at roughly twice the cost.

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 Mk II

This is Canon’s cheap lens, dubbed the “Nifty Fifty”.

The key here is the wide aperture setting of f1.8. This is attractive to many because it’s a chance to mess around with a truly ‘fast’ lens – a wide aperture means more light reaches the sensor, so the shutter speed is much faster to capture the image.

With a retail price of $150 it’s extremely cheap compared to other lenses with the ability to shoot at f1.8, but has a terrific reputation as a quality everyday lens for people wanting a decent camera to take memorable family photo’s.

The 50mm focal range (80mm on my crop sensor) definitely takes some getting used to, but well worth persisting with.

Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC

Toward the end of 2014 I decided I was after a higher quality every-day lens. I opted for the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 for a number of reasons.

This means through my entire focal range, I can shoot at aperture as wide as f2.8. This gives beautiful background blur at this aperture, but also enables shooting in very dark locations.

This lens at 24mm is still fine for landscape, and I can keep it if I move to a full-frame body in the future.

It is also the only lens in this class that features image stabilisation, or as Tamron have labelled it – Vibration Control (VC).

Slik F740 Tripod

This tripod is lightweight and versatile. It was a hand-me-down and has done everything I’ve asked for it, including portraits and long exposure.

Kathmandu mini-tripod

Bought this for $10 at a St Vincent de Paul stores and it’s perfect for macro. It’s not at all strong so I don’t dare extend the legs, but at 30cm unextended it’s a great stable platform for macro photography.

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