So one of the few long-term interests in my life has been photography, but contrary to most of my other interests, I’ve been far less fascinated by the nuts and bolts than I am the results. I’ve had some moderately decent camera gear over the years, but I really never did my homework well enough to use the stuff to its full potential. Last summer, I shot a bunch at a big party using my point and shoot Canon, but the results were not very good, and I felt I missed a whole lot of opportunities. I didn’t want another performance like that, so I did what I always do, which is dig into the internet to learn more. I found a forum dedicated to photography, and Canon gear in particular, called Photography-on-the.net, or POTN for short. There are literally thousands of skilled photographers there, and there are very few photography questions that haven’t been asked and answered, most of them many times. So for the last 10 months or so, I’ve lurked and learned. And now, over the last several days, I have attempted to apply some of the things I’ve learned at POTN, at least from a gear standpoint. I’ve spent a good portion of the last couple days proving the adage that a fool and his money are soon parted. I haven’t done much of it in a while, but I reminded myself that there is at least one thing that I’m really good at, given the opportunity…buying shit. And I’ve bought plenty.
Before I went shopping, one of the first things I had to learn was how to decipher Canon’s model numbers. Their line of EOS DSLR cameras is divided into several tiers. The single-digit models (e.g. 1D, 5D, 7D) represent their professional line. The two-digit models (e.g. 40D, 50D, 60D) are their semi-pro line. The three-digit models (e.g. 500D, 550D, 600D), are the mainstream consumer-level cameras. And finally, the four-digit models (e.g. 1000D, 1100D) fill the budget end of the spectrum. The lower two tiers also have names as well as model numbers, and they collectively fall under Canon’s “Rebel” moniker.
What I bought is Canon’s latest entry in their consumer-level DSLR line, the Rebel T3i, aka the 600D. The T3i kit I got comes with, among other things, an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 image-stabilized lens, and while it’s not a great lens, it’s still far more capable than the glass you’ll find in any point and shoot. In addition to the kit, I bought a 75-300mm f/4-5.6 lens, which has the reputation for being more or less crap. It does, however, have two virtues – one is that it reaches out to 300mm, which goes a long ways towards alleviating the loss of the 20x zoom on my SX10 point and shoot, and the second is that it’s dirt cheap – less than $150.
So I have most of the big stuff bought, but there are still other goodies I want to get. In the meantime, I’m going to start shooting!