New Toy!

After months of talking myself out of it, I’ve finally joined the DSLR owners club!

As a birthday present to myself and also partly funded by Lana, I’ve become the proud owner of a Canon EOS400D. A weekend trip up to London gave me the chance to shop around a bit and eventually I plumped for the 400D and 18-55 kit lens, along with a Tamron 55-200, 1GB CF card and a LowePro bag for a total of £650 from Ask Direct on Tottenham Court Road. Not a bad deal I feel. WarehouseExpress came out a big cheaper, but not by much, and I was able to check that the unit I got is a kosher UK one.

The decision process behind the purchase was a long and difficult one. Initially I favoured getting a Nikon, but the D80 was a little too expensive. During the week I had a wavering thought that maybe I should not get a DSLR, but instead purchase a bridge camera such as the Panasonic Lumix Fz7 which would give me the extra zoom range that I get annoyed without on a compact digital, but in a small and self-contained unit. Lana thankfully and correctly set me straight in that I’d probably regret that decision in very short order. After handling both the D80 and 400D and feeling comfortable with both, the dust removal facility and cheaper price of the 400D swung it that way. The Tamron lens whilst not being the most capable glass will give me a bit of reach until I can afford to get something better, probably when we visit Japan next year.

All that’s needed now is a bit of online shopping for a couple of bigger CF cards. Any other purchases will have to wait a fair while! Though I am still tempted by a battery grip to make it a bit more weighty in the hand.

Unfortunately the weather today was rather inclement so it didn’t get a run in London. I’ve been playing with it this evening back at home, and a handful of photos are now up on flickr. Of course, the long learning curve now starts in earnest as I try to get to grips with both the camera and the theory. It will be fun practising.

13 thoughts on “New Toy!

  1. I’ve found the high speed Lexar 2Gb cards to be excellent so far. You’ll want to set aside around £80 for the Canon 50mm lens too.

    Phwoar. I do fancy one of these. Having said that, the 350D is doing great service.

  2. Welcome to the “Dark Side” Aidy! 😉 We will soon have you muttering about ISO speeds and f-stops! Like Andy, I am very happy with my 350D, but would be interested in taking a look at the 400D.

  3. Nice one – having spent about 1/2 an hour trying to get stubborn dust off my 20D sensor, I certainly envy you that integrated cleaning thing. Can I suggest that along with a couple of C cards you get a spare battery, even if you don’t get the grip? Nothing more annoying than the battery running out halfway through a shoot…
    Also for macro fun without spening big bucks on another lens – for about a fiver or so on e-bay you can get a ring that lets you mount the kit lens backwards – great for extreme close-ups.

  4. Interesting, Marty… what is the name of this ring? [goes off to search]
    I have had issues with dust recently too – tried swabs but I am still seeing spots on the sensor at a small aperture. I need to send it off for cleaning really, but I’m too obsessed with using the camera to part with it.

  5. Cheers for the comments guys. Thanks for the CF card tip Andy. I’ve looked at http://www.mymemory.co.uk whicj I’ve seen recommended. Any other sites worth trying?

    As for the 50mm prime, I expect this would have helped a lot with the photos I was taking indoors yesterday, so I’ll add it to the list.

    P.S. The camera is in Hursley today and for most of the week if anybody wants to take a look 😉

  6. Andy – search for something like “Canon reversing ring” and try EOS or EF instead of Canon. You’ll get loads come up at various times, just get one with a 58mm thread to fit the kit lens and bob’s your uncle. I actually use my old FD lenses instead, as they let a bit more light through and I can physically adjust the aperture. You can actually prove the principle by just holding the lens backwards against the camera body in Av mode and pointing it at something tiny. Get about 15-20 cm away with it set to 55mm and focus by moving the camera! DoF will be miniscule but it looks great. See http://flickr.com/photos/skink74/tags/reversedlens/ for examples.

    I’m going to have to get a 50mm prime at some point… although the Sigma 30mm f1.4 is very tempting for a crop sensor.

  7. mymemory are good. Digital Depot and Amazon can also turn out well. I tend to use Warehouse Express for everything but the memory cards.

  8. Swine! Don’t think I can justify upgrading having only had my 350D for a few months. I’m looking to add a telephoto to my kit lens. What made you go for the Tamron?

  9. Hi Dave,

    Mainly because I saw it as part of a deal that Curry’s had which I used as the basis for my batering with the Tottenham Court Road outfit. I quickly checked the Jessops web site on my phone and it was listed at 199.99 so I figured it must be ok. Thankfully spending a bit more time googling it after the purchase shows that it comes up ok in reviews.

    I have to say I’d probably check out a few more lenses from Canon and Sigma if I was making the purchase standalone. However it will do for now, at least until I can justify something like the Canon EF 70-300mm DO IS USM after playing with martyc’s this afternoon!

  10. Like Adrian, I’ve got a telephoto lens that came in a deal when I got the 350D – a Canon 55-200mm without IS. It’s fine for what it does, but I have to say that I often find myself wanting something a little longer and with IS. Just the cost that gets in the way.

  11. As Aidy can now attest IS makes all the difference especially at longer focal lengths. You can certainly get away with shooting at 1/125 or so at 300mm without worrying about shake. 🙂
    On a crop body I reckon 300mm is about as long as you might want for most situations, and unless you’ve got silly money to spend that’s all you’re going to get for les than a grand anyway. Part of me thinks I should have paid a little extra and got the 100-400 L instead of 70-300 DO, but the rest of me doesn’t want to carry around twice the weight (I’m carrying more than enough already).
    Anything faster but long and it’s just not realistically priced.

    Andy – as a cheaper stop-gap have you thought about a teleconverter?

  12. Now I see why Andy stumbled across my wordpress.com blog. Must have still been logged in when I posted and failed to notice.

    Marty – I’d been considering the EF70-300mm IS USM. Are you really paying twice the price for the DO to get 4cm off the length or am I missing something?

  13. David – not far off. However, I believe the DO has a better build quality, on a par with L lenses.
    This is reflected in the fact that it also comes with a soft case and lens hood, which normally only L lenses from Canon do. Also the normal version had a well publicised problem when shooting in portrait orientation, which is now resolved, but still leaves me uneasy about the manufacturing quality.
    The non-DO doesn’t use Ring USM and therefore has no full time manual focus. The DO is also _slightly_ sharper and has better CA characteristics because of the diffractive element.
    Whether that’s worth the extra bucks is up to you…
    I certainly have no complaints – all my flickr shots are lens tagged so look take a look at http://flickr.com/photos/skink74/tags/canon70300f4556do

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