I do not use the most expensive equipment out there. I use what I see as melding the best of quality and durability while remaining economically feasible. The product that this statement represents seems to evolve over time but in essence much remains the same. Here are the fundamentals of what I use in my daily photography.
Canon EOS 7D
The Canon 7D is a relatively new addition to the camera bag. I started this blog with a Canon Rebel XTI, then upgraded to the Canon 40D. More Recently I moved up to the 7D because of it’s improved ISO ratings, FPS, Resolution and video capability. The focus speed and intuitiveness is also greatly improved over my past cameras. I did really like the 40D but there are significant upgrades to the 7D that have already justified the purchase. I would definitely recommend the 7D.
Canon Speedlight 550 EX
I do not use a flash for most of my photography but when I do, I use a 550. This is not the top of the line 580 but offers an extremely bright and controllable flash. This unit is actually more adjustable than the 550 in its functions but lacks some of the automation and sensing nature. This is a great product.
Canon EFS 10-22 F3.5-4.5 USM
The 10-22 is definitely a go-to lens for me. In low light conditions it may not be a 2.8 lens but it is wide enough to allow for plenty of light. The lens is great for landscapes, action-pans and other wide-angleness.
The 70-200 is probably my favorite lens in the kit. Best of all, the f4 is very affordable at around the $700 mark. While again the 2.8 would be nice in many situations the f4 is sharp, light, compact and yes… affordable.
Canon 35mm F2
This is another winner. While not a hugely typical lens, the 35mm with a 1.6 crop sensor makes this close to a traditional 50mm lens on a standard 35mm body. The lens is a great walk around, multi-use lens. Of all my primes, this is my favorite.
Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro
This lens was a recent acquisition based on creative experimentation. Macro is a very interesting type of photography that I have always enjoyed but never excelled at. This lens is extremely sharp when shooting above f7.1. below that and the DOF is very short and the image can seem soft. Most photography that I do with this lens requires the use of flash.
Canon 300mm F4 L USM
Another recent addition to my lens portfolio is the Canon 300mm F4L. This is not the new IS version but rather the old, discontinued, sharper model. This is a very affordable option for someone that wants a longer lens without breaking the bank. I have been very pleased with this lens, the focus is reasonably fast and the glass is sharp. The only down-side is the f4 is not extremely fast and can be tough to use in low light situations.
Canon 50mm F1.4 USM
After shooting with the 50mm 1.8 for several years I finally switched to the 1.4. This lens offers much improved bokeh, sharper glass and the much improved Micro USM focus. All this While remaining reasonably inexpensive – this is a great low-light performer.
Canon EF 2x Extender II
I purchased this 2x extender as something to play around with. It is relatively inexpensive to pick up used on ebay or craigslist. This will work with my 70-200 and 300mm lens’ doubling their focal lengths to 140-400 and 600mm. The downside though is that this causes a 2 stop drop bringing both to an F8 maximum aperture. Unless I am shooting in very high light situations this is not realistic. The quality is quite good though with minimal degradation and a slight loss of contrast.
Past Equipment – I no longer use this gear.
Canon 50mm F1.8 II
This is probably the least expensive, most popular canon lens ever made. At $120 retail it is nearly disposable but remains very sharp stopped all the way down to 1.8. Any person with a DSLR should have this lens. (unless your get the 1.4 or 1.2)
Canon 28mm F2.8
This is a lens that I did not use very often. I found it rather soft when shooting below f4 and not necessary in most situations given the 10-22 and the 35mm. I kept it for a wide angle with very little distortion but it does not get much use. The focus is also quite slow without the USM.
Canon EOS 40D
I shot with the Canon 40D for 2010 and 2011. I have really enjoyed using this camera. It offers professional grade photos and feel with a price that will make you look twice. Picking up a used 40D is a great way to get a great camera for a fraction of what you could otherwise spend.
Do you have any questions? Comments? or suggestions? I would love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment below.