New kit

After a bit of umming and ahhing, and a fair amount of saving, and long days researching, I finally bought the bullet and bought a new round of kit. This post is not really to brag about said gear – the “My Kit” link above is for that – but more to show off some of the results I’ve gotten over the last couple of days of playing about.

Without expecting you to click the link above, or remember what used to be on that page before I updated it, I’ll fill you in: I’ve replaced my old EOS 400D with a swanky new 60D. At the same time, I’ve replaced my old kit lens and telephoto with slightly better versions with improved optics and technologies such as Image Stabilization, and added a 50mm prime lens with a big aperture to the equation.

One thing I have resolved to do (which I really should have been doing from the beginning and any purists around might want to skip this next bit) is get better results in-camera, without needing to resort to tweaking in Aperture to get a good result. This is independent of me getting a new camera, and came from the reading up I’ve been doing on various lenses and techniques, and I’ve begun to improve my methods (especially since, for the last few months, I’ve been tending to shoot in Shutter Priority mode at a slightly high shutter speed resulting in under-exposed images – which has its place, of course, but shouldn’t really be the norm). In the last few weeks of using my 400D I was getting better results, something I’ve carried over into using the 60D – the handful of images that follow have required very little adjustments at all, other than a slight nudge of the white balance.

It is of course to be expected that the first images from the new kit would be of my cat. Below is a shot from me playing about with the 50mm f/1.8 lens:

Exposure 1/80sec, f/1.8, ISO 2500

One of the reasons I bought the EF 50 mm f/1.8 II lens was to play about with the really narrow depth of field such a wide aperture can create. This is best shown in this picture of my wife’s feet, in which my legs in the foreground and a bookcase in the background are nicely blurred whilst the feet are (reasonably) in focus.

Exposure 1/160sec, f/1.8, ISO 400, -1.33 exposure compensation

One of the other reasons I upgraded my camera is the improved image processing. The next shot of my cat was taken in the evening, under nothing but the lights in my living room. I had to kick the ISO up to 2000, which is beyond the capabilities of the 400D, and the image is still pretty noiseless (indeed, the first picture of the cat above was shot at ISO 2500).

Exposure 1/6sec, f/5.6, ISO 2000, exposure bias -1.0

It’s also worth noting the image stabilising work of the lens – I managed to shoot handheld at 1/6sec without blur.

Unfortunately, when I took the camera out for its first day trip, not much happened to take a snap of (I intend to improve seeking out photo opportunities). However, on the way back, there was quite a sunset.

Exposure 1/125sec, f/4.5, ISO 100

I’m also very impressed with the focal range of the EF-S 18-135mm lens. I can go from a wide shot like the one above to a closer one like the example that follows without having to swap out lenses.

Exposure 1/25sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

The above was at the 135mm extreme of the lens – open it all the way out to 18mm and this is what you get (the image prior to the one above was as a paltry 31mm):

Exposure 1/160sec, f/3.5, ISO 100

I haven’t yet really had much occasion to use my new telephoto lens – I’m planning on returning to some old haunts such as Richmond Park to give it a go later this week.

The lens I’m currently most enjoying using is the EF 50mm; with it being a prime lens it forces me to think a little more about my image composition, and the big f/1.8 aperture gives me a chance to play about with a really shallow depth of field.

Exposure 1/60sec, f/2.2, ISO 200

In my head I have all sorts of plans with this new gear. Maybe I’ll do this, maybe I’ll do that. For now, I’m going to keep these to myself, that way no-one is disappointed, but it is my firm intention to start exploring new types of imagery and photography styles in the future.

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3 Comments

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  1. Nice kit! One thing I really envy when I shoot digital is a nice, fast, IS lens. I could pony up some $ for that!
    I don’t know why you’d say purists should skip ahead. You can’t “fix it in Photoshop” if you don’t capture it to begin with. I think that capturing it well versus taking 500 shots to get one good one pretty much differentiates a photographer from a snap-shooter, no matter what they have for a kit.
    I have a bunch of posts on this, such as How to Take Better Digital Pictures in 20 words or less, which explains the under/over exposure phenomena (and why you should do both). My posts on the Zone system are certainly worth studying, whether you are capturing it on film or CMOS (eg The Zone System and Why You Should Care).
    Aperture priority mode is a great start! Keep shooting!

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    • Ah well, I’ve spent a lot of time shooting multiple shots to get the right one. One thing I’m at least trying to improve is only keeping one of them!

      Cheers for the posts, I’ll go have a look.

      Like

  2. so this is a blog! wish i could get m’head around the the technical stuff but at the end of the day nice kit and how did you manage to get it past the missus?
    i stonked up the excuse would be good to get some nice snapshots of our grandchildren. anyway nice shot of the feet and the pussy, aren’t sunsets pretty. just got to know what dial to turn and how much.

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