Camera gear guide part II.
This post will focus mostly on Canon EOS compatible lenses. All of the disclaimers from the last post still apply.
Before I get to the lenses, here are a couple of awesome accessories:
Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote Control– $25ish
I have the older version of this (RC-1), and love it. This thing is the perfect solution for those botched timer shots. This remote control is compatible with most Canon EOS SLRs, as well as a handful of point and shoot models. It has a setting for a 2 second delay, in case you need to press the button, then hide remote out of the shot.
Perfect for nerds. This tool allows photos taken in increments of 1 second to 10 hour, etc.. I have wanted to get one of these forever, to make time lapse films of very slowly occurring things (think of plants growing). Did you ever see that video the guy did of his flight from San Francisco to Paris, with the northern lights? I’m sure that he used something like this.
Manfrotto Pocket Tripod– $30ish
This thing is awesome. It is sturdy enough to hold a metal body SLR with a modestly heavy lens. I use this thing like crazy when I travel. It is seriously perfect for timer (or remote control) shots. It is small enough, that you can leave it mounted to the bottom of your camera with the legs folded in, and it still fits in the bag.
Moving along to lenses– First, here are a couple of prime lenses I like (fixed focal length):
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8– $100ish
This lens is a great and inexpensive way to expand your arsenal, if you are looking to get away from that kit zoom lens. This focal length is generally considered to be the “standard” or “normal” focal length. However, if you are working with a cropped sensor, it is good to take into account that a 50mm will effectively be a 70ish mm. In my opinion, prime lenses are awesome. A prime lens forces the photographer to work for the shot (since they can’t just zoom in or out), and pay more attention to composition. This lens is also dope because normally you have to pay the big bucks for an aperture that goes any wider that f/2. Not, here. You can get that super buttery bokeh, and low light shots with this lens.
Sigma 30mm f/1.4– $500ish
Normally I wouldn’t suggest buying a non-canon brand lens. But in this case, I deviate from the norm. This lens is pretty awesome. At 30mms, it gives you a 50ish mm equivalent on a cropped sensor (all Rebel SLRs). This lens was specifically designed with cropped sensor cameras in mind. In fact it vignettes so bad on a full frame, it isn’t even worth using on one. For what you get, I think that it is also pretty affordable. It is about $800 less expensive than the closest Canon brand equivalent. The lens is very well made, and comes with a hood, and padded case. The aperture opens all of the way up to f/1.4 making it awesome in low light. I have found that the AF isn’t quite as tight as with the Canon L-series. But what is? I have had this lens for a few years, knocked it around quite a bit, and it still gives me great images.
Canon 50mm f/1.2L– $1500ish
This thing is amazing. Couple Canon’s L-glass with a giant 8 blade aperture and you won’t get any better 50mm lens.
Here are a few zoom lenses for people who are serious about photography, or are starting to get serious about it:
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L– $800ish
This is the most inexpensive Canon “L” zoom on the market. Don’t let the low price fool you. It is an awesome lens. I use this thing all of the time. At f/4 it is not the best lens for low light, or shooting indoors w/o flash. But, on a cropped sensor, the wide angle options this lens gives are fantastic. Throw in the L-glass, and get some tack sharp images. This lens comes with a hood.
Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L– $1400ish
Chances are, you already own this zoom. It is probably the most versatile of Canon’s high-end zoom lenses. You get wide and telephoto angles, both with a relatively large aperture. Again, to top it off, you also get that L-glass, making this lens well worth the cash. For those looking to upgrade from a regular EF zoom to a pro-quality lens, this is hands-down the best pick.