My Canon DSLR Journey Part 1 – Getting Started

Overview

I got my first DSLR and went for an entry level Canon 700d kit. After acquiring the kit I thought I’d share some starter resources for others who may be looking for the same.

Plan

The idea was to get an entry DSLR body which will last me a few years (minimum 5) without too many limits imposed on my shots or learning. That’s why the bottom level DSLR like the 3xxx like the 3100D is not going to be on my buy list.

Everything in the future should be reusable. Should that be sticking with the APS-C cropped sensor using the EF-S mount or going to a full body EF mount camera. It will need to be balanced in terms of cost vs. longevity because photography is just a hobby (for now).

The Kit

The package came with almost everything needed to start taking pictures. The only thing that was missing was a memory card (see below in equipment section). Besides the non-interchangeable camera specific items such as the battery the kit lens were the only thing which will not migrate to a full body but getting a kit with that zoom made it more cost efficient to buy it as part of the camera kit.

Basics

How to change lenses:

Calibrate view finder:

How to hold:

Equipment

I reused a memory card from a previous point and shoot camera I already had. This was not ideal but it worked for the time being. There are 2 schools of thought on memory cards but one thing is the same. Faster the better. SD memory cards are rated by speed and are classed in numbers. High the number, the faster guaranteed read-write speeds (tends to be the former) the card will handle. For example a class 4 would perform faster than a class 2. In general aim to get the fastest card affordable whilst probably not going lower than 8GB card.

One side is where people say get smaller and more cards so that if one card fails or corrupts, only the photos one that card is lost. Smaller cards tend to be faster because there is less memory to address and you can buy multiple cards which add up to the same amount. The other side says get the biggest card possible to avoid swapping cards and less hassle organising the photos on the cards. The aim is to prevent changing as much as possible there’s less time worried about the capacity. Both have downsides as well. For example organising multiple cards and loading them onto the computer can be a pain. Having a smaller card mandates that every time the camera is in use, extra cards are necessary compared to one larger card which for smaller trips are not necessary. If a large card fails thats all the photos are gone! Some more expensive cameras have dual memory card slots which would warrant multiple cards over a single large card. In my case this is not an option.

Canon 18-135mm IS
The first non essential equipment I bought was a UV lens filter. This protects the front of the lens from scratches and is cheaper to replace than a lens. Filters come in 2 types: UV and polarised. UV is clear and adds no changes to the way the light goes through the glass. Polarised lens remove glare so it will change the way shots look. Filters are sized according to the diameter of the lens it will go on and are usually marked on the lens with the symbol ?. Filters screw onto the front of the lens and allow the lens cap to fit without having to remove it. Different filters have different thicknesses so the length of the lens will increase. Filters will reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor but this is minor and worth it for the protection it gives.

Tips

Watch videos on tips and tricks from Tony Northrup (Courtesy from Jason Wells).

Download and keep a copy of the electronic manual. Putting it on a device with you lowered the weight and increased the space available when carrying the equipment around. You will usually come across new and unknown features or functions when doing something new.

Summary

The above should be enough information and equipment to start taking snaps and a bit more to get going.

About Danny

I.T software professional always studying and applying the knowledge gained and one way of doing this is to blog.

Danny also has participates in a part time project called Energy@Home [http://code.google.com/p/energyathome/] for monitoring energy usage on a premise.

Dedicated to I.T since studying pure Information Technology since the age of 16, Danny Tsang working in the field that he has aimed for since leaving school.

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