Some budget friendly accessories

And some conclusions

One of the things missing from the 1000d package that I bought was a charger. No big deal however, a new charger on Trademe is only $7.73 NZD plus courier fees, add another $8.00.

Next on the list was a remote shutter release. As the 1000d doesn’t support wireless releases we need to get a good quality cable based shutter release. I choose the following based on functions available, the wide variety of models it supports and a pretty good YouTube review. At $23.00 NZD including courier fees this seemed a reasonable purchase. Should also prove very handy for astrophotgraphy.

 

The next item on the list is a second battery. Having only one battery in the kit is a recipe for disaster. It turns out these are well priced as well at $30.00 NZD including freight.

 

 

 

 

The other item I bought at the time of purchase was a new 16 gig SD Card, a lot faster than my current 4 gig class 6 cards and it certainly does the job. With the 1000d I’m shooting RAW + Jpeg so the total file size for each sSanDisk 16GB Ultra UHS-I SDHC Memory Card (Class 10)hot is large, but the camera doesn’t slow down any writing to the card. These latest generations cards weren’t around when the 1000d was brought to market but it certainly makes it quick to store the data.

Essentially all I need to obtain now is a couple of lens hoods for the lenses and we have a pretty good kit. They run at between 2 & 5 dollars a piece and are readily available. I have to wonder why Canon leaves them off the lenses as it would only cost them a few cents to produce these and it seems a little cheap not including them.

Thoughts & conclusion.

So all up I have a budget friendly kit that will have cost approx $320.00 NZD to setup a basic DSLR kit.

For those wanting to get into a new camera that is a step up from their point and shoot units or cellphone, its possible to equip oneself with a very modest ( cost wise ) small DSLR kit that wont break the bank , will provide very good images and leave plenty in the future budget for obtaining better lenses. A 10 year old DSLR may seem like you are missing out on all the most up to date bells and whistles, but truth be told you dont need them to start with.

Investing in better lenses even if just replacing the kit lenses with a better version of them, is going to improve your images markedly as this video shows. More below…

Whether it be a Canon , Pentax, or Nikon, there are some bargains to be had for very little outlay. The main caveat I would suggest is the you look for cameras that have a very low shutter count. In my case a couple of thousand, means I have an almost unused camera. The Pentax KX I was considering buying only had 6200 as a shutter count, and again this is basically a near new condition camera, and while Pentax accessories and lenses arent as prolific or inexpensive as its Canon counterparts it still would represent a pretty good first foray into a DSLR.

With all this in mind I would suggest you give it a go. With my very limited budget I have been able to obtain a DSLR setup that will give me a good deal of pleasure to use, as well as providing some pretty good imagery even with the standard kit lenses.

In following articles I will go through how the camera performs, what I decide are my favourite settings and shooting modes  and anything else that seems relevant and accompany these article with shots taken with the camera.

For those who already own and use a DSLR you may find something of use here and I would encourage you to comment on items that will help beginners and adepts alike. The journey as they say never ends…….

 

 

 

 

 

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Enter the Canon EOS 1000d

Also known as the Canon XS

Now before all you Fuji users pop a gasket this article is about photography on a very limited budget. Have I abandoned Fuji all together …. No.

I am however not in a financial position at present or for the short term to enable me to step back into a mirorrless setup. I didnt want to repeat my experience with the XA2 by going into an XA3 which didnt provide one thing that I was hoping to see in the XA series and that was PDAF auto focus. That for me was a killer as far as the XA line goes. Hopefully when the time comes and they shift from Contrast detect AF to Phase detect AF they will again be on to a winner.

The Fuji range finder style bodies just dont do it for me. Yes they are very good cameras but I  find them uncomfortable to use, I much prefer the XT style bodies but even a used XT-10 will set you back  well over $1000.00 NZD with a basic lens, so the Fujis arent really an option.

I’m aware that there are sometimes very well priced cameras on E-bay but when you factor in the freight to New Zealand thats not really an option either. There are however some bargains to be had on our own NZ  Trademe   site and I was lucky enough to nab a bargain.

One lightly used Canon EOS 1000d   bought at Auction for $200.00 NZD. Shutter count is 2700 plus about 150 I’ve added just messing around. One 18-55 mm EFS IS lens and one EF 75-300 mm lens, plus a nice sized kit bag to tote a bit of gear around. You will note that the 75-300 isn’t image stabilised. The plan here is to buy a EF-S 55-250 IS lens and use the bigger lens as a tripod only tele. Theres currently three of these lenses on auction a present so I’m hopeful of snagging another bargain.

One of the things I liked about the 1000d was the size, its only a tiny bit bigger than my HS20 so with the 18-55 bolted on the front it will feel familiar, size and weight wise with the bigger zoom lens available as an option. My preference has been to try and find something that afforded the same level of image quality as my XA2 in a similar body size but alas nothing other than a small DSLR like the 1000d or the K-X from Pentax really comes close. Had I missed out on the Canon, the Pentax KX was an option with a buy now of $275.00 NZD,  however this only came with the 50 – 200 mm telephoto lens and for local bird photography the 75- 300 mm  when tripod mounted will hopefully be the better option. The other overriding factor is the simplicity of the Canon which will help with getting my wife confident with the camera as she is a complete photography novice,  so the Canon will be a good fit.

I wont bore you with all the specs and such with the camera, just click the link above and you get a review and the specs. Below is a series of images I took over the past 2 days. Most are crops some as much a 60% of the original image. All are hand held using both lenses, all but one are RAW images processed and saved as jpegs. Images were processed using Showfoto  a photo editing package that I am liking more and more as I get used to it. It works with the canon RAW files very nicely and of course its free software.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of Sheep and dogs

Stopped briefly on the way back from a job to snap a couple of pics of two tourist shops in Tirau, Waikato  

Taken with the S6 on the first truly fine and clear day we have had for about 4 months. Did  a pretty good job just shooting  in auto as well. ISO 40 !! Didn’t know it went that low.

Click to go to larger images and scroll them to get to the full sized image.

 

What has gone before Vs what is still to come.

The changing face of photography.

In this previous post I talked about what I liked in a camera and why those cameras had appeal for me in particular.

Since then I have been looking over the current possible replacements and I have to report that there are few that would be adequate.

Most of the possible contenders are too expensive ( over $1000.00 NZD) or too small to hold comfortably. Some of the larger units such as the FZ1000 are a little too large and start matching the heft and bulk of a DSLR, which I want to avoid.

Basically for size, anything over the size of the HS20 is going to be too large to use on a day to day basis as I am always mobile and size and weight then become an issue.

Speaking of size, even the smaller style mirrorless XA3 for example are too big to keep in a small back pack and be easy to grab at a moments notice and there were many occasions when this was true of my HS20 as well. The Fuji s5700 (s700) was the one exception to this issue as its lens, while motorised was internal so the overall body size never changed and being a small camera was less of an issue where size mattered.

To the matter of cost. Some may be wondering as to why the limit of $1000.00 NZD is the ceiling. In my case I have a fixed income and as the only income earner in the household cost saving is paramount. Add to this that there are a good many less affluent pensioners currently, or about to be a pensioner that would also like a new camera for their retirement travels and again cost is a major issue. Another group are the less well off younger people/ students who like what a modern camera can provide but haven’t the means to procure a good camera, and have most likely  opted for a expensive mobile phone for its flexibility. Cant pay your bills online with a camera ( well not a enthusiast model or compact at least). Some of these new smart phones are very good cameras as well and I have had to eat my words from a post I did about 10 years back at Dpreview forums when I stated that it was unlikely a phone would ever replace a good camera.

Well thats no longer the case. There are some very good smart phones that come equipped with a camera thats as good as an entry level travel compact. A quick search of the internet and Flickr  photo sharing site soon shows that photography is alive and well, just in a different format. Not only is it alive and well but through all the history of photography it is unlikely that the level of current uptake was ever envisioned by the pioneers of the craft. According to the likes of Apple and Samsung there are more and more people beginning to use their smart phones as there primary image recording tool and I find that at present that now includes me.

Now I hear the gnashing of teeth from my Fuji followers, but at present Fuji has nothing in their range that attracts me back to a ILC camera, although the rumoured X-T100 has got my interest piqued a little.  The closet contender at the moment is The Panasonic LX100, a very nice piece of kit, and has seen favour with these folks as well, and when on special would be a nice addition to my kit. However I currently have a Samsung S6 provided by my employer, which I will now spend some time using.

So why a smart phone?

Here’s some reasons to consider a smart phone as a go anywhere any time camera. Based on Samsung S6.

  • Portability
  • Small size
  • Communications both WiFi & Phone
  • Fast camera lens f 1:9 @28 mm fixed
  • Built in editing on the fly
  • Good image storage capacity ( 1 hr or more video storage)
  • Spontaneity

Thats just a few reasons, I haven’t even touched on what you can do with the rest of the phone as thats not central to this quest for a new camera.

For me at present as a stop gap between now and my next dedicated camera the S6 looks like it will do a reasonable job. One of the things I have been really impressed with is the dynamic range this camera has from low light to bright daylight, just using auto mode it does a commendable job.

Below is an image I can say with certainty would never have been achievable with my HS20 and I’m not sure my XA2 would have done too much better either given the conditions, but for a small sensor the S6 did pretty well. You can see larger versions of these images in the S6 Gallery.

20170912_131953

Multiple light sources created a large amount of overexposure. This was a relatively well lit internal scene and the S6’s camera was set to auto with HDR on. Now with a bit a cropping and some adjustment in RawTherapee and a general calming of the image you get the following:

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You can then make the image a little more isolated and get the following:

20170912_131953-6.jpg

While a little more muted than the  previous edit this shows how much head room the images from the S6 can provide, and if we compare this to some of the small/mid level travel compacts on the market it becomes more apparent that the quality on the higher specs smart phones doesn’t lack for much as a general purpose snapshot camera, certainly better than the Kodak Instamatic of my youth.

I have also found that standard prints are very good too and I have printed A4 prints from the S6 with very good results and as long as you take a little care when taking your images if you are going to print them then your results should be more than adequate.

The only real drawback to the S6 that I miss at present is the manual zoom that my HS20 has, but like most photographers working with a single focal length I will need to adjust to the limitation. When you look at the images posted on Flickr ( see the Flickr link above ) the results can be very pleasing.