Camera FAQ

070123_5d.jpgI wanted this to be an in-depth post about the Canon 5D and why we chose it over other cameras, specifically how that relates to our existing Nikon D70s. Also, how it relates to the Canon/Nikon “war”. Apparently, a “war” that is similar to the PC/Mac “war”.

Instead of dealing with those large issues, as I don’t really have a platform preference for cameras (I love Holgas, for example, does that mean the Diana or other toy cameras need defending or shouting down??), I’m going to just give you the gear rundown and a brief note about why we chose the 5D. We still use and love the Nikon D70s. But we fight over the 5D. Which is why I did a morning walkabout in Manhattan while Heather was doing her thing on our New York trip last month.

Points

First, we wanted to buy a second camera, largely to reduce the back and forth when we travel together and shoot. “Did you take this one? Did I?”

Second, I wanted to take a step up. We looked at the Nikon options and the Canon options. For us, the Canon options looked more attractive from a price/specs vantage point, very similar to where we were in 2004 with the Nikon purchase. I think I’m more drawn to the Canon lens options. Save your arguments about awesome Nikon glass for a photography forum or a digg post. It’s not so much about the quality of lenses as it is options with price/features. I think Canon and Nikon make great lenses. As do a number of manufacturers. The Canon line appeals to me a bit more. Faster speeds and a wider selection. Will I use all of that range? Dunno. But when looking for lenses for the D70, I decided to wait, as it seemed that Nikon was in the middle of a lens lineup refresh.

When we were in Austin last spring, I shot with a Canon 24-70 2.8L USM and its buttery goodness forced me to make a mental note. A couple of hours later, I was able to take a few shots with a 5D and the game was nearly over at that point. So a Canon would be our second camera. And then we replaced our sewer. And got sued. I took on more freelance work. And then Santa Claus came.

Third, to get a full-frame sensor in a digital SLR meant that there were only a few options. The 5D was not only the cheapest, but really the only one in the Canon line for us. There was only one other full-frame, high megapixel camera: the 1DS Mark II. It is more than double the price. It’s a fantastic camera, but for us, too rich.

Fourth, we purchased the following gear (with rebates!) from Canon:
–5D body
–24-70mm 2.8L USM lens
–50mm 1.4 USM lens
–Canon Speedlite 430EX flash
–extra battery
–B+W UV filter
–Lowepro Stealth Reporter D300 AW (It’s too small)
–I can’t decide if I want a super wide angle or a 70-200mm next, but we’ll likely rent a few lenses to figure out our next purchase, sometime in 2015.

Fifth, Canon is not paying for anything in this post.

Sixth, I’ve gotten a flood of email and a few comments about what we use to handle the RAW files. On our tower, which is Heather’s machine, we have Adobe Creative Suite 2, using Bridge and the Camera Raw plugin into Photoshop. I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (a free beta app) on my laptop, and I’ll pop into Photoshop CS when I need to make a quick edit. I’ve heard good things about other apps, but it really depends on how you work and what you are looking for. Right now, this is our setup, but it will likely change.

Seventh, storage. We’ve gradually purchased larger and larger Compact Flash cards from Costco. We have three 2gb cards and two 1gb cards. For the computers, I’m looking at external drives, and we’ll probably settle on a Western Digital or Seagate. The Western Digital 500gb RAID 1/1Terabyte RAID 0 with dual FireWire 800 ports is looking pretty sweet, if a little more expensive than the Seagate options. I’d like to be able to move it around from computer to computer for backup purposes, so an external drive is looking like the way we’ll go.

Eighth, getting pro-level gear (I think the 5D is on the high end of the prosumer designation) is part of the process, as is working to take better pictures. The extra megapixels and improved sensor mean that we have more information to work with when doing things like Chuck’s calendar or other stuff we’d like to share. More on that soon.

Conclusion

Finally, we hope to get better as photographers and share our work with you, because you are a big part of the reason we can do this. So thanks again and if you have further questions, post them in the comments.

  • http://www.ransom-note-typography.com/ jon deal

    I’d go with RAID 1 for safety purposes on the storage front. But then, I’m ¸ber-paranoid about losing data. And unless you are doing heavy duty video editing, I wouldn’t think you’d need RAID 0.

    You can also easily add a cheap and huge SATA drive internally into the tower.

  • http://paul surfmonkey89

    Nice choices all around! I have a 5D myself. I’ve heard that the 24-70 is a beast to lug around; sounds like you’re ok with that though. I do have the 50, which is a real sweet lens for the price.

    Congrats!

  • http://karenbcrazy.livejournal.com/ Karen

    After reading this bit on your camera buying experience, I want to kiss your feet. I work in a pro photo lab and I want to commit suicide on a daily basis when I hear the words “high res” in conjunction with talking about scans.

    People like you and Heather give me hope for this world in the crazy time of digital that maybe in the future all of our wedding photographers will know how to re-size images for printing. You can only hope, otherwise you’ll hear about me on the CBS Evening News after I’ve gone on a killing spree.

  • http://q.queso.com/ Jason Levine

    Very nice summary of your thought process; it’s nice to see how others have thought it all through. I’m still (*still!*) emotionally recovering from the theft of nearly $15K of camera equipment from my apartment back in 1998 — two Nikon bodies, two restored-to-perfect 1970s-era Contax RTS bodies, three Nikon Nikkor lenses (including a 300mm), three Zeiss lenses, and an entire bag full of accessory equipment — so I’m always on the fence about committing back to a nice kit; we have a Digital Rebel XT that serves our purposes now, but I know that I’ll get the itch again at some point soon. As it is, I’ll just sit here salivating for your 50 1.4…

  • ColleenS

    Thanks for the review. I have the 24-70L on my Digital Rebel and LOVE it.

    Can I ask why you went with the Speedlite 430 over the 580? Have you been able to use it enough to know if you like it? I’ve been trying to decide between the two for months and am still not sure which to get.

    Congrats on your new camera & gear.

    BTW I have a 2 Seagates and really like them.

  • http://www.iprettymuchhateeverything.com Torrie

    As fun as it was to play with the Cannon, the thing that I was most impressed with was your 50mm lens.
    I loved what great shots it took in low light.
    Most woman get a piece of jewelry when they give birth, but I’m hoping I get the 50mm lens.

  • http://www.midwestgeek.net Jason

    Nice purchase!

    Regarding the storage options, you may want to look at some of the stuff from Buffalo, they are building some really nice NAS RAID 5 hardware in 1 and 2 TB options.

    Btw, http://photography-on-the.net/forum/index.php is a great forum for fanatical Canon owners, from newbies to serious pros.

  • http://www.ragandboneshop.net Wayne

    Just want to say thanks for this post.

  • http://missinginiraq.blogspot.com MissingInIraq

    Thanks! I had just about decided to fantasize about buying a D-70 with the money I don’t have, now you’ve thrown it all into confusion again. I had only really looked at the Rebel; good to have something else for comparison.

  • http://midwestgrrl.blogspot.com midwestgrrl

    I was feeling very proud of myself for having customized my too-big hand-me-down camera bag with strips of old towels sewn into cut-up pieces of an old pair of black tights. I suppose I have a way to go until I can really hang?

    I have recently come to enjoy photography as a hobby and just treated myself to a Digital Rebel XTi, which I love. I very much enjoyed the use of a loaner Canon 24-105, and it was wonderful.

    Congrats on your lovely new equipment.

  • http://urchins.wordpress.com Papa Urchin

    I have to recommend the Kata backpacks. They build body armor for the Israeli military and you can see it in the bag construction. Beyond that they are just really well thought out; easy access to the camera, flexible design and the ability to attach a “fanny pack” and chest pack for more room. ( http://www.kata-bags.com/Item.asp?pid=220&cid=28&perentId=4&ProdLine=4 )

    As for the 70-200 f/2.8L IS, it is an amazing lens, but it is very heavy. The weight means that you need the $200 legs with the $300 head instead of the cheap tripod. You also really need the battery grip to balance it out. After all this, it isn’t really as long as you want it to be. That said it is my #2 lens and great for portraits. Now I just need to replace my 28-135 IS with that 24-70L. :)

    Torrie, The 50 1.4 is my absolute favorite lens and perfect for infant shots.

  • http://www.auniverseaway.com areyouwishing

    A full frame DSLR at that price range = options galore. Very cool. I would have to agree, the 5D is at the very top of the prosumer line.

    If you want to get ultra geek (its not too bad), you should look at a real raid setup in your powermac, or doing ubuntu with netatalk. You’ve then got redundant backup options as well as commercial grade AppleTalk sharing. Throw a new Airport Extreme and a gigabit switch in your house for 802.11n and then you are looking really good with fast backup that is wireless, and gigabit from the desktop. The cost in the network gear would be cheap compared to the savings in buying cheap internal drives on a whitebox pc or inside your current desktop mac.

    My workflow = D70 > NEF > Aperture > Flickr > Appletalk RAID through Ubuntu

  • http://www.joh3n.com/rant joh3n

    Jon,
    If I may be so bold, I would recommend the super-wide angle as the next lens, given the number of closeups I’ve seen from you and Heather recently. With something like an 18mm f1.4 or thereabouts, you can take great shots in low light, and go to town with image distortion goodness and fun depth of field tricks.

    Of course, if you wanna be hard core, you should just break down and get a Hassleblad with a digi-back, and a couple of Leicas for ‘day to day’ use ;P

  • http://www.blurbomat.com blurb

    Yeah, the Hasselblad and Leicas are on back order. We can dream, joh3n.

  • http://cowjumpmoon.blogspot.com Shalini

    i still love my nikon, but you persuaded me to looking at a Canon. You could be a lawyer.

  • http://www.frontlight.com dylan

    Jon, I’m sooo jealous. My wife and I have each had Rebel XT’s for about two years ago, and about 6 months ago we each got the Canon 24-105 F4 IS Lens. I must say it’s one of the best lenses I’ve worked with. so happy to hear you have come over to the Canon side of life. Gotta agree with you they are both great, but currently i love what Canon has.

  • http://www.paulmayne.org Paul Mayne

    Great choice, I myself greatly prefer Canon. In my experience, the interface and design is more Apple like. I love the iPod-like navigation wheel, so smooth and simple.

    Full-frame is awesome – but you really scored with those low aperture, fast lenses. I’ve found that the lenses used are far more important than the body.

    Those Western Digital My Book’s are awesome external drives. Especially with FW 800.

  • http://www.element-1.com/blog elementone

    Congrats on the new baby!
    I was giving Adobe Lightroom a try, but after editing a few raw shots and sending them to PS, somehow 90% of the work done in LR was gone. I thought maybe its just the fact that i am working with PS 7, have you had any kind of problems with LR?

  • http://www.martspain.co.uk/ Martin Spain

    D*mn, now you’ve got me thinking about upgrading to the 5D… :-)

    I can recommend the f4 70-200 L lens. Cracking bit of glass, and amazing value for money. But given you’ve just laid out a significant amount of wedge for that kit, perhaps it’s one for the wishlist!

    Regarding storage, I use LaCie external FW drives and they’ve been pretty good.

    Is there any reason why you’re not looking at using Aperture for photo management? It runs fairly slowly on my ‘ancient’ PB G4 but it’s still good enough that I’d rather use it than Lightroom (though I do like it) or Capture 1 Pro (great on the PC, NSG on the Mac).

    Keep those gorgeous photos coming!

  • DanielN

    Go Wide! The 17 – 40 f/4L is an awsome lens, and the price is reasonable. Or since you’re a fan of fast lenses, I’ve also heard great things about the new 16 – 35 f/2.8L USM. Wide and fast, but expensive.

    Congratualations on joining the forces of goodness and light.

  • http://ryanguill.com/blog/ ryanguill

    I personally consider the 5d to be out of the “pro-sumer” range, especially with the full frame sensor. Are you noticing much difference with the full frame verses the “cropped” sensor? I know for a lot of my telephoto shots, the cropped sensor is actually a blessing, but it would seem for you guys with more portraits and landscape type shots that the full frame would be much more welcome.

    I also want to recommend the sandisk extreme 3 cf cards. In my canon’s, the extreme 3’s are more than worth the money (more like their weight in gold), although the ultra 2’s are still good cards.

    I can also second the recommendation for the WD My Books.

    Congrats on the 5D though! I’m very jealous!

  • El

    Nikon has some gaps in focal ranges unless you’re willing to pay near a grand (12-24 f/4, I’m looking at you…). That said, it’s friggin’ hard to get wide with a non-full frame sensor.

    If you’re hooked on Canon, I’d ebay all your Nikon gear and invest in a 2nd Canon Body. You’ll be able to share a lot of gear.

  • http://suburbanmisfit.blogspot.com Candace

    I can only dream about the camera and the lenses and the filter and whatnot, but my lovely husband bought me the 430EX flash for Christmas. Apparently I was a very good girl this year. Even on my relatively crappy little Canon G5, non-SLR camera, that flash completely and totally rocks. I’m planning on upgrading the camera at some point; probably not to the 5D, maybe the Rebel XT, but at least I’ve got the flash.

  • http://www.blurbomat.com blurb

    ColleenS, the 430 was cheaper and has worked great for us and the kind of shots we take. I’d get the 580 if I needed a faster refresh or did longer shots that need flash.

  • http://www.letterstolucy.blogspot.com Sara

    I recently bought my first SLR, the Canon Digital Rebel XTi. Unfortunately, I don’t have much training, so I fumble a lot. But I can see the spiral into more lenses and gear. When it was snowy here in Portland, I was amazed at the quality of close up shots, even with the lens included in the kit I purchased.
    I chose the Canon because it felt better and is relatively easy to use with limited knowledge.
    I look forward to seeing what you produce; your work is awesome, so congratulations on the purchase.

  • http://theblablab.com doug

    Ah yes – the envy. It really hit home for me how nice the 1.4 lens could be with the shot Heather took of me on the bus, knowing what the lighting conditions were. That alone made me start looking/shopping for another dSLR (almost certainly a D80).

    As an aside, as nice as LowePro bages are, I am a total Crumpler convert, for any kind of bag they make. I have two of their laptop bags, two small cases for cameras/iPods, and have seen some of their photography bags. Fantastic stuff, and some great deals to be had on you-know-where. I got both my laptop bags new for less than half of ‘retail’. Unfortunately, their site(s) are annoying as hell.

  • http://albatrosswoman.livejournal.com AlbatrossWoman

    Long time reader, first comment. The photos that you and Dooce put up inspired my husband and I to get our first SLR camera; we love the shots you take and especially love that you share your technical know-how. We have the Digital Rebel XT, and I was wondering if you (or your readers) could share some advice about getting different lenses. There are a lot and we’re not sure where to start. Your camera makes me drool, by the way.

  • http://soubriquet.net dotsara

    Great summary; food for thought.

    I just spent 2 weeks with a 70-200mm f/2.8 and it was glorious. Heavy as all get-out, but incredible. I adore my 12-24, but that 70-200 is a dream.

    And congrats on your spot in JPG’s new issue. (:

  • rbg

    as far as bags go, i’ve tried a lot of different ones. but i’m pretty happy with my burton zoom bag. it’s fits my cameras and lenses nicely, but is made with a “sportier” feel.

    lame word, i know. but still a great bag.

  • http://www.missleonie.com Leonie

    Any chance we’ll see “Blurbodoocery – THE Guide to Taking Photos That Make Other People Cry a Bit” this year?

    My poor little DMC-FZ7 (bless its socks – I’m a student, it’s all I could afford, but it’s pretty good for the number of dollars I had to hand over) will of course never mimic any of your photos, but a masterclass about Blurbodoocery photography? I’d pay more attention than I have throughout uni so far.

    Pretty please?

  • wynk

    Thanks for this, we’ve been looking at the 5D for a while but don’t know anyone else that’s had one to ask how they liked it. We currently use the Canon Digital Rebel (the original model) and have been happy with it, but would like something a little more serious to add to the collection.

    One thing I’ve been wanting to find out that has little to do with this specific camera, is how much post-processing you do to your pictures as far as color and contrast go–the pictures are always quite sharp and yet there’s something about the color that is just this side of other-worldly. I love the look and I’d like to know what in the world you are doing to achieve this.

    Contrast, for example, the pictures Heather posted of Annie’s kids, with this, probably one of my better shots for color/depth, using the Speedlite flash:

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/163/337041196_365a73f170.jpg?v=0

    See the difference? Teach me.

  • http://www.agirlandaboy.com leahkay

    Jon, I’m wondering if you could tell me a little bit about what makes the 50/1.4 so great. I’ve had a 17-85mm on my Rebel Xt for the last year and a half and have been trying to decide between going a little bit wider or a lot “zoomier” for my next lens, but then everyone started going bonkers over the 50mm (I blame you), and I just can’t figure out what the big deal is. I think my problem is that I depend on Photoshop to do most of the work for me, e.g., instead of a zoom lens, take large files and crop them closer, or if the lighting is bad, fool with levels on screen. Not the most professional approach, but then I’m not a professional photographer, so I feel like I can get away with it. Anyway, if you could enlighten me as to the magic of the 50mm, I would love to hear it.

  • southerngirl

    I’ve always been impressed with Canon cameras since my first Canon SLR.

    I found this Mac toy while perusing Apple’s web site and I am enamored with it. Thought you, Heather, and Leta would enjoy it, too

    http://tinyurl.com/9t5l6

    Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with this software. I am just easily amused.

  • http://www.dawnm.com/fresh/ Dawn M

    Congrats and welcome to the other side!

  • http://www.eighthourlunch.com Eight Hour Lunch

    As you know, I’ve shot with the Canon 5D. I loved it so much that I’m seriously thinking about pushing my old Nikon down the stairs. ;)

    Of course that’ll have to wait until I land a few more freelance jobs and can justify the expense.

    Anyhow, I like a ton of your 5D work so far. Keep up the great work.

  • http://www.christineplamann.com/dev/ chris plamann

    leahkay, i’m a huge fan of the 50mm lens. there are three versions [1.8, 1.4 and 1.2L] and i have all three! in general, prime lenses are quite a bit sharper than non-L zoomy lenses. also, the 50mm lenses are SUPER fast to focus and open up wide enough to accomodate low light situations. they’re fantastic for portraits.

    as far as bags go, i love my crumpler “million dollar home” bags. i have the 7 for work (two bodies, two lenses, flash and a meter) and a 5 for walking around.

  • http://www.christineplamann.com/dev/ chris plamann

    also, if you’re looking for a great lens rental place, i’ve had fabulous experiences with paul at lensprotogo.com

  • anneelizmary

    I’m a complete newbie, a late adopter with my first digital Olympus FE-190, 6 megapixels worth of point and shoot, but I, too, appreciate your helpful review and your efforts, which continually wow me. When one has subjects like Leta and Chuck (not to mention NYC and Amsterdam), it’s a worthy endeavor.

  • http://aredeaf.blogspot.com Coelecanth

    I’m beginning to think there’s something wrong with me. There was no earthly reason for me to read all of these comments and yet I did. I own a Pentax K-1000 fully manual 35mm and just one lens. The lens talk I get but “Western Digital 500gb RAID 1/1Terabyte RAID 0″ and the rest of it might as well be in Martian. I guess it’s the geek equivalent of hearing a mass in Latin, good for the soul despite the lack of comprehension. :)

  • http://www.redhotmamma.blogspot.com rhm

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m just starting to get into photography & I really admire yours and Heather’s work. I check out the daily photo, well, daily on dooce.

  • http://www.christineplamann.com/dev/ chris plamann

    one last thing, and then i will stop monopolizing these comments, but another major major major benefit to the 5D is the almost complete lack of noise at high ISOs. with the 20D and 30D, the noise was just awful above 800. now i can easily shoot at 1600 and 3200 and the noise isn’t obnoxious at all!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/brikwall Brikwall

    I use the RebelXT with the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM and the 70-200mm f/2.8L USM (non-IS). They are both incredible lenses, perhaps too good for my own abilities. I also have the 50mm f/1.8 but don’t use it very much.

    I would love to have a 5D. However, it is more camera than this amateur hack needs at the moment. Besides, I’d rather invest in good glass that should serve me well for many years to come than camera bodies that become obsolete in a year or so (but I’d still love to have a 5D).

  • http://www.radicalangles.com Wes Allen

    Hey, nice choice! After having an XT, the a 20d(still have), I got a 5D a few weeks ago, and it is very nice. Regarding your next lens, you might thing about the 15 mm f/2.8 Fisheye – it really shines on a Full Frame. I have the 70-200 2.8 as well, and it also is super nice.

    And for RAW, I have aperture to be outstanding, to the point of almost not needing PS anymore.

  • http://misspriss.org becky

    I’ve been wondering what camera you went with. Thanks for giving the details. I still love my D70 and was originally impressed by the quality of your and Heather’s shots.

    John, what type of processing does Lightroom do? I went to the site, but all I could find was a 20 min tutorial which I didn’t have time to watch. I wish they would just list what does (if they do, I didn’t find it).

    Liking the photos. Keep ‘em coming! :)

  • http://misspriss.org becky

    crap. Sorry for the misspelling. My husband’s name is John, so I automatically typed it that way.

    My apologies, Jon.

  • http://www.bonnieberryphotography.com/ JLobster

    My wife is a semi-professional photographer (pimp link above) and LOVES her 5D. She also mainly got it for the full-frame sensor. It takes awesome pictures, much better than her previous prosumer Pentax *ist D.

    As for storage, go for a NAS. My preference is the Infrant ReadyNAS line. About the size of one of the Mac G4 Cubes, it can hold up to 4 SATA drives that you can buy off the shelf (not EVERY drive, but most of them). You can start with one and add. It will just autoexpand the RAID (first mirroring with 2 drives, then progressively larger RAID 5). You can even replace the drives one by one with larger drives and it will autoexpand once all of them have been replaced! The RAID 5 should give you the basic protection you need, plus it will take a snapshot on a regular basis (you decide) that will allow you to see what that volume looked like when that snapshot was taken. Accidentally deleted a folder? Go back to last night’s snapshot!

    Also, it has Gb LAN, jumbo frame support, and supports both Windows and Mac very well. It even has a USB port that you can hook a card reader up to and when you pop a card into it, it will auto download it into a dated folder.

    I can not recommend the Infrant ReadyNAS enough. We use it and would not go back.

  • http://www.blurbomat.com blurb

    JLobster, thanks for that recommendation! I bought a cheapy Western Digital My Book 500 Gb drive from Costco for $219 a couple of days ago to test it as a backup drive. I think for photo storage, we’ll look at a RAID solution. Do you have any good retailers to purchase the Infrant ReadyNAS from?

  • http://www.bonnieberryphotography.com/ JLobster

    I don’t have a preferred vendor, as they sell through the regular internet outlets like New Egg, etc. I ended up buying the version with no disks ($650 if I remember correctly) and eBayed some Seagate 500GB drives. Eventually we needed to expand from 2 to 3 drives and I bought an entirely different Seagate HD. The upgrade was seamless.

    If you are looking to save a bit of money, you may be able to get a discount on the ReadyNAS NV (instead of the NV+). The only real difference is that there is a neat LCD display on the NV+, and it also comes included with Retrospect backup software. I have the NV plain and don’t miss either.

    Just make sure to check their hardware compatibility guide in their wiki before you buy: http://www.infrant.com/wiki/index.php/Hardware_Compatibility_List

  • http://flickr.com/photos/coyote/sets Coyote

    I have the 30D, the 430EX and seven lenses, 5 of which are Canons. I highly recommend the new-ish Canon 70-300 IS. (Don’t confuse it with the older DO version or either of the 75-300 lenses.) It has better range than a 70-200 and its image quality continues to surprise me, as does the ability to capture useable images at 1/15 of a second. It’s also smaller and lighter than my 70-200 f/4L, which is definitely a bonus. Reasonably priced, as well.

    For a wide angle lens, I’ve been very pleased with the image quality of the Tamron 17-35. It’s also quite reasonably priced.

    If you’re not already familiar with the reviews section at the FredMiranda.com, check it out. I chose all my lenses based on the reviews at that site because they’re extremely fussy. I never bought a lens unless the FM site rated it a minimum of 8.5 out of 10. And I absolutely love all of them.

  • http://wendymacblogs.blogspot.com Wendy Mac

    OK, I have a question.

    I’ve been using my little point and shoot digital for a year now. I’m ready to step up to a beginner’s level Digital SLR. What do you recommend for a beginner?

    Thanks :-)

    You can e-mail me at sandiegopadresmom at gmail dot com.

    (Umm, this question is for Jon and for anyone else who has a recommendation! Thanks!)

  • http://www.joh3n.com/rant joh3n

    Exciting topical update!
    http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/25/hasselblad-intros-31-megapixel-h3d-31-dslr/

    You *know* you want it…..

  • http://slurpinglife.typepad.com/ Melody Sanders

    Complete idiot woman photography novice here who now feels really good about her recent purchase of a Canon DSLR and additional lense. Now to learn what the hell to do with it all…My 12 yo seems to take better photos with his digital point and shoot.

  • spookychick

    i like canon. for sure. now that i found a 15×15 whitespace to use in my house i am in need of slave flash – this means i too will be upgrading my camera. i will take this comparison to heart. ahem, the dooce comments are closed for the day.. so.. um… so… try prune juice with Leta~ Not mad amounts, just a quarter cup in 3/4 cup water. lots of fresh fruit during the day and perhaps metamucil. mothers i know swear by metamucil. my favorite guy is a single dad and swears by prune juice. cranberry juice flushes the urinary tract as well.

    i also adore the photos you and heather take. thank you!

  • bekabug

    I just stepped up to a DSLR this month. I bought a silver Canon Digital Rebel XTi body with the 18-55mm lens kit. I also purchased the Speedlite 430ex because my biggest problem with point and shoot cameras was the too much or not enough when it came to properly lighting a shot. The flash is very necessary if you want to start taking awesome pictures right away.

    I got the camera, the lens, and the flash for under a grand.

    The 430 is lighter than the 580 and works like a champ. I didn’t want to lug around a truckload of gear and am not a pro, so the additional expense didn’t seem logical to me at this stage of hobbydom.

    I really don’t trust RAID. I work in the IT field as an on call technician and I’ve walked into so many situations where things have gone horribly wrong due to neglect, poor initial setup, or just bad luck. Our setup here is a 4 bay, SATA, enclosure with removable drive drawers, hooked up to the server (aka a g4 tower), and shared on the network. We use Acronis TrueImage & Mac OS Disk Image to image the drives & our computers twice a week. Serves us up quite nicely. :)

    My aunt went through the same sort of thing with her daughter as you are going through with Leta. I don’t see how people can be so freakin rude; they can’t possibly know what is going on in your day to day. Don’t let people pressure you two and stress everyone out more than they are already. She’ll come around when she’s damn good and ready. Thanks for the great pictures and enduring my long comment.

  • http://www.orlandolocal.com William Beem

    You’re right, there is a war between Nikon and Canon users. Religious wars and technology go hand in hand. At least it’s not as bad as the wars about programming languages and code editors. Those folks are nasty.

    One can take outstanding photos with either Nikon or Canon. When I was ready to purchase a DSLR a couple of years ago, my concern was shutter lag. All I had was a point and shoot that didn’t shoot fast enough to capture the whales in Alaska before they went under again. Got nothing but some damn fins.

    So what to buy? I knew either Nikon or Canon. Ultimately, my decision at that point was the D70 because it felt better to my hands.

    Yesterday, I received my new Nikon D200. It’s not that I’m disinterested in Canon, but my needs were better served by staying with Nikon. I don’t have to replace lenses or start another collection. My batteries, CF cards, and flash all work with either camera.

    However, the big reason is that I found features in the Nikon line, important features to me, that aren’t present in the Canon line. Auto-ISO is one of them. There are a number of features in my D200 that solve little problems for me to manage my camera. It doesn’t hurt that it’s faster and creates slightly better exposures than the D70, too.

    Maybe one day I’ll get a Canon. I have nothing opposed to the brand and admire the technical quality of the images. It just wasn’t the right thing for me at this point.

    Enjoy your new camera. Wear it out.

  • DoggieDaddy

    The “switch” is huge. When I switched to a Mac I found myself trying to F11 to the desktop on a PC. Small, but irritating when it dosn’t work. The same exists with the Nikon/Canon products. I was handed a Canon during a party and felt like my hands were tied. It was an incredible camera but my muscle memory was wrong. What it all comes down to is what you are comfortable with. Rock the one you came with….

  • http://dooce.migrantroo.com minxlj

    Great camera! And you’ve been taking great shots with it – long may it continue. But you know you’re going to have to get ANOTHER 5D to stop the arguing, don’t you ;-)

    I have a D70 (inspired by your good selves I might add) and I love it to pieces, and at some point I’ll upgrade to the upcoming D300 or similar. Principally cos I have now built up a collection of brilliant Nikon lenses, my father has a lot of valuable Nikon lenses, and so does my grandfather, and I can still use them all on my 2005 Nikon.

    The whole Canon/Nikon war is pointless – each has pros, and each has cons. Simple as that. (btw Canon make awesome printers, beautiful colour management with them). The PC/Mac war however, is cut and dried – the Mac is waaaaay better. Period :-)

  • http://dooce.migrantroo.com minxlj

    Jon – I have the LaCie Biggest F800 Firewire RAID at work, it’s pretty cool and 1TB cost £740 – you’ll get it much cheaper in the US though. Easy as pie to set up on the Mac, I’ve networked it via a program called Sharepoints, and it works like a charm. It has hot-swappable drives too. Can also get a 1.6TB version.

  • dingdongditch

    Congrats on your Canon. I hope you find it enjoyable. My husband and I purchased the Canon Digital EOS Rebel XT prior to our trip to Scotland last year. We got a great Tamron lens as well. The pictures instantly transport me back there… stunning color and the detail is amazing. I’ve always been a fan of Canon, but I had no idea that banners were being crafted and waved in the name of the camera fatwas. Enjoy!

  • Ginny O’Neil

    I’m digging your external hard drive recommendation, as I just experienced the pain of a 300GB external drive failing the second time I used it with no recourse except an $800 fee to restore my data.

    I’m having a tough time locating the Western Digital one you are planning on purchasing, and was wondering if you could shoot me the name of it, or anymore information.

    The My Book Pro Edition doesn’t appear to have either the dual FireWire 800 – or the RAID 1 component. Thanks.

  • http://www.blurbomat.com blurb

    Ginny, we ended up going with a Maxtor external 1TB drive purchased at CompUSA for $399 (on sale, which is why we did it):

    http://tinyurl.com/2kuf4y

    It can be configured as a RAID drive with two 500 gb drives or its default as a 1 terabyte drive using RAID to split the data writes across both drives. It has FireWire 800 and comes with a cable. Paired with SuperDuper, it appears to be working well.

    For the laptops, I bought a 500gb firewire 400 Western Digital drive at Costco for $219. Very nice drive that is relatively quiet, although not fast enough for heavy lifting, once the initial backup is complete, the incremental runs of SuperDuper take just a few minutes.