I'm so happy when a photog I love posts the specifics of their photos on their blog or website. I love to see what lens, what aperture and what shutter speed they used to capture that shot I admire so much. I know it's not about the equipment, and when photographers do post info about their favorite lenses, it actually strengthens the idea in my mind that it is all about their wicked talent and not about the lens. I have similar lenses and my photos do not look anything like theirs, but knowing they all swear by their Canon 50mm encourages me to pick up my camera and see how inspired I can be with just a prime lens and my two feet.
And it's not just photographers that inspire...the blog world is full of incredibly talented amateur food photographers sharing tips. I've picked up the Lowel Ego light based soley on Jaden's review of them over at Steamy Kitchen. I love that spirit of helpfulness and sharing.
I'm not a photographer, and I only pick up my camera a few times a week, but of course like all bloggers who post photos, I get asked what camera I have and what made me choose Canon over Nikon. Ready for this profound response?
My first SLR used during my college photography courses. It was well used by the time I picked it up but it was all this poor college student could afford at the time. Even at 10 years old, it was such a reliable camera that I've just always picked up a Canon after that. It's also because I don't speak Nikon at all...in the end, everyone knows it's really just a matter of preference. While I may not be able to give a lot of photography advice, I have researched, rented, bought and sold Canon equipment like a madwoman.
Here are the photography items that have made me pull out the credit card.
It feels solid and takes beautiful pictures and it's really come down in price recently. It shoots 8 frames per second making it awesome for wildlife and action shooting. Many love that it has 19 autofocus points, but I shoot with a single autofocus point so can't really comment. Overall I've been happy with this happy little camera except for the low light performance. I do wish she performed a bit better at ISO 1200 and above.
I shoot fully manual, usually even setting the ISO and the autofocus point and find controls to be easy to navigate even while the camera is right up to eye. Sometimes I'm too lazy to reset the AF point though and so I use back button focus and reframe. I did get to shoot with a friend's Nikon recently and thought it was a lot easier to change autofocus points. No worries Canon, I still love you...mostly for your beautiful lenses.
The most used
Canon 35mm f/1.4L
Since my camera has a cropped sensor, I often have the 35mm lens on my camera which gives the about the same field of view as a 50mm on full frame body. I seriously love, love, love this lens. At 1.4 it's obviously a pretty fast lens which makes me happy because I have an aversion to tripods. I know they are essential but what I love about photography is the feel of the camera in my hands when I press the shutter. I feel like I'm being robbed of feeling the click of the camera when I use a tripod. Yes, weird I know.
Canon 50mm f/1.2L
There's nothing I can say about this lens that a zillion other people haven't already said. It's the fastest lens I own and the colors and sharpness are crazy beautiful. I sold my 24-70mm 2.8 to buy this lens and haven't regretted it for a moment. You lose a lot of flexibility with primes obviously and have to switch lenses more often, but I will swear, swear, swear by the IQ difference in primes vs. zooms. I seriously almost cried when I saw the sharpness in my photos with this lens. It's not about the equipment, it's not about the equipment....but actually, it kind of is.
I also love that it's a flat little lens that doesn't stick far out from the camera. I wish the 35mm had a similar profile.
Canon 85mm 1.8
This lens sees beautiful people. Everywhere. Seriously, people look amazing with this lens...probably because of the telephoto aspect. Since the 7D has a cropped sensor, this is functioning almost as a 136mm on my camera. People just happen to look so lovely in telephoto. I also think this lens is a pretty great bang for your buck...it's pretty tack sharp for its price point or any price point really.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS
I call this my "I quit smoking reward." The fact that I never started smoking is irrelevant here....think of all the cash I've saved by not smoking. I acknowledge that this is some whack justification.
I can't say much about this lens since I haven't played with it all that much and kind of need to start benchpressing those 10 pounders before I try and lift this to my eye. It is not light or subtle and it's not for taking food photos unless you have a really long kitchen to back up into and you like the plate of food to look slightly compressed. I opted for the IS because it can be handheld more often--avoiding the tripod again. I like candid portrait type shots though and the plan is to learn how to snag those kinds of shots with this baby. Too bad it's not really discreet enough for candids.
A Little Wide Angle Action
Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
Landscape shots are my photography nemesis. Actually, white balance is my photography nemesis with landscape shots being the evil assistant. The Tokina takes sharp photos for my purpose and the 11-16 gets some pretty wide shots that give a sense of place to photos. I usually have it on me because the 35mm often just isn't wide enough.
Lowel Ego Light
A good portion of my cooking/baking is done in the dark hours so I use periodically. This light lets me pretend it's daytime(check out link above to Steamy Kitchen's review of the lights). I only have one, most people seem to prefer two to get a more even and universal lighting. I use a reflector (white foam board) when I'm feeling ambitious.
Canon Speedlite 580EX II and Canon Speedlite 430EX II
I don't know how to use these thing to create anything resembling natural lighting but I am having quite a bit of fun trying to learn them. I don't own a remote trigger currently because the 7D has a built in external flash trigger which has worked fine for my limited purposes.
And while I assume camera batteries and extra memory cards are a given, have to give these little lifesavers a mention:
Sanyo Eneloop batteries
What makes these different than any other rechargeable batteries is that they don't really lose much of their charge during storage. I don't know how many times I've popped in regular rechargeables into my flash only to learn they'd discharged during storage. These have always been ready to go.