Friday, December 7, 2012

Our Camera Equipment and Entry-Level DSLR Buying Guide

I'm often asked what camera I use, how I edit my photos, etc... All I usually know to say is, "The big camera. It's a Canon", and "I use that program that came free with the laptop. You know the one" which never really feels like enough. As I've said many, many times before, I don't really know what I'm doing with the Big Camera. Cory has shown me the basics and after a few years of practicing and trial-and-error, I can pretty much do what I want to do, but that's not saying a lot and I definitely can't talk about it because I don't know the lingo. Please don't ever try to talk to me about white balance or shutter speed or I might fly into a fitful rage. Or so I've been told.



Cory, on the other hand, is a self-taught prodigy. He watches youtube videos in his free time of Asian men talking camera in British accents. He reads all of the reviews when new stuff comes out. He sometimes cares more about the other tourists' cameras on vacation than he does the vacation itself.
Now and then, he tries to get all fancy, telling me about sensor size or something weird like that and all it does is make me mad (see above).

But we both know, at the end of the day, that he's the boss of all-things-camera around here. He was a semi-finalist in P-Dub's photo contests not once, but twice. You just can't get more official than that.

So all of this to say, it's okay if you're a big geek like Cory and want to really learn everything you can about the wild world of photography; but it's also okay if you're like me and just want to be able to take a decent picture. No matter where you are on the spectrum, if taking beautiful pictures is something you love to do, if it brings you joy, then it's probably worth springing for a DSLR camera. I've asked Cory to share some of his top picks, covering a range of abilities and budgets.

A camera is the gift that keeps on giving, man.

Take it away, CMB!


Right now I'm shooting with a Canon 7D  using a 50mm 1.4 lens. I use this lens 90% of the time. This is a prime lens, meaning it doesn't zoom. Trading the convenience of a zoom for the light gathering capabilities of a fast prime is a trade I'd make any day. I also have a 60mm 2.8 that I use on rare occasions and the lens my camera came with which is a 28-135mm. I can't remember the last time I used it.

I chose the Canon 7D over the Nikon D7000 for one primary fit better in my hand. It is a solid camera with good weather sealing and logical button/control layout. When two cameras compete so closely on specs, the one determining factor for me was how it felt. The Canon felt better.

Quick side note: I came to the realization too late that lens selection is so much more critical than camera selection. If I had it to do all over again I would have saved money on the camera body and put it toward a good lens.

If was just starting out in photography and was interested in an entry level, budget setup to take pictures of my kids and family I would purchase the following:
Canon Rebel T3i (camera body only) with the Canon 50mm 1.8

I know it goes against every instinct of a photography newcomer to NOT purchase a zoom lens, but you'll have to trust me on this one. You'll be much happier with the pictures you can get from a fast prime. You can still just requires moving your feet forward or backward.


There you have it, your first brush with the infamous CMB, also known as Cory.

Since I'm already here bragging on my man, I thought I'd show you some of my favorite photos from a few of his recent shoots, including his first and last wedding.  (One of the wedding shots was taken by his second shooter - moi! Hint: It's the one that doesn't include faces.)

Got any questions? We're all ears. Literally. Well, one of us.

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