So finally, I got myself a DSLR – Canon EOS 30D. Victor has been pestering me for some time to get one because we are planning to embark on shooting wedding reception photos. You may call it a part time home based business; after all you don’t really need an office to shoot wedding reception events.
I have been mulling around trying to consider which brand of DSLR to go for; should it be Nikon or Canon?
Nikon is famous since for a very long time from the previous 35mm negative film type and somehow the National Geographic guys always seem to carry a Nikon SLR camera when they go on assignment. Canon is famous too and is now head to head with Nikon in terms of quality and features. Neither was cheap. And my original idea was to get a simple one like Nikon D40x and one that is using the SD card to maximize my storage use so that I could also use it with my compact cameras.
My brother-in-law was however, very convincing. After all he was using Canon SLR and now switched to the digital version. There were many sound merits to his argument. Many photographers tend to upgrade their cameras, they use them for a few months, then sells them and get a better upgraded model as they improve their skills. It was easier to dispose of Canon camera as there is a thriving second hand market, while Nikon was not so easy to dispose. Reason was that Canon has made sure that their old lens was still compatible with the new models that are released. Lenses are not cheap and photographers can amass quite a few version. Nikon on the other hand did not standardized their range of lenses, thus some lenses do not work with some particular models, especially the low end DSLR cameras versus that of the higher end models. Which meant that if you upgraded your Nikon DSLR, you have to dispose off your collection of lenses and start all over again. In addition, by getting a Canon DSLR, we could share and exchange equipment and that could help to lower each other’s cost on equipment.
Due to my budget, Victor found an older Canon model, though not top of the line but was sufficiently adequate for the job requirement. Though Canon EOS 30D was being phased out by Canon, it was still a good buy. The FPS (frame per second) must be sufficiently fast to capture the fleeting moments of reception events. The low end cameras has about 2.5 to 3 FPS, where else the Canon EOS 30D has 5 FPS which should be adequate enough.
At 8.2 megapixels, shooting in RAW mode, each photo would used up approximately 8.7MB of storage capacity. Buying a 4GB Extreme III SanDisk compact flash card, I could only take about 400 photos before running out of storage space. To some people, 400 shots seems like a lot, but in a wedding reception photo shoot event, easily one thousand or more photos could be photographed. Sounds a lot? But don’t forget, there will be lots of spoiled shots, and less than spectacular pictures which will have to weed out leaving only a few good ones. Probably goods ones would be around 30-50% with some great ones at about 10-20%. Thankfully this is the digital age because if it was film based, that would really have cost a big bundle.
With such a heavy investment on the DSLR body, I could ill afford to get a good lens. So Victor sought out some online forum for second hand kit lens, something for me to start practicing and get used to the DSLR features. With the kit lens in place I was ready to try out the Canon EOS 30D.
Using a DSLR is very different from using a compact camera. The way to hold a DSLR is very different plus everything has to be viewed from the eyepiece. The Canon EOS 30D did not have a live view function though some of the newer model has this feature. Live view is useful when there is crowd and you need at least to see what you are trying to capture by placing the camera high above your head in an attempt to some kind of shot. Without live view, doing so would be shooting blind. Hopefully I don’t have to do too many of this kind of shot.
There are many more buttons than a compact camera and some buttons has multiple functions depending on which mode you are at. It takes awhile to get familiarized with the various buttons. You need to know where are the functions are located in order to quickly change the settings to customized the camera to suite the situation. No more just point and shoot like the compact cameras, but you need to look at the situation and decide what settings would get the optimum results.
Using a simple kit lens, it did not have the stability function to at least help out on the motion shake. It is back to the old school of setting the correct speed in low light condition to avoid blurry picture. Using a kit lens wasn’t too bad. It was when a bigger lens like the 70-200mm zoom lens coupled with a flash system making the DSLR quite a heavy burden to carry, that’s when camera shake would happen quite easily as it is not easy to keep it steady. Not to mention a few hours of shooting lugging around the camera plus spare batteries and miscellaneous equipment. Phew! It is like going for a jungle trek!
Having a good equipment helps to ensure taking a better photo. But when it boils down to taking great pictures, it is not the equipment, but the person behind the lens. It is how a photographer sees the situation, what minute details that captured his eye and in that instant, pulls up his DSLR and a slice of time is immortalized and preserved for the future.
With a Canon EOS 30D DSLR in hand, it is time to put into practice the skills of photography and time to capture great pictures!