After completing the Bryan Peterson Workshop in Edmonton I realized I need few other things to make my life (and photography) easier.
Filters. There is an active debate about the use of filters when taking pictures. The discussions spin around whether or not the filters are required when taking the picture versus applying some virtual filters/masks/etc during post processing. Since I do not do much post processing I tend to be on the use-the-filter-when-taking-the-picture side.
I realized how important filters are, particularly ND’s, when shooting at sunrise/sunset. The other thing I became aware of is that you do not have to get a filter for each lens diameter you have. I got first hand experience with “mounted” filter (Lee and Cokin).
LCD hood. Having problems looking at the picture you just took when it is sunny? Welcome to my club. Fortunately one of the workshop students (Ryan) had a LCD hood. Boy, that helps! This hood is actually really nice even when it is not that sunny. It has a magnifying lens that allows you to look at the picture displayed in the LCD screen in detail.
Level gauge. One disadvantage of having an entry-level type of Canon camera is the lack of grid on the camera viewfinder. To level my camera I have to rely on an external gauge. (No, my tripod is cheap too, it doesn’t have a level gauge). I had a little gauge that could be mounted on the hot shoe but I gave it to my brother (now it is gone…). I am still lokking for a replacement, but there are too many choices.
Flash. After (unsuccessfully) trying to play wedding photographer for my friends Oswaldo and Carmelita, I realized I needed an external flash. This idea got boosted during the workshop. Bryan Peterson showed us some really nice tricks using an external flash. He also explained to us why a Nikon flash is better than a Canon one – when using it in manual mode; but that is a subject for a different post.
Camera bag. My first bag, always reliable, Tamrac Expedition 3 reached its capacity limit. I cannot fit a pencil in that bag. It did okay during the workshop, but I was pushing the limit. The poor bag was about to explode.
I am not a fan of rollers, so another backpag type of bag will have to be added to my gear. I am looking at something I can use for hiking/biking too. Maybe with a compartment for a water bottle or hydration reservoir. So far I like the Pro Trekker 400 AW. I like the 600 too, but it is too big to be taken as carry-on.
Better body. I am happy with my own body, so I am obviously talking about my camera body. I currently have a Canon 450D. It is a great camera, but I am seriously thinking about an upgrade. The new body I have in mind is the Canon 7D. During the workshop Chris Hurtt told me that in his opinion one needs about 10 reasons to upgrade the camera body. Here are the reason I have been able to gather so far (thank you Janice) – in no particular order:
- Grid in the viewfinder. I love the rule of thirds and being able to quickly level the camera with the horizon. Additionally, the 7D has a dual axis electronic level in the viewfinder.
- More ISO. My 450D is limited to an ISO of 1,600. The 7D has a range of 100 – 6,400, expandable to 12,800.
- Weather sealed body. I am an off-track kind of guy, so I rather have a camera that is ready for tough conditions.
- Speed – more frames per second. The 7D goes up to 8 fps. The most I have been able to get out of my 450D is 3 fps. I really needed this when taking fast moving objects (Ryan) pictures during the workshop.
- Highlights alert when looking at pictures on LCD screen. My 450D only shows the blinkies when looking at the full shooting information on the LCD screen.
- Separate button for aperture and shutter speed when shooting in M (magnificent) mode. In the 450D you have to hold one button while moving the wheel to change the aperture.
- More and more flexible AF points.
- LCD control panel (LCD on top of the camera). My 450D does not have one. I have to either set everything up using the viewfinder or use the big LCD screen.
- [Janice please insert one reason here].
- Wireless connection to the Canon Speedlite flash. A flash is in my wish-list. I know that a Pocket Wizard is likely to come, but in the mean time… — This is purposely the last reason. I might end up buying a non-Canon flash so the wireless feature is not really a good reason.
In summary, this is what I still need:
~Lee 4×6 ND graduated hard 0.9
~Lee 4×6 ND solid 0.9
~Lee adapter ring 77mm wide angle
~Bag – backpack — DONE
~LCD hood — DONE
~Canon 7D body(?)
These are the filters and related gear I got so far from the Wish List:
~Lee foundation kit + adapter rings
~Lee 4×6 ND graduated soft 0.9
~Lee 4×4 Circ Polarizing
Updated on 29-June-2010