Capturing The Perfect Shot -> Photo Equipment on the Road
“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter” Ansel Adams
I have to admit I’m a bit of a photography fanatic. I once made the joke that, having meditated for many years on inner peace, I had come to the conclusion that a 105mm f/2.8 lens would greatly enhance my spiritual growth, whilst a complete set of Lee ND filters would likely complete the circle of my life karma. Yes, I’m that nerdy and weird. So, with that disclaimer I’ll try and be brief and do a few posts on a topic that is close to my heart.
The first thing almost anyone asks when they see a shot is “what camera did you use?”. Now, Ansel Adams would be the first to point out that the camera is the smallest part of the equation. The reality of the matter is that there’s really no perfect camera (well, OK maybe the $30,000 Hasselblad H4D-40, which does come with free shipping by the way) but with a few $$ you can get yourself a pretty decent set-up. My own equipment consists of a “fancy” camera for my more elaborate shots and a simple point-and-shoot for the rest. I’m not going to bore you by going through all the choices out there (feel free call me if you have a few months to chat, though), but I’ll go through the basics:
1/ Point and Shoot – These are the most basic and I think every RVer can do well having one. The “point and shoot” means just that. If you want to, all you have to do is frame your pic and press the button. Violà, photo done. I recently upgraded our version to a Canon S95. It’s a mid-to-high-end point and shoot which takes great little shots on-the-go. If you’re going to buy one I think it’s worth spending the few extra $$ on it. There’s a huge difference in picture quality between the cheapo versions and the higher-end. Other good point-and-shoots are the Nikon Coolpix P7000, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 and Canon Powershoot G12. dpreview.com has an in-depth review of all of them.
2/ SLR Cameras –These are the “fancy” cameras, so called because they use a mirror to direct light through the lens to the viewfinder. If you’re into photography this is no doubt the way to go, but you are going to have to lug around alot more weight and bulk for your hobby. There’s literally hundreds of choices and most manufacturers offer entry-level, mid and high-end version. I’m a Nikon girl and have been since I started out mainly because the red colors are so nice (yes, I’m an easy please). I have a Nikon D80 which was mid-end several years back and am literally drooling over the new Nikon D7000, but need to convince Paul to sell a few more puts before I can get one. Canon and Sony also make very good SLRs. Again, dpreview.com is a great resource for reviews.
3. Lenses for SLRs – The problem with “fancy” cameras is that you find yourself suddenly salivating over all kinds of lenses which you never needed before, but suddenly become essential for your very photography survival. I have 2 lenses which cover me just about everywhere, a 18-200VR (zoom) and a 50mm (really fast, simple lens). I also have a nifty little set of equipment called “extension tubes” that allow you me to do low-cost macro photography. If I had the choice I’d get a dedicated wide-angle, a dedicated macro and a bigger zoom, but that will be for the photography fairy to bestow sometime in the future. Here’s a good beginners guide to lenses for those just starting out, and for the more advanced slrgear.com does in-depth lens reviews.
4. Extras – My very basic extras are a good tripod (Gitzo) and a 15-year old camera bag to lug everything around (still haven’t found a better design).
When I have the gumption I trek around with my “fancy” camera. I’ve used this baby for both amateur and professional photography, as well as hiking trips all around the world. The rest of the time I have the point-and-shoot in my pocket. I’ll do a few more posts on this series over the next few months (depending on interest). In the meantime, don’t let that shot pass you by.