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My Canon D30 and accessories

Casio QV2000UX was the camera, which converted me to Digital format. I shoot thundreds of photographs and still own that wonderful piece of equipment. Being a 2.1 Mega pixel consumer level camera, it has its limitations. The biggest one, which plagued me every day, was the inability to focus manually in broad day light as tiny LCD at back washed out completely in sun light.
I out grew the Casio soon and switched over to Canon D30.


My Lens collection

I am a prime lens lover. No Zoom lens, however costly it may be can not able to provide the same optical quality of a prime lens. The down sides are then you have to spend more money in buying a collection of Pime lenses and lug them around with you. You need to change them to alter focal length. This can be tricky and risky when wind is blowing, or when there are suspended particles in air. However, the images are so gratifying that I am willing to take all those trouble :-)

I first bought two Lenses even before buying my D30 Camera body. They are Canon 50mm f1.8 II and Sigma 17-35mm APO.


Canon 50mm f1.8 II

I am all praise about this lens. For 80$, it is the very best value for money Canon offers to us. I never seized to be thrilled by its sharpness even at wide open f1.8 and excellent color rendition. Many photographers do not even consider buying a 50mm standard lens, but they do not know what they are missing! This cheap piece of glass produces such an excellent image, which is unattainable even with many 1000$ L series lens. To be honest I can not see any difference in optical quality when I compared it with 50mm f/1.4 version, apart from the fact 50mm f1.4 produces better bokeh at full aperture.
This is an indispensable lens for me in low available light photography. Moreover on D30, it provides a focal length equivalent of 80mm on 35mm camera. So it becomes the best portrait lens also.

The only downside of this lens is its cheap construction. It is made of plastic. Even the lens mount is made of plastic. There is no distance marking on the focussing ring and the lens does not have a USM. So auto focus is noisy and slow. You may mistake it as a piece of junk, till you see its photograph. I love this lens and never go outside without it. To me this is the most dependable lens which never failed to provide best picture quality.


Sigma 17-35mm F/2.8-4.0

The 1.6 multiplier of D30 is a boon for Telephoto lover, but it makes real tricky to get a wide-angle lens for it. The conventional 28mm wide-angle for 35mm camera becomes 28X1.6= 44.6mm normal lens for D30! So you need to use an ultra wide-angle for 35mm format to achieve a moderately wide-angle on D30. There is not much choice, only a handful of ultra wide zooms are available for Canon. The 17-35by Canon is way too expensive and not so great in optical quality. Sigma is almost one-third the price of a Canon and a bit inferior in optical quality, noisy auto focus and very loose focussing ring. My pocket primarily governed the purchase decision of this lens. It is by no means a great lens and shows a great deal of purple fringing, but I can not complain much with its 450$ price tag. The Canon one would have cost me more than 1200$


Canon 300mm f4L

I bought Canon 300/f4L after doing considerable research and soul searching! L glasses are not cheap, and my requirements were many. I needed a medium telephoto for portraits, a medium to long Zoom and a really long Telephoto for wild life photography. Unfortunately my budget was limited and lens price were not. So I decided to buy the long telephoto first and keep the other two lenses in my wish list. In the long telephoto range, Canon 300mm f4 L looked most attractive to me. The two reasons for selecting this lens are as follows

1) It is one of the sharpest and finest Telephoto Lens Canon manufactures.
2) It is the longest non IS (Image Stabilized) lens, possible to handhold shoot in bright day light.

I spend few days in test shooting it to get accustomed to the feel of the long heavy off-white lens. One prime lesson I have learnt was the rule of thumb for computing minimum handheld shutter speed is different for D30. Click the link for more details.

Canon 300mm f4L is indeed a magnificent lens. My money was well spent. Images are tack sharp up to the fullest aperture provided I can keep it stable enough. It forced me to invest on a monopod also. But again, a monopod and tripod are perhaps the most essential accessories you can purchase for any long telephoto lens.



Ihave tested several monopods. Basically I was looking for a sturdy support for my Canon 300 fitted with D30 and BG-ED3 Battery Grip. The total weight was quite heavy (4 Kilogram or 9 lb approximately). The small cute looking monopods are no good. They simply bowed with the weight. The bigger ones are two cumbersome to open and close. Few of them are too costly for my budget.

Ultimately I have settled for Velbon UP-4DXII. It is quite cheap, only 40$ (at Frys). It comes along with a shoulder strap and a quick release plate. The Monopod is small enough to tie with the inbuilt harness on my Camera Bag, so that I do not have to carry is separately.

I bought an extra Velbon quick release plate. I keep them always fitted on my 300 mm and on the BG-ED3 grip. Whenever possible, I use the monopod while shooting with 300mm. It allows me to use shutter speed as low as 1/100.



Timer Remote TC-80N3

Timer Remote TC-80N3 I had ordered along with my D30. Though not a frequently used accessory, but it comes handy during tripod shooting. The main difference of Timer Remote with normal remote RS-80N3 is, you can program all the variables like self timer delay, number of shots, time exposure duration of each shots and interval between shots. So it can be used as an extra long duration self timer, time lapse photo timer, time exposure controller as well as a electronic cable release. I use it while shooting panoramic pictures also.



Extension Tube EF25

I needed a macro lens. I had selected Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro USM, a tack sharp macro lens that also performs equally well as a medium telephoto. But buying all Canon gadgets in a single go left me with no extra funds. So I decided to buy an extension tube EF25. I paid 60$ and bought it pre owned from a Internet mail order company. It couples between the lens and camera body, and provides macro-focussing capability to many lenses. I primarily use it with my normal lens Canon 50mm f1.8. It also works with Canon 300mm and reduces its near focussing distance from 2 meter to about 4 feet. EF25 provides full camera lens and body electrical contacts so you do not lose the auto focus or aperture control by the camera. As there is no lens elements in the extension tube, it does not affect the image sharpness at all. It allows me to get very sharp macro photographs with my 50mmf1.8 normal lens.


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