London Series: My Photography Gear

Since ChubbyPanda and LotusRapper commented about the topic I have a passion for yesterday, I decided to snug (sp?) in another blog entry … this time about the photography gear that I used for the trip to Europe.

I know, I know … most people in their right frame of mind would balk on carrying so much equipment. But then, I find it really relaxing taking pictures … taking my own sweet time and alone.

I have a simple dSLR — the Canon Rebel XT which I got for quite a bit of staff discount from the days when I was working for Best Buy/Futureshop. The Rebel XT is also known as the 350D or the Kiss in other parts of the world. Anyway, I learnt that Rasa Malaysia had just bought the same camera. You absolutely must check out her shots.

The camera does almost everything I wanted from it. Frankly, to me the body of the camera is not the most important part of the photography gear. What is the most important is the lens.

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I brought along three lens for the trip. My favorite is the 17-40mm F4L — it is my so-called walkabout lens and the primary lens I used for my food shots. The better lens is the 70-200mm F2.8L, the long white one. This lens is a classic and simply the best, in my opinion, of all the Canon line-up — it is super fast with great bokeh. The problem is that this lens really make people notice you. It’s also a heavy lens at 3lbs … just the lens alone. The other lens, the 28-135mm IS USM is versatile but I used this lens the least.

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If you ask me, the most important accessory a photographer need to get is a good sturdy tripod. It makes a world of difference in making sharp pictures. I had the Manfrotto 190X. And to carry the stuff around Europe, I used the Lowepro Computrekker AW. I like this bag because it protects the gears very well from knocks and the weather. One thing bad though … this bag shouts “steal me, I have camera gears inside” like anything. I was very paranoid over this bag throughout my trip and kept it by my body all the time … even when I was seated, I made sure I have the straps wrapped around my legs. 🙂

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The flash I use is the Speedlite 430X. It’s decently powerful and so important to take pictures of dishes in most dimly lit restaurants.

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All these came up to quite a bit to carry around for the entire trip — it was darn heavy to say the least. I remember how tired I was climbing Eiffel, St Pauls Cathedral, Sacre Coure and Arc de Triomphe during the trip. I agree, I am somewhat mad … but I enjoyed doing this.

So ChubbyPanda, if you want to get a dSLR, start with a basic body and a good lens. Be prepared for some sticker shock and just don’t tell Cat all the equipment you ever need because if she finds out, I bet she will doing everything in her power to stop you going down this path of madness. 🙂

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  1. ben, i really appreciate the photo advice. without the photography, this food blog wouldn’t be as great. in fact, do you have any advice on camcorders too?

  2. Thanks Ben. I totally agree, quality of lens and tripod/head can’t be under-estimated.

    That 70-200/f2.8L is a great classic lens 😀 Definitely a collector’s item to hang on to.

    I see no fixed lenses. Are you preferential to zooms ?

    I have a Manfrotto 055 tripod with 115 and 229 heads, all bought in the 80’s and they’re still as solid as the day I bought it !

  3. Hi Ben! Good to know that you are back from your trip. Infact, kind of ‘miss’ you though suanne was in change! Well, now that you have a new ‘changgih’ toy, when are you going to start blogging about food instead of camera!!! I know you are pretty excited about it but am equally excited with news on your trip and food too. Cheers!

  4. Oh my oh my, all your gear. LOL, I think it’s like what Suanne said, first the camera, then the lens, and then it just never ends. 😛

  5. Hi Rukya: Guess what I am gonna blog on tomorrow … Grapes! 🙂 Stay tuned.

    Hi Ellecamino: Oh, I really don’t know much about camcorders … sorry. But ask me anything about photography anytime.

    Hi LotusRapper: I am impressed. You sure know a lot about photography. Guess you’re a Canon user too. I’ll get myself a prime lens or two someday but my priority is to get a decent lens to bridge my 17-40mm and 70-200mm. What pictures do you take? Are you still an active photographer?

    Hi Rachel: OK, I will snap out of it and do serious blogging about food! 🙂

    Hi Rasa Malaysia: Just you wait … take a few shots with a “L” lens and I bet you will want to own one too.

    Ben

  6. Well I’ve been away from SLR photography for better part of 2 years now. Too bad because I have a pile of gear, and sorry to say to you, they’re NIKON and PENTAX. I got bit by the photography bug in high school in the early 80s and haven’t regretted it once. But it’s all film gear, and if (big IF) I do end up buying a DSLR it’ll likely be a Nikon D80 body and use all my existing lenses along with my F90X and FE2 bodies.

    The Pentax is an old LX body with three lenses remaining now from the original, much bigger system I had before the Nikon. But it’s an amazing system camera that was way ahead of its time.

  7. That has to be the tastiest camera I’ve ever seen?

    I like my camera’s roasted in a sweet chili marinade.

    Wait, what?

  8. Hi Lotus Rapper: Nikon makes great camera and the D80 is a great camera — so is the D40X that was just launched a few weeks ago. The D40X is giving the Canon 400D the run for their money.

  9. Hey Ben,

    Thanks for the post! Very helpful. I’m sorry I didn’t comment earlier, since you wrote it for me, but I’ve been sick in bed with really bad food poisoning and intestinal bleeding. Stupid bacteria.

    I think I’ll start saving up for a Canon Rebel XT. I can’t wait!

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