"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Photographer's Kit Part 2: Camera, Lens(es)

"You've got to push yourself harder. You've got to start looking for pictures nobody else would take. You've got to take the tools you have and probe deeper."
- William albert Allard, "The Photographic Essay"

I can't remember when I was not in love with photography. When I was about 13, mom finally got tired of me taking her camera - she just gave it to me; a little Kodak point-and-shoot. And while I liberally took pictures, I never thought of myself as a photographer. For me, photography was an exciting aspect of history. Literally and figuratively a primary source; a captured bit of history. But my 2000 trip to Paris changed all of that.

The Seine, Paris 2000

It was my first return after nearly 7 years (my longest time between visits). I had spent months planning every moment of this trip - I was so excited! History was the furthest thing on my mind; I couldn't wait to photograph the city. I purchased my first camera especially - an Olympus film point-and-shoot. While I captured some beautiful images (like the one above), I was so frustrated with the limitations such cameras have. I had to make a change, time to get serious. Happily, Motherhood took precedence, soon thereafter, so I didn't get serious about photography 'til I got my D50 a few years later. Now I find myself at another crossroads: rebuilding my kit from scratch (see Part 1).

Of course, the most important item in your kit is your camera. A Shutterbug's camera is an extension of her/his eye, their artistic soul. Thus, one's choice of camera is a very personal decision. It seems like the two favorite Shutterbug-brands of camera's are the Cannon and Nikon - they both make excellent quality, reasonably priced digital/slr cameras, for all levels of skill (see here for a comprehensive, easy to understand, definition of slr cameras).

My new 'baby:' the Nikon D3100

*Tip: BestBuy carries a respectable array of cameras; you can try them out (in the store); they offer excellent comprehensive warrenties; and you can make monthly payments to take away a little of the payment sting.

I'm a Nikon girl myself ;-) Most SLR cameras come with a 'small' lens (usually 70-80mm, max). While this lens is wonderful for close-ups and tight shots, you need to have at least one other lens in your kit - a 300mm. Most 300mms range from $500 to $6,000! - no way that my budget could handle that. A few years ago I found this company that specializes in affordable, high quality lenses for nearly all Cannon and Nikon cameras - Sigma.

Sigma 70-300mm Lens for Nikon SLR Cameras
$160 (Amazon)

Okay. You've compiled the most important parts of your kit. Next up: Camera bags. In the meantime, start taking pictures!

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!




  1. That diffuser looks nice. I hate the artificial lighting of the flash, let me know how it works!

  2. You bet. I think that I'm more excited to get this diffuser than I was to get my new lens!

  3. Thanks for making it easier for me to create a Christmas wish list!

  4. Wait 'til you see my post on camera bags!


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