What would you purchase if you were me?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Mr. Murmeli, May 12, 2009.

  1. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    I'm waaaay early with this subject but i like thinking about stuff like this ;)

    Ok, so i've been approved to a student exchange program in Montana State University, spring term 2010. I'm going to make my Canon's shutter really suffer there but i feel like buying more stuff for it first :D.

    I'm planning on visiting places like New York, National park of Yellowstone, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and maybe Florida or sth like that (spring break :mrgreen:).

    My gear so far is:

    - Canon 450D (XSi)
    - Kit lens (EF-S 18-55mm f/3,5-5,6 IS)
    - 50mm f/1,8 II (niftyfifty)
    - Lowepro Nova 160AW -camera bag
    - Cheap version of Gorillapod


    ... And what i'd LIKE to buy:

    - Tamron 17-50mm f/2,8
    - EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS (telezoom)
    - Some UWA lens (Canon 10-22mm or Tokina 11-16mm)
    - Canon Speedlite 430 EX
    - Manfrotto 190cx3 + 488RC2 (carbon fiber tripod + ball head)
    - UV and CPL filters for the tammy
    - Back-up battery for the EOS


    The problem is that all those are going to cost an absolute fortune, given that i'm just a student. I'm probably heading to B&H photo since my first stop will be New York (new years eve :thumbup:). But so far the B&H prices look kind of expensive especially since my home country is so expencive... And i have no idea how all the coupons etc there work / if you can get discount from there or not.

    From this lot I'm not really sure about the tamron, as whether my kit lens is worth upgrading to it or not. The UWA lens is one of my biggest question to you guys since i kind of have this feeling it might turn out to be very handy in places where i want to do some landscape photography - But then again the lens costs a lot! The expensive carbon fiber tripod is strong enough but not as heavy as a regular Manfrotto and i think i want to do some night photography as well so some sort of tripod i propably should have. But then again i'd appreciate if you'd suggest some cheaper ones which aren't a pain to carry around. And the flash i want because there propably will be situations where i want to take decent pictures of people.

    But i can't afford everything so what would you buy if you were me? :confused:

    Thanks for the all of you who could be bothered to read all this! :lol:
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've got this lens, it's great...especially for lower light shooting or portraits with shallow DOF etc. However, I also have the EF-S 17-85mm IS...and although the max aperture is smaller, I really like the longer reach and the IS with this lens. For walking around/vacation type shots, I don't hesitate to choose this one over the Tamron.

    I've got the Canon 10-22mm, it's an amazing lens. Many people also recommend the Sigma 10-20mm and it's a fair bit less expensive than the Canon.

    :thumbup:

    I've been using batteries from Digital Camera Batteries Chargers Memory Cards Readers for several years. They are cheap and they work great.

    As for the tripod...you can probably save quite a bit if you get a metal tripod, rather than carbon fiber...but it's up to you whether the weight savings are worth the cost.
    If you can, I'd suggest buying a tripod in a store where you can get a hands on feel for many different models...same for the head. Then it should be easier to know exactly how much difference there is between the models.
     
  3. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    List in order I would prioritize.

    1-Spare battery (should have now)
    2-Lens cleaning supplies, a good blower like Gitos Rocket (should have now)
    3-tripod and head, save some money and go aluminum.
    4-Speed light, interior shots and fill light.
    5-Longer zoom lens - your gonna want to stand back a little from the animals at the national parks, and New York :lol:
    6- Ultra wide lens Sigma or the Tokina - I just got the Tokina 11-16 but have not given it a full testing yet, had to leave for a business trip. Its actually a hare wider than the Sigma. Since you have the 18-55 its not a necessity.
    7- Faster wide to normal lens. Again not a necessity.
    8-Extra cards (should have more than one now, if you don't move this up to #1!
     
  4. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the answers!

    I was especially looking for opinions in priorities like benhasajeep listed. :D

    But other opinions are still welcome from more people ;)

    I've had my doubts about third party batteries (all the stories about them exploding etc (mobile phones)) but i should probably take a serious look at them.

    ...As for the tripod: I guess B&H has a bunch of tripods in stock at their store so you're propably right about feeling it first. My only true experience with a sturdy tripod is Manfrotto 190XDB+390RC2, which felt like kind of big and heavy to be carried around in the USA :wink:.

    :lol::lol:
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Third party batteries are OK...it's the counterfeit ones that you want to avoid (they might say Canon but be ridiculously cheap)
     
  6. farmerj

    farmerj TPF Noob!

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    A dose of reality on your travel plans maybe.
    Some long distance traveling you want to do there. May want to google map those locations first. Yellowstone will be realistic in a heartbeat for spring break. But ALL those locations in 10 days. You'll spend a LOT of time in airports and on airline tickets on that itinerary.

    Another consideration is to see WHAT you really need to buy now to learn how to use it. Then consider those that you don't, and buy them when you get to Montana. Saves what you can/do carry. Consider the same thing with your cloths. Save your pennies and buy stuff here in the thrift shops or what not, and then donate them again when you leave. You won't have nearly the cargo to carry with you when you travel that way.

    Loose the Kit lens and the "nifty Fifty". Get the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. I have the 50 f/1.8 for my Nikon, and am seriously looking to part with it for the Tamron. It uses the same filters as my 16-85 and 70-300. The fifty is nice, but the 17-50 just offers more options for me.

    With that, you're down to 2 lens instead of 4. I'd even look into the Tamron 1.4X Teleconvertor. For $109, it's a hell of an option to the long zoom. Would give you the option of a 350mm zoom on that 55-250.

    sew yourself up a bag also to hang on the tripod. You can add rocks, sand or whatever to it to steady your tripod when you need it. Will be easy enough to dump the contents then and just carry an empty bag.

    Extra batteries are a must. 2, if not 3. Get a decent charger for it, and if possible, the 12volt adapter for plugging it into a vehicle. You may not need the 12volt, but if you are out with friends driving around, it may be nicer to have and not need, than need and not have.

    Get to walmart / kmart/ costco/ pamida or a half dozen other cheap chain malls. They may not be brand name pro-style tripods, but hey, Vebron and other brands do work. For a fraction of the price too. Then you can probably pawn it, or sell it to another student who is in Montana before you leave. Remember you gotta either keep it and haul it around with you, or get rid of it before you leave.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  7. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    My bad, I was inaccurate. I meant that "Florida or sth like that" ONLY is for the spring break... I know where all those places are, thats why i want to visit them ;). Though many of those may still change as new friends come along there and they have their own will about what they want to see... But the list i made is just to give you some hint about what kinds of environments i need those equipment for.

    The learning how to use stuff -part is a good point and i've already thought that some of the stuff i'll propably buy during this summer. The flash i'm propably most concerned about since i've hardly ever used an external flash on a camera. So perhaps i should buy that way earlier than than the plane leaves Europe (though soon i'll get a chance to really practise with my relative's 580EX).
     
  8. farmerj

    farmerj TPF Noob!

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    I am guessing you are going to Billings or Missoulla for school. If that's the case, it's 275 miles between the two locations. About a 5-6 hour drive depending on weather. To get to New York, you are travelling about 2000 miles from Billings alone. Miami is about 2500 miles., San Fran, 1100 miles. Not just a little weekend get-away. Living in Minnesota, it's a days travel time just from me to reach San Jose Ca by air by the time I get done farting around in the airports with check ins and all the hoops you need to jump through. Nothing really pressing, it just wastes time. Travel from Billings or Missoulla generally have to connect into Denver for most airlines. Just how the flight routes are set up. so it's not direct.

    Amtrak has some wonderful options
    for trips across the mountains on the Empire Builder.
     
  9. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    Montana State University - Bozeman ;)

    Thanks, yes i'm familiar with the distances but i have a nice half a year to do the traveling i want (excluding busy study weeks) ;). I have a few friends who've studied in the States as an exchange student and they managed to see A LOT within six months or so.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  10. captainkimo

    captainkimo TPF Noob!

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    You may want to prioritize buying a flash first, especially if you shoot more indoors. Canon Speedlite 430 EX is a nice choice but if you have extra bucks to spare for a Canon Speedlight 580 EX II, that would be better. Best of luck on your purchase!

    Cheers!

    Captain Kimo
     
  11. Mr. Murmeli

    Mr. Murmeli TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice! You're right, i've already decided getting the speedlite since i need it constantly here in my home country as well. So that's very high on my priority list :D.
     
  12. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    Well, here's what I'd do -- for whatever it's worth.

    My opinion is that you should fill in gaps in your range before improving quality. So if you've got a decent wide-angle lens, but no telephoto, I'd get a telephoto before getting a better wide-angle. (Because I find it worse to completely miss a shot for lack of a lens.)

    You have a sharp, fast lens in the 50mm. It's not ideal (no zoom, a little narrow)...but we're talking priorities. So I'd keep that. The 18-55 is...well, it's fine. Particularly for pictures outside where you can stop it down, it will do well. So I wouldn't prioritize the Tamron 17-50 just yet. Here's what I'd do instead:

    First, I'd get a backup battery from Adorama -- it's $20 or so, and works fine. No reason not to.

    Second, I'd get the 10-22mm. Particularly in Yellowstone and NYC, that lens will be incredibly useful -- and it's tack sharp. Combined with the 18-55 and 50mm, you can pretty much get any shot you want.

    Then, I'd get a telephoto. I haven't used the 55-250, but I've heard it's decent.

    Finally, I'd get the tripod -- but, like others suggested, I'd try out a few cheaper models at B&H (there are about three aisles devoted to nothing but tripods -- so you can try out a bunch).

    If there's money left after that, then I'd look at the 17-50.

    You'll notice I left out the filters and speedlight. For travel, I've never found a flash to be that useful -- so I would personally get it last, if at all. If you're different, though, you should prioritize it according to your level of use. If you use your on-camera flash constantly...then maybe the flash goes before the telephoto.

    For filters -- well, I don't use UV filters (just my personal approach), and use a polarizer only ocassionally. But you may be different, of course.

    In terms of prices, I don't think B&H has many further discounts -- but their prices are about as low as you'll see anywhere. It's an experience to go in there -- I think you'll enjoy it. But I'd go early -- it may be crowded.

    (If you're in town for New Years Eve, by the way, you'll want to get to Times Square quite a few hours early, or avoid it entirely -- you really won't believe the crowd. :lol:)
     

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