What should I get next?

jedirunner

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Well, just got through a helpful discussion in the lens forum and decided that an immediate lens purchase is not what I'm going to do right now (though the 50mm prime is on the short list).

With that in mind, I have freed up some money which was ear-marked for a lens... I should probably spend it before wife decides that since I didn't get a lens, I don't need anything right now. hehehee... So, I'll list my current gear and some ideas of what I could get next. Maybe you guys could offer suggestions on where my setup is lacking?
  • Canon 7D body
  • EF-S 18-135mm lens
  • EF 70-300mm lens
  • SpeedLite 580EX II
  • Cheap set of 3 zeikos filters for the 70-300 (UV, CPL, FLD)
  • Cheap UV filter for 18-135
  • RS 80-N3 Remote shutter release
  • 2 x 16GB 600x Transcend UDMA CF cards
  • Multi-slot card reader
  • Ravelli Tripod (this model: APGL with ball head)
  • Canon DSLR backpack (200EG or something like that?)
As for software and books, I have:
  • Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure
  • Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Book #1, #2, #3
  • Adobe LightRoom 3
  • CS 5.5 is coming soon (I have a friend at Adobe, so I'm getting friends-and-family discount... woohoo!)
That's pretty much it for my gear right now. As I try to decide what's next or what would make a big difference, here are some of my thoughts:
  • I admit that I don't like the backpack much. It carries most of what I want to haul around, but it's not convenient when actually out shooting. I tend to leave it in the truck and borrow my daughter's LowePro sling pack to put my extra lens in as it makes switching much easier. I just don't like having to take off the backpack to switch lenses and such.
  • The tripod is an expensive low-end tripod, I suppose. It does the job for now, but I can already see that it lacks in certain areas (panning, for example, keeping horizontally level, and such things as that, and the ball every now and then seems to slip)
  • I don't have a macro lens though I'd really really like one in the future gear setup, but not necessarily right now.
  • I've considered getting an s100 for when I can't have the 7D with me. s100 really is very portable :)
Is there something missing from my gear setup (or books) that you'd say "you know, if you had this one thing, it may help in such-and-such a circumstance"? Anything obvious like that?

Or should I just not let the money burn a hole in my proverbial pocket?

Thanks for any advice and suggestions. :)

Kevin
 
Sounds like you have an answer already. For what you "need" Sling pack to make shooting easier and more enjoyable. Or save funds/shop around for the glass you really want.
Maybe off camera lighting setup?
 
Just got back from the candy ... er... *camera* store. I ended up getting:
- LowePro SlingShot 202 AW
- Canon 50mm f/2.5 compact macro lens
- Promaster variable ND filter

Going to do some macro and flower shooting down in the fake-studio-basement again and see what we can come up with. :)

Kevin
 
How about spend it on a nice lens? You have no fast lens.
 
I second Schwetty. Invest in some nice glass. Just because you cover the focal lengths of 18-300 doesn't mean you'll get the best image in that range.
 
How about spend it on a nice lens? You have no fast lens.

Decided to get the macro for now, to have my bases covered for focal lengths and types. Then research the better lenses, so that when I invest in a nice lens, I can get something I know I'll like. I've been to 2 local camera stores (one close to home, and one close to work) and they both do rentals, so I may end up renting a lens for a day when I think I may have figured out what I like, and see how I like it, before buying one.

So yeah, I do want better lens, but not sure which yet. I'll get there. :)

Kevin
 
I second Schwetty. Invest in some nice glass. Just because you cover the focal lengths of 18-300 doesn't mean you'll get the best image in that range.

Understood and agreed. Gonna do some research on that, and probably rent a lens for a day to see how I like it, before spending the bigger money that nicer lenses are. Soon, though, I'm sure.

I was out last night at a gallery tour (several art galleries all stay open for several nighttime hours on the first friday of each month), and packed around the camera in my daughter's admittedly too-small sling pack and liked it so much I decided to pick up the larger one for me. A few miles of total walking, and several varied places to pull out the camera, and I was glad for the sling instead of my normal camera backpack.

Kevin
 
Jedi, when I first starting out, I focused my $ on lens. For example I didnt have 580EX II until 2 days ago. For almost 2 year I shoot with 550 EX. I dont have a nice tripod either. I put my $ where it really matters.
 
Jedi, when I first starting out, I focused my $ on lens. For example I didnt have 580EX II until 2 days ago. For almost 2 year I shoot with 550 EX. I dont have a nice tripod either. I put my $ where it really matters.

Thanks for the good points. Next purchase will be good glass. Starting to save my nickels now (and probably dimes too!) ;-)

Kevin
 

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