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01/26/2012 01:48:11 PM · #1
So, we purchased my Canon T3 a couple of months ago, thinking it was time to upgrade from the point and shoot after seeing the fantastic family photos my brother would take. Little did I know the creative outlet I was getting myself into (of which I'm grateful).

Now, with my birthday coming up, my wife and family are asking what I want. Naturally, I'm looking at camera stuff, but I have to be budget-minded.

What would you folks recommend be my next camera gear acquisition? I've already got the kit lens (18-55 lens),2 x SD cards, couple of bags, a tripod, a UV filter and a polarized filter.
Part of me really wants a macro lens, but I also want a telephoto lens. I'm also interested in eventually making a side-income in photography (through stock at first, and art sales as well if I ever get proficient enough).

So how about it, what is the single best/most important thing you acquired for under $200 for your cameras?
01/26/2012 02:00:24 PM · #2
Honestly, you need another lens but a $200 lens isn't really going to be that great. Can you save up and wait a few months for a lens around $500? Maybe ask for BH Photo gift cards. You will never regret buying good glass.

That being said, maybe the canon 50mm f/1.8 would be a nice addition that is in your price range.

Message edited by author 2012-01-26 14:02:14.
01/26/2012 02:10:47 PM · #3
a 5in1 reflector. That is about the best thing you will find under $200. Pretty much any lens worth anything will be much more than that. There are budget zooms but the quality is quite poor and you would be better suited saving up as was mentioned. Spend a little more and you could get a lensbaby which can be a lot of fun.
01/26/2012 02:12:06 PM · #4
Ask for a book of great photographs. This one has 500 great photographs, each with a brief analytical essay, and almost all of which were taken with equipment more modest than what you have now. Better for your photographic development (pardon the pun) than any number of new lenses, and only ten bucks in soft cover.

Message edited by author 2012-01-26 14:17:09.
01/26/2012 02:14:32 PM · #5
Originally posted by slickchik:

Honestly, you need another lens but a $200 lens isn't really going to be that great. Can you save up and wait a few months for a lens around $500? Maybe ask for BH Photo gift cards. You will never regret buying good glass.

That being said, maybe the canon 50mm f/1.8 would be a nice addition that is in your price range.


+1 the nifty fifty and pick up a yongnuo flash. that should get you through another year.

to add, while i would suggest buying glass over a new body, so really are at the bottom as far as bodies while moving up to a 50D or 60D or T2i is you like the rebel style. you wont notice much in the way of IQ but it will defiantly make you life easier taking the pictures. i myself started with a rebel XS and in less than a year i knew i needed a better camera.

so i would buy the flash and the 50mm and upgrade the body later, you will still be able to use the lenses and flash on a newer body anyhow.
01/26/2012 02:21:33 PM · #6
Pick up the 50/1.8 and a set of Kenko extension tubes, and you've got a good portrait and low-light lens, as well as decent macro capability.
01/26/2012 02:25:37 PM · #7
Some macro extention rings are pretty cheap, (like $30) My Macro setup is a old used Minolta 58mm that I reversed with a reversing ring for about $15. (Don't used the Ext rings and the reversed lens at the same time, it does some weird backwards binocular thing)

While this did horrendously, it was taken with that reversed 58mm. That is the stigma in the center of a small flower. (about the size of an earring post)
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01/26/2012 02:47:52 PM · #8
@slickchik - sometimes all my family members just give cash, last year I received enough that I could have picked up a $500 lens, so that might actually be a possibility if I don't want to pick up anything else.

@minso - I had to google 'lensbaby', but wow, that looks pretty interesting.

@ubique - Great suggestion, I added it to my wishlist. And what is 'The Order of the Thumb?' :)

@ mike - I'd heard that 50mm f1.8 falls apart, but it gets great reviews. I agree, from what I've read in photography books, the lens is a lot more important than the body, and that the higher end bodies just add features I don't really need.

@kirbic, that is a great suggestion, I definitely would like to get something that performs multiple functions, more bang for the buck and all that.

@sinister, I'd considered the lens-reversing trick, but it seems complicated, so I've shied away from trying it.

Thanks for all the suggestions!

Message edited by author 2012-01-26 14:50:40.
01/26/2012 02:55:00 PM · #9
Originally posted by Osiris1975:

@kirbic, that is a great suggestion, I definitely would like to get something that performs multiple functions, more bang for the buck and all that.


Any modern macro lens of the f/2.8 variety is an excellent, sharp, all-around option at its given focal length. The Canon 60mm EF-S Macro is a great performer and comes in at around $400, give or take. We have one, it's outstanding.

R.
01/26/2012 02:56:33 PM · #10
Originally posted by ubique:

Ask for a book of great photographs. This one has 500 great photographs, each with a brief analytical essay, and almost all of which were taken with equipment more modest than what you have now. Better for your photographic development (pardon the pun) than any number of new lenses, and only ten bucks in soft cover.


Sorry for the hi-jack... But thanks to you I just bought this book used on Amazon for $0.32!!
01/26/2012 02:59:43 PM · #11
Best thing I've gotten for under $200? Hard to say...

-Extension rings

-Timer/controller/remote release

-a decent compact tripod

-the "nifty fifty" 50mm f1.8

01/26/2012 03:01:02 PM · #12
Originally posted by sinistral_leo:

Originally posted by ubique:

Ask for a book of great photographs. This one has 500 great photographs, each with a brief analytical essay, and almost all of which were taken with equipment more modest than what you have now. Better for your photographic development (pardon the pun) than any number of new lenses, and only ten bucks in soft cover.


Sorry for the hi-jack... But thanks to you I just bought this book used on Amazon for $0.32!!


Happy to have been of service, Mike.

And Osiris, the Order of the Thumb is more often than not also the Kiss of Death, I'm afraid. Avoid it, at all costs.
01/26/2012 03:10:10 PM · #13
get the nifty 50 1.8 its £80 here cracking first prime to have my macro entry is with it simply reversed held against the body no adapter etc worked really well
01/26/2012 03:26:40 PM · #14
Originally posted by sinistral_leo:

Originally posted by ubique:

Ask for a book of great photographs. This one has 500 great photographs, each with a brief analytical essay, and almost all of which were taken with equipment more modest than what you have now. Better for your photographic development (pardon the pun) than any number of new lenses, and only ten bucks in soft cover.


Sorry for the hi-jack... But thanks to you I just bought this book used on Amazon for $0.32!!


I feel cheated, I paid 99 cents.

Message edited by author 2012-01-26 15:26:52.
01/26/2012 04:23:00 PM · #15
Originally posted by Osiris1975:



@ mike - I'd heard that 50mm f1.8 falls apart, but it gets great reviews. I agree, from what I've read in photography books, the lens is a lot more important than the body, and that the higher end bodies just add features I don't really need.


well the build quality is what it is for ~$100. it doesnt just fall apart though. you really have to bang it around and even if you do you'd have to break 3 of them to lose money over buying the better built 50mm/1.4. my only complaint about the lens if the AF is really slow and the focus may as well be non-existant since its so small, and the bokeh is not very pleasing.

the pros are it is amazing sharp for the price. i guess this should be a con since it will spoil you from using your kit lens again.

its very, very light. on a rebel body a dslr doesn't get any lighter.

did mention its only about $100?

here are some i took with my nifty fifty before i sold it:

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01/26/2012 05:12:07 PM · #16
Originally posted by blindjustice:

Originally posted by sinistral_leo:

Originally posted by ubique:

Ask for a book of great photographs. This one has 500 great photographs, each with a brief analytical essay, and almost all of which were taken with equipment more modest than what you have now. Better for your photographic development (pardon the pun) than any number of new lenses, and only ten bucks in soft cover.


Sorry for the hi-jack... But thanks to you I just bought this book used on Amazon for $0.32!!


I feel cheated, I paid 99 cents.


Woah, I went straight to amazon but I realized that I have it already. Really good book too, big xmas present from my wife..
Uhhh.. wait.. $ 0.32?????? :D
However, for that price it might be the small format version (there are 3, the large format one is really huge)

If I can pitch in my current reading: link
It's really great and surprisingly varied, photographically speaking.

As for canon gear, I remember one lens macro converter which Bryan Peterson raved about at length in his macro photography book, and it doesnt' cost much. If you research a bit you should find what I am talking about (sorry, I don't use canon, so I forgot the model name)

Otherwise, if you only have an slr and sometimes regretted loosing shots because your gear was not with you, what about a really good small camera?
Canon s95 price is really low after xmas, for instance. If my camera wasn't always with me as it is, I would consider gettign one myself.
01/26/2012 07:47:00 PM · #17
+1 for 50mm f1.8 II
01/26/2012 08:19:39 PM · #18
I don't know what the Canon equivilent is but I bought an old manual 50mm lens for my Nikon on ebay for $40 and it is my absolute favorite lens. There's just something really great about manual focus. And the Bokeh from that lens is beautiful.
01/26/2012 08:41:54 PM · #19
Thanks folks. I think if I'm going to get a lens, it'll be a 50mm 1.8, and I'll save up for a better telephoto.

Mike, those are some great (compared to what I can get with my kit lens) photos.
01/27/2012 07:09:31 AM · #20
Originally posted by Osiris1975:



Mike, those are some great (compared to what I can get with my kit lens) photos.


Your kit lens is very capable of producing good shots.

Kit Lens Photos

What editing software are you using? That may be an option as well.
01/27/2012 07:12:49 AM · #21
Originally posted by MinsoPhoto:

Originally posted by Osiris1975:



Mike, those are some great (compared to what I can get with my kit lens) photos.


Your kit lens is very capable of producing good shots.

Kit Lens Photos

What editing software are you using? That may be an option as well.


I'm using Lightroom 3, which I love. I'm on the 30 day trial.
01/27/2012 07:16:38 AM · #22
Originally posted by MinsoPhoto:

Originally posted by Osiris1975:



Mike, those are some great (compared to what I can get with my kit lens) photos.


Your kit lens is very capable of producing good shots.

Kit Lens Photos

What editing software are you using? That may be an option as well.


i believe this is the correct kit lens.

01/27/2012 07:46:24 AM · #23
Originally posted by slickchik:

That being said, maybe the canon 50mm f/1.8 would be a nice addition that is in your price range.

There is a saying - buying cheap means buying twice. I had that one (actually I still have it, but it's broken - the front element is very wobbly and there is some dirt between the lenses inside). However, if you manage to get the focus at the right point, which seems to be difficult with it, it's image quality is good. Nevertheless, I'd suggest: Save up for the 1.4 if you want to get a 50mm prime lens.
01/27/2012 08:36:25 AM · #24
50mm f/1.8. If you take care of your equipment, you shouldn't have a problem...plus...it's the only lens for $85 that can give you images you can really see the quality in. This is a no-brainer.

I took my nifty fifty to a year long deployment in Iraq, on a plane for 165,000 miles to about a dozen different countries, and I have abused it more than most would have. It's been dropped out of the bag, while I was carefully handing my more expensive items, it probably has some dust in the focusing ring, and sure, it has its drawbacks. But for less than $100, you are getting a lens that many professional photographers (particularly street photographers) have used as their only lens for ages.

Buy the 50mm, keep it on your camera more than any other lens for one year and learn to use it properly. You will be a better photographer.

Message edited by author 2012-01-27 08:36:47.
01/27/2012 08:48:52 AM · #25
Originally posted by SwordandScales:



I took my nifty fifty to a year long deployment in Iraq, on a plane for 165,000 miles to about a dozen different countries, and I have abused it more than most would have. It's been dropped out of the bag, while I was carefully handing my more expensive items, it probably has some dust in the focusing ring, and sure, it has its drawbacks. But for less than $100, you are getting a lens that many professional photographers (particularly street photographers) have used as their only lens for ages.



thats nothing i have a two year old.
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