Confessions of a photoholic

Hello everyone, my name is Elmo Ensio and I am a photoholic.

I don’t know how and when it all started. I mean my interest in photography, which later evolved into a hobby and further into obsession. I bought my first digital camera in 2001, it was the odd choice Minolta S404 with four megapixel sensor. I had ordered it from Germany as cameraware was much cheaper there than in Finland at that time. Still might be. Why I did not spend a few hundred euros more and bought myself Canon G12 or something more serious camera, I do not know. I was young and stupid then.

I played with my Minolta for some time, maybe two or three years before I impulsively bought Canon Powershot A85, another four megapixel camera but in more compact size. Why I did not buy a more compact Canon Ixus, I don’t know. Or actually I do. At that time, the Ixus did not have full manual mode, which I needed to learn more about photography. Not that I used that full manual mode so much, but occasionally yes.

My old workhorse retired after four years of active travel photojournalism.

My old workhorse retired after four years of active travel photojournalism.

After being on an expensive safari trip in Africa TWICE!!! with a crappy camera, I was inspired and decided to get serious and bought my first SLR in 2008. It was Canon EOS 30D with the 17-85mm kit lens as well as 70-300 IS lens. I also invested in a flash Canon Speedlite 480 EX II as well as good Manfrotto carbonfiber tripod and ballhead later that year. Then I sold both of my lenses and bought the Tamron 18-270 superzoom from B&H in New York as well as the cheap 50mm prime lens – nifty fifty. It was a very good travel lense, and the image quality was ok. Until my nepphews wedding where I was the photographer with my 30D and rented professional quality L series 24-70mm lense. The image quality was superb and I knew I needed to upgrade – soon.

After some online research of the best options, I decided that I had spend enough money on mediocre equipment and the only sensible thing would be to make a long lasting investement. Hence the state-of-the-art prosumer camera Canon EOS 5D Mark III, with its twenty-two megapixel sensor and a hefty 3100EUR pricetag.

Why I am upgrading to 5D Mark III from 30D?
-Better auto-focus (61-points vs. 9-points)
-Full-frame 24x36mm sensor (vs. 1.6x crop)
-Video shooting (vs. no video)
-Considerably less noise and higher ISO
-weather sealed (vs. not)
-higher frame rate (6fps vs 3fps)
-self-cleaning sensor (vs. not)
-bigger LCD screen (3.2″ vs. 2.5″)
-lens correction profiles (vs. not)
-silent shooting in 3fps (vs. not)

The new 24-70mm Mark II was not on the market yet and the 24-70mm Mark I was not anymore in the shops, and I needed a wide angle for my coming trip. I chose the 28mm f/1.8, which I thought to be a good lense. And with these two lenses, 28mm and 50mm, I embarked on a round the world trip. Clearly the lense quality was the bottle neck now. My gf of that time was a photographer as well and I got to see what a proper camera with proper lenses can deliver.

Five months later I bought myself the 70-200mm L series lense when I came across a good deal for it in Australia. Additional 10% discount, which I reclaimed my VAT at the international departures at the Brisbane airport, made the deal even better.

Finally, I have a pro grade camera and excellent telezoom lense. Now I am really unhappy with the mediocre wide angle lense, which works for me for landscapes but in the city I constantly feel it is not wide enough.

What gear do I need to be a serious photographer?
-Good SLR camera, full frame or crop sensor
-Excellent wide angle zoom lense
-Excellent telezoom lense
-External flash off-camera either cable or wireless trigger
-Good quality tripod and ballhead

Word of advice for photographer wannabes. Invest in good quality lenses. They work fine, even with 30D or some middle class crop sensor camera. And if you can afford a safari you can afford SLR and ONE good lens as well. Even if you just take snapshots with full auto, the image quality is just so much better. You don’t need to buy all at once, but when you buy, always opt for the pro option for two reasons. One, it will last you a lifetime if you take care of it. Two, it has resale value should you regret and want to sell it second hand.

Disclaimer: Cheap or expensive, Nikon or Canon, full frame or cropped sensor camera, it is possible to take bad photos with all of them.

posted: 13 November 12
under: Photography