Canon EOS 1100D in Grey with 18-55mm IS Lens •Tamron 70-300mm Lens •Jessops UV Filters for each lens •Jessops LCD Screen Protectors
I have seen lots of questions and discussions on this on the web. I did also do lots of research into what other people had done on their RTW trips. Strictly speaking ours is not a RTW, but it covers the same time span as a lot of those that do.
I previously had two DSLRs, and although I had until recently owned a bridge camera, I did feel after all things considered that I would prefer a DSLR for this trip.
Two things helped, one, it was my birthday in March (we left April 8th) and I had sold my Nikon P100 via Ebay for a decent enough price to put towards any birthday money I might get.
After much research I plumped for the Canon 1100D twin lens kit, with filters from Jessops. I had heard lots of web advice on “don’t bother with twin lens kits until you find out what you need”, or “Twin lenses are better than all in one lens”.
Canon EOS 1100D Digital SLR Camera in Grey with 18-55mm IS Lens
So many contrasting opinions, personally I was just happy with the Canon 18-55mm IS lens for general walkabout, and the Tamron 70-300mm Macro/Zoom lens for long distance. While difficult to utilise fully in most cities, I had to consider use out in the mountains/countryside/wildlife.
I checked out lots of reviews from Cameralabs (Gordon Lang is a great reviewer), What Digital Camera, Digital Photography Review, Photoguru, to name a few, and of course most importantly user reviews from Amazon UK & US.
Why did I go for Canon after being a Nikon & Sony owner previously? Simple, I wanted something that gave me outstanding picture quality every time. I wanted it to have full auto like a point and shoot for those moments when I didn’t have time to fiddle around with settings.
Tamron 70-300mm f4/5.6 DI LD Macro (Canon AF)
I also needed enough adjustments on it for when I did have time to set up shots. I wanted Live View in all modes (1100D has this) but I didn’t need loads of pixels (12 is more than enough). A camera with decent ISO settings and some video capability was also part of my requirements. Basically the Canon had the whole package and none of the reviews had anything bad to say. It was the newest of Canon’s so called entry level DSLRs. The camera menus are EASY to navigate and it had the right amount of adjustments on the outside of the camera without having to delve into too many menus (as you do with Nikon D3100). I guess, also importantly, cost was a factor. I paid (for me) the princely sum of £499.99 (2012 prices) for the whole kit, including a rather large camera bag, which I have left at home, as there just was not room to carry it with our backpacks as well. Filters for both lenses, were probably the two most useful things that came with the “Kit”.
I had bought one of those nice neoprene snug fit cases (again from an EBay merchant), specific to fit Canon DSLR, which from previous experience holds up really well to protecting your valuable camera. It also has the added bonus of reducing bulk for carrying, allowing me to stow it away in my day pack quite nicely. The same applied to my Tamron lens, and I also got a small case for the 18-55mm for those times when it might not be on my camera. My mother in law kindly bought me a complete set of lens cleanse pens for my birthday, so I had all I need for my trip.
I know it seems like a lot to carry, especially when you put cables and chargers into the bag, and yes it is a little heavy, but the lightest set up I have tried out for a DSLR. Actually it’s even lighter when I take my Samsung N150 plus netbook out of the bag, but I wouldn’t be able to post this blog etc. without it, and it is so very useful to have for reviewing photos of the day. I find when travelling that Picasa does everything I need it to (and doesn’t take up too much space on the hard drive) before uploading my pictures to my cloud server. I have subscribed to www.justcloud.com at £34 a year and they provide excellent support for example if you need transfer your licence from your home computer to your netbook/laptop. I also have several SDHC cards, which I use as a secondary backup for my pictures; 3x 8GB so far. These are by no means full.
We also have a small “point and shoot” camera, a Canon Ixus 220HS. This camera is practical and has the same Canon picture quality you get in the rest of the range. It is smaller and quicker to use and has a simple video function which can come in handy. It is just right for my partner to use without feeling intimidated by my DSLR and was a good buy for £125 at duty free in Heathrow. I sometimes find myself reaching for it when I want to catch that “quick” shot that I might have missed because I didn’t have the DSLR in my hand.
I think the most important rules when buying yourself a camera like this is go out and try it in the shop, feel the weight, fiddle with the controls, get the shop assistants to show you the programmes and tell you what the camera can do. Then research the reviews, fix your budget, then the fun of trying to get it within it and its extras! You have to like it, or you won’t use it.