My Kit

Well, being a photographer I naturally want to share with you the kit that I use. It’s quite a small collection at the moment.

Firstly, my camera; the Canon SX40 HS. It is a fantastic little camera, not a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex, for those that have always wondered) but in fact a bridge camera, which basically means it has a BIIIG zoom of 35x optical. It has many DSLR features however, including the ability to shoot in full manual mode, the mode I’m rarely out of. It has a focal range from a pretty wide angled 24mm all the way up to 840mm! Great for scoping out the mountains from my back garden. Here’s a couple of images of the camera:

In Full Zoom
Normal Use, Although The Lens Extends to 24mm When On

As this camera by default does not shoot in the RAW format, I have modified it via a third-party piece of software called the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) which allows me to shoot in RAW. I really dislike shooting in JPEG, simply because it greatly reduces the dynamic range in my exposures and I cannot correct any blown out highlights without creating image posterisation. I can also force the camera to shoot at a narrower maximum aperture of f/16, as opposed to the default maximum of f/8.0, allowing me to squeeze further sharpness from my shots. There are lots of other useful features in the CHDK, too numerous to mention here.

In the near future however, I intend to upgrade to a weatherproof DSLR, such as the Pentax K-30; yes, an older model, but I really see no point purchasing the newer K-50. I need weather-proofing due to the environments I often shoot in; rain! Useful for an avid mountain walker living in North Wales, UK…
Lens wise, I’ve been looking at the well-rated Pentax DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR Lens, as this is a telephoto that’ll save me having to carry around more than one lens in my already heavy hill sack. It’s also weather-resistant.

To keep all this nice and steady when taking my shots I use a Velbon DF-51 tripod. This piece of kit is absolutely essential for the photographer, particularly when you are shooting at shutter speeds lower than say 1/30 second to prevent blurring if you can’t keep your hands still or you want to keep images sharp throughout the focal range. Moving water is where I use mine the most. Yes, it’s something extra and awkward to carry around (especially in the mountains) but now I have it I wouldn’t be without it. It also means I can stand in the middle of the River Ogwen (er, not at the moment you damn fool) to take a shot. Here it is:

With Legs Half Extended

If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know I discussed filters, but I use: UV, CPL (Circular Polarising Filter), ND2/0.3, ND4/0.6, two x ND8/0.9. Here’s what I use, no point showing the CPL and UV:

filtersL
My Current Filters; ND2, ND4 and ND8 – I Have Six Altogether

And they allow me to take wonderful shots like this:

Recently Taken On The Tripod With ND Filters Used And HDR Processing

I won’t go into what I carry it all in or what type of memory card I use (incidentally I use an 8gb card, with a spare).

Over time I’ll add new items that I feel are worth posting, but this gives you a brief idea of the minimum kind of gear you’ll need if you want to take great pictures.

Happy snapping 🙂

Elton

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