My New Toy (I Mean, Serious Business Expense) Has Arrived

People may recall my discussion of the research process involved when I make new purchases; the short version is, I dither and dother for an extremely long amount of time, annoy everyone by asking them to make the decision for me, and then, on an impulse, buy the one product I didn’t research at all and end up being perfectly happy with it.

I’ve been wanting to buy a digital SLR for a very long time, and, as per usual, I did a lot of research, although I focused on Canon products, because I have pretty intense brand loyalty. What it basically came down to for me was buying one of the Digital Rebels, or buying something a little more high powered (with a full sized sensor) from the higher end of the EOS line. And, ultimately, I decided to buy a Rebel T1i, because, since I am a hobbyist, I really cannot justify spending thousands of dollars on a camera body. I happened to time my purchase for a time when Canon was offering a substantial rebate on telephoto lens, so I picked up a camera with a kit lens (about which more in a moment) and a telephoto for what I think is a pretty reasonable price, for my needs. Maybe someday my T1i will become my backup camera.

So, of course, as soon as it arrived, I had to bolt out the door to play with it for an hour or so. Most of my play involved familiarising myself with the settings and the lenses, and I ended up with a lot of really awful pictures (most of which came from pressing too hard on the shutter button and taking a picture instead of metering). It’s going to take me some serious hours of use to come up with a thorough review, but, the short version is: I love it! It is so nice to handle an SLR again, I cannot even tell you. The T1i also has a ton of settings; I left it mostly on full manual while I was playing with it, but it has aperture priority, shutter speed priority, and of course an array of automatic settings (including autofocus, but why would you want that?). Considering that there are menus inside of menus for handling things like metering, I suspect that I am going to need several more ‘playing with the camera and taking lots of pictures of my feet by accident’ trips.

My only complaint is that the kit lens is a bit flimsy. Given that lots of people point this out in reviews, I can’t say I wasn’t warned, and I am not that upset about it, because, well, it’s a decent starter lens. But, if you are considering a T1i and you’re curious about the kit lens…I’ll tell you, it feels flimsy. Not like it’s going to pop off the lens mount or anything, just…flimsy.

Anyway, I know the part y’all really want is pictures, so:

White peonies in the sun.

I adore peonies.

Abandoned buildings on the GP Mill Site surrounded by menacing fencing.

Shot with the telephoto! I am impressed because I was concerned that my tremors would make the telephoto essentially useless without a tripod. Canon has some damn good image stabilisation.

The side of a train car, covered in a mural with mountain lions, a rising sun, squirrels, and birds. Pentagonal spots of lens flare can be seen in the lower left.

Lens flare! I don’t know, I kind of like it. Also, check out this train car. Seriously.

A railroad crossing sign against a blue sky.

Rows of trains on three sets of parallel tracks.

Also shot with the telephoto, somewhat gratuitously, but I was playing with it, so there.

The inside of an abandoned train car, showing that the roof is missing several panels and allowing the sky to show through.

Fun with F-stops! Same picture, two different F-stops:

Track switcher and lock.

F 5.6

A track switcher and lock.

F 9

I’m not quite sure what I am going to do with my Powershot. I may keep it as a backup camera and a camera for use on things like trips to the river, where dropping my SLR in the river would be a catastrophe and dropping my point and shoot in the river (again) would be kind of funny. If I find that I am really not using it, I may find someone who wants a camera and can’t afford it, and give it to that person. It’s a pretty solid workhorse of a camera, and it takes some pretty sweet pictures if you’re patient with it.

Many more photos on my Flickr.