Lens Accessory Kit

Lens Accessory Kit
I Need Extra Lenses and Accessories for my Rebel Xsi, i have the kit lens and nothing else, any suggestions?

I’m 16, i just bought a Canon Eos 450d (rebel xsi) a month ago and i’ve taken about 500 pictures a day, i mean i am glued to it, i have found a passion for photography inside of me, now my question is, i’ve done alot of research and i’ve read the the 50mm prime lens is definitely a good one to get.

Now i’ve got 450 Euros in my bank, equal to about 645USD, i don’t mind spending it on lenses and camera accessories. I’ve read that the 1.4 is better than the 1.8, but with a 250 dollar price difference. My question is, for 650 dollars, what lenses/accessories can i get to boost my photography?

The EF 50mm f1.4 USM lens is a good choice – IF you want to do a lot of available light (non-flash) photography. Its worth the price difference compared to the 50mm f1.8 due to its build quality alone.

Here are the accessories I recommend:

1) A Haze/UV filter to protect the front element of any lens you own.

2) A Circular Polarizer. Its used to darken a blue sky and to remove glare/reflections from glass, water, sand and painted metal – but not polished metal. It also enhances colors.

3) A microfiber lens cloth to keep your filters clean. The less contact you have with the front element of your lens the better.

4) A good tripod. When shooting landscapes a tripod is all but mandatory.

Do not waste your money on cheap, no-name filters. Always buy quality. Heliopan, Hoya, B+W, Tiffen, Singh-Ray. I still use a Tiffen circular polarizer I bought 37 years ago.

Buy the best tripod you can afford. Gittos, Benro, Slik, Manfrotto, Gitzo, Velbon are all good choices. A quality tripod uses cast parts where they are needed. Cheap, department store tripods use stamped parts where cast parts should be used. Choose either a 3-way fluid tilt/pan head or a good ballhead.

Now for an “Edwin Editorial”:

You have, in my opinion, fallen into what I call the “machine gunner mentality” in your approach to photography. Be honest now and think about all the pictures you’ve taken. How many of them are stored on your hard drive? How many have been deleted? Lets allow for some “youthful enthusiasm” and scale back the number of pictures you’ve taken to 300 a day. Over 30 days that’s 9,000 pictures. That, in my opinion, is not photography – its just taking snapshots. Of course, snapshots have their place. Family gatherings. Friends. Street fairs.

Now look objectively at the pictures you’ve taken. How many of them will be deleted because of poor composition or poor lighting or poor exposure or blur from subject movement? If you take 300 lousy pictures and have no idea why they’re lousy, what have you learned? Other than how to take 300 lousy pictures.

“Pictures are not taken, they are made.” Ansel Adams. Memorize this quote. “Pictures are not taken, they are made.”

Serious photography, however, is another matter. It requires thinking and thinking requires time. Just shooting and shooting and shooting, as you’ve been doing, doesn’t allow you time to think. You need to learn to think about the picture you want to make and how to make it. I encourage developing the “sniper mentality” – one exposure, one good picture. This means ignoring the impulse to just press the shutter release when a scene catches your attention.

“Pictures are not taken, they are made.”

Instead, take time to look at the scene and really see it. Standing. Kneeling. Sitting. Lying flat on your belly. Move a few feet to the left. Move a few feet to the right. Get closer. Back up. Compose using landscape orientation (horizontal). Compose using portrait orientation (vertical). Think about what f-stop to use. Do you want a lot of Depth of Field (DOF) or very little? Will a slow shutter speed be sufficient or is there subject movement that you don’t want blurred, requiring a faster shutter speed? That flower might look pretty in the sunlight but suppose you take time to get behind it and make your photograph with the light shining through the petals? When you shoot a landscape, is the horizon level? It should be.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/drifter45h/3581810196/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/drifter45h/3583620746/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/drifter45h/3721056971/

How do you get more Depth of Field? How do you get a faster shutter speed? These are questions a photographer must know the answers to.

While you’re doing all that, you also need to pay attention to your background. Is there a dead tree branch that will be a distraction? Powerlines? Litter in the foreground? A blah, colorless sky? A leaf that is in full sunlight and will be over-exposed compared to the subject? A bright colored object that even out of focus will still distract from your subject. All of these require changing your composition to eliminate these distractions.

I know this all sounds complicated. It is, at first. As you apply these techniques they will soon become almost instinctive and you’ll be doing them without actually thinking about them.

“Pictures are not taken, they are made.”

Here are some sites that will really help you.

http://www.digital-photography-school.com You can sign up for an e-newsletter as well as classes.

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html Understanding Depth of Field (DOF) is important for good photography.

http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=TipsAndTechsAct Canon’s Digital Learning Center will help you get the most from your camera.

Here are some books worth reading:

“Understanding Exposure” & “Understanding Shutter Speed”, both by Bryan Peterson.

“The Art of Digital Photography” by Joseph Meehan

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