Developer's Diary
Daily software development, with Terry Ebdon
Photo Gear

A brief survey of the equipment I own and the sub-set that actually gets used.

The kit I use varies with the subject matter and the weather. In hot / humid conditions I pare things down to the essentials. It's rare for me, these days, to engage in home or studio photography. You're far more likely to find me pounding the streets of a European city, or wandering through a wildlife park.

Wildlife Kit

I started with a Canon EOS 5D MK II but now use either an EOS 7D or a 5D MK III. Very occasionally I'll carry both the 7D and the MK III, but it's a heavy combination. I prefer to keep things simple and light. Two full size bodies, with big lenses, doesn't meet those requirements.

Canon EF 100-400mm F4 L IS Lens

This is by far my most used lens. In a typical year I'll use it to shoot several thousand frames. Some photographers dislike it due to the push-pull zoom. It does take some getting used to, but I've come to really like it. Zooming the lens is really fast, and becomes second nature... assuming you actually use the lens on a regular basis. The forums are full of people claiming the push-pull design sucks in dust. This claim is a little silly. The amount of air sucked in is due to the change in length of the lens. The newer MK II version has a more conventional "twist" zoom, but the barrel length still changes dramatically. So it also sucks in and expels air; this has nothing to do with whether you zoom by twisting or by push/pull of the barrel. I suspect that many (most?) of the critics have never owned this lens.

Travel Kit

For summer travel I grab my Canon EOS 100D. This is a great little camera. At the time of purchased it was the smallest & lightest DSLR available, and lighter than any mirrorless equivalent. e.g. it's smaller & lighter than my Samsung NX11 and has faster focusing. I'd planned to use the 100D only on those oppressively hot trips, where carrying anything is a chore. e.g. it would have been a great camera for a June trip to Florence or Bologna. But I rapidly found myself using the 100D for all my weekend away trips. These are typically one night stays, where I spend two days wandering around a city with my luggage on my back. After 8-10 hours of walking the weight difference between a 100D and a 5D MK III is noticeable. The MK III is a great camera, but it's overkill for random "local" tourism.

My go to travel lens is the EF 24-104 F4 L IS. It's a bit big and heavy, compared to the camera, but it's a nice combination. I also have the 18-55 STM kit lens, and also an older non-STM version (the kit lens for my EOS 300D). I don't use them. They're nice enough lenses, and a lot lighter, but the L lens is significantly better. It's worth the weight penalty... until the temperature soars, and the humidity slays me. In those conditions I either grab a prime lens or down-grade to my Canon G16

Prime Lenses

I'm not a big user of prime lenses, but I have assembled a small collection:

EF 50mm 1.8 mk II

Several decades back I bought a second hand EF 50mm 1.8 MK II lens. Dirt cheap, reliable with decent image quality. I stupidly dropped my EOS 100D, with this lens attached, in Edinburgh. The lens body is plastic, and the camera landed lens first. Unsurprisingly the lens was destroyed. As for the camera... there's not a mark on it, and it still works perfectly.

I bought another one, new this time, at Dublin airport. (I was heading for Athens.) This lens proved defective, it didn't auto-focus. I exchanged it on my return and the new one's perfect, just like the second hand one that served me well for several decades.

Zoom Lenses

Canon EF 70-200 F4 L IS

This is the first L lens that I purchased, and by far the sharpest.

Canon G16

The G16 is a small sensor compact / bridge camera with an optical viewfinder that's not linked to the lens. I bought this at Dublin airport, on the way to Athens. The 100D was used on the first day, and the G16 for the remaining 5 days. It's a great camera for those oppressive hot & humid days, and also a perfect pocket-camera.


© 2017 Terry Ebdon

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