Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Gears of war, part 2

A follow up to my post last year when I treated myself to a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L, my most expensive lens to date.

Since then, I haven't really bought anything, being distracted by a car purchase which obviously drained my savings a bit. I'll post in depth about the car in due course, but it was bought with economy in mind; I wanted the cheapest thing to run that I could get my hands on, partly because I resented the high cost of petrol in the UK (where a teeth-grinding 70% of the pump price is tax), and partly because I wasn't going to save up for my ma-hoosive shopping list of photographic goodies if I had to keep a high-maintenance sports car fed, watered, and shod every month as well.

I got hold of a tiny wee diesel hatchback which can manage over 60mpg, and thanks to its parsimony my bank balance has been reasonably healthy since then. Still, the economic downturn made me think twice about splurging my rainy day savings on luxury items like camera kit until recently.

Now business is picking up again, and I've a couple of pressures on me to expand my shooting capabilities; I signed up to modelmayhem.com, and I've been thinking about expanding into headshots-for-thesps after making a few contacts over the summer. I'd need decent lighting equipment for both those, or a pro-quality flash unit at the very least--something I felt like I was missing when I shot the Sentinels of Rock'n'Roll in June. There were plenty of options out there, but I ended up going the flashy [sic] route with a Canon 580 EX-II.

I also felt like I could have done with an ultra-wide for the band shots, but there wasn't any imminent pressure to get one... except the Sentinels are having a gig in mid-September, and I'd like to get some decent shots of them performing in front of a crowd. Nuts, there is imminent pressure on me after all. After much back-and-forthery, I plumped for a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, my first third-party lens. I didn't have qualms; it has a better rep for IQ and sharpness than the Canon 10-22, is wider through the range, and is cheaper to boot. I'll have to upgrade it (to a Canon 17-40 most likely) if/when I go full-frame, but for now it should allow a few more photo-opportunities than were previously available.

In the middle of all this, I noticed an eBayer who didn't seem to be getting much interest for his Lowepro Rolling Computrekker backpack, my rucksack of choice. Despite being the bells'n'whistles version with a handle and wheels, nobody else was biting. After two failed auctions, he chose the "buy now or best offer" version, and I successfully lowballed him. My current rucksack is just a regular O'Neill backpack, so getting a dedicated carry-all for my kit is long overdue.

Some silly self-indulgence then, especially since my car is due its tax and MOT this month as well. Still, I have my fingers crossed that it won't bleed me dry, and I can continue my putting my pennies in the piggy-bank, with a 5D2 and more jazzy bits of kit as my reward.

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