Upgrading my digital camera

Due, in no small part, to my sister Tiffany Skemp's help, and the great salesperson at Madison's very own The Camera Company (East location), I bought a Canon EOS Digital Rebel (300D) kit, with the EF-S 18-55mm lens. He threw in a UV Filter (58mm), and I purchased a Promaster CompactFlash Memory Card (256MB).

799.99 + 35.99 = a lot of money. Add to that Wisconsin's sales tax of $45.98 ... But, it was basically an early birthday present for myself.

A little older and wiser, I was planning on purchasing a new lens; in particular, I was looking at the Canon EF 75-300mm lens, with f4-5.6 and USM. $240. Of course, it was my birthday (once again, yes, it has happened before). But, I was really tempted to upgrade. I'd recently done my first real batch of printed photos, and had printed out some fairly large ones at that. I was impressed overall, but figured I could do better.

Therefore, I was looking at upgrading. But, I didn't need two cameras. My mom said that she'd actually purchase my current camera, and I was off.

Both the Canon 350D and 400D (both Digital Rebel, both for my level of photography skills - amateur, but who knew that he'd have to buy a camera that could swap lens) jumped out at me. I had one problem with my camera; namely that it had made one memory card go bad (probably my original memory card), but I had bought a second, and Promaster replaced the bad one free of charge (with a higher speed one at that), and I had had no other trouble.

So, Canon had me hooked. I didn't care for the silver body of my camera, but that wasn't such a big deal (and both the 350D and 400D had black bodies available).

Nikon has been doing a lot of commercials recently, and so I was tempted to see what they offered, but I figured that since Canon hadn't let me down yet ...

A bit of online research (dpreview.com primarily) and speaking with Scott at The Camera Companies east location brought me to my next camera, the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT (350D). I was happy with the kit lens last time, so kit lens this time it was.

It was a jump from my simple lens purchase, which I'd been putting off for two Christmas Days and one birthday, but ...

Of course, you need a bag, when you're going to throw that in with your old camera, so I needed a new bag. I might as well also have another 2GB memory card, and give the two 256MB cards away, so that was expected.

And finally, a UV Filter. I had purchased an extra 58mm a short time ago, so I didn't need one for the kit lens, but would need one for the zoom.

All in all, that's 699.99 for the camera, 239.99 for the lens, 69.99 for another 2GB card, and an unknown amount for the bag and filter (I figured $40 and $15 respectively, based upon The Camera Company's site).

I knew that I had to buy my camera from The Camera Company, so once I knew what I wanted, inside I went ...


Now the thing about The Camera Company is that they're going to talk to you if you want to talk to them. If you just want to get your thing and get out, they'll do that, but they'll also work with you.

I've been to both their east and downtown locations a little over a half a dozen times total. The downtown location is usually run by one guy, who's really nice, and the east location has two or three usually. I've been to the west location once, to exchange filters, and it's a deal bigger, and therefore had more people around. But, I didn't really look around, so that's all I can say about that. You can take classes at the west location, and I guess most of the instructors work there, so that's probably the best place to start out. But, the east location is close to work, and I like the place.

Anyways, I asked the questions and because of that, I saved $40 by purchasing a Promaster lens. While I was a bit hesitant at first, I knew the Promaster brand. I also asked the salesperson how the lens was, and she told me it was comparable to Canon's. It also had some macro functionality.

If I still believed in God, this would have been like a thunderbolt from God. But, I don't, so it wasn't. It was more like, perhaps, things coming together perfectly. Either way it's an illusion, but, it doesn't much matter, since it worked.

It just happens that part of the reason it took me so long to get a lens was because I didn't know if I liked macro or landscape photography more.

While I was living downtown, I got the best of both worlds (and I'm throwing architectural photography in here as well). Downtown Madison Wisconsin is a great place to get photos; it's so very diverse. Part of this is because of one of it's biggest problems; the UW Campus is just miles away, if that, from the Capitol.

So, you can walk from the Monona Terrace off Lake Monona, to the Capitol, to State St, to the UW Campus. Not all of it, granted, but nature to blend to city to blend to nature.

Anyways, I was living downtown when I purchased my camera, and was therefore able to get a wide variety of pictures. Not being able to choose what kind of pictures I liked the most, I choose neither (or, what is the same in these types of decisions, I choose them all).

The other weekend (quite a few ago, actually) I headed over to the Henry Vilas Zoo with my mom (instead of my sister, who was originally going to go). After viewing my pictures from there, I knew that I would need to purchase a zoom lens; I just couldn't get the pictures I really wanted from there. Needing to make a decision, zoom lens it was.

Which brings us back to many many paragraphs ago. The great salesperson told me about the Promaster Spectrum7 AF70-300 EDO, some pictures were taken, and I was sold. Best of all? Only $199.99.

All said, a little over $1050 dollars. Of course, I already have a 2GB memory card, so I could have done without. But, it's a good thing I bought it since it was only $59.99 (id est, $10 cheaper than normal). Factor in a $25 dollar gift ... Factor in $350+ in freelance work ... Factor in $100 for my birthday ...

I love photography (below Philosophy and Web work, in that order), so it was a no-brainer.