I've recently had the dubious pleasure of turning 30 and having been considering investing in an SLR camera for quite some time decided this was the excuse I needed to splash out a bit. Amazon wish lists come in very handy, I just picked the stuff I wanted and saved to a list so people could just buy from that. My whole family were all very generous and all chipped in to get the following bits and pieces that now make up my starter SLR kit:
- Canon EOS 450D Kit (incl EF-S 18-55mm IS f/3.5-5.6)
- Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
- SanDisk Extreme III SDHC 4GB Card
- Canon ET-60 Lens Hood
- Hoya 58mm PRO1 Circular Polarising Filter
- Hoya 58mm PRO1 UV Filter
- Lowepro Rezo 160 Shoulder Bag
- Lowepro Cirrus TLZ15 Case
This is my first venture into the world of SLR so I'll spare trying to do a full review and leave that to the pros. If you're interested, you can see the specs over at Canon and three pro reviews from sites I would recommend are Camera Labs, DP Review, and Steve's Digicams.
It was never really going to be much of a contest for me as to which brand and camera to go for since I've been using Canon compacts for years. When the 450d came out it immediately caught my attention as a very decent starter SLR and had the much reviewed live view feature that being a regular digital compact user I would expect to see. Now I've been using it for a while though I find I hardly rely on live view at all instead preferring the view finder. For me this actually feels quite retro - how often do you see a compact user with the camera up to their eye? This has a lot to do with the view finder in an SLR being far superior to those on compacts but also the live view is a lot clunkier to use. Using the SLR has made me realise just how fantastic and how much is packed into a decent compact camera like my current Canon A650 IS.
At the moment the starter kit I've got is fairly minimal but does provide the flexibility to take a lot of different shots while I learn how to handle and get the best results from the camera. I'm using the UV filter as a lens protector for the kit lens with the polariser on the long lens mostly. They're not much of a pain to swap, however, I think I'll end up getting a second UV filter for the long lens and swap in the polariser as required. The SD card is great, the Extreme III series have given me no problems in this or other cameras, would certainly recommend. The bags too are great, cheaper and more flexible than the Canon supplied bags and having a larger and smaller bag offers some good flexibility.
I'd welcome comments on other accessories I could get in the future. On my immediate list will be that second UV filter, a lens blower and cleaner, a remote shutter release and a light box (probably to be home made). Longer term I will consider other lenses, speedlights, a tripod upgrade, and possibly a spare battery although battery life is good on the 450d.
You can see my various attempts wit he 450d over on my Flickr pages.