Advice needed on first DSLR to photograph the Himalayas..
I currently have an old Sony Cybershot DSC-T7 camera which is great for taking snap and taking to social functions as it is slim and easy to use. However, I am looking to buy my first DSLR as I am going on a trek at the end of the year to the Himalayas to the base camp of Everest, and would love to take some great photos of my experience. I used to own an old SLR and enjoyed using it and would like to pick up the hobby again more seriously.
I am considering getting the Cannon EOS 500D bundle with an 18-200mm IS lens. What are peoples thoughts on this. Should I consider the 550D instead or an equivalent spec from another manufacturer?
In addition to the camera, I was thinking i might invest in some filters for the trip, as I know I will be at high altitude with (hopefully) a strong sun. I was considering a polarizing filter, a UV filter to protect the Lens generally and a ND filter. What do you think? This will be my first foray into filters. Should I get a Graduated ND Filter?
Also, in the future I am looking to invest in a 50mm Lens as I would like to experiment with shallow depths of field as I like the effect. SHould I go for Cannons own EF 50mm f/1.8 II, or should I pay a bit more and go for a premium lens from sigma for instance.
I look forward to your comments and advice.
Thanks in advance.
"Advice needed on first DSLR to photograph the Himalayas"
I honestly don't know what was the first DSLR to photograph the Himalayas. Probably a Canon or Nikon of some sort.
Seriously though, your own suggestions seem pretty good. We've just tested the EOS 550D for the next isue and its scored very highly. It has three more megapixels than the EOS 500D and a better video spec (inc a mic input), plus the metering system from the EOS 7D. But you could save some money by getting the 500D which is also very good.
I'm assuming you need to travel light and that carrying extra lenses, and changing them with gloves on, will be a hassle, so I see the logic of the 18-200mm, which will cover all your needs and not need to be changed.
There are downsides to these lenses though...
•The optical performance will not be as good as a prime or a zoom with a shorter range. I don't know how much you'll use the 200mm end of the zoom either. You'll need it for sure if you see the Yeti!
• The 18-200mm will be a bit bigger and heavier than zooms with a shorter range, such as the 17-85mm.
• The max aperture is a bit smaller, though I imagine light levels will be high enough with all that snow for that not to be too much of an issue. On the other hand you might want a faster lens to enable camera shake-stopping shutter speeds (if you find you're shivering a lot) and hand-held low light shots (I assume you won't have a tripod). If so the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-f4 is a bit faster though not massively lighter.
Filters - yes, a UV filter will probably ne necessary at those altitutes and a polariser will give you those cobalt blue skies which look great against snow-covered mountains. If you take an ND grad you'll also need a holder which is extra to carry. Because I'm assuming your foreground will be bright I don't think its as essential as it would be with a dark foreground. (I'm assuming here that you'll be walking in snow?)
I hope this helps.
Last edited by Nigel Atherton; 19-03-10 at 10:59 AM.
Thanks Nigel for your advice. I have decided to go for the the Canon 550D and the 17-70mm Sigma lens as you suggested.
As I live in Guernsey which is VAT exempt the Camera worked out at roughly £570 which I think isn't too bad, and the Lens at £280.
I look forward to getting my hands on them and start snapping away so that I get some experience with them before going to the Himalayas.
Rest assured that if I do manage to get some pictures of the Yeti, What Camera will be the first to see the pictures
Thanks Again for your help.