Hands down the question I am asked most over email and Instagram is: ”Which camera do you use?”. Since I have switched to a new camera last month, I figured this is a good moment to dive into that question and share some pointers. I’m far from a professional photographer, but I think I’ve learned so much this year that it could be fun and perhaps even useful to share my experiences with you.
When I moved to Bali in 2010, long before I started blogging, I bought myself my very first DSLR camera. A cheap second hand, entry level Canon 1000D with a 18-55mm, f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Back then I knew absolutely nothing about photography, so I would just set it to auto mode and start shooting. But I was quite frustrated about not being able to control the results of my photos, like creating a ‘creamy’ backdrop.
At first I wanted to go out and just get a new, better camera, but then decided against it. Because whereas one might assume that buying a better camera automatically results in better pictures, the truth is actually a lot more complicated: in fact, buying an expensive camera without knowing how to properly use it, could have resulted in taking worse pictures than before! It’s like buying an expensive microphone wouldn’t make me sing like Adele.
So when I started this blog last year I was motivated to learn the basics of photography so that I could understand how to master my camera and take the best possible pictures. I decided to take a 10 hour course to understand more about the three most important settings: ISO, shutter speed and my favorite: aperture. It was such an eye opener and I learned so much. I was finally ready to start shooting manually!
Up until our fabulous trip to the Maldives I had been using my 1000D with various lenses (more on that below), but this trip screamed for an upgrade of my gear and luckily Canon was so kind to loan me their Canon 750D with 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens.
In this post I’m not going to deep into all the geeky specs of this camera, but I can say that I immediately noticed a huge difference in the quality of my pictures. I hope you agree! The seven features that I love most about the Canon 750D in compare to the 1000D are:
- wifi: one of the main reasons I wanted to test the Canon 750D is that it has wifi and since I take all my Instagram pictures with my DSLR camera, a camera with wifi is just awesome. By downloading the Canon app you can transfer images to your phone or computer through wifi. It makes for a much more direct, live feel to my Instagram pictures. And you can even control the camera with your phone, super cool!
- focusing: it performs really well at focusing (19 focus points)! and therefore makes it so much easier to get your subject sharp in each shot.
- lightweight: another great thing is that the camera is relatively light. If find this especially important since I travel a lot and have to carry it around all the time.
- low light: with its ISO 100-12.800 range it is a lot easier to shoot in low light situations, without flash!
- flip screen: it has an awesome (touch) flip screen that swivels all around and makes for the coolest selfies — if there are such things as cool selfies…
- live view: another great perk is the live view feature which allows you to compose and focus your image by using the LCD screen instead of the optical viewfinder.
- And finally… I’m able to shoot videos in full HD!
Having said that, it is important to remember that the lenses play an enormous role in generating the result that you’re going after. I started out with the kit zoom lens (18-55mm, f/3.5-5.6) that came with my first camera. But once I took the photography course and got familiar with the features of the camera and lenses, I quickly found this lens very limited because I was aiming to create pictures with a beautiful ‘’blurry’’ background.
So to create this shallower depth of field I decided to invest in a 50 mm with f/1.8 aperture, which is a prime lens without zoom. I had so much fun with this baby and it really made me experiment with photography. I got so enthusiastic about this prime lens that I upgraded to the Canon 50 mm, f/1.4 aperture, which creates an even shallower depth of field. But when traveling I still keep the 50 mm, f/1.8 attached to the body since it makes my camera so light and compact. I would recommend this lens to every beginner since it is one of the cheapest lenses out there.. You can find it for less than $150!
The Canon 750D that Canon loaned to me was a kit with an 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM. This lens is so much more versatile then my first 18-55mm kit lens. Because of its wide focal length range the 18-135mm is great to use in many different circumstances, allowing many framing options. I used my own 50 mm when I did not needed to zoom and wanted maximum depth of field to create blurry pictures. I used the 18-135mm the rest of the time, since it is such a solid overall lens.
In general, I recommend to stay away from the ‘auto’ setting and only take pictures on the manual settings. It is the only way to get better at quickly setting up the camera correctly to get the pictures you’re striving for. If you are looking for a DSLR camera, pick the one of which its full potential matches your skills as a photographer, before investing too much money in it. But if you are familiar with the basics, I can really recommend the Canon 750D since it is a great camera for blogging!
Hope you enjoyed this article and happy shooting!