Friday, November 30, 2012

If you're considering buying a digital SLR, buy the Canon 600D

Posted by Chris @ 9:56 pm

I'm coming out of blogging retirement for a few posts since we've bought some stuff worth writing about! :o)


We've coveted a digital SLR camera for a while, but even more so since our most recent compact camera stopped working back in May. So, after a fair bit of saving up we've finally taken the plunge and got one for Christmas.
Canon 600D
In the end we ended up getting the Canon EOS 600D.  At the time of writing it was cheapest on - Canon EOS 600D Digital SLR Camera (inc. 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens Kit) , and Canon themselves are offering £40 cashback - so it really is a great buy.

We'd looked at Nikon models too, but ultimately our friends had bought Canon cameras, I've always liked the brand, and the range of accessories to support the Canon EOS range seemed more comprehensive.

Having had it for a couple of weeks I can heartily recommend it.  If you've not had one before then you'll find it much larger than a compact camera, and getting used to using the view finder is odd, but well worth it.  (You can still use the screen for composing shots if you want, but that kinda defeats the point of buying an SLR).  Zooming using the lens is also a difference, but the control it gives you is superb and you get used to it very quickly.

This particular model has a 18 mega pixel sensor, and compared to the 7 mega pixel camera's we've had in the past the improvement is noticeable.  In full automatic mode the pictures this camera takes are great.  However, the real joy of an SLR is taking it out of automatic mode, and learning about how to use the camera "properly".  That way you get full control and the best results.

And for that, the 600D is great.  It has a number of modes that help introduce you to the various settings, such as ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc.  It really does open up a whole new hobby.  To get you started I found this website really useful in learning about the camera, and all of the various things to consider when using an SLR. - PhotoNotes - Beginner FAQ

Essential extras
It is worth noting that the camera doesn't come with an SD card, so you'll need to get one.  I picked up a 16GB Sandisk SD card for ~£8.

You'll also find a lot of people advocate getting a UV filter for your lens to help protect it from damage and fingerprints.  It'll also reduce the blueish tinge you get on outdoor photos from natural light (apparently).  I plumped for the Hoya 58mm UV Filter as it had favourable reviews, and again was only ~£8.

Finally you'll want a case.  That's a personal choice and there's loads out there, so I'll leave that decision up to you!

Optional extras
If you've read this far then you must be interested!  The beauty of an SLR is the fact that you can change the lens to suit the photograph you want to take.  A little bit of research will point you in the right direction, but to save you a little bit of time you'll find that for the Canon 600D most people will tell you to get this lens - Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II Lens

It has a large aperture (f/1.8) which means that, compared to other lenses, it will take pin sharp pictures with a blurred background (small depth of field), and has a fixed focal length (i.e. no zoom).  So great for making the subject of your picture stand out.

For telephoto (zoom) photos the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Lens is the one most people will plump for (and can afford!)

We've not got either of these lenses yet, but if we do I'll be sure to let you know how we get on with them.

So that's it, we're very happy with our purchase, have a brand new hobby, and heartily recommend it!  As we take useful photos to demonstrate the different functions, I'll try and write them up on here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bird strike!

Posted by Chris @ 10:06 pm

Ever since we moved into our new house last September we've experienced a lot of bird strikes, i.e. birds flying into our windows. Normally these are just pidgeons, doves, or smaller, but today we got a surprise.

I wandered out onto the patio to find this, a bloomin' Sparrowhawk!

Dead Sparrowhawk

It was certainly very dead, and hit the window with some pace. So much pace in fact, that it left quite the imprint on the window. Check it out! You can see the wings, eyes, beak, breast and even claw marks. Fascinating stuff.

Sparrowhawk imprint

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vegetable patch

Posted by Chris @ 9:02 pm

Dawn's keen for us to grow some vegetables in our garden, so in order to do this we need a vegetable patch! I'm not going to go on too much, suffice to say I'm keeping a photo log of the project and you can find it here.

Friday, March 05, 2010

This blog has moved

Posted by Chris @ 10:07 pm

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baby number two!

Posted by Chris @ 9:36 pm

In case you didn't know Dawn's pregnant again. What you might not know is she told me on Christmas morning, and filmed it. Now the secret is out see the video here and be sure to read the description for the full details.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New sofa

Posted by Chris @ 8:24 pm

Coco Sofa
I've been promising Dawn we'd get a new sofa suite since we moved into our first house, as we have been using Mum and Dads old one. So, nearly 6 years on and in a different house I've finally relented!

We've gone for the Coco range (I know, the name couldn't be more perfect eh!), in Jumbo Chocolate. We've got a 3 seater, single chair and Cuddler Designer Swivel chair (essentially a large single chair that Dawn can't stop banging on about how comfy it is!)
3 seater

Cuddler Designer Swivel Chair

Single chair
So there you go, now we just have to wait 10 weeks for them to turn up.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Bloody connection fees and Pipex

Posted by Chris @ 7:41 pm

Gargh, as if moving house and getting to exchange of contracts hasn't been bad enough now comes the seemingly simple task of getting phone and broadband at the new house. How wrong can I be.

So, it turns out at the new house they use Talk Talk at the moment. Not my first choice for broadband and calls, that would be, but they would charge us £100 to connect the line. Plus they're more expensive than Talk Talk, so that's a bit of a let down. So, I thought I could get a BT line for calls, then get broadband from However, again, that pesky connection charge, this time from BT for £122.50 puts us off. So looks like we're stuck with TalkTalk, we'll have to see how that goes.

So anyway, I then cancelled the BT line at our current house, and the broadband and calls with Pipex. Only both companies have stupid inflexible systems in place. BT can only cancel your line after 14 days. Don't ask me why, but that means our phone line will be active for whoever moves into our house 3 days after we've moved out, and we're going to be liable for the cost of any calls. Ridiculous, thank God we don't think anyone will be moving in immediately. And what if we hadn't had 14 days notice of our moving day, we'd have been screwed.

And as for Pipex, it is worse! I phoned up, and from today then can only cancel the broadband in 30 days, but the calls bit will be cancelled in 3-5 days. How stupid is that, so I wouldn't be able to ring anyone, but still browse the web. And it gets worse. So I say we're moving out in 13 days, but he can't do anything. 30 days, that's it. So now our broadband will run until sometime in Oct, even tho the BT landline is going in 2 weeks, so completely unusable, yet I'm still getting billed for it. One big con. And for the calls bit, I have to ring up again in a few days to cancel those, 3-5 days before we move out. They can't set an end date for the calls, no, that would be too sensible. It's a shame, because as a broadband service they've been super reliable.