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 Amazon.co.uk - 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.