Tools of the trade!

Well you are either a Canon person or a Nikon person - not sure there is any real difference! I know that my Canon gear does a really great job. The user lets the equipment down!

The first Canon was, and still is magnificent. Canon 400D - My daughter uses it. 18- 55 lens, Many of the pictures were taken with this camera. Bought a second hand battery pack from EBAY, - quite possibly the best addition that I had. Added stability and a nice square feel. In addition the buttons are identical when being used for portrait and landscape. Really useful doubling or tripling the amount of power available to be used.

I am now using a Canon D600, still using the 18- 55 lens, however the later version. This lens seems a tad better - but there is little to choose. The photos are better but I can't really tell if its because I am more able to use the camera or because the noise on the 400D was less intrusive.

The overview of this camera is this copied from the Amazon Website:
My critically negative comments are in RED! My positive comments are in GREEN

Product Features

  • Megapixel: 18.0 MP
  • Camera type: SLR Body
  • Optical sensor size: -
  • Sensor type: CMOS
  • Maximum image resolution: 5184 x 3456 pixels
  • Outstanding image quality from an 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor and 14-bit DIGIC 4 image processor
  • ISO 100-6400, expandable to ISO 12,800, (not sure how to do this, but the grain is simply objectionable at 6400 in any case)for flash-free low-light shooting
  • Scene Intelligent Auto optimises camera settings for beautiful images every time (Good - but tends to be 1 stop darker than you would wish)
  • Full-HD EOS Movie, with Video Snapshot for multi-scene movie clips. (Great definition and fantastic quality - but a very odd codec that may not work on your edit package - it doesn't on mine! - Never use it)
  • Shoot from any angle with a 1,040k-dot vari-angle 7.7cm (3.0") screen (Superb for many reasons - Shoot over peoples heads)

Technical Details

Type - 22.3 x 14.9mm CMOS
Effective Pixels - Approx. 18.0 Megapixels
Total Pixels - Approx 18.7 megapixels
Aspect Ratio - 3:2
Low-Pass Filter - Built-in/Fixed
Sensor Cleaning - EOS integrated cleaning system (works well)
Colour Filter Type - Primary ColourIMAGE PROCESSOR
Type - DIGIC 4
Lens Mount - EF/EF-S (Many lenses out there - lots of quality)
Focal Length - Equivalent to 1.6x the focal length of the lens
Type - TTL-CT-SIR with a CMOS sensor
AF System/ Points - 9 AF points (f/5.6 cross type at centre, extra sensitivity at f/2.8)
AF working range - EV -0.5 -18 (at 23°C & ISO100)
AF Modes - AI Focus, One Shot, AI Servo ( Can also add time delay)
AF Point Selection - Automatic selection, Manual selection
Selected AF point display - Superimposed in viewfinder and indicated on LCD monitor
Predictive AF (7) - Yes up to 8m
AF Lock - Locked when shutter button is pressed half way in One Shot AF mode.
AF Assist Beam - Intermittent firing of built-in flash or emitted by optional dedicated Speedlite
Manual Focus - Selected on lens, default in Live View Mode ( Seems to have some sort of slap back)
AF Micro adjustment – No
Metering modes - TTL full aperture metering with 63-zone SPC (1) Evaluative metering (linked to all AF points), (2) Partial metering at center (approx. 9% of viewfinder) (3) Spot metering (approx. 4% of viewfinder at center), (4) Center weighted average metering
Metering Range - EV 1-20 (at 23°C with 50mm f/1.4 lens ISO100)
AE Lock - Auto: In 1-shot AF mode with evaluative metering exposure is locked when focus is achieved. Manual: By AE lock button in creative zone modes.
Exposure Compensation - +/-5 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments (can be combined with AEB).
AEB - 3 shots +/- 2 EV, 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments
ISO Sensitivity (8) - AUTO(100-6400), 100-6400 Expandable to H (approx 12800) in 1-stop increments
Type - Electronically-controlled focal-plane shutter (This can be locked up)
Speed - 30-1/4000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode)
Type - Auto white balance with the imaging sensor
Settings - AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White, Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom. White balance compensation: 1. Blue/Amber +/-9 2. Magenta/ Green +/-9.
Custom White Balance - Yes, 1 setting can be registered
WB Bracketing - +/-3 levels in single level increments, 3 bracketed images per shutter release. Selectable Blue/Amber bias or Magenta/ Green bias. (FAntastic function - but shoot in RAW and then fine tune it))
Type – Pentamirror
Coverage (Vertical/Horizontal) - Approx. 95%
Magnification - Approx. 0.85x (4)
Eyepoint - Approx. 19mm (from eyepiece lens centre)
Dioptre Correction - -3 to +1 m-1 (dioptre)
Focusing Screen – Fixed
Mirror - Quick-return half mirror (Transmission: reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cut-off with EF600mm f/4 or shorter)
Viewfinder Information - AF information: AF points, focus confirmation light. Exposure information: Shutter speed, aperture value, ISO speed always displayed), AE lock, exposure level/compensation, spot metering circle, exposure warning, AEB Flash information: Flash ready, high-speed sync, FE lock, flash exposure compensation, red-eye reduction light. Image information: Highlight tone priority (D+), monochrome shooting, maximum burst (1 digit display), White balance correction, SD card information (No need to have it on an LCD on top)
Depth of field preview - Yes, with Depth of Field preview button.
Eyepiece shutter - On strap
Type - Vari angle 7.7cm (3.0") 3:2 Clear View TFT, approx. 1040K dots (Superb and really useful)
Coverage - Approx. 100%
Viewing Angle - (horizontally/vertically) Approx 170°
Coating - Dual Anti-reflection, anti smudge
Brightness - Adjustment Adjustable to one of seven levels
Display Options - (1) Quick Control Screen (2) Camera settings
Built-in Flash GN (ISO 100, meters) 13 ( Ineffectual flash - buy big gun and stick to side)
Built-in Flash Coverage up to 17mm focal length (35mm equivalent: 27mm)
Built-in Flash recycle time - Approx. 3 seconds
Modes Auto, Manual flash, Integrated Speedlite Transmitter  (Wireless flash works superbly - buy the camera if you are going to take flash - almost impossible to trick - even on Autmatic, I run 2 430's from it at the same time good layout and also compensates for the second flash gun.)
Red-Eye Reduction - Yes - with red eye reduction lamp
X-sync - 1/200sec
Flash Exposure Compensation - +/- 2EV in 1/2 or 1/3 increments
Flash Exposure Bracketing - Yes, with compatible ExEOS 600Dal Flash
Flash Exposure Lock – Yes
Second Curtain Synchronisation – Yes
HotShoe/ PC terminal - Yes/ -
ExEOS 600Dal Flash Compatibility - E-TTL II with EX series Speedlites, wireless multi-flash support
ExEOS 600Dal Flash Control - via camera menu screen (all works well)
Modes - Scene Intelligent Auto, No Flash, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Movie, Program AE , Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, Automatic depth-of-field AE
Picture Styles - Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined (x3)
Colour Space - sRGB and Adobe RGB
Image Processing - Highlight Tone Priority, Auto Lighting Optimizer (4 settings), Long exposure noise reduction, High ISO speed noise reduction (4 settings), Auto Correction of Lens Peripheral illumination, Basic+ (Shoot by ambience selection, Shoot by lighting or scene type), Creative filters (Grainy B/W, Soft focus, Toy camera, Miniature effect, Fish-eye) – during image Playback only
Drive modes - Single, Continuous, Self timer (2s, 10s+remote, 10s + continuous shots 2-10)
Continuous Shooting - Max. Approx. 3.7fps for approx. 34 JPEG images (1), 6 images RAW (2)
Type - Electronic viewfinder with image sensor
Coverage - Approx. 99% (horizontally and vertically)
Frame Rate - 30 fps
Focusing - Manual Focus (Magnify the image 5x or 10x at any point on screen) Autofocus: Quick mode, Live mode
Metering Real-time evaluative metering with image sensor, Active metering time can be changed
Display Options - Grid overlay, Histogram
Still Image Type - JPEG: Fine, Normal (Exif 2.30 compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system (2.0), RAW: RAW (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition), Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant, RAW+JPEG simultaneous recording Yes, RAW + Large JPEG
Image Size - JPEG 3:2: (L) 5184x3456, (M) 3456x2304, (S1) 2592x1728, (S2) 1920x1280, (S3) 720x480, JPEG, 4:3: (L) 4608x3456, (M) 3072x2304, (S1) 2304x1728, (S2) 1696x1280, (S3) 640x480, JPEG, 16:9: (L) 5184x2912, (M) 3456x1944, (S1) 2592x1456 (S2) 1920x1080, (S3) 720x400, JPEG, 1:1: (L) 3456x3456, (M) 2304x2304, (S1) 1728x1728, (S2) 1280x1280, (S3) 480x480, RAW: (RAW) 5184x3456
Movie Type - MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM)
Movie Size - 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps) 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps) 640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps)
Movie Length - Max duration 29min 59sec, Max file size 4GB
Folders - New folders can be manually created and selected
File Numbering - (1) Consecutive numbering, (2) Auto reset, (3) Manual reset
Custom Functions - 11 Custom Functions with 34 settings
Metadata Tag - User copyright information (can be set in camera), Image rating (0-5 stars)
Intelligent Orientation Sensor – Yes
Playback zoom - 1.5x - 10x enabled in 15 steps
Display Formats - (1) Single image with information, (2 levels), (2) Single image, (3) 4 image index, (4) 9 image index, (5) Jump Display
Slide Show - Image selection: All images, by Date, by Folder, Movies, Stills, Playback time: 1/2/3/5 seconds, Repeat: On/Off
Histogram Brightness – Yes, RGB: Yes
Highlight Alert – Yes
Image Erase/Protection - Erase: Single image, All images in folder, Checkmarked images, unprotected images, Protection: Erase protection of one image at a time
Menu Categories - (1) Shooting menu (x4), (2) Playback menu (x2), (3) Setup menu (x3), (4) My Menu
Enu Languages - 25 Languages- English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese
Firmware Update Update possible by the user.
Computer - Hi-Speed USB
Other Video output - (PAL/ NTSC) (integrated with USB terminal), HDMI mini output (HDMI-CEC compatible), ExEOS 600Dal microphone (3.5mm Stereo mini jack)
Canon Printers - Canon Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge
PictBridge – Yes (Never tried)
Type - SD card, SDHC card or SDXC card ( Good and cheaper than CF - Used qualiy cards though(SAN Disc))
PC & Macintosh - Windows XP inc SP3 / Vista inc SP1 and SP2 (excl. Starter Edition) / 7 (excl. Starter Edition), OS X v10.4-10.6 (Works well on Linux _Suse and Ubuntu - don't let that put you off. Gimp now has a plugin that allows you to edit RAW files)
Canon Browsing & Printing - ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser
Image Processing - Digital Photo Professional
Other - PhotoStitch, EOS Utility (inc. Remote Capture), Picture Style Editor
Batteries - 1 x Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E8
Battery life - Approx. 440 (at 23°C, AE 50%, FE 50%) (5) Approx. 400 (at 0°C, AE 50%, FE 50%) (Good battery - After market batteries are OK too.)
Battery Indicator - 4 levels
Power saving - Power turns off after 30sec or 1, 2, 4, 8 or 15mins.
Power Supply & Battery Chargers - AC Adapter Kit ACK-E8, Battery charger LC-E8, LC-E8E
Body Materials - Stainless Steel and polycarbonate resin with glass fiber
Operating Environment - 0 – 40 °C, 85% or less humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) - 133.1 x 99.5 x 79.7 mm
Weight - (body only) Approx. 570g (CIPA testing standard, including battery and memory card)
Viewfinder - Eyecup Ef, E-series Dioptric Adjustment Lens with Rubber Frame Ef, Eyepiece Extender EP-EX15II, Angle Finder C
Case - Semi-Hard Case EH19-L
Wireless File Transmitter - Compatible with Eye-Fi cards
Lenses - All EF and EF-S lenses
Flash - Canon Speedlites (220EX, 270EX, 270EX II, 320EX, 420EX, 430EX, 430EX II, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, Macro-Ring-Lite, MR-14EX, Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX, Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2)
Battery Grip - BG-E8
Remote Controller/ Switch Remote - Switch RS-60E3, Remote Controller RC-6 Other Hand Strap E2
All data is based on Canon standard testing methods except where indicated.
Subject to change without notice
1 - Large/Fine (Quality 8) resolution
2 - Based on Canon's testing conditions, JPEG, ISO 100, Standard Picture Style. Varies depending on the subject, memory card brand and capacity, image recording quality, ISO speed, drive mode, Picture Style, Custom functions etc.
3 - Compatible with large memory card capacities, including cards of 2GB and more (camera may require firmware update).(Using 4's 8's and 16's - no firmware upgrade)
4 - with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m-1 dpt
5 - Based on the CIPA Standard and using the batteries and memory card format supplied with the camera, except where indicated
6 - Memory card and battery door only
7 - with EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM at 50kph
8 - Recommended Exposure Index
9 - Environmental protection

The best things about the camera: On full Auto works well including fool proof flash. On manual totally configurable. Same Sensor as 60D and 7D. Think before you buy the other more expensive cameras - do your research well.   Shoot in RAW and you can do almost anything to a digital  image    The tilting screen. When you hit the lift mirror button - you can see what you are going to take. If you hit the preview on the very right you zoom in digitally  - capable of really sharp focus,    

Put on an Aftermarket battery pack - a good buy! Makes you look more professional and cuts some vibration. Possibly not so great if you have small hands.

The Polaroid extension tubes are very good robust - good crisp fit too.

they work really well with the 50 MM 1.8 lens. Very sharp and all the functions are maintained. Even flash!

The 55 - 250 Canon lens seems a good buy.

The 430 ex II flash guns working wirelessly as a pair are excellent lots of control and do not seem to be easily fooled. They keep their configuration from the camera. The manual is pretty clear - when you have set them up a few times they do not seem half so complicated. They prefer line of sight - but close to they can work well out of sight.

Have got the 18-55 lens still - and it will be off to good home (Elton) but the 15 to 85 eats it alive - it should at the price though! Does not appear to have very much extra at either end - speed of focussing is rapid and silent - never really rated quiet motors as important. But WOW fast. It is possible to take manual control of it when operating too.  A degree sharper. I suspect it would be even better on a 7D - no reason why it has to be! I just know it will be.

This means I don't tend to reach for the Sigma wideangle quite as much. Most of my ket has come via Amazon. Excellent company.