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Canon 400dCanon 400D
After my Digital Rebel packed in I was forced to go DSLR shopping!! The only options were going for the latest Canon 400D or the slightly lower spec and cheaper price of the 350D. After looking around I got a good deal at Dixons for the 400D so decided to buy it in November 2006. So far I have been very impressed with this camera and would recommend this range of Canon DSLR’s to anyone entering the DSLR world. The major advantages I have found over the 300D are:

9 focusing points instead of 7
10.1 megapixels instead of 6.3 megapixels
The camera is much faster starting up and reading/writing to the memory card resulting in impressively fast download speeds
Smaller size - easier to carry around though some people might find it too small
Dust removing sensor - yet to test how well this works but sounds good!!
Large LCD screen
More functions - metering modes, autofocus modes and custom functions

In my opinion Canon have once again excelled with this camera, producing a camera that is affordable without compromising on too many of the functions essential for semi-professional photography. This camera is simple enough to use for people new to SLRs while also giving the more advanced user almost total control over the images produced. The kit lens is regularly criticised by alot of people however I could not afford a more expensive lens and feel that, when bought with the camera, it offers excellent value for money.

Sigma 50 - 500mm lens
Sigma 50-500mm lensI chose this lens primarily because I wanted a telephoto zoom lens but could not afford anything over GBP1000!! This lens was used to take the majority of photos on this site and I have been very pleased with the sharpness of the images produced. Considering the difference in cost between this lens and a Canon prime lens the quality of the images is impressive. I have had no compatibility problems with either the Digital Rebel or the EOS 400D, even though this is not the later DG model developed by Sigma to be more compatible with DSLRs.
If you want a good telephoto lens, but don't want to re-mortgage your house to buy one, I strongly recommend this lens. The 50-500mm range is great as you can take the same shot from a number of perspectives without having to swap lenses or change cameras all the time. The main issue I have faced is that autofocus can be slow at times which can be a problem when photographing fast moving objects. A faster lens for faster shutter speeds (e.g f4) would also be nice but the cost means they are not an option.

Canon 100 - 400mm lens
After over 20,000 photos my Sigma lens sadly packed up on me and after trying to “survive” without a telephoto lens (I even bought a second hand Canon 200mm but it just didn’t have enough reach) I decided to purchase a second-hand 100-400mm lens. The push-pull mechanism took a bit of getting used to and at times I miss the extra 100mm of zoom (especially for birds) but all in all this is a very good lens. The image stabilisation comes in very handy too when hand-holding the lens although nothing can compensate for the stability provided by a bean bag or tripod.

Manfrotto TripodManfrotto Tripod
After I bought the Sigma lens it became obvious I would need to invest in a good tripod to get decent photos. Due to the long focal range of telephoto lenses, any shake at the camera is magnified by the zoom resulting in blurred photos. After looking at the various options I chose Manfrotto as they were highly recommended by Jessops. I bought the Manfrotto 144 legs with a 141 head which I have used in numerous environments and have found it to be suitable for a wide range of different photography uses from wildlife to weddings! The legs are admittedly quite heavy to carry around, however this lends stability to the tripod when using a heavy telephoto lens which is essential.

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