Camera Purchase Strategy (for those a bit unsure for what your getting into)
So, you've read enough and decided to buy the Digital Rebel. Great. People tend to research the camera to death, but the peripherals are ignored or ever unknown.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
You need to buy:
A) Camera (& get the 18-55mm lens kit) The price of the camera is pretty much firm. If you find a substantially lower price on-line – its probably too good to be true. Read the merchant reviews! I bought mine at the local camera shop with the best (30 day) return policy. Yes, I paid more in tax than I would have in shipping, but if needed to return it I do it personally and know where I stand immediately.
B) Compact flash Memory card(s): 512 MB Minimum, 1GB is better. Buy before or with the camera. Shopping on-line will save you a lot. The fastest SanDisk Ultra II (9MB per sec. transfer speeds) cost only a little more than other cards. "Fast" is meaningless unless it has a real specification number with it. Concerning downloading your pictures to your computer you don't see the extra speed of the fast cards using the cable supplied with the camera. Using a $10 "PC Card Adapter" allows you to remove the CompactFlash card from the camera and plug it into your laptop's card slot and be immediately recognized as a new drive delivers very fast transfers. This is cheaper and faster than a card reader.
C) Software, of course, is the essence of making digital cameras work. Canon includes Adobe Photoshop Element 2.0 free with the camera which is very good. Play with it first. Adobe Photoshop CS is reasonable if you are upgrading, expensive if your buying for the first time ($600). But if you want to process RAW files the new Photoshop CS has the conversions built in – and its great, along with top of the line professional tools - which take time to learn.
D) An extra lens or two. The Canon the 18-55mm lens is a good start for the money, but you will want some telephoto capacity too. This is a high performance camera which can handle lens costing more than it does. But you don't have to have professional lens to take very nice pictures. Try them out at you local camera shop, shoot 50 shots in 5 minutes then take them back to your PC and zoom in for detail. Again, buying on-line is cheaper.
E) Free for downloading: DeadPixelTest.exe Find and download this file to test your camera. It comes with straightforward instructions.
F) Photo printer? Your existing color printer may work well for you. Something that will turn out 4 x 6 prints to share with everyone else is nice. "Free" digital film is offset buy expensive per print do-it-yourself printing costs. For those pictures deserving to be hung on your wall forever – find the local professional shop and get perfection from a printer you can't afford. After all this is why you bought the camera, it will cost you more to frame it than print. Then sign it – its art!
G) An extra battery, be prepared. Again, cheaper on-line.
I purchased all my accessories online from B&H Photo Video in New York city (www.bhphotovideo.com
or 800 947-9978) and they performed almost flawlessly.