Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Equipment Reviews

As well as recording our trips and photos we'll also be writing short reviews of our equipment. One thing that was very useful when starting out was reading what equipment people were using, how they used it and what their experiences were.

Something that was apparent when we started was the dominance of two manufacturers in DSLR wildlife photography; Canon and Nikon. As we had no legacy lenses to limit us we checked out both systems and the Canon won out for us purely on the handling but either is perfectly adequate and a good base for the future. Now that we have a lot of Canon glass we will likely stick with them for a long time but people often switch particularly when upgrading to professional level kit depending on what's the best at the time.

We won't be going into any great technical detail, lots of other sites already provide this. We regularly check out The Digital Picture for their extensive technical reviews and lens comparisons and FredMiranda for community reviews. Another regular site when deciding where to buy something is Camera Price Buster which lists all the main Canon, Nikon and other manufacturers, the current best prices and price trends over time. There may well be better prices somewhere but this takes a lot of the effort out of deciding on a store and what you can afford. They also have store reviews so you can avoid the really bad places.

Personally we've purchased kit online from Amazon, Dabs, RGB Photo and UK Highland and had no real problems with any of them. When buying from Amazon be absolutely sure who you're actually buying from (we nearly always buy direct from Amazon.co.uk), many stores sell through Amazon and not all of them are reliable. We occasionally buy small accessories like camera bags, lens hoods and cleaning kit from Jessops in Liverpool simply due to convenience.

Some sites offer kit at much lower prices and there are always concerns about sites either selling second hand, refurbished or grey import items as genuine items. Some stores based off-shore can also sell at very low prices but there again concerns about receiving dud or grey import items and many such sites are also quite vague about whether import duty and VAT have been paid. Personally we prefer to support good UK stores and avoid the issues and hassle of receiving something different to what you ordered. I'm sure many people have perfectly good experiences but there are enough horror stories to put us off effectively gambling on whether we get what we paid for or not.

Now that we have the equipment and have used it for quite a while we can give you our experiences. We will update any reviews over time if we encounter any problems or discover any useful tips.

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