Thursday, February 27, 2014

Purchasing a camera for ranch use

My brand new Canon 7D and two kit lenses (aka, personal sacrifices instead of a single L-series lens due to the purchase of a camera body) arrived today!! I am anxiously checking the battery charger every 5 minutes, and it has been doing the whole blink-three-times-in-rapid-succession thing it supposedly does when its nearly charged for over an hour! Ugh.
Outside there is a brand new calf, another soon-to-be brand new calf, and sunshine. And to think, my husband asked me what I was doing this afternoon, and looked at me oddly when I was snappish that the 4-wheeler was nearly out of fuel.
The poor man.
The thing I have learned this time around in buying a camera body is that it's like buying cars, hydraulic chutes or mineral in that every single option on the lot is nearly perfect to hear the sales people tell it.
Uhuh. I have a 1.5 year old Canon 60D camera being sent to Canon for the second time in four months right now that was "the best thing going" a year and a half ago. I don't know if it was the same sales person or not, but when I was explaining my issues the second time they developed - a couple weeks ago, the guy replied, "Oh, well it does have an aluminum body, which is more for hobbyists than professionals. He wasn't rude about it, but put emphasis on the fact that apparently the different materials Canon makes body's out of is a big deal.
So, rewind a year and a half, when I'm explaining to someone in this very shop that while I am not a National Geographic photographer, I use my equipment like one. It is outside, in the weather, occasionally covered in substances that could have come out of either end of a bovine or pig, and needs to stand up to things like moisture, dust, slobber, LA200, etc...
At that time I was told the 60D was the best camera for the money, unless I wanted to jump into the Mark series, which I did not because my budget did not allow for upgrading to an entire set of L-series lenses, which is all you can use on a Mark body.
We discussed thoroughly the advantages and disadvantages of all options before I made my purchase. The sales consultant was confident I would be thrilled with the 60D, and I was, at first, until a year into owning it, the camera began producing grainy and dull images. For something that was by no means cheap, and projected to last years, this was an expected and upsetting development to suddenly discover when reviewing a senior photo shoot.
So, to have someone at the same shop basically say, well duh honey, it has an aluminum body, was a bit irritating.
Then began our conversation on what I should buy as a new body that will hopefully stand up to the elements I shoot in a little better. And, what does this guy tell me. He suggests the latest, greatest, camera-of-the-year 70D, which is constructed of the same hobbyist grade aluminum as the 60D.
Seriously dude?!
We go on to discuss the 6D, Mark iii and 7D as well, and I get the stats on all four options, then agree to call back with my decision. I was this close (- -) to taking the plunge and getting the Mark iii, but again the ability to not use the majority of my lenses in combination with not having several extra thousand laying around to buy new lenses with stopped me. In the end, as I said above, I went with the 7D, which is made of the professional grade magnesium alloy, after emailing someone who is a year and a half into owning and using one the same way I would, with zero issues.
So, while I am tickled pink to have a new camera body, and realize that if they can fix my 60D I will no longer have to rent a backup body for weddings in addition to a few other perks, I am also a little irked that I am not lovingly gazing at a high end, low F-stop lens that I had my heart set on purchasing in 2014.
I should also point out that I am on a bit of a soapbox on this topic at the moment, but as a whole the camera shop I use is tremendous, and incredibly helpful. The people are very knowledgeable and provide top-of-the-line customer service. I have simply come to the realization that much like buying cars, chutes or mineral, buying camera equipment should involve a lot more research than talking to "the experts," and doing online comparisons. They have no idea what to say when you explain that while you take "good care" of your equipment you need to know how it will stand up to being chewed on by a baby pig, licked by a cow, hung on a fence in its bag in light snow, 50 mph blowing dust instead of the tame variety found in studios, and the occasional coating of vaccine. You need to go find a neighbor to ask about such things in order to get a feel for how your potential purchase will work in the real world.


  1. I've heard that the 60D is a tremendous camera for anything that you could throw at it. I have a regular rebel t3i that I use for my farm photography and its doing quite well... but I'm also not fooled to know that things could ruin it quite quickly.
    Please update us on how this camera does, I would be very interested to know how it does as I'm a hobbyist but put my camera through a professionals pace as well!!

  2. I really enjoy looking at your pictures of your ranch! They are absolutely beautiful! I am new to the camera world besides on my cell phone! Your pictures make me feel like I am right there on your ranch! Thanks for the advice!