Friday, June 29, 2007

Spending Spree

Camera purchases go in spurts for me. And I think I'm in one of those spurts...

Of course, you already know about the 20D. It is still on its way. Man, I wish their shipping was faster.

Oh, and I haven't decided on the SquareTrade warranty yet, but my post ended up getting a reference on the SquareTrade News blog. Looks like SquareTrade (which has at least one more blog started this month) is actively attempting to counter their bad press (and doing focus groups). This is a good thing for consumers like us, because if they care about their reputation, they are going to lean towards pleasing the customer in any grey area situations. Most likely I'll be getting that warranty, but I want to look over the 20D (and Canon's warranty) first.

The other thing I've purchased recently is a couple of 2GB Kingston Ultimate 133X from MPEX. I found out about the deal at Strobist (go to Strobist for the link to the cards under rebate). At $19 each, shipped (after rebate), I couldn't pass it up. Quantities are limited, but they have some left as of today. I recommend going with the USPS priority mail shipping, it is $6.50 for the two cards. My main complaint about MPEX is their website isn't that great and it doesn't even show the shipping cost until you've already paid. I e-mailed them to ask about shipping, and while they took a day or two to respond (after I placed my order) they seem on the ball. Also, according to Stuart: "Also, just so you know, we are working on a new site. It will be ready to launch in October."

The main reason I didn't go larger was my desire to reduce risk if a card goes bad. I figure more, smaller cards are better than fewer, bigger cards. I'd hate to lose a whole day's photos if one goes bad. BTW, for my XT (and 20D) I can fit about 250 RAW files on a 2GB card. Oh, and I'd be lying if I said the cost of the larger cards didn't factor into my decision.

Also, I spent the extra few bucks on the 133X cards because I'm finding I'm using continuous mode a little more often, especially in macros when I'm not sure my focus is right. Instead, I stick it on rapid-fire and spray shots while moving closer or further away, with the assumption that one or two will have the right depth of field and focus. But with only 4 frames of RAW buffer (6 on the 20D) I find it fills up really fast, in just over a second. The 133X should help that buffer clear faster so I can space my bursts closer together.

Edit: Aww, crap. Looks like Kingston cards are slow. See Rob Galbraith's CF/SD card comparisons (a year old) and the comments on the original Strobist post. This review isn't as bad though. Oh well, at least the price is good :)

Another item I'm planning on purchasing right after I get the 20D is extra batteries. Depending on the condition of the battery I get with the 20D, I'll either get 1 or 2 BP-511A's from eForcity. I got my extra 350D batteries from eForcity and was really pleased with the service, shipping speed, and quality. Oh, and don't forget the cost: new batteries for $12 shipped is a deal.

Finally, I almost bought a Lightsphere II Cloud C1 for my Sunpak 383, but someone else beat me to it (it was used on DPC). While I don't really need a flash diffuser (or at least I don't use flash a lot) the price was too good to pass up. Oh well, I guess I'll have to figure out how to make one with tupperware and tape.

Oh yeah, I've been slowly working on my Hardware Inventory. Within the next few days I hope to have it up to date, and compete a Software Inventory. Knowing what hardware I've bought (and the value of it) will help me when I evaluate my break-even level for doing portrait shoots.

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