Unboxing the Canon EOS 70D + Buying my First DSLR

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Unboxing the Canon EOS 70D

If you are a long time reader of my blog, you will know my love of photography. I have always loved taking photographs, from my first Kodak when I was a child, to my very first digital compact in my early 20s. I turned into a Panasonic girl in 2006 when my husband, Steve and I bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18. I was always a happy snapper – taking photos of friends and family, days out, and our holidays. But towards the end of 2010 I decided I wanted to focus more on how to take better photos. As the new year rang in for 2011, I started my first Project 365. I would take a photograph a day, with the sole aim of improving my photography.

In November 2011 I started this blog, and was also nearing the end of Project 365. I loved taking a photograph (and more!) a day so much, that I continued into 2012 (where I saw a marked improvement in my photography), and then into 2013, when I upgraded to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. With this camera I started to teach myself how to use some of the manual controls this type of camera offered me. We also had various other Panasonic cameras at this time – a compact for taking to concerts, and a waterproof one too.

Bridge v DSLR

Every so often, I kept thinking that I should step up to a digital SLR camera, but I would argue with myself, not knowing if I wanted the faff of having to learn something new, or could handle the expense of lenses and other kit. Part of me was also being stubborn when all around me, I would hear that you needed a DSLR to take good photos, and I would argue that no, actually you don’t.

And I always set out to prove it to myself, more than anyone else. People would ask me what camera I had, because they wanted to be able to take “good pictures” like me. I would always say that the best camera is the one in your hand, and that statement still stands true for me. Taking a photograph is more than holding a camera and clicking a button. But that’s a post for another time.

Over the years I fell in love even more with my Lumix, and have taken thousands, of photos, thanks to days out, family events, holidays, and continuing with Project 365:2014, and Project 365:2015. At the start of 2016, I decided I’d take a break from a photo a day with Project 365, and embarked on Project 52 instead – a photo a week (although, I am still taking photos more often than that).

Going back in time though… I was sat on the kerb at Magic Kingdom on October 31st 2015, waiting for the Halloween parade to start; scrolling through Disney photogoraphy websites for camera settings for this particular parade and the tricky lighting conditions, and trying to figure out how to tweak my non-DSLR camera settings to match those suggested. As the parade rolled around, and I captured what I could (many in frustration at them not turning out right) I realised that I had outgrown my camera – I had taken it as far as I could go, and I wanted more control.

Project 365 2015 - Day 304

The internal debate still went back and forth in my head though, and it wasn’t until about six weeks ago, that I took myself off to my local camera shop T & B Photographic in Romford, and actually held a DSLR in my hand, and clicked the shutter to take a photograph – something I’ve never done before. I explained my internal predicament, to Denis, the owner of the shop – how I have been a Panasonic girl for 10 years, that I wasn’t sure if a digital SLR would be right for me, and feeling like I was actually betraying myself! (Seriously, I LOVE my Lumix). I’m weird. I know.

Denis, started to show me the various Canon cameras. I asked him about the whole Canon ‘v’ Nikon debate, and his opinion was that it was like a BMW ‘v’ Mercedes debate – people just like one over the other. When I polled my DLSR owning friends, it was always split between Canon and Nikon. Since I was starting with zero knowledge, I was happy looking at the Canon range and was open to pretty much anything.

He showed me the entry level DSLRs, and I quickly realised that whilst I had zero experience with a DSLR, I did know the basics – having some manual control on my Lumix. BUT, I wanted to be able to challenge myself. My thinking was, “if I buy a basic model, and then find that I needed to upgrade it sooner rather than later (which we deduced I probably would do), it’ll have been a waste of money”. 

So Denis demonstrated the Canon EOS 70D, a more intermediate camera, and I made the decision that yes, this was the camera for me. I didn’t buy the camera on that day though – I still needed time to think about it, and put the funds together to purchase it. In fact, I still continued the internal argument with myself! But a couple weeks ago, I went back to T & B Photographic, and purchased my first DSLR. I walked out of the shop knowing that I was stepping into a new era of my personal photographic journey!

Unboxing the Canon EOS 70D

Everything I needed to get started with my first DSLR came in this neat little box:

  • Camera Body with Cap
  • EF-S 18-55 IS STM Lens
  • Battery Pack
  • Battery Charger
  • Camera Strap
  • Interface Cable
  • Basic Instructions Manual
  • Wi-Fi Funcion Instruction Manual
  • EOS Camera Instruction Manuals Disk – with more detailed instructions
  • EOS Solution Disk – contains various software
  • EOS Adventure Portrait & Landscape Photography Tips

You can check all the specs of this camera over on T & B Photographic’s website.

On top of that I also bought a Kenko SMART Filter to protect the lens. It’s designed specifically to protect the lens without affecting the colour balance; a screen protector for the LED screen (my Lumix screen is scratched bad!); and a bag to put all my new gear into.

Canon EOS 70D - My First DSLR Camera

I really am the sort of person who just opens up a new piece of tech, and starts using it, without paying much attention to instruction manuals, but I will be reading the manual for this camera from beginning to end. It’s got a lot of bells and whistles that I am not used to using at all, and I want to make the most of this camera.  I charged the battery up (took about 2 hours) and inserted into the battery compartment, and also popped in the SD Card, which is in a separate place to the battery – different to my Lumix. I also formatted the card on this new camera so that there wouldn’t be any conflicts.

Canon EOS 70D - My First DSLR Camera

Canon EOS 70D - My First DSLR Camera

Denis suggested, to start with, to just put it in auto and go out and about, snapping. Ain’t nobody got time for that, I was messing about with aperture, and shutter speed, and all sorts within hours of opening it! The first photo I took? Disney Easter Eggs, of course!

Disney Mickey & Minnie Easter Eggs

I’m really looking forward to learning how to use this camera. I know that things will be a bit weird at first – for starters I have to hold the camera completely differently to my Lumix. I have to zoom by turning the lens, and not triggering a lever like I used to. I also have to get used to the weight and size of the Canon too, as my new camera is heavier and bigger than my Lumix.

The first time I put the Canon to use in the field, as it were, was during a restaurant review (post coming soon!). I was still only a few days into using it, and brought my “other camera” (ooh, get me!) along with me, with the intention to use both, just in case I mess up the photos! I used my Lumix once, and then it got put back in my bag. The ease at which I could get a nice shallow depth of field without even trying was the immediate win for me! I can do it with my other camera, but I often have to faff about with it, and do a lot of zooming in and out to make it focus where I want.

However, when we went out for a walk in the park, I was then frustrated because I wasn’t able to zoom into the ducks on the pond with my Canon, as the 18-55mm lens I have doesn’t have the kind of superzoom that I am used to (my Lumix has a 600mm equivalent lens). So in time, a telephoto lens is going to have to be invested in. My husband had brought the Lumix out with us, and as I grabbed it to take a photo of a duck on the water, I couldn’t believe how weird it felt to hold that camera! It felt small and light, and I automatically put my hand up to turn the lens (which you don’t do on that camera!). It’s amazing how in a short space of time I got used to using a DSLR. But here’s that photo of the duck!


Orange Flower

I was able to get some nice close up shots like the orange flower above. I haven’t got the focus point completely right, but as a starting point, it’s good enough. I don’t expect to suddenly become an amazing photographer overnight, now that I have a DLSR! I have a long way to go yet, but I’m excited about the journey!

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