Monday, September 09, 2013

New camera, a Canon SX50: Not what I budgeted for...

Stop the presses: I bought something expensive again.
Money sink, right here
The acquisition process
Whenever I buy something expensive, I find that I research the hell out of it both before and after the transaction clears. Proper research before spending is usually a good idea to know what you're getting and not have any unexpected surprises -- generally to make sure you get something you're happy with.

But just like how you can't learn how to do everything by reading a book or going to school, you don't think of many things until you have the object of your desire in your hands. That and you've blown the money. There's something about spending all that money that changes the thought process. It's "mine" now and I'm protective and/or paranoid.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12MP Digital Camera
I decided to get a new camera recently, I'll throw up a mini-review later, and the process above happened. What was supposed to be a simple camera purchase has ballooned.

Naturally, I started with the camera, and budgeted for that. A memory card was not necessary because I cannibalized the one for my GoPro Hero2, which I rarely use now -- not like they're that expensive. No camera purchase can be finalized without a case though, so I budgeted about $20 for that, which I managed by getting a Lowepro Ex 120 for $20 from a local store.

And because the main idea behind the SX50 with the 50x zoom was the 50x zoom, a tripod was absolutely necessary. I have a proper tripod, but it's not really "travel size". The tiny Joby rip-off that I have has been very useful and fun for the low price of $10 years ago, so I decided to get a bigger real Joby designed for SLR cameras: Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom . This was so essential to the camera that I picked it up before I got the camera itself at what I thought was a cheap price of CAD$ 36.

Then it started falling apart...

The extras

Bag
Carrying a camera case with a shoulder strap around the neck has never been a look that I liked. To be honest, I don't care for the camera with strap around the neck, casually walking around town either. It screams "tourist" or "artist", and more importantly, come snatch my $1000 camera. I remember seeing someone with a Canon 60D (?) with lens around his neck in a secluded subway stop -- that thing goes for more than $1500 and the strap had the model stamped all over it.

Why'd I get a shoulder strap, small camera bag then and not a backpack or fully disguised messenger bag then?

Messenger bags keep bumping against my ass and leg when walking, which can't be good for the camera.  And they are not comfortable, especially when weighed down with an actual load. Backpacks are nice, but the ones made for cameras are expensive -- the ones I want, at least -- and scream to everyone that you have a very expensive item in your bag that's worth mugging you for.

The bag I got is padded enough to protect the camera and small enough to fit in a backpack. Unfortunately, I only have two backpacks: one that is too small and one that is too big. The small one has a capacity of 14 L and the bigger one is built for a 17" laptop with padding and 3 major compartments. I've been meaning to replace the smaller one because it was my main commuting bag last year and annoyed me to no end with its limited capacity. And more importantly, the camera bag barely fit inside it. So, I went and got a relatively cheap backpack with about 50% more capacity: JanSport Superbreak Classic Backpack Black.

Tripod Ball Head
That great tripod at a cheap price of $36? It didn't come with a removable mount to attach to the camera. Apparently, a bulky camera and a somewhat bulky tripod don't screw into each other that easily. To accommodate the heavier weight of larger cameras, the legs of the Joby are much stiffer, which makes orienting the camera very difficult. The end result was having to get a ball head: Joby BH1 Ball Head. When I started looking for the ball head, I found out that one local store had the head and the legs for sale at $17 cheaper than buying them separately. This price difference was not worth the time to make a return run and a separate repurchase run.

UV filter, adapter, and/or lens hood
Further paranoia set in after I tried the camera out and took some actual pictures I planned on using. Having never had a DSLR, I am not accustomed to having a camera with such a large exposed lens surface that requires a lens cap. All of my old cameras have a lens that fully retract into the body when turned off, and the lens itself is barely the size of a finger nail. It turns out that most amateur and professional photographers use a UV filter or lens hood to protect their expensive lenses. Since the lens is part of the camera, it's not objectionable to protect it with a relatively cheap filter lens or hood, right?

I'm still researching this one, but may have found something I like. It's an entire kit that includes both the adapter to make mounting lenses possible on the SX50, a hood, and a few filters: Essential Kit for CANON PowerShot SX50 HS.

Edit: Bleh, I went with the plastic Lensmate adapter for $20, a 58mm lens cap for $6, and will be getting a $25 UV filter. Forgoing the lens hood for now, so that brings this collection of stuff to $51 + tax. Someone's never buying another camera.

The damage
This is a list of what I've spent so far:

Budgeted items
Canon SX50 HS - CAD$ 380
Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom - CAD$ 36
Lowepro EX 120 bag - CAD$ 20
Total = CAD$ 436 + tax

Unbudgeted items
Joby Ball Head - CAD$ 40
JanSport Superbreak Backpack - CAD$ 35
Filter kit - CAD$ 51
Total = CAD$ 126 + tax

Final total = CAD$ 562 + tax

Woops.

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