Get a Universal Tripod Quick Mount

It’s ridiculously simple, but I love my Universal Quick Release Adapter. I can’t find anything like it here in Australia; this one was bought in a national chain in the UK called Jessops and sent by kind relatives. It’s not perfect but it does the job, making mounting and unmounting gear simple. Since one of the key differences between cheap and pro gear is the hassle of using a coin-driven tripod screw, this is an inexpensive equaliser.

Since the best gear is the stuff you actually have with you, buy more than one, to provide a base for each of your tripods and a top for each camera. Then, you can easily switch between multiple supports. On a day out, I can actually carry my basic monopod and flexible Gorillapod clone (from Aldi!) and snap either to my 550D in seconds. Hugely useful and it doesn’t tie you to a particular brand of tripods.

Note: The picture shown on the link above is incomplete, as that’s only the bottom half of the assembly. The top half stays plugged into your camera and the bottom half stays on the tripod.

How do you buy a lens?

So, I have a new DSLR, the Canon 550D. Nice camera, but the kit lens is just OK. It’s not terrible, but not as sharp as a 50mm prime and not nearly as nice as a Canon L lens. (The downside of knowing professional photographers is you get to try their lenses and see how bad yours really are.)

From what I’ve read, it seems that manufacturing differences between multiple copies of a camera model cause problems. Different bodies have slight differences, within tolerances. More expensive bodies actually come with microfocusing adjustment so you can compensate for slight differences, but mine does not. Maybe my body is a little front- or back- focused, but I don’t think so.

Anyway, so you might have a body 1 or 2 units forward of where it should be, and you might have a lens 1 or 2 units back of where it should be, and you’d be very happy. Sharp as can be. However, if the lens was forward 2 units instead of back, you’d have a problem. Potentially, a problem within the lens tolerances and within the body’s tolerances, but together a more significant issue.

So, how do you buy the right lens for your camera? I could order it from a store, but at least one that I’ve asked has said they wouldn’t let me test it before purchase. A Hong Kong grey-market importer doesn’t want to know and says “buy from a local store”. Another store says that if a lens doesn’t conform to the manufacturer’s spec, they’ll accept it as DOA, but I have no way to know how tight that specification is.

Do I find a local store that will let me test before purchase? Or take my chances with a (much cheaper) importer and use their return policy if  needed? Tips welcome!

Spammers? Comments are moderated

Not that it’s going to count for much, but a note to the spammers out there who are trying to add hundreds of links to posts on this blog:

Go away. All comments are moderated and yours are going straight to the trash.