Monday, January 11, 2010

Ask Design Mom — What Kind of Camera do You Use?

Ask Design Mom Question:
Hi Gabrielle, I just had to write and ask about your photography skills. What kind of camera do you use? The light is always perfect! Thanks for the blog. — Sally

Design Mom Answer:
Thanks for writing, Sally. The what-kind-of-camera-do-you-use question actually shows up in my inbox pretty often — but I don't know that I've ever answered it on the blog. So here it is. On Christmas 2008, Ben Blair gave me a Canon 50D with a 50mm 1:1.4 lens. (Neither of us knows much about cameras, so Ben asked my brother Jared for advice and Jared told him exactly what to buy.)

A year has now passed and I still (shamefully) use this very good camera like a point and shoot. I keep intending to take a photography class and I keep not doing it. But honestly, it's hard to go wrong with this set up — it just seems to take beautiful pictures despite my very amateur skills. (Do you like the shot above?) My advice: if you're in need of good photography advice, stop in at Shutter Sisters and ask away.

In related news, Nikon sent me a Coolpix L100 to use for a couple of months. (I used it for the first time at the rodeo.) I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do.

What about you, Dear Readers? What do you shoot with? Do you have a pocket camera? A favorite lens? Where do you like to go for photography advice/learning?


add to kirtsy


Blogger Damaris said...

I shoot a lot of food photography so I always use a macro lens.

I used a Nikon D100 for almost 2 years and loved it. Now I have a canon T1i and am getting used to it. Again, I can't live without a good macro lens.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 12:53:00 AM EST  
Blogger Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

I shoot with the LESSER version of thew camera you have - the 40D. ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 1:00:00 AM EST  
Blogger Artfulife said...

My 9 year old daughter got a Nikon Cool Pix for Christmas from grandma. She now has a nicer camera than I do. I'm holding out for the Canon EOS Rebel later this year. I have been using a Fuji Fine PixA350 for the last four years but I have found my Mac photo editing program makes up for what my camera lacks. Looking forward to seeing more of your photography.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 2:22:00 AM EST  
Blogger Melanie said...

I just bought a Canon XSi with the kit lens. I love it. The best part? I bought it using money I made from buying a mid-century furniture piece from Goodwill and reselling it for a rather impressive profit! And to think my husband made fun of me for buying that hutch... ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 2:50:00 AM EST  
Blogger I'm Shannon said...

I have some Canon SLR (it's old - I don't know, a rebel) but I just got a 50mm f1.4 for Christmas that I love.

I also have a canon G9, and that is one of the best camera I have ever owned - like an SLR but is a point and shoot.

I took an online photography class through my local community college and it was very helpful and I learned so much and not very expensive. When you take it online you can do it at your own pace - like you have a week to complete and assignment.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 5:59:00 AM EST  
Blogger Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

I'm a Canon girl. My pocket sized "elf" can go everywhere and it takes really good pictures, particularly up close. I just recently purchased a larger Canon digital EOS, which is just a heck of a lot of fun.

Remember when we had to wait forever to get films developed? Now we see the digital pictures immediately. Too cool.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 6:08:00 AM EST  
Blogger Heather said...

I just bought a canon xsi with the kit lens and I absolutely love it. I have a canon rebel from the film ages, but haven't used it in a while. I also use a kodak v570. Has both a moderately good zoom lens as well as a wide angle lens that you can switch back and forth with the touch of a button. Takes great outdoor pictures and even lets me stitch together a panorama.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 8:19:00 AM EST  
Blogger The Yellow Door Paperie said...

New Nikon D90. And I'm in love, seriously.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 9:25:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anna said...

I'm with Yellow Door...I shoot with a Nikon D90, but really, it's all about the lens. Gabrielle's nifty fifty is a great in low-light, for portraiture without a flash. For Nikonians, the 50mm 1.8 (budget) and 50mm 1.4 (a bit more, ~350 USD), as is the pro-level 85mm 1.4 (pricey!).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 9:38:00 AM EST  
Blogger Carla Cavellucci Landi said...

Mine is a Canon Xsi with 18-55mm kit lens and I just got a 50mm f 1/8 for Christmas. I had a canon s2IS (Point&shoot) that I also loved but it's broken, and I hope I can get it fixed soon (I can't afford another P&S right now). I follow some photography blogs and foruns and so far I'm very happy with the knowledge I've got. I just need to go out for pictures more frequently, because photography is learned by taking pictures! I'm following a "365 project" - a picture a day, and it has been good to put my hands on the camera on daily basis.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 9:41:00 AM EST  
Anonymous dan said...

I still shoot with a Canon Powershot A570is. It's now an older model but I love what it can do for me (I do kite aerial photography with it)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 9:42:00 AM EST  
Blogger Zenkichi said...

we use a Nikon D90 combined with a Sigma lens. the lens does wonders! on lazy days out though i stick with my Sony cybershot.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 9:49:00 AM EST  
Blogger Kathryn said...

That 1.4 lens is one of my very favorites. It does such a great job in low light.

I used a Rebel XSi (loved it) before I jumped to the 5D Mark II. I've been happy, happy using a full-frame camera, even if carrying it around the city everywhere I go makes my back hurt. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 9:57:00 AM EST  
Blogger i am zoe said...

Please just check out a few tutorials on the different settings of your camera (particularly the aperture setting should be interesting). The auto settings might be good for some basic shots, but with a bit of manual work, you can get such wonders out of the camera!

I have a couple of basic zoom lenses that i never use. Then i have a 50mm f/1.4, a 24mm f/1.8 and a 105mm macro f/2.8 (all sigmas). Until christmas i used them on an old Nikon D50. Then i got the greatest gift EVER: a D700 - and oh, it is fantastic! I'm so in love.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 10:16:00 AM EST  
Blogger Anne said...

I have a little canon powershot that has been great and I love, but my my most favorite photos have been taken with my holga. I never really know what image I'm capturing, so developing the film is like Christmas.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 10:37:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Katie @ goodLife {eats} said...

I have been shooting on a simple point and shoot: Panasonic Lumix DMCTZ5S for about a year and a half. It does pretty well, but I'm ready for more options. My goal this year is to upgrade to a DSLR and the Canon 50D is the one I've been looking at.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 10:39:00 AM EST  
Blogger Kyle and Lesley said...

I shoot with a Nikon D90 and a 50mm 1.4 nearly exclusively... and a Diana and a vintage Contaflex when I need a film fix.

I have never regretting hauling my enormous camera bag everywhere with me. I've only regretted NOT hauling it around...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 10:51:00 AM EST  
Blogger Design Mom said...

Oh hooray! I love all these comments. Answering this question was making me feel sheepish (because I'm soooo not knowledgeable about cameras). But Design Mom Readers to the rescue!

Also. Reading these comments is like reading a foreign language. Can you believe how quickly camera talk gets technical?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 12:13:00 PM EST  
Blogger topsyturvydays said...

I'm shooting with the Canon Rebel Xsi. I've been recently debating a 50mm 1.4 lens. After reading the comments here. I think I'll go for it!

I've also started doing a 365 project which has been fun and I'm already seeing a difference in how I take pictures!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 12:33:00 PM EST  
Blogger topsyturvydays said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 12:34:00 PM EST  
Blogger shari berry bo-berry said...

I shoot with a Sony a700, and i love my 50mm 1.4, it always produces crisp images and the contrast and colors are lovely as well. I also use a Tamron 28-75 2.8 alot, it's a good zoom lens.

as for good, free photography advice/lessons, is an amazing resource!

as for books, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson is an invaluable book! And I would also recommend any of Scott Kelby's books when trying to learn photoshop!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 1:08:00 PM EST  
Blogger Stacie@HobbitDoor said...

We use the Nikon D50 for our digital DSLR and a Cannon PowerShot SD750 for our point and shoot. I love them both!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 1:17:00 PM EST  
Blogger Christy said...

I had a pocket camera, until I lost it over Christmas. Sob. I hope to get a new one for Valentine's Day! My husband shoots with a Nikon or Canon D90 - I can never remember the brand. He takes fabulous photos - like yours! One of my all time favorites of yours is one Ben Blair took of your hands making pie crusts a while back. I want a picture like that of me!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 2:20:00 PM EST  
Blogger kgr said...

We got each other a Nikon D5000 for Christmas and the photos it takes are stunning. I have yet to read the instruction manual but the quality and light in the pictures are amazing. We got a 35 mm lens in addition to the kit lens and it produces lovely lovely photos. We went with the Nikon because it a) felt nice and b) shoots better in low light and indoor light and since we live in a snowy climate we end up taking a lot of photos of our kiddo inside. That being said, the snow setting takes phenomenal shots outside when we are sledding and playing in the snow. Love love love this camera.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 2:51:00 PM EST  
Anonymous arikaj said...

love my nikon d40. got it prior to my daughter's birth almost 3 years ago and never regretted it. just got a new lens for the holidays that does great in low light: 50mm f/1.4G
BTW: great shot w/ the candles!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 5:54:00 PM EST  
Blogger mrs. c said...

I have a Nikon D90 Hubby has the D80 and the D40 we gave our 19 year old son a D70 for Christmas. We love Nikons, I had the film version on the 70 and still can use all the lens...that makes all the difference in your pictures, plus lighting!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 6:40:00 PM EST  
Blogger j.chong said...

Canon all the way!
canon 30 d with a 24-70L and 50 mm

the 50mm is awesome in low lighting!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 9:50:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

We have a Sony Alpha-300 DSLR...and we are pleased. But now we're looking into lenses and I am so confused (and shocked by the prices too)! ;) I think I need to take a photography class too...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 10:06:00 PM EST  
Anonymous robin said...

this is funny/interesting to me because in december 2008 you said you used a sony cyber shot and i ended up getting one because i was impressed with the quality of your shots... but have not been all that impressed with the camera! guess that explains it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 12:54:00 AM EST  
Blogger Kimberly said...

I just found your blog and I love it! I shoot with a Canon 40D and a 50mm f1/4. It is, indeed, a wonderful lens! I also have a 24mm f/2.8 that I bust out when I have to, but I'd pick the 50mm any day over the 24mm. is an awesome resource to pick up some tricks of the trade, just fyi. But, I'm sure you are privy to that already since you like shuttersisters! : )

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 1:16:00 AM EST  
Blogger Liz said...

I have a Nikon D300, 50/1.4 and the 18-200 lens. It's too much camera for me and use it like a point and shoot. I am just now (like literally, just 12 days ago) started shooting in manual. There are so many great online resources/classes out there, but to be honest, the thought of having to search for one that would be a good fit for me was a huge hindrance. (so much to do, so little time)

I am super excited about an upcoming series of photography learning workshops...maybe it's something that would interest you. Will email you the details. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 4:25:00 AM EST  
Blogger lisab said...

The mathematics of cameras scares me but the amazing photographer MeRa Koh shows us all how to get out of the "green box mode"- enjoy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 9:56:00 AM EST  
Blogger Katherine said...

I received the Nikon D5000 for Christmas from my husband. I am in love with the camera. It has taken some amazing shots. I have the basic lens that came with it and also the 55-200mm lens. I am still in the point and shoot stage but there are some great options in the DC area for classes. I'm hoping to take some classes at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in VA. Maybe there are some art centers nearby where you live and you can take a few 1 day classes?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 11:16:00 AM EST  
Blogger Heather said...

I've had my canon xsi for a little over a year. I started with the 2.8 17-55mm and now I have the 1.8 50mm. The 1.4 was too much money at the time. I love it! Great for Portraits. I read a book called, "understanding exposure" and always kept my camera in the manual mode to learn. I never turn it on auto (unless there's not enough light and I want a shot for memories).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 3:12:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Ntash said...

I love taking pictures of my baby boy and I have several cameras, but the one I use the most is Canon EOS 400D. I'm starting getting pretty good pictures. My hope is to be a baby and family photographer one day!

Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 5:54:00 PM EST  
Anonymous I Heart Naptime said...

I just got the Canon Rebel for xmas. I'm just learning but I love it. It has made me want to take a class and really get into photography. The step up to the SLR makes such a difference when shooting my kids...I rarely have a blurry photo..

Friday, January 15, 2010 at 3:07:00 PM EST  
Blogger a neske said...

My husband surprised me yesterday with a Canon T1i DSLR camera. I don't know much about them either, but am anxious to learn.

I've got a trusty Canon Powershot Elph that I *love* and it takes great pics, but lately I've been enamored with the SLRs.

Hubby also signed me up for classes at my local Best Buy store. The Geek Squad offers one-on-one classes with your camera to help you learn all the features. I almost can't wait for my first appointment!!

Check out your local store!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 4:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Jessica Morris said...

I have a Nikon D90 and use the 50mm f.1.8 lens a lot and looooove it. I have another lens I love - the 10-20mm one - but the 50mm is my go to lens.

I just posted a bit about it today -

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 5:20:00 PM EST  

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