Canon EW-63II Lens Hood

A lens hood is an accessory often overlooked by the begginning photographer.  But if you start to pay attention to more experienced photographers you will notice probaly almost all of their lenses have these big ugly things sticking out the front of them.  Since the Canon 28-105 USM lens is one I often walk around with and that I use a lot, I decided to spend the money on the original Canon recommended hood.  This is the hood Canon recommends for this SLR lens and is designed to work well with it.

A lens hood helps improve contrast, sharpness and reduces flare in certain conditions. It can also help to protect your lens from damage.

The EW-63II lens hood is petal shaped to help block out stray sunlight.  This is especially useful when shooting into bright light.  Digital cameras are especially susceptable to lens flare because the CCD or CMOS sensors are highly reflective.  Lens flare is not only ugly in it’s shape when it’s in a photo, it also reduces contrast and sharpness in a photo.  So helping improve photo quality is one huge benefit of this little accessory.

Another great benefit is it can help protect the lens for scratches.  A lot of times if your lens bumps into something it’ll hit the lens hood instead of the front glass element.  I sometimes even place my lens in my bag without the cap in a rush because I know the lens hood will protect it from scratching anything in my bag.

When using this particular lens hood I find it possible to still use a Circular Polarizer at the same time.  I have one of the HOYA SMC Slim ones.  You have to put the hood in first and than the polarizer on second.  It can be a little difficult to use, but the combination of the two is quite neccessary to achieve a photo you want sometimes.  If you have large fat fingers you might have some problems with this combo and I definately wouldn’t recommend the slim model to you.

This is an excellent accessory and has helped me get some photos that would’ve otherwise been ruined.  It’s well worth the small investment and should stay on your lens all the time.  Even if your shooting low light it can offer additional protection to your lenses.

Canon RC5 Wireless Remote Trigger

Having a wireless remote trigger for the shutter of your camera is extremely convenient. Instead of waiting for the 10 sec timer you can remotely trigger your camera to take a photo with this handy little device.  The unit is compatable with both the Canon Digital Rebel and the Rebel XT.  The range I’d say is about 15 ft, but if your using it in strong sunlight outdoors, it may be reduced some.

To use the remote control, all you have to do is set the camera up in timer mode, point the RC5 at the camera and press the button.  The light on the camera flashes and takes a photo after a 2 second delay.  I find this very useful when I wanna be in a portrait with the family.  Instead of running like a madman into the scene, I can casually walk over and prepare myself.  I also find it helps when I do product photography.  I can take a photo of a product remotely, re-arrange or adjust lighting, and fire off another shot without having to go back to the camera.

This is a must have accessory for anyone doing a lot of family shooting.  It can be found for about $25 CDN and I use mine all the time.  The only downside is it is just a basic remote. I doesn’t have any zoom, aperature, shutter speed adjustments.  The only unit that seems to be able to do this is the much more expensive Canon Wired controller.

Canon 250D Close Up Filter

Macro photos are a favorite of mine, and a lot of people enjoy taking them.  They provide a unique perspective into the world, and it’s especially fun to find something to photograph in and around the house.  The Canon 250D Close up filter is actually a double element close up lens. It is of excellent build quality, and is not to be confused with some of the cheaper close up filters on the market.

The lens itself has a metal frame, and is quite heavy. It comes packed in a pretty clear round case with a screw on cap. The cap can come loose if not put on tightly.  The Canon 250D and 500D close up lenses work by screwing on the front of your lens the way a filter does.  They then reduce the closest focusing distance of the lens.  So say your lens normally can only focus as close as 1.5m, with one of these filters attached you might be able to focus as close as half a meter.

The quality of the optics is actually very good.  These are better than the +1, +3, +5 type filters you might find online, or in stores.  Those tend to be single element lenses and will distort the picture more.  Edge sharpness will especially suffer with those lenses.

When shooting with the close up filter you will tend to have a very narrow DOF.  That is very thin area in front of your camera will be in focus.  If you imagine a photographing a ruler flat on a table from a 45 degree angle maybe only a few mm of that ruler will be in focus.  So it’s very important to use a tripod or have a very steady hand.  You will often want to shoot at f10-22 to put more of your subject in focus and thus requiring even more light.

This is a great way to get into macro photography.  You can stick the 250D on a good quality medium zoom and have a pretty macro lens.  The 250D is recommended to be used on lenses in the 28-135mm range, while the 500D is meant for 100mm-300mm lenses.

This high speed water drop shot was with my Canon 28-105 USM lens and the Canon 250D Close up filter attached. It allowed me to get extremely close to the drops and provide great detail in this macro.