I've been playing Crave Christmas Chicken, leaving all my shopping to the last minute -- but with less than a week to go, it's time to start spending my Virtual Crave Pounds.
I bought a Canon EOS 20D in the summer, and I love it to bits. It's my fifth digital camera and my second SLR, replacing a Canon EOS 300 film camera, and finally it has all come together. I've got the convenience of seeing my photos straight away, the flexibility of interchangeable lenses and the freedom to take as many photos as I want, without worrying about the cost. There's only one downside: when you buy an SLR, you're buying into a whole system of lenses, flash guns and other accessories, and there's always just one... more... thing... you need to make your system perfect.
So the 20D is great, but now I need a wide-angle lens for landscapes and street photography. Canon offers a 10-22mm zoom, but it's an EF-S lens that won't be any use if I upgrade to a full-frame dSLR like the EOS 5D. Next up is Canon's breathtakingly expensive 14/f2.8L lens. I'm sure it's great, but I just can't bring myself to spend £1,500 on it. The best alternative I can find is Sigma's 14/f2.8 lens, available to fit the Canon lens mount for a more reasonable £568.
I'd also like a better long zoom, to replace my Canon 75-300mm IS lens. It was Canon's first image-stabilised lens, and although I've enjoyed using it, I'm craving the latest version, the £890 70-300mm DO IS (pictured above). It's slightly heavier than my current lens, but significantly smaller. The combination of the new diffractive optical (DO) element with improved image stabilisation (IS) should satisfy my inner geek, as well as giving me sharper images. I'm going to get it from Speedgraphic, along with the Sigma lens. It's difficult to say anything nice about the Speedgraphic Web site, which is basically a collection of PDF files, but I've always had excellent service when I've ordered over the phone.
If there's one thing I'd change about the 20D, it's the 46mm (1.8-inch) LCD on the back. It gives you a general idea of what you've photographed, but you have to zoom right in to find out whether everything's in focus. I'd like to supplement it with an Epson P-4000 Multimedia Storage Viewer. It's a portable photo viewer with an 80GB hard disk, a 97mm (3.8-inch) LCD screen and a built-in card reader. It runs off a rechargeable battery and weighs only 415g, so I can tuck it into my camera bag and download and view photos when I'm out and about. The best (okay, least worst) price I can find is £440 at CameraWorld. It seems like a lot for a hard disk and screen, but whatever, it's Christmas, and it's not real money.
Finally, I'm fed up with my inkjet printer. It produces sharp, shiny, colourful prints, but only after I've flushed the heads with ink that costs more, picolitre for picolitre, than champagne. If I want big prints to put on the wall, I'm going to order them online (for example, through Photobox). For snapshots to hand round, I'd like a Canon Selphy CP710, a compact dye-sub printer that produces borderless 150x100mm prints. If I buy it from Dabs, I can get it for £122, and Canon's offering a free battery until the end of December. For paper, the best deal seems to be Warehouse Express, which has 108 sheets for £26.
Mary has bought these items:
Sigma 14/f2.8 EX Aspherical HSM lens for £568
Canon EF 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM lens for £890
Epson P-4000 Multimedia Storage Viewer for £440
Canon Selphy CP710 for £122
KP-108IP paper pack for £26
She has £2,954 left to spend before Christmas Day. Click here to find out more about Crave's virtual Christmas shopping spree.