To Roy first: the Nikon cam strap you commented on in my first post is excellent
I need to be quick, got 18 hours flat out all night and all day session software building my best mates daughters laptop for Christmas and then going to his house and setting up two desktops and two laptops, networked together and serviced. I tired now, and I have about 18 hours in font of me.
Yes I tried the LCD protector and it makes it hard work viewing the image. So forget it. Just look after your camera’s LCD and use something like Pec wipes. See the list below
I like the BG-E2N battery grip and it is good to have the extra battery. It is excellently made and I don’t think it makes it that heavy really.
The Nikon D300 body is about $1000 more than the Canon 40D body – ouch. Nikon make quality kit, I have pair of their £1200 astronomy bins that I choose them over the Canon IS version. So I’m not a Canon or Nikon fanboy.
I get the best I can for the money I have and then buy. Any one buying a Nikon and Canon equivalent has got a great camera, but the most important thing is to be able to use it. Composition and a tripod are to things to learn and have.
“Here is my list of what I assume to be "must haves", but please let me know if I'm missing anything, and thanks in advance: high-speed compact flash memory card, high speed memory card reader, digital LSR capable camera bag, lens cleaning kit, & view screen protectors.”
You can leave the battery grip and Speedlite for another time.
1) I went for the SanDisk 8GB Ultra IV but you could get the Ultra III a lot cheaper. (Note you need a CF of 2GB or less to update the firmware now at v1.0.5)
2) SanDisk Ultra II 2GB (For Canon firmware updates)
3) Lexar 800 Firewire CF reader or go for the cheaper USB version. I like this as it has an eject button. http://www.lexar.com/readers/pro_udma_reader.html
4) B+W 77mm UV Haze 010 (MRC) Multi-Resistant Coating Glass Filter – a must have to anti-reflection and lens protections.
5) Nikon AH-4 Camstrap (Used it and really like it)
6) Giotto Q Ball Air Blower
7) Pec-Pad Photo Wipes
MacBeth Grey Scale Chart
You can get this all at a good price from http://www.bhphotovideo.com/
through Cameralabs affiliation link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/
Don’t bother with censor cleaning liquid and brushes – not yet anyway. Just make sure when you put the lens and body together, as they come separate, you use clean hands, relax and take your time. Mess up and you will have dog/cat hair and dust on the censor before you start.
As a first timer it may be awkward to get the lens and body on proper with the body upside down – opening directed towards the ground. Also the lens is wide open to dust falling in to it. So my suggestion is this. Tilt the camera to about 30 degrees and attach the lens. Read page 30 of the Canon 40D manual for lens attachment.
I hope this helps.