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What do you want to understand better about photography?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by JohnRice, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Here's a perfect example of why I suggested people on that other forum might learn more about photography, and especially develop skills handling a camera, rather than be so obsessed with expensive lenses. Half the discussions are about "which lens is the sharpest" because that is ALL they seem to think matters.

    This happens over and over. Someone chimes in with condescending comments about the superior, exotic lenses they use, and how it makes them such a better photographer, and backs it up with a photo like this as an example. I didn't make this up. This is a real example from a real discussion about exactly what I just explained. The guy touted his choice of fancy optics, and backed it up with this...

    NikonF_Voigt.
     
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  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Terrific skin detail! On her neck.
     
  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I'm an idiot and I still see your point, John!
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    To get back to the point I was trying to make in that other forum. People are obsessed with how sharp their lenses are, and they're also constantly claiming there's something wrong, because their photos don't seem to be sharp enough. The ONLY solution they are willing to consider is buying an even more expensive lens. I was trying to suggest that maybe they need to improve their camera handling skills, but that really makes them mad. They're also obsessed with bokeh, and shoot everything at the largest aperture available, with these incredibly fast, expensive lenses, and they're obviously just missing the shallow depth of their shooting choice. But, again, suggest the fault is in their execution, and their heads explode.

    I'll demonstrate with this shot I took with my Sigma 150-500 almost two years ago. This is with the D500, at 500mm, f/11, handheld at 1/60s. Seriously, a 750mm equivalent focal length, handheld (with VR of course) at 1/60s. That's what camera handling can get you. Is it tack sharp? No, but it's pretty darn good. I didn't do any sharpening of any kind.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I own a 50mm f/1.2 lens, and I almost never shoot it wide open because the depth of field is just too narrow to reliably get my subject in focus. Just the slightest movement can render the subject out of focus at that aperture. I usually use it around f/2.8 by default and adjust from there as needed.
     
  6. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    And...Canon has a refurb 80D for just $799. All the comparisons I've read (and watched) of those two models make me lean towards the 7DII...but for $400 less, the 80D seems like it is so close to the 7DII that it would be the way to go. I don't have a huge budget for this sort of thing.

    I don't expect to be shooting video with the new camera. I don't anticipate much use for a flip out screen. And the 7DII seems to have a more complex AF system and faster burst...but I'm not sure I would notice the difference after jumping up from my Rebel XS.

    Would anyone have a reason to talk me out of upgrading to an 80D?

    I'm a little overwhelmed from all the comparisons and promotional materials I've read over the past few days. (And I still need to convince my wife that this should happen!)
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    The 80D is a very nice camera, especially at the lower price. I went with a 7D2 over the older version of the 80D (either 60D or 70D, can't remember which was out at that time) for several reasons, none of which probably apply to you. (1) The 7D2 was replacing an original 7D (and before that a 40D), so I was comfortable with that body type. (2) The controls on the 7D2 are almost identical to my 5D3, making it seamless to switch between the two bodies. (3) Both the 7D2 and 5D3 use compact flash memory cards, which I have a lot of (the 80D and its predecessors use SD cards) (4) Batteries are interchangeable between the 7D2 and 5D3 (may be the same with the 80D, but not sure). (5) The auto focus system was better than the previous models to the 80D, and I do shoot birds in flight and other wildlife in motion, so the better AF and frame rate was important to me.

    The 80D would be a significant upgrade over your Rebel in auto focus and handling. If budget is a concern, it's probably a better choice for your situation.
     
  8. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Scott: Thank you so much for that confirmation....and for your willingness to ask questions to get a good sense of my situation.

    And I have started to lay that groundwork tonight...and the initial discussion was very positive! :thumbsup: :D

    I still think the 7DII would be better for me...but all the various comparisons I've read on line (and YouTube videos) all point to pretty similar quality even with the price difference.

    And, I'm afraid to admit, the more I read about these cameras...the more excited I get about the prospect of an upgrade. :P
     
  9. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Mike,

    Just from a quick cursory comparison of those 2 bodies, I'd probably go w/ the 80D instead of 7D2 (and essentially save 50% of the 80D refurb price) if I were in your shoes... unless there's some significant known issues w/ the AF or maybe the sensor perhaps -- on surface, the 80D sensor might seem just a tad better, but I haven't actually dug into that...

    Even though Scott mentioned preferring the frame rate of the 7D2 for his wildlife and sports shooting, the ~7 fps of the 80D ain't exactly shabby.

    I've been just fine w/ my 4-to-5 fps on my Nikon D800 -- and really, few in-production cameras (at any given time) exceeded 5 fps until the last 1/2 dozen years or so IIRC, so most of us would've been thrilled to have 7 fps for much of our photographic lifetimes -- that is, if we actually cared at all for the kinds of photos we shoot...

    Granted, I don't often try to shoot birds (on the move) or sports, but still... unless you really need to nail a handful good publishable shots every week or two for some frequent gig or something, might be better to just learn some patience and discipline and hone your skills and enjoy the challenge of the "hunt" me thinks -- that's how I look at it anyway, hehheh... though maybe I'll change my tune if I have too hard a time w/ my new Tamron 150-600mm G2 in the coming year or so... :P

    But again, I'm assuming there are no significant issues w/ the 80D AF -- seems to have a good number of AF points (and cross types at that) for reasonably good tracking... probably at least as good as the old Nikon D300, if not better I imagine...

    And the 80D being a year-and-change newer than the 7D2 might actually even have some moderately useful improvements in certain features/functions...

    IF you actually have the extra $400 to spend, probably better to spend that on something else instead... maybe even some upgrades for your PC/software, if not lens or the like, since you'll need to handle at least double the pixels moving from Rebel XS (10MP) to either 7D2 (20MP) or 80D (24MP)...

    _Man_
     
  10. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Mike,

    For shooting dogs and grandchildren, if you don't really need to print enlargements, why not just shoot w/ a recent model smartphone instead? That's probably what I'd do most times for that... not that I have any dogs or grandchildren (yet)... :P

    Quick snaps like such (at least in decent enough lighting) might be better served w/ a decent smartphone camera me thinks...

    _Man_
     
  11. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Man:

    I'm so glad you weighed in! I really appreciate your thoughts on the potential decision between the 7DII and the 80D. I think you make some most excellent points.

    The gist of the matter is...I've gone semi-pro! Because of Peg's writing career (author and huge contributor to a few national magazines) there have been a number of times when she has needed photographs to accompany her work. Often, the magazine has sent a freelance photographer to shoot the images. But there have been times when circumstances have allowed photos of mine to be used and they have now actually commissioned me to shoot some of the images to accompany her work. I'd say I've become a (full blown) professional--because I've gotten paid for the images--but I just don't feel as if I've got either the gear or knowledge to wear the mantle. This might become a big part of my future retirement. But I'm thinking of upgrading my gear while I'm still making real money! :laugh:

    I use my cellphone, of course, all the time for daily life images. Here are some recent cell pix:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    But photography has been something which has captured my imagination since I was a young boy. I've just never gotten formally trained on the subject. I am NOT thinking that this new gear will automatically make my pictures better. I will really need to learn how to use it correctly before THAT happens. But I am hoping that the new camera body will help me with some of the practical matters of focus and bursts. Because of the very nature of animals and children (two common subjects of Peg's writing) I often take dozens of repetitive images in any given setting...hoping that I get at least one shot in which all subjects are looking good (or at least give me an option to work some Photoshop magic).

    Here's one of the pictures I took for Peg's new book (using my Rebel):

    [​IMG]
     
  12. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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  13. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Does what make me nervous? Upgrading to a more elaborate camera...or taking pictures for money? :D

    Honestly, both create some trepidation for me.

    The gear upgrade...because there's even more to comprehend about settings and all and I don't know enough about the basic science of picture-taking...AND I am forever frustrated that I never found the time to become completely conversant in everything my little Rebel can do.

    And being commissioned to take pictures is a bit daunting...only because I'm less than confident about my abilities to supply something that's "good enough."
     
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  14. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hmmm...

    Mike,

    When you said you've been having AF problems lately, do you have sample photos you took that illustrate such problem?

    I took a closer look at the one photo you attached above (from your Rebel XS), and it makes me wonder something about the AF issue you're having...

    _Man_
     
  15. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    I learned a couple bizarre things that seem to have become (sorely mistaken) photo gospel these days. First, if you suggest stopping down the lens at all (aka: not shooting wide open) people tend to go insane. I'm seeing a lot of scenics, with a lot of depth to the scene that are shot wide open. The idea of stopping down the lens is so offensive, they don't even consider why they might want to. I explained that with action photos, if you stop down the lens a couple stops, you'll get more depth of field, more room for error and more sharp photos. That even though you might have to bump the ISO, a sharp photo with a little more noise is better than an out of focus one with less noise. It got ugly.

    I also suddenly came across several people who claim if you don't always shoot in manual exposure, you're obviously a rank amateur. "Pros always shoot in full manual." It's really weird. The experience of being lectured about how "all pros" shoot is downright surreal.
     
  16. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Here are two pair of untouched sequential images from just a week or so ago which might give you some idea of my issues. None are what I call "locked in". When I'm shooting both dogs I tend to focus on Ernie's eye which is closest to me (Ernie is the older, darker dog). But you also see the drift which seems to happen. I'm using single point AF (right on his eyeball).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Here's a gear-related question to go along with my probable upgrade to the Canon 80D.

    I currently have the following lenses:

    EF 50mm 1:1.8 II
    EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS
    (this is the one that's on my camera the most)
    EF-S 55-250mm 14-5.6

    But, for another $300, Canon is offering the refurbished 80D body with an EF-S 18-135mm 3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. (And I see a refurb version on Amazon for just $285.)

    I find that, of my three lenses, the 18-55mm allows me the most flexibility when shooting portraits of the dogs and grandkids. I would think the 18-135 would just give me that more "oomph" on the zoom end of things--more flexibility.

    Should I? Shouldn't I? Thoughts?
     
  18. Message #98 of 146 Oct 29, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
    ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Ok, I think I see the likely problem (as I suspected from checking the earlier photo), especially for these w/ the dogs. Sorry this ended up much longer than I originally intended... :P


    First, looks like the main problem is camera shake blur, not likely missed AF (in most such cases). For these dogs shots, the shutter speed (which I checked for each file) is definitely borderline and probably a tad too slow unless you have very steady hands (and posture) -- even if you have very steady hands, your subjects might not always stay still enough for these shutter speeds (at 1/30s to 1/50s).

    Checking the surrounding grass (that probably aren't moving much, if at all) shows the blur exists there as well... although least so for the 3rd shot, which also happens to yield the sharpest shot of Ernie's head as one might expect given the issue -- I guess his white companion might've been moving a little, so she exhibits a bit of motion blur (at 1/30s shutter speed). Additionally, it's also possible that Ernie was moving slightly in just the right way to match your own slight bit of camera shake for that particular shot.


    Second, are you usually using the center AF point to lock focus and then recompose, especially since you mentioned locking focus on Ernie's eye? IF so, that may be exacerbating the problem for you, especially when shutter speed is that slow, (both in making camera shake more likely and potentially causing actual missed AF).

    IF so, it's quite probable that's what caused your earlier shot to also exhibit a slight bit of camera shake blur (that I noticed) even though shutter speed should've been plenty fast enough (at 1/160s). In that earlier shot though, you probably shot it in portrait orientation (and then cropped down). Shooting in portrait orientation probably makes it harder for you to keep steady. And your subjects may have been (suddenly?) moving enough to further (mis)lead your shot to become shaky enough to yield blur even at that shutter speed.

    Also, do beware that focus-and-recompose can lead to significant shifts in the in-focus area of your shot depending on how exactly you recompose and/or how much of it you do (and how shallow the in-focus area).


    Third, looks like you're using a widezoom lens w/ built-in image stabilization (IS). Maybe you've accidentally disabled the IS at some point and didn't reenable it? With IS enabled, many such shots would probably turn out substantially better -- IS wouldn't help against your subjects' movements, but would probably steady your camera enough in most such cases. FWIW, I've often enough accidentally disabled IS on my lenses too, so I'd recommend doublechecking your IS switch at the beginning of each shoot (or at least whenever you notice such issue during in-camera shot review).


    Fourth, with some experience reviewing shots, you'll probably learn to spot the diff between actual AF error and camera shake (and/or some motion) blur. Typically, if there's AF error, you should find some area in your shot w/ sharp focus, just not where you were expecting, and there should be a more gradual loss of focus sharpness away from that sharply focused area w/ the out-of-focus areas looking smoother than what you have in these shots. Camera shake blur tend to look more jittery/jarring, not smooth, and would cover the entire shot (except for something that just happens to move in synch w/ your camera).

    Of course, you might not easily notice the issue using in-camera review unless you zoom to pixel-level view -- don't know about your Canon Rebel XS, but with most Nikons, one can quickly zoom to pixel-level detail right to the AF area w/ just 1 button press, which is helpful for checking such issues.


    Finally, not sure if you're using full auto mode or program (P) mode, but if you're using full auto, might be time to learn to use program mode (or maybe even either aperture Av or shutter priority Tv) instead so you can do some adjustments to the settings if you notice issues like aperture too large (ie. f-number too small, yielding too shallow depth-of-field, ie. in-focus area) or shutter speed too slow (leading to camera shake and/or subject motion blur).

    Not sure how your Canon Rebel XS's auto-ISO works -- and it looks like it's being used -- but if it can be tweaked to yield shutter speeds that better suit your shooting habits/style and whatever shooting context (including particular lens choice, moving subjects, etc), you'll probably want to do so. In these examples you provided, looks like the auto-ISO might not choose quite high enough ISO for you (even if/when IS is enabled) w/out some tweaking -- maybe setting a higher floor/minimum (like say 1/60s) might be good, especially if you mostly shoot live subjects. IF the Rebel XS doesn't allow such adjustments, I'm guessing the 80D will.

    Curiously, the earlier shot (of granddaughter and pig) seemed to have auto-ISO push ISO higher than one would normally expect (to ISO 800) to yield the fairly fast 1/160s speed despite being wideangle. Was the shot using sports mode perhaps? OR did you actually choose ISO 800 yourself? Couldn't readily tell what other mode it might be from the file, but sports mode would make some sense (unless you manually chose ISO 800 in say program P mode).


    Phew! Hope all this helps (rather than confuses :P)...

    _Man_
     
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  19. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I must not know what I'm doing, either, because I rarely shoot my lenses wide open. I shoot a lot of landscapes, so closing down the lens for more depth is my usual technique. I'm usually somewhere around f/8 - f/11. The lens gets opened wider when it makes sense based on what I'm shooting, not just because I can.

    Oh, and I tend to prefer shooting in aperture priority mode (Av in Canon speak), not manual. Call me a heretic, burn me at the stake, whatever, but since I'm usually mostly concerned with controlling depth of field, it just makes sense to me to shoot that way. Whether you add exposure compensation via Av or under/over expose in manual to compensate for any camera meter readings, it doesn't really matter if you arrive at the same, correct exposure.

    I'll also shoot in shutter priority (Tv in Canon speak) when I'm shooting moving subjects, as once again it makes sense to me because I am more concerned with shutter speed to stop action.

    I tend to shoot in manual mode when using a flash indoors, as I find that easier. And also if I'm shooting ice hockey at our local arena, as I want to maintain the same exposure no matter where I'm pointing the camera on the ice.
     
  20. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I do not have any of those lenses, but I have read good things about the 18-135mm IS USM. There are lots of different versions of the 18-55mm IS kit lens, so it depends on how old yours is as to how much image quality improvement you'll see. The USM auto focus motor, though, will give you much better auto focus speed and performance.

    All of Canon's 50mm prime lenses have their issues, although I read the latest 50mm f/18 STM is better than the old f/18. I've owned the f/1.8, f/1.4 and now the 50mm f/1.2 L. My current 50L is quite nice, but it's rather pricey.

    Oh, and Man's last response is well worth reading and exploring, Mike. I think you'll like the 80D much more than your current Rebel, but you still need to learn proper techniques or you will still have focus issues. No camera will fix improper technique.
     

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