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Maybe you don't need an expensive camera either

amirm

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#1
Coming on the heels of recent discussions on lower cost audio equipment, here is one on photography. What he says about people commenting on gear is definitely right. When people ask me, "your pictures are great; where did you buy your camera" to answer with, "same place Mozart bought his piano!" :D

https://petapixel.com/2017/07/03/swapped-pro-dslr-cheapest-one-available/

Why I Swapped My ‘Pro’ DSLR for the Cheapest One Available

My name is Ion Paciu, and I’m a photographer based in London. I recently purchased a new camera kit with a camera body and lenses. However, it wasn’t an “upgrade” — it was, in fact, a “downgrade.”

I got myself a $500 Canon SL1/100D, which is the smallest, cheapest, and lightest entry-level DSLR on the market today (Canon says it’s “for beginners”. Well, we will see). Along with the body, I picked up an entry-level 18-55mm f/5.6 lens kit lens, as well as a 55-250mm f/5.6 kit entry-level telephoto lens.

Now, you may be wondering why I would make the change from a $2,300 “professional” 5D Mark IIIDSLR to such a “cheap” and “beginners camera” option. Well, the reason is that lately a lot of people had been complimenting my images and leaving comments like “wow, your camera is so cool, so professional” and “what camera do you use?”.

This bothered me somewhat, because as a photography teacher I know that even with the best tools in the world, you won’t take good photographs unless you are competent and skilled, and you understand what exactly makes a good photograph.

[...]

But most of the time, the differences obtain from different lenses and cameras in photography are indiscernible from one another if not examined under the microscope.

Ansel Adams once said: “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!”

[...]







There are more images in the link. I think he succeeds in portraits but fails in wildlife. Background blur is required for good images and that unfortunately requires expensive, bright, long focal length lenses. He is also cheating some with using models for his photography.

Still, even the low-end cameras today are superb.
 

iridium

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#2
Very Good post; I am going to need a new camera in the future.

iridium.
 

amirm

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#3
Just in case you want to follow in his footsteps, Canon just announced an upgrade to the SL1, aptly named SL2: https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/...as/dslr/eos-rebel-sl2-ef-s-18-55mm-is-stm-kit

"Lightweight, fun and easy to use, the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 camera further proves that quality is key, helping you capture stunning photos and videos you'll love to see and share. The 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor and DIGIC 7 Image Processor deliver brilliantly sharp results, with Dual Pixel CMOS AF keeping your videos and photos in clear focus. Whether you’re taking selfies or vlogging, the Vari-angle Touch Screen LCD helps capture shots at a variety of angles and situations. A Feature Assistant function is available to help guide you through a shot if needed, and when you’re done you can share your creations on the spot thanks to built-in Wi-Fi®*, NFC** and Bluetooth®*** connectivity. Easy to bring and simple to operate, the EOS Rebel SL2 puts creative power in your hands."


Online prices are $550.

No real reviews yet.
 

Frank Dernie

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#4
The old problem with inexpensive cameras was mechanical precision/consistency. The accuracy needed in parallelism and distance from lens register to image plane to perfectly exploit a good lens is scarcely credible. Of course using slow zoom lenses makes this moot.
It is indeed the photographer not the equipment. There was a similar article in the 1950s where a pro swapped his Rolleiflex for a box Brownie and produced a famous award winning picture with it to prove his point.
Standing in the right place and pressing the button at the right time was the other Ansel quote.
I seem to remember him explaining in one of his books about one of his well known pictures involved about 10 days scouting for the vantage point he wanted then waiting for the light to be right.
 

amirm

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#5
New cameras (Canon anyway) have focus micro adjustment (FMA) to deal with inaccuracies of the mount. It is not a great system but does let you put in one bias factor per lens in camera memory.
 

Frank Dernie

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#6
New cameras (Canon anyway) have focus micro adjustment (FMA) to deal with inaccuracies of the mount. It is not a great system but does let you put in one bias factor per lens in camera memory.
Yes, Nikons do too, but if the mount is a few microns out of parallel that only works for one spot on the frame. It is not that big a deal in practical terms (IMHO) though since few subjects are flat and in a parallel plane to the sensor, and when depth of field is taken into account and the fact that the most important part of the subject is rarely in a corner such errors are negligible off the test bench. Cameras with in body image stabilisation (which obviously are only the mirrorless ones) with yaw stabilisation could theoretically correct for any errors, whether they do I have no idea.
A bit like any difference between 16/44 and 24/192 being small to nothing and the fact that the quality of the original recording makes hugely more difference anyway...
 
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Soniclife

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#7
Cameras with in body image stabilisation (which obviously are only the mirrorless ones) with yaw stabilisation could theoretically correct for any errors, whether they do I have no idea.
I've never heard that claimed, but they could do it when the camera is turned on, or lense changed. One of the odd things about my E-M1 is that when powered down you can hear something rattling about inside, like something's broken, it's the sensor, when you power on you feel the sensor snap into position and it stops, at this point in time it could be calibrating itself. I expect the clever people who do stabilization systems in cameras (seriously it seems like magic to me) have thought about it.
 

Old Listener

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#8
New cameras (Canon anyway) have focus micro adjustment (FMA) to deal with inaccuracies of the mount. It is not a great system but does let you put in one bias factor per lens in camera memory.
I don't keep track of the Canon camera world. Nikon has a micro adjustment that is intended to compensate for the difference between the path used for Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) using a small sensor on the mirror assembly and the path used to take pictures (straight to the main sensor). You fiddle to get the best result with each lens you use.

Most mirrorless cameras use Contrast Detection Auto Focus (CDAF) with the sensor (no sensor on a mirror.) No micro-focus issues to worry about.

Some mirrorless cameras also have PDAF dedicated pixels on the sensor. Micro focus issues don't seem to be a big problem for on-sensor PDAF but I think that the Olympus EM-1 I has a menu based option to do per lens calibration.
 

Old Listener

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#9
Coming on the heels of recent discussions on lower cost audio equipment, here is one on photography. What he says about people commenting on gear is definitely right. When people ask me, "your pictures are great; where did you buy your camera" to answer with, "same place Mozart bought his piano!" :D

https://petapixel.com/2017/07/03/swapped-pro-dslr-cheapest-one-available/

Why I Swapped My ‘Pro’ DSLR for the Cheapest One Available

My name is Ion Paciu, and I’m a photographer based in London. I recently purchased a new camera kit with a camera body and lenses. However, it wasn’t an “upgrade” — it was, in fact, a “downgrade.”

I got myself a $500 Canon SL1/100D, which is the smallest, cheapest, and lightest entry-level DSLR on the market today (Canon says it’s “for beginners”. Well, we will see). Along with the body, I picked up an entry-level 18-55mm f/5.6 lens kit lens, as well as a 55-250mm f/5.6 kit entry-level telephoto lens.

Now, you may be wondering why I would make the change from a $2,300 “professional” 5D Mark IIIDSLR to such a “cheap” and “beginners camera” option. Well, the reason is that lately a lot of people had been complimenting my images and leaving comments like “wow, your camera is so cool, so professional” and “what camera do you use?”.

There are more images in the link. I think he succeeds in portraits but fails in wildlife. Background blur is required for good images and that unfortunately requires expensive, bright, long focal length lenses. He is also cheating some with using models for his photography.

Still, even the low-end cameras today are superb.
The difference in image quality between a $ 500 Canon body and the most expensive one may not matter much for many or most real world uses. Many features on the fancy body will only be significant for particular uses. The striking thing is the limitation to two lenses. I'd have no use for a camera if I were limited to those lenses.

Mr. Paciu seems to limit himself to make a statement to his students. I think he could make a much more relevant statement about fitting their choice of gear to their intended uses.
 
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Frank Dernie

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#10
I've never heard that claimed, but they could do it when the camera is turned on, or lense changed. One of the odd things about my E-M1 is that when powered down you can hear something rattling about inside, like something's broken, it's the sensor, when you power on you feel the sensor snap into position and it stops, at this point in time it could be calibrating itself. I expect the clever people who do stabilization systems in cameras (seriously it seems like magic to me) have thought about it.
Interesting, that made me shake my E-M1 but it did not rattle. I have a Sigma 60mm f2.8 lens which uses a linear motor to focus and it rattles when switched off, off the camera and in power save modes. I assume the focussing group just has a coil like a loudspeaker but no axial restraint. It is a super good value lens IME.
 

Soniclife

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#11
Interesting, that made me shake my E-M1 but it did not rattle. I have a Sigma 60mm f2.8 lens which uses a linear motor to focus and it rattles when switched off, off the camera and in power save modes. I assume the focussing group just has a coil like a loudspeaker but no axial restraint. It is a super good value lens IME.
Odd how they are different, this is mine in the garden a few mins ago.
https://goo.gl/photos/1CDB4UTjqWcE9vcX7

Some panasonic lenses with OIS rattle as well. It doesnt feel like quality engineering, but it all seems OK so I just ignore it.
 

Jinjuku

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#13
Coming on the heels of recent discussions on lower cost audio equipment, here is one on photography. What he says about people commenting on gear is definitely right. When people ask me, "your pictures are great; where did you buy your camera" to answer with, "same place Mozart bought his piano!" :D
This is a play on an interaction between Ansel Adams and Hemingway.

Hemingway upon admiring pictures taken by Adams comments to him: I love the photographs. What camera did you use?

Adams in response: I love your novels, what type writer did you use.
 
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#14
Great insights you have there. I am not actually a fan of Canon camera as I am using a Nikon DSLR but the features on that video are pretty cool.
 

j_j

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#15
Cameras are like golf clubs. What matters is the human who's holding it! :) :)

(Not saying photographers are idiots, btw, it's a JOKE. But Ansel Adams was right.)
 

Old Listener

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#16
Cameras are like golf clubs. What matters is the human who's holding it! :) :)

(Not saying photographers are idiots, btw, it's a JOKE. But Ansel Adams was right.)
This thread on photography in an audio forum made me think of similarities and differences between audiophiles and photography hobbyists in the USA.

Both hobbies are dominated by gearheads for whom spending money on expensive toys is the core of the hobby. For them, being good at applying the gear is a minor consideration.
The subject matter (music or the subject of photographs) is of lesser interest.

There is one striking difference between audiophiles and photography hobbyists: Photography gearheads worship specs and subjectivist audiophiles loathe them.
 

amirm

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#17
I have a Canon 5DsR with 50 megapixels. That was my go-to camera until I purchased the 5D Mark IV which has some 35 megapixels. Even though it has less resolution, it is now my default camera because it has a touchscreen that allows fast navigation through menus but importantly lets me pick focus points instantly. It also has slightly better dynamic range which is handy.

So yes, sometimes we fall prey to specs -- myself included :) -- and forget usability. Being able to get the shot is more important than a few pixels.
 

Frank Dernie

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#18
This thread on photography in an audio forum made me think of similarities and differences between audiophiles and photography hobbyists in the USA.

Both hobbies are dominated by gearheads for whom spending money on expensive toys is the core of the hobby. For them, being good at applying the gear is a minor consideration.
The subject matter (music or the subject of photographs) is of lesser interest.

There is one striking difference between audiophiles and photography hobbyists: Photography gearheads worship specs and subjectivist audiophiles loathe them.
In many ways guilty as charged, but in my case I am far more interested in listening to music than evaluating equipment, whereas in the case of cameras I am much more interested in the cameras and lenses than I am in photography, I am in the process of selling cameras and lenses collected over the last 50 years.
On the subject of resolution I did some test prints over 15 years ago when I had a P&S camera with more pixels than my Canon D30. I found that for A4 prints more than 3 megapixels showed no visible improvement in resolution.
I do print bigger than that, but not often.
I now have much higher resolution cameras but am not sure it is a gain - fewer pixels should mean better sensitivity.
Anyway I don't consider resolution to be a real limiting factor to make nice looking prints nowadays in either lenses or sensors.
 
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#19
I was a photojournalist for many years (before I went over to the dark side and started writing and editing) and rarely used more than four lenses - a 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 135mm. If I needed anything longer for a specific assignment I would rent it. I still have my trusty Nikon F Photomic which works perfectly but is rarely used now. However those four Nikkor prime lenses are still in regular use on a Nikon D3200. An old f2.8 135mm lens on a DX camera makes for a very high quality, but inexpensive long lens. Nikon will tell you the non AI lenses won't work and may damage the DSLR, but that is not the case up to the D5xx. Manual focus and metering of course, but it's easy enough to do and my teenage children learned a lot more about photography using this setup than they would have done with the stock lens kit and everything set on automatic.
 

Wombat

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#20
I have a Canon 5D with the three usual F4 EF series 1 zooms - too big, heavy and obvious. I must sell them.

I also have Fuji X series cameras. Smaller, lighter and better value for me - and my stack of Canon FD lenses focus well on them.

In fact all I really need is a simple digital back for my Canon A1 - and no menus. I hate menus unless they are printed restaurant ones.
 
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