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Thread: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

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    MacrOdreams's Avatar
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    Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Hello! You all seem to be well seasoned and into your photographic prime! I'm a 27 year old just starting out...well about 2 years REALLY INTO the art. I have been working with a pro photographer friend here and there. I am moderately comfortable with terms like ISO, F-STOP etc and I am progressing quickly. The problem is; it seems that my passion and artistic ability is superseding my budget! Friends family and even strangers ask me to do do portraits and some have purchased my prints. Guess what I'm shooting with...A canon power shot SX20is!

    What brought me here today is that I am looking to upgrade. I cannot decide between the Rebel T3i or the EOS 60D. I want to be able to do macro, and some portraits in low light (ie; babies, children). I've read many reviews but seem to think that the Rebel will focus for me better (without having to purchase a macro lens at this time). However, I have an old macro lens from an outdated Canon...(quantaray 58mm 1.5m/4.9ft 1:16.5) I'm wondering if that will work on my SLR. So new and so many things to consider when I go SLR...I have people lined up ready for shoots and to let me practice on them. Any advice is welcomed! Thanks in advance!

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    There isn't any difference between those two cameras when it comes to close focusing, and the kit lenses for DSLR do focus closer than the Quantaray anyway, down to about 1' within the whole zoom range from 18 to 55 mm.

    There are of course plenty of cameras beside Canon, that might suit your hands and your way of taking photos, or if you want maximum dynamic range or ease of handling. There are quirks with all cameras, and all brands are simpler to white balance than Canon for people shooting jpeg, although that is something many feel easy to live with.

    For a system, present technology would not even limit the choice to SLR, but there are now several cameras without the optomechanical mirror system as well. So it boils down to preferences, and it is a jungle out there. You might make another choice if you look into the market with eyes wide open.

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Kate

    Something else to consider, - A very useful post that was put on here some time ago by Colin (Southern), in which he wrote ...

    "So the things that make a difference in terms of the camera are things like shutter life - build quality / robustness / AF points / Metering zones / weather sealing / firmware options.

    What makes the difference in terms of picture quality are things like:

    Most important : Photographer composition skill - photographer technical skill (in manipulating ISO / metering / focus controls etc) - photographer's ability to post-process the shot

    Important: Lens quality - filter availability & quality

    Less important: Camera make and model (for most general shooting; e.g. not specialised shooting where for example a Canon 1D4 AF & frame rate will eat an entry level camera alive at something like photographing boxing)"
    Last edited by Donald; 30th August 2011 at 09:43 AM.

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    a very useful post that was put on here some time ago by Colin (Southern)
    Thanks Donald - cheque is in the mail!

    In all seriousness, I stand by every word of that. From my perspective, I should also say that I've never been a great fan of the xxxD / Rebel / T3x (entry-level) series of cameras - mostly due to their poor ergonomics (no quick control dial) - I'd prefer a xxD (even a 2nd hand 40D) over the latest entry-level models like the T3i any day.

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    MacrOdreams's Avatar
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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    You are my first reply and thank you! What a thorough response! The reason I am sticking with Canon is because they are offering me a pretty large discount if I send back my defective SX20is (just one week over warranty). I don't want them to fix it as I am WAY OVER the power shot. Just hearing the words power shot make me quiver! I cannot stand that IT chooses what it wants me to do. I want more creative freedom, and I want it now! So, I will probably be sticking to Canon. When in the store trying out the D60 and Ti3, the D60 didn't want to focus very closely with the standard lens it came with. I thought I would have to buy a separate macro lens if I went with the D60. This is what is holding me back from my decision. I thought I wanted the D60 but I don't want to get it and realize it won't do what I want. I may be able to get a separate lens in the future but not at the same time as purchasing the camera kit. if my old macro hand-me-down lens will work for now, I can settle on that. Will it work? is it compatible? Its from a film camera. The white balance is not a huge concern at this time as I edit quite a bit in Lighroom 3. The most important things to me right now are MP's, resolution, shutter speed, low light capability (the D60 has great ISO up to 1,6000). Not sure if the T3i does...can't wait for your response! Also, any magazines you guys recommend I subscribe to?

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    MacrOdreams's Avatar
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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    I completely agree!! Especially on the "most important points." I cannot STAND it when people say "wow you take beautiful pictures, what camera do you have?!" I then have to explain to them that it is not the camera, it is my artistic ability. Many many people do not get it, and I have stopped trying to explain. They ask how they can be as good as me, people have even purchased the same camera I have and cannot get "as good." lol Because they literally point-and-shoot and expect beauty! Manual mode? Whats that!? lol.

    Anyway, I NEVER shoot in auto. I am getting better and better at ISO/F-STOP manipulation etc. I try not to zoom on my SX20is mainly due to its annoying 4:3 aspect ratio. I lose a lot of my photo when I edit (in lightroom 3) if I zoom. My next investment will be a printer. For now, I have found a shop that will develop without their "auto correct" and the prints come out quite nice.

    I could stand to learn more about lens' and filters - any and all suggestions welcomed!

    This will be my FIRST SLR and I'm so excited I can't sleep! I just want to make sure i get the one that will HELP me be a better artist. Does that make sense?

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Hi Kate,

    Quote Originally Posted by MacrOdreams View Post
    When in the store trying out the D60 and Ti3, the D60 didn't want to focus very closely with the standard lens it came with.
    Minimum focusing distance is a function of the lens, not the camera. As an alternative, how about something like a 2nd hand 40D or 50D and an inexpensive macro lens?

    If you're wanting to do macro "on the cheap", consider a 12 or 25mm extension tube; they fit between the lens and the camera, allowing you to focus much closer. The only downside is that you lose the ability to focus at infinity, but that's not really an issue with macro photography.

    if my old macro hand-me-down lens will work for now, I can settle on that. Will it work?
    If it has an EF mount then it should, but probably easiest to just take it down to a camera store and try it.

    The most important things to me right now are MP's, resolution, shutter speed, low light capability
    MPs are somewhat over-rated to be honest (the MP war should have been declared a draw when they flew past the 8 to 12MP range). Case in point ... have a guess as to what percentage of the original number of pixels are still present in this image, now that it's down-sized for display here ...

    Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    You might be surprised to learn that what you see here (which I think is plenty big enough for online display (click on it for the biggest version) contains only ...

    ... 2.5% of the original amount of information; yep - a full 97.5% of the original information has been discarded. In the vast majority of cases, high MP counts are simply wasted.

    Resolution is also over-rated. Your monitor only displays around 100 ppi, and most people won't see any great increase in quality in a print that's much higher than 180 dpi.

    In terms of low-light capability, most cameras have pretty impressive high-iso capability. Unfortunately, the KIND of light that they're more than capable of recording is very seldom going to be QUALITY light, so often you end up with something that great if you're a police photographer trying to record a crime scene in low-light conditions - but for high-quality photography - generally - you need higher light levels, and even that needs to be augmented with additional light sources (sometimes in the studio I've working with up to 7 light sources in a single photo).

    As a case-in-point, I was in a somewhat subdued lighting location to capture this -- but I was also using additional flash light to give the nice lighting across the face; even with good low-light capability this kind of shot just wouldn't have been possible.

    Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Also, any magazines you guys recommend I subscribe to?
    To be honest, most of them annoy me, being 50% full of advertisements and the other 50% filled with reviews that are generally 50% accurate and 100% meaningless. The best magazine I ever discovered can be found at www.pbase.com/magazine (and they're free )

    Hope this helps

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Hi Kate,

    Quote Originally Posted by MacrOdreams View Post
    When in the store trying out the D60 and Ti3, the D60 didn't want to focus very closely with the standard lens it came with.
    Minimum focusing distance is a function of the lens, not the camera. As an alternative, how about something like a 2nd hand 40D or 50D and an inexpensive macro lens?

    If you're wanting to do macro "on the cheap", consider a 12 or 25mm extension tube; they fit between the lens and the camera, allowing you to focus much closer. The only downside is that you lose the ability to focus at infinity, but that's not really an issue with macro photography.

    if my old macro hand-me-down lens will work for now, I can settle on that. Will it work?
    If it has an EF mount then it should, but probably easiest to just take it down to a camera store and try it.

    The most important things to me right now are MP's, resolution, shutter speed, low light capability
    MPs are somewhat over-rated to be honest (the MP war should have been declared a draw when they flew past the 8 to 12MP range). Case in point ... have a guess as to what percentage of the original number of pixels are still present in this image I shot a few weeks ago, now that it's down-sized for display here ...

    Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    You might be surprised to learn that what you see here (which I think is plenty big enough for online display (click on it for the biggest version) contains only ...

    ... 2.5% (1/40th) of the original amount of information; yep - a full 97.5% of the original information has been discarded. In the vast majority of cases, high MP counts are simply wasted.

    Resolution is also over-rated. Your monitor only displays around 100 ppi, and most people won't see any great increase in quality in a print that's much higher than 180 dpi.

    In terms of low-light capability, most cameras have pretty impressive high-iso capability. Unfortunately, the KIND of light that they're more than capable of recording is very seldom going to be QUALITY light, so often you end up with something that's great if you're a police photographer trying to record a crime scene in low-light conditions - but for high-quality photography - generally - you need higher light levels, and even that needs to be augmented with additional light sources (sometimes in the studio I'm working with up to 7 light sources in a single photo).

    Also, any magazines you guys recommend I subscribe to?
    To be honest, most of them annoy me, being 50% full of advertisements and the other 50% filled with reviews that are generally 50% accurate and 100% meaningless. The best magazine I ever discovered can be found at www.pbase.com/magazine (and they're free )

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 25th April 2012 at 11:16 AM.

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Wow Colin this was tremendously helpful! Your photos are stunning! May I ask what camera/lens you used in those shots? Have you ever used the Canon SX20is? I cannot stand it one more minute! Let's see if I can attach my best powershot photo... No, I cannot do this from my iPhone will try when I get home. I think you have helped me decide on the 60D, knowing that I can adapt the lens to accommodate a somewhat-macro shot. Thanks Colin.

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Quote Originally Posted by MacrOdreams View Post
    Wow Colin this was tremendously helpful! Your photos are stunning!
    Thanks Kate,

    Many more at www.pbase.com/cjsouthern (<- Shameless plug )

    May I ask what camera/lens you used in those shots?
    Both were shot with a Canon 1Ds3 with EF 70-200 F2.8L IS USM II lens, but the camera could just as easily have been a 20D and they wouldn't have looked any different. In fact, here's an image I made using a 20D quite a few years ago ...

    Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    For the most part, it's the photographer that makes the image - the camera is just a box at the end of the lens that lets the light in.

    Have you ever used the Canon SX20is? I cannot stand it one more minute!
    Can't say I've had the pleasure

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Quote Originally Posted by MacrOdreams View Post
    However, I have an old macro lens from an outdated Canon...(quantaray 58mm 1.5m/4.9ft 1:16.5)
    Kate,

    I don't know how that lens got a label as a macro, but if it really is a 1:16.5, then there is no way that should have gotten the macro label. A true macro lens will be 1:1 magnification - meaning that at the closest focusing distance, the magnification of your subject will be a 1:1 ratio to the size of your camera's sensor. 1:16.5 is obviously nowhere close to that.

    What exactly are you looking to shoot with the macro lens? That actually would decide which lens you need to purchase as even within macro there are multiple options.

    - Bill

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Hi Bill, thanks for the input. The "macro" lens is an older lens from an older Canon film camera. It merely says macro on it I'm not even 100% sure what it is. It was given to me as a hand-me-down. Please also note that I am new to SLR's and the entire "lens" process. I'm not looking to do 100% true macro at this exact moment. First I need to upgrade to my EOS 60D and see where my creativity takes me. I think I will explore portraits a bit more so that I can start setting up jobs with the countless family and friends who want to hire me for their children's photos etc. However, I do believe that my true love is macro.

    Again, I don't know exactly what is considered "true" macro...all I know is I like to get close up shots and I want them to be more clear (my upgrade from powershot to SLR should certainly help)!

    The photo attached was taken with my Canon power shot SX20is in manual mode, when I first started out. There are some problems with it but I was very proud of this one once upon a time. Comments welcomed...

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    I'm having issues posting the pics...bare with me

    untitled-1-1-3.jpg
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    Last edited by Donald; 31st August 2011 at 10:54 AM. Reason: Image posted inline

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Quote Originally Posted by MacrOdreams View Post
    I cannot STAND it when people say "wow you take beautiful pictures, what camera do you have?!" I then have to explain to them that it is not the camera, it is my artistic ability. Many many people do not get it, and I have stopped trying to explain. They ask how they can be as good as me, people have even purchased the same camera I have and cannot get "as good." lol
    Wow!

    Philip

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    ok in hindsight that came out the wrong way. I love to be complimented on my photos. It just becomes frustratiing when some think its merely a matter of point and shoot. Many do not realize the hours that go into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrB View Post
    Wow!

    Philip

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Quote Originally Posted by MacrOdreams View Post
    ok in hindsight that came out the wrong way. I love to be complimented on my photos. It just becomes frustratiing when some think its merely a matter of point and shoot. Many do not realize the hours that go into it.
    My favourite reply to people who say "Your camera takes nice photos" is "your lips make nice compliments".

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    My favourite reply to people who say "Your camera takes nice photos" is "your lips make nice compliments".
    Haha I like that line

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    It seems to me that there are two aspects to the photographs that are highly regarded by others. As I do not know if they have proper terms, I will call them artistic quality and technical quality. These two closely interact, but the former is more subjective and thus more a matter of opinion, whereas the latter is more objective, being open to measurement.

    A photographic work could be achieved with no more than something to make a mask over a personís skin or a plantís leaf, then exposing it to sunlight. However, modern digital photography depends upon many years of amazing developments in scientific knowledge and technological capability.

    When comments are made about photography, it is my observation that photographic artists sometimes tend to undervalue the importance of the technology used to create a photograph and, as happened in Katelynís posts in this thread, this might come across as the arrogance of the artist.

    Colinís comments, regarding the relative importance of photographer, lens, and camera, are difficult to disagree with. But even so, everything is relative to something else, which is why fair comparisons are so important in science. The rule is always - change only one variable; hold all others constant.

    Regularly Colin provides us with evidence here on CiC to support his comments - he makes stunningly beautiful images as a result of his own artistic talent and technical capability. But would the photographs be as good if he used inferior shooting technology - a poor lens or camera - or if he did not have the powerful IT he used to develop them so well?

    So the question, "Wow you take beautiful pictures, what camera do you have?!", possibly from a photographically less talented, less competent person than youself, should not be regarded as frustrating or demeaning your artistry. This curiosity arises from the reasonable notion that a better camera might produce more beautiful photographs for that same person, even if only as a result of the improved technical quality of the images.

    Is that question really much different from the following one - is it not just the same question, but from the perspective of someone at a different level in photography? :-

    Quote Originally Posted by MacrOdreams View Post
    Colin ... Your photos are stunning! May I ask what camera/lens you used in those shots?
    Philip

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    Quote Originally Posted by MrB View Post
    Regularly Colin provides us with evidence here on CiC to support his comments - he makes stunningly beautiful images as a result of his own artistic talent and technical capability. But would the photographs be as good if he used inferior shooting technology - a poor lens or camera - or if he did not have the powerful IT he used to develop them so well?
    Hi Philip,

    In all honesty, I think if I shot with an old 300D, I don't think anyone would see the difference -- if I shot with anything but a kit lens I think the images wouldn't be quite as good, but still probably not too bad. Post-processing tools make things easier, but I'm sure the same job could be done with other tools (gimp, dpp etc). What WOULD scare the living daylights out of me though would be (a) shooting landscape without my filters and (b) shooting portraits without my lighting gear!

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    Re: Another "Recommend me a camera" post!

    I enjoy your humor Colin. What editing program do you use/recommend?
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Philip,

    In all honesty, I think if I shot with an old 300D, I don't think anyone would see the difference -- if I shot with anything but a kit lens I think the images wouldn't be quite as good, but still probably not too bad. Post-processing tools make things easier, but I'm sure the same job could be done with other tools (gimp, dpp etc). What WOULD scare the living daylights out of me though would be (a) shooting landscape without my filters and (b) shooting portraits without my lighting gear!

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