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Thread: Equipment vs. Me

  1. #1

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    Equipment vs. Me

    Hi, I just joined CIC a few weeks ago. What a great community. Ever since I've become a member I'be been jealously blown away by the quality (sharpness & clarity) of the images I've seen on here, which I have a difficult time matching.

    I'm sure that a lot of it has to do with my own skills, but I'm also wondering how much of it is my outdated(?) equipment. Even when I feel Ive exposed the image properly and focused appropriately, I just don't get the results that I see here. I probably need to upgrade anyways but am wondering how much difference newer sensor/processor and lens technology might make.

    I currently use a Canon 300d + Tamron 18-200mm 1:3.5-6.3, both of which are about 10years old. I know it's a tough question to answer precisely, but any ideas would be helpful. Thanks so much.

    You know, I'm a golfer and just realized how analogous this question is the to the "Am I bad, or is my equipment?" question in that sport. At least in golf, I choose to blame the equipment.

  2. #2
    epmi314's Avatar
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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    It's not the arrows, it's the archer! Said to me by an 75 year old, who could almost shoot his age, after I flared a 5 iron into a bunker.

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    Quote Originally Posted by woty87 View Post
    You know, I'm a golfer and just realized how analogous this question is the to the "Am I bad, or is my equipment?" question in that sport. At least in golf, I choose to blame the equipment.
    I'm afraid John, brutally cruel though it is , the answer is the same.

    Time for my Lee Trevino story (which I haven't pulled out for a long time .............)

    Lee Trevino, champion golfer, used to talk about practicing with one golf club. He would spend days/weeks with that one club, getting it to do everything that it could possibly do, before putting it back in the bag and moving on to the next club. As he knew, it wasn't the club that was the problem, it was about how well he knew how to use it. Practice, Practice, Practice. Then practice some more.

    Now, of course, higher aspect cameras, lenses etc open up more options. But the fundamentals of composition and exposure remain the same, no matter what gear you have. And those fundamentals are in the hands of the person behind the camera.

    But that's the beauty of learning. For example, the one thing you don't mention in your message is post-processing. How proficient do you feel at working on your image once you've got it out of the camera? What pp software do you have? For example, the first thing that came in to my head when I read your post was 'Does he do any sharpening?'. Now, I don't know if you know about post-processing sharpening.

    What would be good is if you were to post up some examples of what you mean. Post up an image and give us your analysis of it: What is it that's not as good as it should be?

    The wonderful think about this forum is that you don't have to worry about posting up an image that's not top-quality. That's why CiC is a learning forum. If we don't discuss what people aren't getting right, then those people can't learn. So, don't feel that people are just going to knock you or your images for the sake of it. That doesn't happen on here.
    Last edited by Donald; 22nd January 2012 at 06:46 PM.

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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    John, as Donald said, some examples will help us to give clearer answers.

    Often, it is the imperfect photos which are the most interesting. And remember that there will be a number of people who are in the same position as you but don't actually ask the questions; so asking for specific advice will also benefit them.

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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    As far as post-processing, I would say that I am moderately proficient although I know I can learn a lot more. Ive worked through Scott kelby's photoshop for photographers book so at least I know enough to be dangerous.

    Well, the good news is that this archer will likely get new arrows since he is really tired of the clunky controls on his old camera. So, I guess we'll know the answer for sure, at least in my case.

    I will definitely post pictures that infind disappointing in the appropriate areas of cic. I'm always happy to be a guinea pig through which others can learn.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    Hi John,

    Of course, it could be a combination with 'less than perfect' shooting technique and less than ideally applied 'dangerous' PP skills.

    UPDATE: That sounds awful, what I mean is I'm sure we/I can help, because I rescue my own duff shots all the time.

    Please remind me (because I expect you've already told me/us), are you shooting RAW?

    If so, process one yourself, then let me have a go (from RAW) and we can compare the results.
    Then I'll tell you exactly what I did.
    You can rest assured that it won't be rocket science - I only do simple stuff, but I know a few simple techniques that make a big difference, even the inexpert way I do 'em.

    If I can do it, anyone can
    I learnt most of what I know from the good folks here at CiC, so time to return the favour.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 22nd January 2012 at 08:03 PM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    Dave, that would be so helpful. I've been shooting jpg until I very recently learned the virtues of raw. But I will try to find one appropriate for this purpose and send it to you. Thanks so much for your generous offer.

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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    There was a poster on another forum who shot with a 300D and the original 18-55mm (non-IS) kit lens and who would post breathtaking images which she shot with that equipment. Her secret was that she normally shot using a tripod and around f/8 to f/11 and had become pretty adept at post processing.

    When she upgraded her equipment, it did not improve the quality of the imagery she posted to any great degree but, it did allow her more versatility in her shooting. She was able to expand the parameters of her photography and shoot in lower light venues.

  9. #9

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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    Richard, that's a really good tip. I find myself shooting in lighting conditions where I always seem to be using the high aperture end so I can keep shutter speed reasonable. I'll have start carrying my tripod with me everywhere!

  10. #10

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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    To satisfy my curiosity with regard to this thread, I just conducted an experiment. I took 3 images with a tripod at different apertures (5.6, 11 and 22) with shutter speeds to maintain same exposure (1/4,1" and 4"). The pics are a little dark because I wanted to keep it simple at the whole stop levels.

    I think I've convinced myself that one of my problems is that I don't shoot in the f8 to f11 range enough. To my eye, the second picture below is definitely the sharpest, especially if you zoom in. The interesting thing is the 3 images seem to be exposed differently even though I manipulated the f-stops and shutter speed to maintain it level. I may have screwed this up. Is there a good reason for this? Anyways, I thought you guys might be curious to see the results.

    1/4 f5.6
    Equipment vs. Me

    1" f11
    Equipment vs. Me

    4" f22
    Equipment vs. Me

  11. #11

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    Hi John,

    Correct sharpening workflow will make the biggest difference of all - perhaps you can outline just what sharpening you're applying?

  12. #12

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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    John, all lenses have their optimal working range, often referred to as the 'sweet spot'. It is usually around the middle of the length; ie F8 to F11.

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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    TBH the Tamron isn't the sharpest lens in the world either even at f8 The user reviews here http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/...asp?IDLens=192 would tend to confirm that. Whereas the 300D with good glass can take really sharp photos.

  14. #14

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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    Quote Originally Posted by Neelly View Post
    TBH the Tamron isn't the sharpest lens in the world either even at f8 The user reviews here http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/...asp?IDLens=192 would tend to confirm that. Whereas the 300D with good glass can take really sharp photos.
    Thanks for the link. I have definitely convinced myself that a new lens should come before a new body.

  15. #15

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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    Dave, I'd like to take you up on this offer and have a file to send you but I'm not sure how to do this. There doesn't appear to be an attachment feature on the cic email function. Can you tell me how to do this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi John,

    If so, process one yourself, then let me have a go (from RAW) and we can compare the results.
    Then I'll tell you exactly what I did.
    You can rest assured that it won't be rocket science - I only do simple stuff, but I know a few simple techniques that make a big difference, even the inexpert way I do 'em.

    If I can do it, anyone can
    I learnt most of what I know from the good folks here at CiC, so time to return the favour.

    Cheers,

  16. #16
    CougarFool's Avatar
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    Hi John,
    I still use my 300D. It is definitely a case of buying a better lens before changing the camera body. I bought a Sigma lens to replace my kit lens and it made a huge difference.

  17. #17
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    Quote Originally Posted by woty87 View Post
    Dave, I'd like to take you up on this offer and have a file to send you but I'm not sure how to do this. There doesn't appear to be an attachment feature on the cic email function. Can you tell me how to do this?
    Hi John,

    To pass me the RAW file (quite big), you'll need to use somewhere like www.mediafire.com and then PM me the link.

    It is fairly straight forward to use.

    Cheers,

  18. #18
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Equipment vs. Me

    Quote Originally Posted by woty87 View Post
    Ever since I've become a member I've be been jealously blown away by the quality (sharpness & clarity) of the images I've seen on here, which I have a difficult time matching.

    I'm sure that a lot of it has to do with my own skills, but I'm also wondering how much of it is my outdated(?) equipment. Even when I feel Ive exposed the image properly and focused appropriately, I just don't get the results that I see here. I probably need to upgrade anyways but am wondering how much difference newer sensor/processor and lens technology might make.

    I currently use a Canon 300d + Tamron 18-200mm 1:3.5-6.3, both of which are about 10years old. I know it's a tough question to answer precisely, but any ideas would be helpful.
    The newer camera models will give you leverage in having more pixcels and also a greater ISO range and quality - they are the main two advantages, in a nutshell.

    Apropos the lens - it is not "lens technology" - it is the TYPE of lens you have.

    Certainly the zoom you have is “OK” but it is in excess of a x10 zoom and the image quality MUST be a compromise in that type of lens design - and that lack of IQ will be noticed more so IF you HAVE to use the very wide apertures.

    For example - you are at about max F/6.3 when the zoom is around FL = 120mm – so you “need” to be stopping down to about F/11 or F/13 – and allowing for camera shake and if there is any subject movement to arrest you are really pushing the ISO to 800 or more . . . to make an adequate Shutter Speed.

    IF you are after sharpness and clarity – and you tend to push the ISO and the aperture of a lens, then consider one or two of the less expensive Primes. (or more expensive if you have the $ - but if you have the $ - then get an high quality zoom or two)

    So – I suggest you consider HOW you update your lens cache - and that might include a Prime or two or NOT buying ONE zoom lens but two.

    Certainly if you buy another Zoom Lens, I suggest you consider one with a smaller Focal Length Compass.

    The DSLR has an “interchangeable” lens mount – use it.


    Your 300D camera can make good photos, even in difficult conditions. –

    I don't have any 300D samples at hand, but here’s a 400D used at ISO1600 -mounted on it was the EF35/2 – and the lens is wide open I beleive at F/2 and the shot is hand held:


    Equipment vs. Me

    ENLARGEMENT:
    Equipment vs. Me


    WW

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