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Thread: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    I was asked by a volunteer in our dog rescue program, "What kind of a camera do you shoot with to get such good dog pictures?"

    I answered, "I shoot with a DSLR camera because most DSLR's have a very short shutter lag and that is just about the only firm camera recommendation that I have!" I explained that I have shot with any number of different Canon DSLR cameras (from the old D60 to the newest 7D) and that they all provide vey good to excellent image quality.

    I also said that although I prefer to use top-grade lenses, the Canon kit lenses are perfectly capable of achieving very good to excellent image quality if used correctly.

    Additionally, I stated that although I have not used Nikon equipment, I feel certain that I could achieve the equal quality using that brand of camera gear.

    Finally I told the volunteer that the most important factors in shooting dog pictures (or just about any other pictures) are the lighting, the background, the posing of the dog and that I like to use fairly long lenses so that I can work at a distance from the dog and that shooting from a greater distance will prevent the dogs nose from appearing extremely long or large. I explained that I really like to shoot with a helper who can control the dog.

    I said that I will use a three light setup with umbrellas or softboxes when I do studio work, will bounce my hotshoe flash using a Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro for one light shots and that I almost always use fill flash when shooting my dog portraits outdoors.

    The volunteer's response was, "Yes, but I don't really want to go into all that complicated stuff... I just want to get a good camera like yours that will take pictures like yours!"
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 14th May 2012 at 03:13 AM.

  2. #2
    rtbaum's Avatar
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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    OMG........Are you actually suggesting that it's the driver, not the car that wins the race?!!!

  3. #3
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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    I think I know why you get questions like that and why people start threads asking which camera to choose. It's because the manufacturer's publish vague advertisements that at most list megapixels, fps, video, camera bag as the quality features of the system. If I look at an advertisement and this is all I see, how does this tell me I am getting a good quality system?

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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post

    The volunteer's response was, "Yes, but I don't really want to go into all that complicated stuff... I just want to get a good camera like yours that will take pictures like yours!"
    Richard:

    Everything you said (until the reply by the questioner) made perfectly good sense, and was excellent advice.

    Then his reply indicated that he didn't listen to anything you said, he didn't understand it, or was just making small talk.

    I don't know what I would have replied, but I would have been polite and tried to get away by muttering something like "excuse me, but I hear my mother calling me".

    Glenn

    PS:

    On second thought, I would recommend a P&S camera to most people because most people don't have the technical ability to use a DSLR (if you don't believe me, watch most people drive a car).

    Yesterday sitting at an outdoor coffee shop, we watched someone parallel park: he (yes he), backed in with the wheels about 24 inches from the curb. Then tried to pull ahead and tried to back in closer. He actually turned the front wheels so that the rear wheels were further out than the first try. When he got out and saw where the car was, he got back in and started over. I'm sure the car had two exterior mirrors - I'm sure he doesn't know where they are.
    Last edited by Glenn NK; 13th May 2012 at 04:25 PM.

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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    Something like two thirds of people walk into the camera store wanting to get a DSLR and walk back out with a point and shoot. Some people just don't care enough, but almost any DSLR works just like a point and shoot anyway.

  6. #6
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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    My first digital camera was an Olympus C5050Z which was really a pretty capable advanced P&S. It allowed RAW capture and I was able to shoot in manual, AV, TV as well as P and full auto.

    However this little camera frustrated me no-end because I would press the shutter button and then wait for a long time until the camera acquired the image. Fine for shooting subjects which do not move but, it was terrible for shooting dogs, especially puppies. I had more images of the tails of the little puppies as they exited the frame than I had of the puppies themselves.

    At that time, I was still using film DSLR cameras for my "serious" photography but, needed immediate digital images to email to prospective parents of the puppies. The Olympus imaghes were fine for that use except when the puppies decided to move - which puppies frequently do. When I switched to a Canon 10D shutter lag problems were solved and the image quality was so good that I never went back to film photography...

    Recently, my wife wanted a purse size digital camera and I got her a tiny Canon P&S. However, that camera is as gulty of the samr shutter lag problem as is the 15-year old Oly C5050Z. In fact, the 15-year old Oly is a better camera. Of course, when I purchased the Oly, I paid seven hundred U.S. Dollars and I only paid right at a hundred for the little Canon P&S. My wife likes the anon better because it is smaller than a cell phone and is a hot-pink color...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 13th May 2012 at 05:28 PM.

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    rtbaum's Avatar
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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    I, also, began my digital days with the Olympus C5050Z (still have it). That blasted shutter lag is what made me decide that a dslr was on my wish list. I remember trying to shoot porpoises breaching in the bow wave of a small launch that I was in. Lots of shots of a bow wave!!!!!

  8. #8
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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    Welcome to my world mate.

    The other common one is "I've just retired/want some extra cash/etc and I'm going to be a wedding photographer what camera do I need?" I usually make life simple and say they will need a decent DSLR, two or three lenses, a tripod, a flash, some software and about £2-3k minimum - to which I almost always get "Well I didn't want to spend more than about £150" If I don't and they still look interested (very rare) I then get down to some real advice...which I hope will put them off for good.

  9. #9
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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    I have had this same experience as you guys. It seems like laymen assume everything others do for a hobby or profession should be easy as pressing a button in the corresponding equipment or is a mechanical application of predefined straightforward rules.

    When I have carried my bridge camera to school it usually calls the attention (So that I pull it out of bag only when I will actually use it, to avoid undesired attention) and most of the time someone asks how many megapixels it has. Mostly I got used to it, but it still bothers me that pixel count is the only thing 99% of the people in my environment care of a digital camera, and even less care of the artistic use it is given.

  10. #10
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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    Richard,

    The comment from your volunteer might be irritating, but it is understandable because it is due to lack of knowledge, and education is a long (and, for some, a slow) process. However, if he were to follow your advice by obtaining a dslr, at least he would be unlikely to cause any harm. In the analogy mentioned above, the same kind of ignorance in charge of a high performance car could be lethal.

    Tnere is another quality factor that I don't think has yet been mentioned in this thread. Simple P&S and inexpensive cameras tend to degrade the image because of noise and/or noise reduction. A dslr is likely to produce much better results, even at high sensitivities such as ISO 1600.

    Philip

  11. #11
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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    I thought you were going to say you were getting married!

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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    Quote Originally Posted by MrB View Post
    Tnere is another quality factor that I don't think has yet been mentioned in this thread. Simple P&S and inexpensive cameras tend to degrade the image because of noise and/or noise reduction. A dslr is likely to produce much better results, even at high sensitivities such as ISO 1600.
    Much better?. Unlikely. Richard's fellow wants to take pictures like Richard's but he refuses to get to the complicated stuff. No amount of money spent in equipment will compensate for operator's lack of attitude. A DSLR may make sharper and less noisy images than a compact camera even with an incompetent operator and the phrase "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept" is spot on.

  13. #13
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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    My keyboard creates great quotes!


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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    I'm reminded of a quote from cartoon strip What the Duck. Someone says "wow - your camera takes nice photos" to which he replies "and your lips make nice compliments".
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 14th May 2012 at 01:24 AM.

  15. #15
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    Re: I was asked "THE QUESTION"

    Quote Originally Posted by Photon Hacker View Post
    Much better?. Unlikely. Richard's fellow wants to take pictures like Richard's but he refuses to get to the complicated stuff. No amount of money spent in equipment will compensate for operator's lack of attitude. A DSLR may make sharper and less noisy images than a compact camera even with an incompetent operator and the phrase "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept" is spot on.
    There is no need to be quite so strident. Cambridge in Colour is about the considerate and respectful education of photographers of all types and levels. The paragraph you referred to from Post #10 was intended to be one that Richard might have included in his description to the volunteer and therefore in Post #1. And it does take more patience, persistence and persuasion to educate some people.

    Philip

  16. #16
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Yep... The photographer makes the picture...

    We will all admit this to be true; that it is the photographer, not the camera, that makes the image! However, there are times when a "better" or "more sophisticated" camera will do a much better job than the more simple camera. It is not just image quality that the camera produces which will make the difference between very good and mediocre images. Here are a a few times when a "better" setup will enable you to get better images.

    1. When you cannot work with the long time lapse between pressing the shutter release button and acquiring the image...

    2. When you need a hotshoe fitting and the simple camera will only work with onboard flash...

    3. When you need a more narrow depth of field in order to use selective focus and the camera is not capable of achieving the DOF you want...

    4. When you need to shoot at a higher ISO or a wider aperture than the simpler camera is capable...

    5. When you need a faster burst than the simple camera is capable of...

    A duffer (to use a term from another hobby) with the most expensive camera will not produce better images than a good/great photographer using a less sophisticated camera.

    However, when two photographers of equal (or close to equal skill) are shooting; most often the photographer wthl the "better" or "more advanced" equipment will produce the better images.

    OTOH: As I mentioned to my friend; just about any DSLR camera with a decent (it doesn't have to be great) quality lens has the capability to produce very good to excellent imagery for the photographer who is competent and who is willing to do a bit of work to produce his or her imagery...

    AND: If you add a hotshoe flash (used either on or off camera) to that DSLR and decent lens; you will (if you are competent) be able to produce some very nice imagery...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 14th May 2012 at 09:49 PM.

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    Re: Yep... The photographer makes the picture...

    Richard:

    Can't disagree with anything you said; you've pretty well summed it up.

    Glenn

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    Re: Yep... The photographer makes the picture...

    Interesting thread.

    As one who is a relative newbie to taking up photography as a serious hobby, I find your volunteer's question a lot like that of other recreational activities I have taken up over the years. As a fly fisherman, learning to cast a fly and place it such that it attracts, versus frightens fish, is a skill that requires time and effort. However, most inexperienced observers equate the quality of the casting more to the price tag of the equipment rather then the developed skills of the fisherman. I have seen the samething with golf. Golfer spend more money on trying to buy the greatest equipment to get a longer drive then spending the time and effort in perfecting their swing. I recently attended a camera fair where a skilled photographer was giving a talk on travel photography and taking great pictures. He distilled the essentials to a great picture down to 4 things you need. They are a camera, time, experience, and effort.

    Dr Bob

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    Re: Yep... The photographer makes the picture...

    On second thought, I would recommend a P&S camera to most people because most people don't have the technical ability to use a DSLR (if you don't believe me, watch most people drive a car).
    Yeah LOL ... but actually it is easier to get quality images with a DSLR than a P&S or Bridge camera ... I have all three kinds but prefered the bridge camera as a tool ... so I had to try harder ... so I got myself a M4/3 and 14-140 which is as close as I can get to a bridge camera as a tool with what is made at the moment. I have been asking for a larger sensored bridge camera for years now but R&D ignore me :-( So all up the DSLR is the beginners camera if they don't mind the weight.

    Dr. Bob ... it is little different with photography as people equate cost with success as a photog and are endlessly spending money on more and more gear, even though they have not really learnt to use what they purchased first to its full potential With a bridge camera you have the whole package, with a M4/3 or DSLR the door is forever open to spend, unless you can exercise extreme restraint.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 17th May 2012 at 09:13 AM.

  20. #20

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    Re: Yep... The photographer makes the picture...

    I have a Nikon P80 bridge camera as well as my Sony DSLR, the Nikon will do most of what the DSLR will do but not as easily. Also it is limited to producing jpgs, not RAW. The bridge camera is relatively compact and IMHO is ideal if you are travelling and need to keep your gear down as much as possible

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