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Thread: New to the forum and photography in general

  1. #1
    New Member
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    New to the forum and photography in general

    Hi and thank you in advance for taking the time to read this.

    My question is going to be "what should I get?" I have not purchased anything yet. Here is what I am looking for:

    I breed different kinds of snakes, ball pythons mostly. I wish to take picture of them, so the picture looks like how they do in real life. With the cheap camera I have now, the accuracy of the color is pretty bad sometimes. I also get annoyed with the fact that the color on the LCD screen on the camera is different than everywhere else. So I take a picture thinking it looks right, but load it on the computer and it's not.

    So what I want to take is nice accurate pictures of snakes in a light tent. The target could be as close I need to be for the picture, only problem being get too close (1 foot or closer) and some snakes will strike at you. It's not really a big deal, nothing I deal with is venomous, but then the snake is out of pose and a mouth coming at you isn't the picture I am going for lol. So I guess I am saying it would be nice to have a couple feet at least between the lens and the snake. If not oh well. It is also difficult to get a snake to sit completely still, actually damn near impossible. So it would be nice if the camera could do it's best to compensate for some movement.

    Someone recommend me a Cannon Rebel T3i with a macro lens. I saw some of his photography (another snake breeder) and it looks like the camera is capable of taking the photos I want. Someone else also recommended a telephoto lens, which I at least figured out is the ones you can twist and change your zoom, might be good if it can take the close ups I want. I saw this: Camera + Lens which I think I could swing that kind of money if I have to.

    Now my problem is I know nothing about photography. I see this site has some tutorials that I will be reading up on after I post this. I also picked up browsing the forum that some cameras let you tether to a computer so you can directly see the photo on the computer, which would solve one of my problems right away. I would love to have that feature and I can't really figure out what cameras support it, I'm probably just not looking in the right spots. Then I seriously have no idea what I am looking for in a lens. I was hoping my photo needs are specific enough where someone could recommend something that could do what I want and not break the bank too hard .

    Here are some of my best attempts, I wish to do these type of shots to the best of my ability:
    Jaguar Carpet Python:
    New to the forum and photography in general
    Lemonblast het Hypo Ball Python:
    New to the forum and photography in general
    Yellowbelly Ball Python:
    New to the forum and photography in general

    Thank you again
    Last edited by NewGuy; 7th September 2013 at 01:53 PM.

  2. #2
    The Blue Boy's Avatar
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    Re: New to the forum and photography in general

    Firstly, welcome to the site.

    Secondly, can you give us a bit more info? Most of us are pretty friendly and are on first name terms. Just go into settings and edit your profile. This will also give us a chance to know if you're male or female.

    We get this question alot and to be honest you've just about answered your own question above. Canon cameras are superb and are very capable of taking the sort of pictures you want. The only thing I will add though is that above lenses are "kit" lenses. If you stick with it and become addicted (like we all are, ) you'll probably find these lenses restrictive very quickly.

  3. #3
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: New to the forum and photography in general

    Any modern camera will be sufficient.

    The question of a lens requires more information. How large is the subject? E.g., do you want only pictures of whole snakes, or do you want close-ups of their heads? A macro lens is designed for closeups--you can get close enough so that the image on the sensor is life size. Your pictures do not suggest any need for one.

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    Re: New to the forum and photography in general

    alright edited the profile

    My light tent is a 2ft x 2ft, so that would be the biggest area I would be taking, baby snake however can ball up in a 1 inch round ball, so I would also be shooting a subject that small sometimes . So I guess that would be the range of things I would need. Also babies tend to be the ones striking at you so some distance between the lens and snake would make it a lot easier on me. Most of the pictures would be of the whole snake.

    With the kit lens, one is a 75-300mm and one is a 55-250mm telephoto lens. I cant really find a reference to what this means exactly as far as figuring out what the best one for me is. or maybe I should be looking at a different type of lens all together?
    Last edited by NewGuy; 7th September 2013 at 02:12 PM.

  5. #5

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    Re: New to the forum and photography in general

    Matt, our new friend, we new more information...Your posted images aren't bad at all.
    Are you going to get into photography in a serious way or as a sideline to exhibit your snakes on the
    internet? Do you have any interest in learning post processing software? Internet images don't need
    a high megapixel camera. What I'm thinking is that a point & shoot zoom might serve you better.
    A couple links are...http://cameras.reviewed.com/News/The...om-Cameras.htm
    http://reviews.cnet.com/best-megazoom-cameras/

  6. #6
    The Blue Boy's Avatar
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    Re: New to the forum and photography in general

    Matt,

    Neither of the above lenses will be ideal for what you are planning to shoot. It sounds as though you're going to want to get into macro photography which is another learning curve altogether.

    I'd suggest you get a camera with a kit lens to start with. A lot of photographers have started with the 18-55mm. Play around with it and you'll find it's limitations. Then look towards a more specialized lens.

  7. #7
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    Re: New to the forum and photography in general

    Quote Originally Posted by chauncey View Post
    Matt, our new friend, we new more information...Your posted images aren't bad at all.
    Are you going to get into photography in a serious way or as a sideline to exhibit your snakes on the
    internet? Do you have any interest in learning post processing software? Internet images don't need
    a high megapixel camera. What I'm thinking is that a point & shoot zoom might serve you better.
    A couple links are...http://cameras.reviewed.com/News/The...om-Cameras.htm
    http://reviews.cnet.com/best-megazoom-cameras/
    I just haven't had good experiences with point and shoots yet. I really don't plan on this being a hobby, I actually want to spend less time taking pictures. The posted images are the result of way too much time. I want something represented correctly and move on. Id rather not need to use software afterwards, though I do like the idea of being able to take a picture and see it on the computer right away, this would save me a ton of time. If a point and shoot can fit my needs, I'm open to it, but hasn't been my experience yet. This part of the article you linked worries me: "but photo quality tends to be closer to point-and-shoot territory." I understand I don't need high megapixels, but I do want an accurate picture. I dont want to sound ignorant, just trying explain what my intentions are.

    Thanks for your advise so far everyone.

  8. #8

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    Re: New to the forum and photography in general

    Then I would suggest that you go to your local camera store/Best Buy/Cosco and spend some time
    playing with the inexpensive DSLRs and the upper end P&Ss...nothing beats holding them in your hands.

  9. #9

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    Re: New to the forum and photography in general

    Hi Matt,
    To get accurate colour, perhaps think a little on the software side. Like many new skills, it can be a little frustrating at first. There are plenty of people happy to help on this board, so feel free to ask when you get stuck.

    Many different ways to do things. If you want 'ballpark is good enough', then it's simpler than 'has to be really accurate colours).
    bear in mind most people do not view digital images on a print, they look on a monitor. The liklihood of that monitor being calibrated for colour is pretty low. So perhaps 'ballpark' is good enough.
    Rather than overwhelm you in a single post (I'll let other weigh in with their preferred options - and expect quite a few), I will assume you are working with JPEGs. Your current camera may likely to be adequate using the following method.
    With JPEGs you are in the highly skilled hands of a computer programmer who has guessed at the shots you want to make. It is their unseen assessment that produces the final image you see. They are pretty good, but not always what is needed - sounds like your situation.
    Most modern digital cameras have more pixels than you really need, so use slightly more wide angle than your subject. In the extra space, place a colour card (something like this http://www.henrys.com/11529-GRETAG-M...KER-50105.aspx) so it can be seen in the viewfinder. After you've taken your picture, you can use software to colour correct the whole image. In Photoshop Elements, it's called Remove Color Cast. When you select the tool, you click on the grey square from the colour chart (in the image) and the whole image gets corrected. It basically works by assuming that the grey is only grey with no colour cast and so globally alters the whole image the same amount.

    The better way to do things, if your colour requirements are more stringent, would be by using a RAW format rather than JPG.
    Others will weigh in, I'm sure, with advice. (P&S cameras may not be able to take RAW format, but if correcting JPG is adequate, you've saved some money).

    Graham

  10. #10
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    Re: New to the forum and photography in general

    Quote Originally Posted by NewGuy View Post
    . . . I really don't plan on this being a hobby, I actually want to spend less time taking pictures . . . I want something represented correctly and move on. Id rather not need to use software afterwards, though I do like the idea of being able to take a picture and see it on the computer right away, this would save me a ton of time. If a point and shoot can fit my needs, I'm open to it, but hasn't been my experience yet.

    The solution to your problem is mainly about the light source: and then about the functionality of the camera


    If you don't necessarily want Photography to be an hobby - AND - you want to take "accurate colour" photos of snakes in a light tent - then provided that:

    • your camera can MANUALLY SET THE WHITE BALANCE to "FLASH"
    • your camera does not have any PP JPEG 'Styles' set (or you have nulled them)
    • your Light Tent is illuminated by only by FLASH
    • you make an accurate exposure


    then the JPEGS SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) will give a reasonably accurate colour rendition of the snakes skin.

    If you want prints, then it would be best to ensure the lab makes the prints with: "NO Post Production / NO Colour Correction".

    *

    Note that the VIEWING SCREEN, on which you (or anyone) looks at these images might NOT give an 'accurate' colour rendition of the snakes skin - as those viewing screens might NOT be calibrated.

    *

    If you find a P&S camera which allows a Manual setting to FLASH for the White Balance, then such a camera does have an advantage for you in so far as the DoF (Depth of Field) will be (typically) larger for any given shooting position at any given aperture, compared to if you were using a DSLR. This is because of the smaller sensor.


    WW

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