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DSLR Lens advice for a beginner - Page 2

post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jussei View Post
Ill be using the camera to photograph insects/animals in the field that are living, moving, and probably not willing to pose for the most part. Ill probably have good natural light in most cases. After reading a few threads here on Head-Fi yesterday, I saw a ring flash that really intrigued me as it was supposed to light up close subjects evenly.
definitely worth a try! I don't know much about macro photography with the ring lights. I noticed on the post your photography thread that Samgotit is one heck of an insect photographer, so he's the one to ask Just from a photographer's perspective though, I would think that using a diffuser with the flash would give some better results. That you'd get softer shadows and not a stark difference between artificial flash and natural sunlight (which is acting as fill light).

Yeah, CF cards come as either RAM type memory cards or small hard drives. No surprise then that the manufacturers who make the microdrive CF cards are hard drive makers: Hitachi, Samsung, IBM, etc. Lexmark, Kingston, Sandisk, etc are solid state memory. Way back when (ala 3 years ago in the computer world ), there was a bigger difference between SS CF cards and microdrive cards. The SS cards gave you better speed, but were substantially more money for less memory. Microdrives held a lot more, but weren't as fast, and could have more issues of failure (though photographers used them in dSLRs where they'd get dinged up all over the place and most proved to be reliable). Now that costs in SS memory have gone down so much, I think they offer a better deal now. Faster write speeds and no concern about reliability.

Congrats in getting into this BTW I was into film based SLRs awhile ago. I too have the dSLR bug now. Have all my camera accessories, but my camera body hasn't arrived yet This is worst then waiting for a headphone amp I tell you!!!!
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jussei View Post
Ill be using the camera to photograph insects/animals in the field that are living, moving, and probably not willing to pose for the most part. Ill probably have good natural light in most cases. After reading a few threads here on Head-Fi yesterday, I saw a ring flash that really intrigued me as it was supposed to light up close subjects evenly.

As Dave mentioned a flash of some sort is really a good idea, even with good natural light. Just do it all incrementally so you get an idea of what you like and don't like about each technique/upgrade. You may find tubes alone are good enough for what you want even with their short working distance. If natural light is working for what you want then no need for a flash system, which can get expensive (ring light, dedicated macro flash, flash & macro bracket, etc.) My guess is you will want some sort of flash sooner or latter (for macro the in-camera flashes don't work as they are not in front or over the lens).

I went natural light and tubes for a while and learned a lot. Then I got the glorious Sigma 105mm and a macro flash bracket. I have A LOT more to learn now. Basically, I'm a big fan of doing things in increments.

As for ring lights I think Mrvile uses one. Maybe he can give you a little insight.
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
To everyone who replied: The FedEx guy dropped off my Alpha today! Ill have to post impressions and whathaveyou when I get a little time. Also, after playing with it all day Im sure Ill have PLENTY of questions as this is a very different beast than Im used to.
post #19 of 27
Congrats! We'll be waiting for your next post!
post #20 of 27
Sweet. Sony's pretty new into the consumer DSLR market, but I liked the feel and construction of the Alpha when I played with it. Really satisfying shutter click too, less harsh than the Canon EOSxx0D series
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
So, after a full day with the Alpha, I've got to say Im pretty satisfied. I haven't really used any other DSLR's so I have no grounds for comparison, but I'm pleased with the pictures I've been getting.
The build quality is amazing on this camera, with lens attached it probably weighs about 5lbs, something I wasn't expecting.
Probably the biggest thing that has taken some getting used to is using the viewfinder to take pictures rather than the LCD, which I'm used to. I'm guessing Ill get used to it, but it really gave me a headache using the viewfinder for my first few shots and I felt crosseyed after taking some pictures and then looking at them on the computer. Any suggestions to combat/correct this?
Last night I also experimented a bit with RAW vs. JPEG. I've convinced myself that RAW does look better than the highest setting JPEG. At the moment, it just seems that RAW may be a pain to deal with, so Ill probably end up shooting in JPEG+RAW, mainly use the JPEGs and keep the RAW around for archival purposes.
The kit lens doesn't allow me to get quite as close as I'd like, so Ill probably be picking up a macro lens soon.
One major concern that I did run into was taking shots in low light conditions without flash. The pictures came out far too warm and even blurry at times. I'm guessing this has something to do with shutter speed (Again, Im a complete beginner here - so bear with me). What settings do I need to modify to correct this?
Anyway, back off to taking some pictures and experimenting some more!
post #22 of 27
Glad to hear you're enjoying your new camera! I hope I'll be able to share in the joy tomorrow (keeping my fingers crossed that my camera body is going to get here). Since I don't have my dSLR I can't say specifically about digital, but it seems like most of your problems are compatible with film based SLRs. Since I started off in photography with a film based SLR, I'm pretty used to viewfinders. I find the best way to look through the viewfinder is to close one eye and keep your open eye really close to the viewfinder, so that most of it is in your field of view.

Sounds like you're ready to get out of auto mode and start getting into some manual control for your exposures. Aperture priority mode will allow you to sellect what shutter speed you want, and the camera will decide what aperture to set the camera for. However, blurr can also occur at low light situations due to camera shake. The general rule of thumb is to not go lower in your speed then the focal point of your lens (ie with a 50mm lens you can't go below 1/60 of a second without a tripod). If you don't have a tripod yet, I'd try taking some indoor shots with the camera propt up on something. You can also reduce camera shake by only pressing the shutter release when you've fully exhalled on your breath. Your camera will also be more steady if you use a timer or remote.
post #23 of 27
Also, you might be straining your eyes too much due to a wrong diopter setting (the little knob on the viewfinder). Try fiddling around with it and see if it helps
post #24 of 27
I have a Sony A100 myself. Keep in mind that you have access to all the old Minolta autofocus lenses, many of which are excellent quality (and all give you in-body stabilization). Popular lenses are the 50mm/f1.7 (~$80 on ebay) and the 70-210/f4 (~$150 ebay); many people start off with these two excellent lenses (as I did). Keep the kit lens around, 18-70 is a good general purpose range, and it's hard to get wide angle for cheap. I would not go for hyperzooms (i.e. 18-250 or 28-300 or whatever), because the whole point of having an SLR is to have very good interchangeable lenses, and a higher range lens sacrifices quality...

For macro photography, a dedicated macro lens is the best. You can get a Sigma 50mm/2.8 macro for ~$250, though a ~100 mm macro is more useful (Tamron 90 mm is highly regarded, ~$450). Extension tubes also work well (provided there are no optics in them) and are a cheaper solution; stay away from close-up filters, they're terrible (unless you spend the $$ for really good ones).

Quote:
The general rule of thumb is to not go lower in your speed then the focal point of your lens (ie with a 50mm lens you can't go below 1/60 of a second without a tripod). If you don't have a tripod yet, I'd try taking some indoor shots with the camera propt up on something.
With the Sony, you don't have to be subjected to the 1/focal length rule (actually 1/(f*1.5) for APS-C) for blur-free images, due to in body stabilization with every lens. I can pull off 1/15s at 50 mm (actually 75 mm) without any problem, and get very sharp images. Unfortunately the camera itself doesn't realize this, and in P and Auto modes it will keep faster shutter speeds by sacrificing depth-of-field or boosting the ISO up. Better to use A mode mostly (as most people do), and manually adjust aperture/ISO.

Also some other things with the A100... keep DRO+ on always (only works with JPEG, not RAW), which gives you some nice dynamic range improvements. Try and not exceed ISO400, as you loose dynamic range at ISO800 and ISO1600 (and the Sony is one of the weaker cameras at high ISO performance); use a program like NoiseNinja to remove high-ISO noise too. Also use Hi200 instead of ISO200, as it gives you considerably more dynamic range (~9Ev).

The Sony A100 is one of the best DSLRs out there for dynamic range and resolution, though one of the worst for high ISO performance... Something to keep in mind.

Eventually you'll want to pick up a flash unit. For macro photography, ring units are great, but they aren't useful for general photography (and can be pricey). I'd go with a regular flash (Sony 36 or 56 series) and use the wireless mode for macro shots. These flashes can be triggered off the camera using the built-in flash, which sends data through a flashing protocol wirelessly to the remote flashes. For macro shots, you would have the external flash off camera, pointing at the subject from an angle.
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by chych View Post
With the Sony, you don't have to be subjected to the 1/focal length rule (actually 1/(f*1.5) for APS-C) for blur-free images, due to in body stabilization with every lens. I can pull off 1/15s at 50 mm (actually 75 mm) without any problem, and get very sharp images. Unfortunately the camera itself doesn't realize this, and in P and Auto modes it will keep faster shutter speeds by sacrificing depth-of-field or boosting the ISO up. Better to use A mode mostly (as most people do), and manually adjust aperture/ISO.
I wasn't going to bring up the issues of using the lens multiplier, but since we're talking about stabilization now.....we should fully define it. Yes, to get a crisp image with a non-image stabilizing system, on a sensor that's 1.5 it would be 1/f*1.5...So with a 50mm on a 1.5 sensor, you'd need a tripod at closer to 1/80 of a second. An image stabilizer is a micro-controlled set of lenses(in the camera lens) or sensor (in the camera body). They actually do better without a tripod because they are anticipating camera shake: when the camera is mounted, they'll actually create more blurr. There are now version 2 sytems which supposedly helps reduce tripod blurr as they only work on one axis. I'm noticing a lot of night shots people are using VR/IS with, that they're not bumping up the ISO to get faster shutter speeds.....so you'll get a really sharp background, but people tend to be blurred as they're moving. This is because they're using a slow shutter speed. Just something to keep aware: I would use slow shutter speed if your subject is static. If your subject has movement, go for faster shutter speed, higher ISO.
post #26 of 27
Indeed in-body stabilization only compensates for your hand motion, it will never freeze motion like how a faster shutter speed/flash will do. I do use the stabilization on a tripod often, due to things like wind vibrating the camera.

Regarding stabilization causing blur when on a tripod, I'm not sure if I believe this. Just took two shots with my camera on a table, stabilization on and off, and they look the same. Artifact motions of the stabilization system depends on the controller and mechanism used, so the behavior of a Canon IS system is not necessarily the same as the Sony SSS system.
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by chych View Post
Regarding stabilization causing blur when on a tripod, I'm not sure if I believe this. Just took two shots with my camera on a table, stabilization on and off, and they look the same. Artifact motions of the stabilization system depends on the controller and mechanism used, so the behavior of a Canon IS system is not necessarily the same as the Sony SSS system.
I don't know about Sony's implementation of image stabilization (in dpreview's write-up of the A100 they do say that Sony improved Minolta's "Anti-Shake" system). And this is mainly info I've heard about Canon's IS system. Whether it's the computer gyroscopically moving lenses or the camera sensor, the principle is similar. How the systems differ is the algorithms used for compensating for perceived camera shake. And aparently, the new IS lenses that Canon has come out with take tripod use into account . It seems like it's YMMV about whether image stabilization will interfere with tripod use. Here's a interesting article by Canon about IS and tripods:

http://www.cps.canon-europa.com/kb/d...jsp?faqId=1130

For myself, since I plan on using a monopod in my low light situations, I'm favoring getting some fast lenses over IS lenses (with Canon stuff, they seem to charge the same for a fast non IS lens over a slower IS lens). Sony's main advantage is that the system isn't dependant on the lens....so it doesn't get as expensive But I would think that it's susceptible to the same problems as lens based systems: it's completely up to the computer to decide if the camera is getting shake and will start moving the sensor around to compensate.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra100/page14.asp
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