Topic Wiki

Quick tips on random subjects that come up in between classes (will add as we go along):

Food photography tips
Newborn photography tips

Table of Contents (I'll change each line to a link as we go along.)

Introduction

1) Choosing a camera: Point and Shoot vs. Mirrorless vs. DSLR
2) Camera specs: What do they mean, and which ones matter to me?
3) Exposure Basics Part 1 - the shutter speed/aperture/ISO triangle
4) Exposure Basics Part 2 - getting to know your mode dial, and other exposure controls
5) All about memory cards
6) Using ultra-wide lenses





Lenses 101 - technology, terminology, and specs, zooms vs. primes, basic/advanced/unique lenses

Lighting 101 - focusing specifically on easy to afford and easy to use setups
Small flash - on camera, off camera, modifiers and accessories
Studio strobes
Continuous lighting - fluorescent, LED, and halogen
Basic light modifiers - umbrellas, softboxes, gels, reflectors
Basic supports - lightstands, umbrella brackets, backgrounds, etc.

All about accessories - memory cards, tripods, bags, filters, remotes, adapters, grips, geotaggers, and more)


So I bought all my stuff - now what?

What makes a compelling photograph?
Depth of field
Composition basics - rule of thirds, perspective, framing
Advanced composition - negative space, inclusion and exclusion, compression
Light - natural, golden hour, basic flash usage.

Let's start shooting...

Kids:
In the park
Playing sports
At home

Landscapes and wildlife:
"Grand" landscapes
"Intimate" landscapes
Seascapes
Waterfalls
Cityscapes
Wildlife
Birds in flight
Shooting in bad weather

Portraits:
Babies and newborns
Single person - indoors
Single person - outdoors
Families/siblings/groups
Natural light
Artificial light - simple
Artificial light - complex
Mixed light

Others:
Close up and macro
Product photography

How do I...? (Some specific scenarios/techniques - Basic)
Shoot out of a plane window?
Shoot underwater?
Shoot compelling black-and-white?

How do I...? (Some specific scenarios/techniques - Advanced)
HDR
Long exposures
Light painting
Twilight landscapes
Milky Way
Star trails

Basic editing concepts:
Exposure
Contrast
Clarity/sharpening
Color
Layers and masking

Poll

What type of camera do shoot with?

Point & Shoot - basic (Canon Elph style) or Smartphone
118 (38.3%)
Point & Shoot - advanced (Canon S100 or G Style)
44 (14.3%)
Mirrorless
24 (7.8%)
DSLR - consumer (Up to a Nikon D5200 or Canon Rebel)
68 (22.1%)
DSLR - prosumer or pro (Nikon D7000 or Canon 60D and up)
28 (9.1%)
P&S, but I plan on getting an SLR or Mirrorless in the near future
26 (8.4%)

Total Members Voted: 253

Author Topic: Learn Photography Master Thread  (Read 171972 times)

Offline Fan of Dan

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #525 on: March 30, 2014, 01:23:03 PM »
For a safari I am looking into renting a lens for my rebel t3i. I am debating between a few different options. I prefer a low f stop so that I can use it well in low light situations such as dawn, dusk etc. and use a quicker shutter speed. Shooting from a vehicle I will have a beanbag however I don't have the most steady hands so I want IS.

Below are a few options I saw on Adorama. Prices are all before shipping, tax and insurance.

CANON EF 300MM/2.8L IS USM VERSION II  however I would need to also rent a camera as I don't want to be tied to a prime lens. 300 dollars.

CANON 70-200/2.8 L IS II  With the crop sensor on the camera perhaps this is enough? I wouldn't need to rent a 2nd camera this way and it's more within my budget. 140 dollars.

CANON 100-400 4.5-5.6 L IS  which is 100 dollars however is the aperture good enough?

CANON EF 200-400 F/4L IS USM 1.4X USA  which I had to mention although it's quite a fortune at 575. I don't get what is so good about it however I am sure that's due to my lack of knowledge!

Anything else I should consider? Thoughts? Thank you!

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #526 on: March 30, 2014, 02:47:09 PM »
For a safari I am looking into renting a lens for my rebel t3i. I am debating between a few different options. I prefer a low f stop so that I can use it well in low light situations such as dawn, dusk etc. and use a quicker shutter speed. Shooting from a vehicle I will have a beanbag however I don't have the most steady hands so I want IS.

Below are a few options I saw on Adorama. Prices are all before shipping, tax and insurance.

CANON EF 300MM/2.8L IS USM VERSION II  however I would need to also rent a camera as I don't want to be tied to a prime lens. 300 dollars.

CANON 70-200/2.8 L IS II  With the crop sensor on the camera perhaps this is enough? I wouldn't need to rent a 2nd camera this way and it's more within my budget. 140 dollars.

CANON 100-400 4.5-5.6 L IS  which is 100 dollars however is the aperture good enough?

CANON EF 200-400 F/4L IS USM 1.4X USA  which I had to mention although it's quite a fortune at 575. I don't get what is so good about it however I am sure that's due to my lack of knowledge!

Anything else I should consider? Thoughts? Thank you!

First of all you should absolutely positively take another camera. Rent one, borrow one, doesn't matter - even if it's a P&S. If you have a long lens on your T3i you will miss a tremendous amount of pictures. Even if you get the 70-200, the widest you could go is 112mm equivalent. That means no landscapes, no group of animals at a watering hole, no picture whatsoever if the animal comes right up to the jeep. And changing lenses in the jeep is NOT the answer - you will have a sensor full of dust and zero pictures. If you have a second camera - any camera - you keep a wide angle lens on there and you'll be covered for any situation.

Now as far as lenses - remember that on your camera you have to multiply the focal length of the lens by 1.6x. That means that the 70-200 will be 112-320mm, the 300 will be 480mm, etc.

The 70-200 is a fabulous lens and amazing in low light, but it's a quite short for safari shooting. If you go that route i'd recommend you also get the 1.4x teleconverter. On your camera, this will make the lens a 156-448m f/4 - you gain length but you lose a stop of light).

The 100-400 is a pretty nice lens, but I wouldn't suggest it for two main reasons - being f/4.5-5.6 it's quite slow. Your camera isn't the greatest when it comes to very high ISOs, so that's an issue. Additionally, the zoom mechanism on this lens is a push-pull, which means that every time you zoom out it sucks in air like a vacuum cleaner. On safari, this means that whatever dust is present in the air gets sucked in as well. The slow aperture combined with the potential for a large dust problem makes it not worth it IMO.

The 200-400 1.4x is a safari dream. The reason it's so expensive is very simple - it's simply the best lens money could buy. Overkill for you? Quite possibly. But gosh darn it, that lens is the only thing that makes me wish I shot Canon instead of Nikon. The focal length is amazing - 320-640mm. Te aperture is pretty good too, being f/4. If you want more reach, flip a switch and you instantly have a crazy 448-896mm f/5.6 lens. Best of all, it's sharp as a tack. You'd be able to count the hairs on an animals face. But of course, it's expensive and crazy large and heavy :D...

The 300 2.8 is also a great lens, but the fact that it's a prime will drive you bananas in the field. If you do go that route, get the 1.4x teleconverter too and you'll get a 672mm f/4 equivalent.

Couple more points - check out the new Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 (quite slow, but an pretty darn good lens with an amazing range - and cheap, too) and the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 (another fabulous and fast lens). Also check out lensrentals.com and borrowlenses.com - I've found them to be cheaper than Adorama sometimes.
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #527 on: March 30, 2014, 03:22:45 PM »
Thanks for the incredible tips SF!!!!

Regarding a second camera I will have the Nikon Coolpix p7000 which has been my trusted camera until I got the t3i. I am going in migration season, so if I am lucky enough to catch it wide open panoramas of the huge herds will be in order. Not sure if I can trust my Nikon for that. Renting another rebel will only set me back another 75 dollars or so but then I need the wide angle lens (which I should probably buy either way).

Does the teleconverter have an off switch or once it's on the camera even if I don't need the added 1.4 x I will lose the f stop?

Agreed the prime lens will probably make me nuts, not being able to frame pictures or move in or out.

Going to look into the Tamron and Sigma options as well, quick researching online has the Sigma not focusing that well in low light. In theory the Sigma would be great as it's not that expensive and has everything I would need. Is OS and IS the same concept?

Thank you!!

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #528 on: March 30, 2014, 03:29:20 PM »
Thanks for the incredible tips SF!!!!

Regarding a second camera I will have the Nikon Coolpix p7000 which has been my trusted camera until I got the t3i. I am going in migration season, so if I am lucky enough to catch it wide open panoramas of the huge herds will be in order. Not sure if I can trust my Nikon for that. Renting another rebel will only set me back another 75 dollars or so but then I need the wide angle lens (which I should probably buy either way).

Does the teleconverter have an off switch or once it's on the camera even if I don't need the added 1.4 x I will lose the f stop?

Agreed the prime lens will probably make me nuts, not being able to frame pictures or move in or out.

Going to look into the Tamron and Sigma options as well, quick researching online has the Sigma not focusing that well in low light. In theory the Sigma would be great as it's not that expensive and has everything I would need. Is OS and IS the same concept?

Thank you!!

1) The Nikon is a good choice. A Rebel would be better, but it may not necessarily be $75 better.

2) The teleconverter is basically a lens that goes in between your camera and regular lens, so when it's on it's on. You'd gain 1.4x and lose a stop. The only way to avoid that is to remove it entirely, which if course brings up the dust problem.

3) Both the Sigma and Tamron will focus slower than the Canon in low light.

4) IS, OS, VC, and VR are all trademarked names for image stabilization systems; all do basically the same thing.
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #529 on: March 30, 2014, 03:42:01 PM »
1) The Nikon is a good choice. A Rebel would be better, but it may not necessarily be $75 better.

2) The teleconverter is basically a lens that goes in between your camera and regular lens, so when it's on it's on. You'd gain 1.4x and lose a stop. The only way to avoid that is to remove it entirely, which if course brings up the dust problem.

3) Both the Sigma and Tamron will focus slower than the Canon in low light.

4) IS, OS, VC, and VR are all trademarked names for image stabilization systems; all do basically the same thing.
If the Nikon is a good choice then I will go with that. In the worst case I will change the lens on the Rebel in a clear plastic challah size ziplock so I can see what I am doing and avoid the dust. Is that a good option if I realize I will spend a few hours shooting wide angle shots?

When you mention that the Sigma and Tamron focus slower, is that something that should be a huge deterrent? Once the focus is locked in will it be able to track the animals? I read about Al Servo which is what I would use I guess.

Do any of these lens make a difference when trying to shoot in bursts to capture the perfect moment?

Thank you so much for all of your help SF, I really appreciate it.

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #530 on: March 30, 2014, 06:37:54 PM »
If the Nikon is a good choice then I will go with that. In the worst case I will change the lens on the Rebel in a clear plastic challah size ziplock so I can see what I am doing and avoid the dust. Is that a good option if I realize I will spend a few hours shooting wide angle shots?

When you mention that the Sigma and Tamron focus slower, is that something that should be a huge deterrent? Once the focus is locked in will it be able to track the animals? I read about Al Servo which is what I would use I guess.

Do any of these lens make a difference when trying to shoot in bursts to capture the perfect moment?

Thank you so much for all of your help SF, I really appreciate it.

Unfortunately, Servo is where these lenses fall short (relatively). In single shot they'd focus fine, but they may have trouble tracking after being locked on.

Bursts are done by the camera and have nothing to do with the lens, but focus is still dependent on the lens. The Canons will do a better job at this.
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #531 on: March 31, 2014, 08:24:07 PM »
I have been doing a lot of research on the Sigma 120-300mm and it has amazing reviews. The only negatives I saw were on Nikon cameras at f 2.8 but all the reviews done on Canon were amazing. My decision has come down to either the 70 200mm with a converter or the Sigma.

For the Sigma at the 120 range times 1.6 does that mean I won't be able to use it for water holes or groups of animals?

Regarding the 70 to 200mm the only way I would go with it is if you thought it made sense to use the lens as is in low light at 200 times 1.6 and during daylight to add a 1.4 converter in which the f 4 wouldn't be much of an issue. I would need to take off the lens twice a day but I can do it in a large sealed ziplock to prevent the dust. My concerns would be the 320 mm w/o the converter in low light and how that would work out as well as your thoughts on adding the teleconverter in the jeep.

One last thing I was wondering is that you mentioned that I gain 1.6 mm on the lens due to the crop sensor. How it that different then a digital zoom on a P and S if the camera is simply cropping the image to make it look larger?

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #532 on: April 27, 2014, 01:15:20 PM »
I have been using the 50mm 1.8 recently and noticed that although I can blur our the background nicely at 1.8 it doesn't result in a total blur, (for example the pics of the birds SF recently posted.) In some of the pics I was close to the subject and the items in the background were far away and it still didn't help.

Can it be because the 50mm isn't a zoom lens or is it simply the limitation of the crop sensor rebel t3i?

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #533 on: April 27, 2014, 01:57:19 PM »
I have been using the 50mm 1.8 recently and noticed that although I can blur our the background nicely at 1.8 it doesn't result in a total blur, (for example the pics of the birds SF recently posted.) In some of the pics I was close to the subject and the items in the background were far away and it still didn't help.

Can it be because the 50mm isn't a zoom lens or is it simply the limitation of the crop sensor rebel t3i?

The former. The longer the zoom, the better the bokeh. I'll let SF give you the technical answer.

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #534 on: April 27, 2014, 02:08:06 PM »
The former. The longer the zoom, the better the bokeh. I'll let SF give you the technical answer.
True but he should be able to get some incredible bokeh with that lens regardless.

@Fan of Dan, do you want to post some examples?

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #535 on: April 27, 2014, 02:14:24 PM »
The 50 could give you some lovely blur, but don't expect anything close to my bird shots. Those were taken with a $10k+ 400mm lens on a full frame camera - no way a 50 on a crop sensor could compete.

So your best bets are keeping the subject choose and the background far, and of course keeping it at f/1.8.

Maybe post some samples so we could see if what you're getting is to be expected or not.
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #536 on: April 27, 2014, 02:21:18 PM »
The 50 could give you some lovely blur, but don't expect anything close to my bird shots. Those were taken with a $10k+ 400mm lens on a full frame camera - no way a 50 on a crop sensor could compete.
So your best bets are keeping the subject choose and the background far, and of course keeping it at f/1.8.
Maybe post some samples so we could see if what you're getting is to be expected or not.
Is that a $10K+ cost camera? Which one?
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #537 on: April 27, 2014, 02:28:30 PM »
Is that a $10K+ cost camera? Which one?

Nikon D800 and 200-400mm lens
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #538 on: April 27, 2014, 02:39:24 PM »
Nikon D800 and 200-400mm lens
oh. Wow -- A $6K lens -- Looks heavy. Can you see people's faces in the windows of flying aircraft? (Or better - from the airplane onto earth...  ;) )
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #539 on: April 27, 2014, 04:23:28 PM »
Here's a few examples. Only in the 4th shot of the flowers did I somewhat get the desired result and in the 1st the background is hardly blurred, just out of focus. All shots were taken at 1.8 ISO 100 with a shutter speed somewhere between 1/2000 and 1/4000.