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OT - More digital SLR questions, after purchase.


RABid

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Now that I have a decent Digital SLR I have a few more questions for the camera experts here. (Yes I know I could go to a camera forum but there are people here that I trust with the answers.)

 

Ive read that some people keep a haze filter on their expensive lenses at all times as a way to protect the lens. I tried this but it seems to have messed up some of my night shots, causing artifacts in a cloudy sky. What is the opinion here?

 

Aperture 1.5 or Photoshop Lightroom 1.0? I have Photoshop Elements but am not happy with it. I can go Mac or PC.

 

Do you use the same software for editing and organizing photos?

 

What scanner do you use to scan older pictures?

 

What do you find more important on a zoom lens; lens quality, image stabilization or low light rating? My next lens will have two of these features but I cannot afford all three. I would love something below an F3 so I can take shots on a ball field while sitting in the stands at night. But, a Canon zoom L series IS F2.8 leans is over two grand. Something has to go.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.

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I personally don't use haze filters, and in 15 years have never damaged the front of my lenses (I do use them in blowing dust/sand/saltspray, however). I doubt that a haze filter would screw up your night shots, was more likely digital noise; what ISO did you use then?

 

I use Nikon Capture NX for editing, and iPhoto 08 for organizing (I do only nature photography, so no "cut-n-pasting" required, just color tweeks).

 

I'm using the Nikon slide scanner for my old slides, I still have to fiddle with the configuration as iPhoto won't accept them (iPhoto has no problem accepting my .nef files directly from my D-200, though, hmmm)

 

If you're handholding the camera (sounds like you are) image stabilization would be useful. A wide aperture does allow higher shutter speeds, although adjusting your ISO can help with that a bit.

The other thing a wide aperture gives you is limited depth of field, i.e. the player you're focused on is sharp while players in front/behind him are a bit fuzzy; this is the main reason you see fast glass at sporting events, if the player is against the colorful background of the crowd, having that crowd fuzzy lets the player "pop" out in the photo much better.

Since you'll be up in the stands shooting down on the players, you won't have quite as many distracting elements, just other players and green grass.

 

Hope this helps!

Botch

In Wine there is Wisdom

In Beer there is Freedom

In Water there is bacteria

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I don't know about a haze filter. I've used a clear filter to protect my lenses. Seems to me that a $10 clear filter used to protect a multi-hundred dollar lens makes sense.

 

I'll get the name of the Canon scanner I just bought. PC Magazine named it an Editor's Choice a few months ago. It works great.

 

EDIT: Here it is, the Canon 8600F.

 

KLONK HERE

 

Tom

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I really really like Aperture. I've not tried Lightroom. There are free trials of each on their respective sites. Why not download each if you can and see for yourself what you prefer?

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Ive read that some people keep a haze filter on their expensive lenses at all times as a way to protect the lens. I tried this but it seems to have messed up some of my night shots, causing artifacts in a cloudy sky. What is the opinion here?

 

I never use UV filters. The only time I would consider doing so would be in harsh conditions like blowing sand. If you want to protect your lens against scratches (1) use the lens cap religiously, (2) attach the shade that came with the lens, and (3) be careful all the time. It's that easy.

 

Putting a cheap filter on an expensive lens is like putting imitation bacon bits on your 24 ounce London Broil. Expensive UV filters are available (and I own some), but I use other filters frequently, so it's just another thing to screw on and off. That said, if I were shooting a parade or an angry mob or a kid's birthday party, or if I were in Antelope Canyon with microscopic sand drifting all over the place, I might consider protecting the lens with a UV filter. Usually, in bad conditions, I shoot through the clear half of a split neutral density filter, because I use split ND filters frequently.

 

Aperture 1.5 or Photoshop Lightroom 1.0? I have Photoshop Elements but am not happy with it. I can go Mac or PC.

 

Note: I haven't used either, but I hear great things about Lightroom.

 

Do you use the same software for editing and organizing photos?

 

No. As a Nikonian, I use Picture Project to transfer files from the camera and organize them. I use Capture NX to convert NEF (Nikon's raw) files to JPEG format (for sharing/posting) or TIFF format (for printing and editing). I use Photoshop CS2 for editing (when necessary), sharpening, and printing.

 

I think that it's imporant to convert raw files using software that you can trust. For Nikon cameras, Nikon software works the best at this stage, IMO.

 

What scanner do you use to scan older pictures?

 

I have an Epson Perfection that I don't care for. I'm going to try a Microtek, because I need to be able to scan 4x5 chromes. For 35mm and medium format, the Nikon scanners are the best that money can buy short of a mega-expensive drum scanner. I've had some scans made (at a lab) using an older CoolScan 8000 ED, and the results were breathtaking.

 

What do you find more important on a zoom lens; lens quality, image stabilization or low light rating?

 

Quality first, then speed, but it depends on what I want to do. I wouldn't lug a bag full of fast lenses up Mt. Whitney, and I wouldn't want to carry them around town all day long. In those cases, I'd trade speed for lighter weight (but still high quality).

 

IS (or VR for Nikon) is a limited technology. It's like automatic transmission or auto-tune or groove quantization. It works well sometimes, under some conditions, and at other times it's worse than just doing without. IS/VR is cool, but it's not as useful as I thought that it was going ot be. If you really have to handhold shots at 1/15th of a second, your subject had better be standing perfectly still, or their motion will blur the shot anyway.

 

My next lens will have two of these features but I cannot afford all three. I would love something below an F3 so I can take shots on a ball field while sitting in the stands at night. But, a Canon zoom L series IS F2.8 leans is over two grand. Something has to go.

 

Lenses have to suit your needs. A 70-200mm f/2.8 IS may be a great investment, but it's BIG and HEAVY. You may never end up carrying it because it's too much of a hassle. On the other hand, if you want to take pictures of the kids' soccer or basketball games, this lens will make all the difference in the world.

 

I have a hefty zoom lens, but I also have a small 70-300mm lens for when I need to go fast and light. There's a noticeable difference in quality, but in many cases the smaller lens is "good enough." Most of the time I carry a minimal kit of one body and one lens - a fast zoom that covers wide angle to short telephoto - along with my favorite filters. I may miss a few shots of distant sparrows, and I may miss some ultra-wide panoramas, but who cares? Limitations inspire creativity. A ton of pro lenses inspires back pain.

 

Think carefully about the subjects that you want to shoot and how far you'll have to carry your gear. Is extreme sharpness or speed important? Is lighter weight important? Can you get by with a smaller, slower zoom coupled with a fast prime lens (like an 85mm f/1.8)? Then buy lenses optimized for your most common shooting situations. If you're shooting exotic birds or pro sports, you'll have to spring for some big, heavy glass. If you're shooting handheld in low light situation, speed is a must. If size and weight will keep you from carrying your camera around, get some smaller/slower lenses possibly with IS/VR if that will help you. The important thing is to be comfortable with your gear and confident in transporting it. A forty-pound camera-store-in-a-bag won't take great photos if it never leaves the house.

 

Bottom line: No one is going to look at a picture of a baby taking its first steps, a kid hitting a home run, or their spouse cuddling the family pet and say, "Wow! That's sharp! What lens did you use?" It's not the camera gear that's important; it's what's in front of it and what's behind it. There are four elements in a great photo: composition, exposure, quality of light, and the magic of the moment. Lens specs and megapixels may contribute to the final image, but they're hardly essential.

 

 

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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That said, if I were shooting a parade or an angry mob or a kid's birthday party, or if I were in Antelope Canyon with microscopic sand drifting all over the place, I might consider protecting the lens with a UV filter.

 

:laugh:

 

Great post.

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Thanks for the advice, and it really got me thinking. I have my primary low light lens in the 35mm F1.4L and it was a joy to use. It is also doing just what I expected it to do, take nice shots of night scenes and Christmas lights. I don't really need telephoto for those needs so I can drop the low F stop requirement from the telephoto lens. I also put a tripod on my Christmas list. For most nature shots where I would use the telephoto lens I don't really need IS if I have a tripod, and the Tripod is MUCH cheaper than IS for a single lens. That leaves quality, for Canon that is the L series. I like rich color and detail in nature shots, but it may be worth it to see how good a $200 telephoto lens looks before I spend $600.

 

So, I think the Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM Autofocus Lens is going on my Christmas list and I will also suggest it to my sister as a present for my nephew. He even suggested we split use of a telephoto lens since we have the exact same camera. At just under $200 it is a lens that I will not be so paranoid about carrying around. That is the only thing I don't like about my nice lens. I worried about it a lot while taking it to Florida last week.

This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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Thanks for the advice, and it really got me thinking. I have my primary low light lens in the 35mm F1.4L and it was a joy to use. It is also doing just what I expected it to do, take nice shots of night scenes and Christmas lights. I don't really need telephoto for those needs so I can drop the low F stop requirement from the telephoto lens. I also put a tripod on my Christmas list. For most nature shots where I would use the telephoto lens I don't really need IS if I have a tripod, and the Tripod is MUCH cheaper than IS for a single lens. That leaves quality, for Canon that is the L series. I like rich color and detail in nature shots, but it may be worth it to see how good a $200 telephoto lens looks before I spend $600.

 

So, I think the Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM Autofocus Lens is going on my Christmas list and I will also suggest it to my sister as a present for my nephew. He even suggested we split use of a telephoto lens since we have the exact same camera. At just under $200 it is a lens that I will not be so paranoid about carrying around. That is the only thing I don't like about my nice lens. I worried about it a lot while taking it to Florida last week.

 

 

Sounds like you've got it all worked out. If your using the tripod the IS lens becomes a non issue. Good luck with your pictures and I hope Santa is good to you. He's gonna have to be as that lens isn't all that cheap. ;)

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I also put a tripod on my Christmas list. For most nature shots where I would use the telephoto lens I don't really need IS if I have a tripod, and the Tripod is MUCH cheaper than IS for a single lens.

 

Beware: A cheap tripod, like a cheap mic preamp, is WORTHLESS. Here's an article that will give you the skinny. I didn't want to believe this advice in my fledgeling days as a photo enthusiast, but every word of it is true. See also: John Shaw's discussions of camera support in his books.

 

Here's a nifty gizmo that works in conjunction with a tripod head. Note: Tripod heads are sold separately from tripod legs. Here's an example of an inexpensive, high quality, lightweight tripod head.

 

 

That leaves quality, for Canon that is the L series. I like rich color and detail in nature shots, but it may be worth it to see how good a $200 telephoto lens looks before I spend $600.

 

Lens quality will have NO EFFECT on color. Lens quality is more for sharpness and minimization of various types of annoying distortion (e.g., straight lines that end up as curves in your photos).

 

So, I think the Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM Autofocus Lens is going on my Christmas list.

 

That sounds like a great choice.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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I'll get the name of the Canon scanner I just bought. PC Magazine named it an Editor's Choice a few months ago. It works great.

 

EDIT: Here it is, the Canon 8600F.

 

KLONK HERE

 

Tom

 

Thanks. I just ordered the update to that scanner, the 8800F. Every where I looked it had good customer ratings. And it works on Mac or PC. :)

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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I'll get the name of the Canon scanner I just bought. PC Magazine named it an Editor's Choice a few months ago. It works great.

 

EDIT: Here it is, the Canon 8600F.

 

KLONK HERE

 

Tom

 

Thanks. I just ordered the update to that scanner, the 8800F. Every where I looked it had good customer ratings. And it works on Mac or PC. :)

 

Robert

 

Cool.

 

Yes. I've got about eight photo albums to scan. I keep putting it off. I'm worried that I will destroy the pictures as I handle them or that no one will care after I've done all the work.

 

But the scanner itself is very nice. I'm pleased with it. I hope you will be too, Robert.

 

Tom

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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