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Photography Equipment & Software Thread


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9 minutes ago, Jamie John said:

 

With that short a lens, did you not feel like you were missing shots that you would have been able to make with a longer telephoto? Or do you just shoot in a really high resolution and then crop on close when you come to edit?


A 20mm On micro four thirds (MFT) is the equivalent of 40mm in full frame terms, so it’s a good focal length for a general purpose prime lens. All the lenses for MFT cameras are extremely compact in comparison with crop or full frame cameras though, and there’s a very good range to choose from.

 

I got into the habit of shooting to fit the lens, and didn’t really have regular need for long telephoto ranges for the stuff I tend to shoot anyway. I can adapt other lenses to the camera too though, which, because of the 2x crop factor, can give very long reach, e.g. my old Olympus 135mm prime becomes a 270mm on my GX7.

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2 minutes ago, FishyFish said:


A 20mm On micro four thirds (MFT) is the equivalent of 40mm in full frame terms, so it’s a good focal length for a general purpose prime lens. All the lenses for MFT cameras are extremely compact in comparison with crop or full frame cameras though.

 

I see, cheers.

 

After a brief look at prices, investing in a used prime lens for the D3300 (maybe the same one that @HarryBizzle mentioned), as opposed to buying a second camera altogether, looks to be the cheapest option, coupled with a sling strap that will hopefully be more comfortable than the neck strap I currently use, and also an SD card reader so I can actually get the shots onto my computer. I'll start bargain hunting on eBay and the like.

 

Thanks all :)

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3 minutes ago, Jamie John said:

 

I see, cheers.

 

After a brief look at prices, investing in a used prime lens for the D3300 (maybe the same one that @HarryBizzle mentioned), as opposed to buying a second camera altogether, looks to be the cheapest option, coupled with a sling strap that will hopefully be more comfortable than the neck strap I currently use, and also an SD card reader so I can actually get the shots onto my computer. I'll start bargain hunting on eBay and the like.

 

Thanks all :)


The Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX is a very nice lens.

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6 hours ago, Jamie John said:

 

I'm liking Snapseed for my phone photos. What do you do if you want to edit them using that, then - shoot on camera, transfer to your PC, upload to iCloud, then edit on your phone? Seems like a faff.

 

Yeah, it’s not a great workflow if you’ve got a lot of photos to do, but all my computing devices are Apple and I used iCloud photos to manage all my photos, so they’re going to end up on there anyway. I usually only edit one or two in Snapseed, as I generally don’t tinker with my photos too much these days.

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I'm looking for some advice please, because I know very little about cameras.

 

My 14 year old son wants a camera which he'll use primarily for outdoor/nature photography: forests, animals, birds, rivers, shorelines etc. Photography isn't a fad for him - he's been using our ageing point-and-shoot for ages now, and we want to get him something really good that he can take great pictures with. A full-size DSLR will be too bulky for him to want to carry about, so we've been thinking of either a MFT or a bridge camera. I'm inclined more toward MFT because of their better flexibility and quality, although some of the bridge models have long zooms which will be helpful for some shots he'll want to take.

 

Can anyone offer any recommendations on the best models to consider please? If we went down the MFT route, would we ideally get another lens to complement the kit lens - I think they typically have fairly short zoom?

 

Budget is approximately £600, although we could stretch that if necessary.

 

Thanks :)

 

 

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@Phil Maybe look at a Nikon D3500 which is not a full size DSLR its a cropped sensor DX variant (DX is a term specific to Nikon). Linked for Amazon but you can get grey imports within the UK for a lot less. I'm sure there is a Canon* equivalent that is also a cropped sensor DSLR. It'll come with a 55-85mm kit lens which is Meh but enough to get anyone started. After he gets to know the basics he can then go for a 50mm prime lens (prime - no zoom) which is cheap but gets good results. 

 

The other route could be looking at a Sony Mirrorless camera, the body will be smaller than a DSLR cropped sensor and it will be lighter. But its going to cost a bit more unless you go for a good second hand model. Again others on here can link to reputable online pre owned camera stores.

 

*Canon EOS 4000D

 

Sony ILCE5100LB.CEC - No idea on this, just grabbing anything of Amazon to demonstrate size difference with Mirrorless systems. 

 

Finally I shoot with a Nikon D3300 so a few years old now. Examples of this are on instagram with most of it being shot with a 50mm or a 70-300mm lens (which is around 250 quid) - https://www.instagram.com/idiwa/

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@idiwa Thanks for those suggestions. I'll take a look at those links in more detail tomorrow :)

 

The bit I'm struggling with at present is understanding how much magnification a telephoto lens will provide. For example, if using a 300mm focal length lens (150mm on Four Thirds), how close would you have to be to a bird (let's say crow-size) to produce a great, detailed picture? I understand you can also crop and zoom the RAW image to an extent afterward without losing much detail, but it's quite hard to grasp how it all combines in practice.

 

Although superzoom/bridge cameras have smaller sensors and are less flexible, they offer a greater focal range - I can't work out if the type of shots he wants to be able to take will be practical with a DSLR or four-thirds without really expensive lenses.

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2 hours ago, Phil said:

@idiwa Thanks for those suggestions. I'll take a look at those links in more detail tomorrow :)

 

The bit I'm struggling with at present is understanding how much magnification a telephoto lens will provide. For example, if using a 300mm focal length lens (150mm on Four Thirds), how close would you have to be to a bird (let's say crow-size) to produce a great, detailed picture? I understand you can also crop and zoom the RAW image to an extent afterward without losing much detail, but it's quite hard to grasp how it all combines in practice.

 

Although superzoom/bridge cameras have smaller sensors and are less flexible, they offer a greater focal range - I can't work out if the type of shots he wants to be able to take will be practical with a DSLR or four-thirds without really expensive lenses.

 

This is a photo of some starlings that I took from an upstairs window several years ago. The street-lamp was approx 25' away. It was shot at 200mm on my D3200 with a 55-200mm lens. As the D3200 has a 1.5x crop, then it's the equivalent of 300mm on a full frame camera. The photo is un-cropped and shows the full 24 megapixel frame.

 

It gives an idea of how big a bird would be at a certain distance at that focal length.

 

50260898892_9b9fc9fd7f_h.jpg

Starlings by fishyfish_arcade, on Flickr

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Is anyone else having trouble with Photoshop since the most recent update?
 

It’s running very slowly for me, taking ages to fill up a progress bar when applying sharpening filters or resizing, when previously the same actions were almost instant. It’s also crashing a lot.

 

edit: I’ve tried resetting preferences, purging, and it’s still really slow. When Photoshop crashes, I sometimes get the message about video card incompatibility. Could it be a driver update that’s fucked it?

 

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I've got a Canon DSLR that takes an LP-E8 battery. Looking to get a spare or two, but I baulk at paying £53 for a Canon-branded one when there are compatible off-brand ones for as little as £8.25. I'm not a heavy user, just a dabbler.

 

Does anyone have any recommendations, or (maybe more importantly) horror stories?

 

 

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Is it just me, or is this image quite soft? I shot it at f/22, 1/100 speed with plenty of natural light and a low ISO. To me it seems out of focus somehow. I shot it handheld but had my elbows up on the railing to steady myself and the Optical Stabilisation setting on. 

 

57aOpKpc2cAZIpYixVHyxbXxebWgTtZQ-iD_31rc

 

 

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Pic not working for me, and I don’t know what camera you’re using, but at f/22 the image will be soft due to diffraction, even on a full-frame camera.

 

The exact max aperture depends on sensor size, pixel density and a whole bunch of other things, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find a rule-of-thumb figure for your camera. For my m43 stuff it’s about f/6ish, but given as that’s f/12 DOF in FF terms, it’s usually plenty. 

 

I’ll sometimes use a more extreme aperture if I want uniform focus front to back when combining elements close to the camera and far away, e.g. a plant with mountains in the background, even though it does soften the image. 

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29 minutes ago, Alexlotl said:

Pic not working for me, and I don’t know what camera you’re using, but at f/22 the image will be soft due to diffraction, even on a full-frame camera.

 

The exact max aperture depends on sensor size, pixel density and a whole bunch of other things, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find a rule-of-thumb figure for your camera. For my m43 stuff it’s about f/6ish, but given as that’s f/12 DOF in FF terms, it’s usually plenty. 

 

I’ll sometimes use a more extreme aperture if I want uniform focus front to back when combining elements close to the camera and far away, e.g. a plant with mountains in the background, even though it does soften the image. 

 

Not sure why the image isn't showing m I can see it on my desktop and phone.

 

Anyway, thanks for your reply, although a lot of what you wrote is pretty over my head! I always thought that if you wanted an image that was sharp from front to back the you should use as narrow an aperture as you could given the amount of light you had, whereas if you want to blur the background of what your shooting so that the focus is on the subject in the foreground you should use a wider aperture. Is that not the case?

 

I'm using a Nikon D3200. I need to read into all this crop factor stuff because I don't really understand it.

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Front to back sharpness isn’t quite the right way to think of it. Any shot has a Depth of Field (DOF), which is the total distance into the frame, from before to after the focus point, where the picture will be in focus.
 

The bigger the f number (and therefore the smaller the aperture), the deeper the DOF, so the more front-to-back focus.  

 

Things that are in focus are sharper than things that aren’t, but focus and sharpness aren’t the same thing. I could take a photo of something at f/1.8 and again at f/4 with the same lens, and the f/4 one would almost certainly look sharper for the area immediately under the focus point, despite that area being in focus in both pictures. This is because most lenses have “sweet spots” at which they perform best, usually (but not always) stopped down a bit. The f/4 photo would also have a larger DOF, which may or may not be desirable. 
 

When you stop down past a certain point, diffraction starts to occur. Rays of light spread out a bit after going through the aperture hole, and the smaller the hole, the more they spread out. Once the amount they spread gets bigger than 1 megapixel on your camera sensor’s grid, then you’ll start getting multiple pixels picking up the same ray of light, which reduces the sharpness. This loss of sharpness gets worse the further you stop down (smaller hole, more spread, more pixels picking up the same info). 

 

So if you stop down to f/22, you’ll have a huge DOF, so a very large area front to back will be in focus. However, the in focus areas will be less sharp than the in focus areas would have been at, say f/5.6, due to diffraction.

 

But sometimes you still want a huge DOF, so the loss of sharpness due to diffraction is a price worth paying. Something that’s in focus at f/22 will still be sharper than something out of focus at f/5.6. You just have to bear in mind that the peak sharpness of the picture will be less once diffraction comes into play. 

 

It’s definitely worth being aware of your camera’s diffraction limit, but that doesn’t mean you should never go beyond it. If you need that huge DOF for artistic effect, then use it.

 

That said, you probably don’t need f/22s worth of DOF, even for landscapes. Worth reading about hyperfocal distances at some point, but easier to learn by doing - do some experimentation with different apertures and focus points. Try focusing not on the foreground or the background, but something inbetween. You should find you can get enough DOF for just about anything on a DX sensor without going past f/9 - f/11 at the absolute most. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@PopeSmokesDope @TommyG

 

 

I’m looking for some advice on landscape photography. I’m heading to the Isle of Skye this week for a weeks break. This is our yearly wedding anniversary get away with last year being Oban. Whilst I did get some decent pics in Oban it was very hit and miss. Defiantly luck rather than skill. I guess what I have to work on is my story telling, rather than just SNAP here's a big fucking hill.... Trying to use rule of thirds and sight-lines with roads/ trails etc.

 

I think my main issue is skies being blown out so I guess I need to adjust metering. Should I be using spot based metering rather than matrix?

 

Normally I’m shooting in Aperture Priority mode. 

 

 

Set up is a Nikon D3300 with 18-55mm kit lens, 50mm Nikor F1.8 and 70-300mm Nikor F.4.5. 

 

Examples of happy accidents before and the last two are unedited just to show the results I am getting straight off the camera - Thanks in advance.

 

Landscapes-4.thumb.jpg.c4925495a6c90870128d43f9ff2df7c4.jpg

 

 

Landscapes-3.thumb.jpg.733c1445f60c7f583396da3aab239ea1.jpg

 

Landscapes.jpg

 

Landscapes-5.jpg

 

 

Unedited -

 

Landscapes-6.jpg

 

Landscapes-8.jpg

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8 hours ago, idiwa said:

@PopeSmokesDope @TommyG

 

 

I’m looking for some advice on landscape photography. I’m heading to the Isle of Skye this week for a weeks break. This is our yearly wedding anniversary get away with last year being Oban. Whilst I did get some decent pics in Oban it was very hit and miss. Defiantly luck rather than skill. I guess what I have to work on is my story telling, rather than just SNAP here's a big fucking hill.... Trying to use rule of thirds and sight-lines with roads/ trails etc.

 

I think my main issue is skies being blown out so I guess I need to adjust metering. Should I be using spot based metering rather than matrix?

 

Normally I’m shooting in Aperture Priority mode. 

 

 

Set up is a Nikon D3300 with 18-55mm kit lens, 50mm Nikor F1.8 and 70-300mm Nikor F.4.5. 

 

Examples of happy accidents before and the last two are unedited just to show the results I am getting straight off the camera - Thanks in advance.

 

Landscapes-4.thumb.jpg.c4925495a6c90870128d43f9ff2df7c4.jpg

 

 

Landscapes-3.thumb.jpg.733c1445f60c7f583396da3aab239ea1.jpg

 

Landscapes.jpg

 

Landscapes-5.jpg

 

 

Unedited -

 

Landscapes-6.jpg

 

Landscapes-8.jpg


You could use ND grad filters to avoid blowing out the skies while on location. Good quality filters can be expensive though, and the lower cost ones can sometimes introduce unwanted colour casts. It depends on how you set your expectations though.

 

Alternatively, if you’re using a tripod, then you can bracket your exposures so you have separate images where either the sky or ground are correctly exposed and then blend them together later in Photoshop or similar.

 

If either of the above options are unsuitable, then make sure you shoot RAW and then expose for the highlights. You should be able to recover a lot of detail in the shadows when editing the file.

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@FishyFish yeah I always shoot Raw (Fro taught me that!) And I have my camera set to shoot under exposed. Tripod - I bought a knew one for last year's trip to Oban and it's s bit Meh. There is so much wiggle room between the camera and plate. 

 

I also use a PeakDesign sling/ strap which is amazing but it doesn't play well with tripod mounts. Will link the the tripod later but it's really pissed me off. Feel like it needs a wedge of blutak in the mount. :quote:

 

I know about ND filters from Peter McKinnon and how bloody expensive they can be!

 

The D3300 does do bracketing but I guess I need to shoot with a remote on the tripod and manually do it. But Shirley that's borderline impossible to change focus, settings etc and not move it by a few mm. :o

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@idiwa Isle of Skye is a lovely place. Get yourself to the old man of storr for sunrise and you’re guaranteed a good photo. In regards to metering I always use multi and then always adjust exposure for the highlights. Shadows can easily be recovered in post, blown highlights not so much. I’ve never needed to use bracketing, that’s not to say you shouldn’t. If you’re using a tripod try shooting in manual. ISO as low as it will go, choose your aperture and lastly the shutter speed. You can hire a boat at Portree and go and see the white tailed sea eagles if you’ve got a long lens. Have a fab time! 

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1 hour ago, idiwa said:

@FishyFish yeah I always shoot Raw (Fro taught me that!) And I have my camera set to shoot under exposed. Tripod - I bought a knew one for last year's trip to Oban and it's s bit Meh. There is so much wiggle room between the camera and plate. 

 

I also use a PeakDesign sling/ strap which is amazing but it doesn't play well with tripod mounts. Will link the the tripod later but it's really pissed me off. Feel like it needs a wedge of blutak in the mount. :quote:

 

I know about ND filters from Peter McKinnon and how bloody expensive they can be!

 

The D3300 does do bracketing but I guess I need to shoot with a remote on the tripod and manually do it. But Shirley that's borderline impossible to change focus, settings etc and not move it by a few mm. :o

 

You should only need to change shutter speed, which you can probably do with the wheel without affecting the camera position. It depends just how shaky your tripod is though I suppose.

 

Do you use the shutter button to lock focus, or back-button focusing? The latter will mean once your shot is focused it will stay that way. Using a shutter release cable will help too, or the self timer otherwise.

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1 minute ago, FishyFish said:

 

You should only need to change shutter speed, which you can probably do with the wheel without affecting the camera position. It depends just how shaky your tripod is though I suppose.

 

Do you use the shutter button to lock focus, or back-button focusing? The latter will mean once your shot is focused it will stay that way. Using a shutter release cable will help too, or the self timer otherwise.

 

Behold shonky tripod vid above!. The Nikon is set up for back-button focusing, tbh I've always found it a real faff on the Nikon. I think its supposed to be more intuitive on Canon. A lot of the time I'm using the dpad to offset focus point and then hitting the shutter button to focus and then taking the shot etc. 

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1 hour ago, TommyG said:

@idiwa Isle of Skye is a lovely place. Get yourself to the old man of storr for sunrise and you’re guaranteed a good photo. In regards to metering I always use multi and then always adjust exposure for the highlights. Shadows can easily be recovered in post, blown highlights not so much. I’ve never needed to use bracketing, that’s not to say you shouldn’t. If you’re using a tripod try shooting in manual. ISO as low as it will go, choose your aperture and lastly the shutter speed. You can hire a boat at Portree and go and see the white tailed sea eagles if you’ve got a long lens. Have a fab time! 

 

Cheers for the manual workflow etc. Yeah I wanna get up Storr for sunrise, not sure how happy Mrs idiwa will be about that. Eagles I was wanting to see too and I think there is a tour for Sea Otters. Again its down to luck with weather and if they wanna be seen. Reminds me I need to get some ginger pills so I don't spew my ring when in a wee boat.

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That’s funny, I dragged my Mrs out of bed at 4:30am when we were there to walk up to the top of the Storr in pitch black (take a decent torch) It was late autumn as well just before the snow came so it’s was cold as well. She didn’t stay long at the top! I then dragged her out on a small fishing boat for the sea eagles, she didn’t really enjoy that either and was death-gripping my hand when the sea got choppy! We did managed to recreate the Skyfall shot at Glencoe on the way home though.  

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If you are in Skye then the Old Man of Storr is a must, the view is breathtaking. The path to the 'classic' viewpoint is pretty easy to follow now but even walking through the sanctuary (the fingers pointing out of the ground) is incredibly atmospheric. Honestly, the walk isn't that much either if you take your time, have water, snacks and appropriate clothing... but get there early as parking can get tight later in the day (pic from 'classic' viewpoint - https://www.petejohns.photography/Gallery/Scotland/i-RmkHsSM/A)

The Quiraing is incredible too but the walk is a little more challenging though parking is easy(pic from along path - https://www.petejohns.photography/Gallery/Scotland/i-2zV6vwq/A)

 

For balancing the sky and ground, the above posts have covered it all. A lot of pros are actually ditching filters and reliant on the amazing dynamic range of the top end cameras along with bracketing. This means carrying less stuff and less 'faff' in order to get the shot you want. Personally though I don't mind carrying everything and quite like the process of thinking about filters so would rather them than bracket, though I will admit I've missed several opportunities as I mess around with filters rather than just taking the photo. The cost is insane too - I started with a cheap set for less than £100 but the colour cast was dreaful, and now I own around £1k of Lee filters.

 

If you don't have access to a tripod however and you want to look at ways to get better results, then take a look at the histogram - https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-read-and-use-histograms/

If the histogram is off the right then the highlights are blown out - there is nothing but white somewhere on the image and you cannot recover them. Set your exposure priority down

If the histogram is off of the left then the shadows are completely black - there is nothing but black somewhere on the image and you cannot recover them.

 

In general you should try and 'expose to the right' of the histogram - push as close to the right hand edge as possible and then darken the image in post. A light image that is darkened will look a lot better than a dark image that is lightened. The former will give you better colour range, and the latter will give you banding and noise. 

 

Handheld it's difficult to do but if you have the time just take multiple shots on the scene and pick the best one when you get home. People get precocious about taking as few shots as possible but you've got a digital camera, take as much as you need!

 

Finally, don't trust the preview on the back of the screen on any digital camera. They are low quality jpegs that don't represent the final image - trust your eye and the histogram.

 

Enjoy Skye :)

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  • 1 month later...

www.panamoz.com have both models in stock. 
 

Grey import of course from Hong Kong, but they come with a 3 year warranty where they reimburse you for any repair bills. I’ve spent a good few thousand there over the last couple of years or so and couldn’t be happier. 
 

That’s exactly where I’d be buying from if I was in the market for new camera gear regardless of stock shortages in the UK. 

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