Tag Archives: slr

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Camera

I think this is all of them
Creative Commons License photo credit: xdjio

This article has been submitted by Neil Austin, a digital photography enthusiast who writes on digital photography for his blog: www.DigitalWeddingGuide.com. He mainly writes about wedding photography. If you are a wedding photographer looking for you first camera then make sure you read this article on how to choose a wedding photography camera.

If you are into serious photography, then you have to take into consideration many things when selecting the type of equipment and gadgets to purchase. It does not matter whether you are going into photography as a hobby or as a profession. There are important things that you have to include in the general equation for the determination of the type of photography equipment and gadgets that you will have to invest in.

P&S VS DSLR

PS vs DSLR

When you are going for your foundation equipment, you have to decide if you are going for a Point and Shoot (P&S) or the more expensive Digital-Single Lens Reflex cameras. Your final choice will be based on your budget as well as your requirements and needs. Digital-Single Lens Reflex (dSLR) cameras are the better choice for those who have higher demands from their advanced photography. These are the type of modern cameras which are generally have wider functionality and are versatile in terms of the shooting conditions and controls. It comes with a wide range of features and provides the base equipment for future upgrades in the form of add-ons and accessories.

The dSLR is the camera of choice when it comes to action shots, nature and wildlife photography. It is also the appropriate type of camera when doing portraiture and people photography. On the other hand, Point and Shoot (P&S) cameras are the direct opposite of dSLRs. The main advantage of this type of camera is that they are extremely light and compact making them the better choice for those who put premium on convenience and ease of handling. They also come with the basic features that are normally required for day-to-day photography work as well as other photography requirements on the personal level. The major limitation of this type of cameras is that you will not be able to make any lens changes and their built-in flashes are limited in their range of capabilities.

CONSIDERATIONS ON RESOLUTION

Resolution

There is a wide range of resolution that is provided by dSLR from a low 3.4 megapixels to as high as 16.7 megapixels. There are even some high-end dSLRs whose over resolutions are higher than 16.7 megapixels. It is important to note that not all dSLR produce the same results for the same level of resolution. There are some dSLR cameras that can deliver better shots even with lower resolutions mainly because of the presence of a high-performance and more advanced sensor. The bottom-line is to assess the maximum level of megapixels that you will require in your photography work and settle for the type or model that meets this specification. Higher resolution dSLR does always mean better dSLR cameras especially if you are able to get the shots you like with a lower resolution dSLRs.

DSLR

UPGRADING YOUR DSLR

With the fast paced development and advancement in the field of technology, you will have to keep pace with the emergence of newer and more modern gadgets and add-ons for your dSLRs. The digital format is admittedly the platform on which all upgrades will be based. If you are serious about keeping pace with the advances in the digital photography technology, then you may have to replace your dSLR camera with a newer model every 18 months! However, it is worse in the case of Point and Shoot types of cameras as you may be forced to buy a new unit every six months.

ADDING DSLR ACCESSORIES

Accessories

Most dSLRs are bit heavy and unwieldy compared to the Point and Shoot cameras and you have to seriously take this into consideration when you are choosing the right dSLRs which would suit your needs and preference. You might need models that have a fairly large battery packs and all other add-ons, this will make things really heavier on the side. Don’t forget to consider the size of the lenses that you will need in your photo shoots using a dSLR camera. Once you include all these items, then you really have to consider buying a really large camera bag.

If you have an old camera with lenses and accessories, you may consider purchasing a newer model that can accommodate the lenses and accessories. The compatibility of existing lenses and other accessories can serve as a major motivation in picking out a specific model of dSLR camera.

ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF A DSLR CAMERA

DSLR Features

After you have considered the basic features of your digital camera, you can now assess all the other features which you might consider in your ideal digital camera. Though these might not be an immediate necessity in your present circumstances, you may have to look beyond the present and identify the functionalities which you would like your dSLR to have in the future.

  • Burst-Mode Functionality – This is the feature that you must have to consider when you are looking at action or motion shots. This gives you the capability of shooting a series of frames from an unfolding action.
  • Vibra-Proof Feature – This is a feature that you would like to have to give you fairly good shots while you are in motion. Though this may be an optional feature that spells the comparative advantage of one model from the rest of the units of dSLR, some would find this feature as a basic requirement especially when you are making shots while in motion.
  • ISO Rating Range – You also have to consider the ISO rating of your camera especially when you are looking at high speed shots and close portrait and people photography.
  • Digital Connectivity – With the convergence of digital based gadgets and equipments, you also must have to consider the connectivity of your dSLR camera with your computer and other photo-enhancing equipment. This would provide you with more functionality in creating high quality photo shoots with a wide range of use.
  • Review Mode and Review Features – You also have to decide on the size of the LCD panel of your dSLR. You need to assess the functionality that you will require for an on-spot review and assessment of shots. If you require detailed assessment of shots, then you have to consider larger LCD panel with brighter and sharper images.
  • Shutter Speed Range – This is another feature that you have to assess especially when you are into the more advanced photography. This has direct bearing on the kind of lenses and the ISO settings that you want in your dSLR.

About The Author

Neil Austin likes to write on topic of digital wedding photography. His focus is mainly on providing tips and articles for beginner photographers who are just entering into this amazing field of digital weddings. You can read more of his work and articles at digital wedding guide.

Don’t Forget About Parallax Error

Film Noob

If you happen to venture away from the security blanket of digital point & shoots or SLR cameras, try to remember that not all cameras allow you to “look” through the lens and see what the camera “sees”. Twin Lens Reflex (TLR), Viewfinder, and Rangefinder cameras all have this problem at close range, called Parallax Error.

Parallax Error occurs in these non-SLR cameras because you’re not actually looking through the lens. With a TLR, Viewfinder, or Rangefinder, you’re often seeing a perspective that’s slightly higher than where the photo will be taken. This error is most apparent at short distances, tapering off to no noticeable difference with subjects at a greater distance.

I fell victim to the dreaded Parallax Error just recently when I took my Diana+ out for her first shoot. With the wide angle of view on this camera, it’s easy to want to get up close to your subjects. I typically shoot with SLR cameras (and a TLR occasionally), so I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I wasn’t looking through the lens. Needless to say, a lot of my close-up shots (from 3 rolls) were way off on the framing. You can spot these oversights by the chopped heads in portraits (as shown in my photo above).

Oh well, I guess trial and error is one way to learn a lesson.

And by the way, in the photo above, that’s our buddy Bryan Villarin testing the waters on this film thing with one of my cameras (Yay Bryan!). Hey, at least I didn’t put him on a viewfinder his first time out — we’d probably both have head-chopped portraits.

So Many Cameras – So Little Time

Cameras, Cameras, everywhere. Sometimes I feel like we get so caught up in “the now” with the digital age and the boom of the dSLR, that many of us probably forget about all the other cameras out there. I’ve been doing a lot of wandering around on eBay lately (which has already caused me to buy four new cameras) and it’s quite apparent that there are a ton of cameras out there that don’t fall into the dSLR classification.

So this is just kind of a fun little post that takes a look at each of the main types of cameras still in use today. Enjoy!

SINGLE LENS REFLEX

The SLR camera is a fairly common sight these days, with digital versions covering every price range from affordable to outrageous. These cameras derive their name from how they’re made and how they work. Single Lens indicates that the camera uses one lens for viewing and recording photos. A series of mirrors and/or prisms direct the light from the camera lens to the viewfinder. The first mirror in the set is called the Reflex mirror, which sits in front of the recording media (film or sensor) and flips up when the shutter is released. Single Lens Reflex cameras typically have removable lenses and offer an array of features and controls — But this doesn’t always have to be the case. SLRs can be found in digital and analog (film) versions.

TWIN LENS REFLEX

TLR cameras are mainly a thing of the past, especially with the introduction of the SLR. These cameras have a distinct look due to their Twin Lens system. One lens is used for viewing while the other is used for recording the image to the media. The image from the upper lens is reflected onto a viewing/focusing screen with the Reflex mirror. Twin Lens Reflex Cameras (despite their clunky and old fashioned appearance) actually hold several advantages over the SLR. Simpler construction, fewer moving parts, more responsive shutter mechanisms, and sturdy build are just a few things these cameras are known for. Of course, bulkiness, sometimes awkward operation, and the tendency to have fixed lenses are a few things that the standard SLR took care of. Oh yeah, and they’re film cameras (and usually medium format)… at least, I’ve never seen a true digital TLR.

POINT & SHOOT

The Point & Shoot, or compact camera, is another type of camera that has flourished in the digital age. These little packages are easy to carry around and equally easy to operate. Though the features and controls are limited on many models, the intended use for this camera is not professional work. Most P&S cameras are autofocus and auto meter, allowing the user to focus on the subject. Point & Shoot cameras can be found in both film and digital versions. Most of the old film versions are of the viewfinder type, while many digital compact cameras don’t even have a viewfinder (instead they rely on their LCD screen).

RANGEFINDER

While the rangefinder camera has similar characteristics to both SLR cameras and compact cameras, it’s a different beast altogether. These cameras derive their name from the mechanism found in the viewfinder: the rangefinder. A rangefinder is a tool that allows you to judge distance and focus without actually looking through the lens. The major benefit of these cameras lies in their simplicity. They’re small, lightweight, and they contain fewer moving parts than the SLR. UPDATE: As Janne pointed out in the comments, this isn’t entirely true. The actual rangefinder mechanism is much more complex than an SLR camera. Thanks Janne! Rangefinders are famous for street photography, and you’ll find that many famous street photographers use (or did use) rangefinders. These cameras can be found in both film and digital versions, but watch out for those price tags! Some of these cameras (even the film cameras) cost more than professional level digital SLRs — but there are plenty of cheaper options out there… Just don’t start daydreaming about a Leica.

VIEWFINDER

Viewfinder cameras are very similar to rangefinder cameras, but they’re missing one important element: the actual rangefinder mechanism. The viewfinder on these cameras only presents the photographer with a view of the approximate framing in order to allow for composition. Focusing is either something you guess at, or something that doesn’t happen (fixed focus). Light metering is typically non existent also, but I have seen some cameras with meters external to the viewfinder, and others with a meter that attaches to the camera. These cameras are incredibly simple, and one of the most well known viewfinders is the Holga, but there are plenty of other cameras out there that are made of metal. Viewfinders can be found in both film and digital versions, but film is more common than digital. The reason being, is that any viewfinder with an autofocus mechanism is actually considered to be a point & shoot.

BOX CAMERA

Box cameras are old, and you see even fewer of them than TLRs. The camera gets its name from the fact that it’s actually a box with a lens. The lens is typically a miniscus lens with just a single element. They’re usually fixed focus, fixed lens, non-metered, fixed aperture, fixed shutter speed, fixed everything. Like I said, it’s a simple camera — it’s basically a souped up pinhole camera. These old film cameras could be fun to toy around with, but don’t expect to shoot a professional gig with one. The most famous of these cameras is the Kodak Brownie.

FOLDING CAMERA

Another blast from the past is the folding camera. These cameras look like something of a cross between the view camera and a rangefinder. The camera actually folds up since it uses a bellows to extend the lens, and everything folds into a nice rugged little case. A majority of these cameras use medium format film, but there are a few 35mm versions out there. These cameras were popular during the early 1900′s, and were probably phased out due to the introduction of high quality viewfinders and rangefinders.

SUBMINIATURE

Subminiature cameras are somewhat of a gray area, but basically anything that creates images smaller than the standard 135 format (24mm x 36mm) could be considered subminiature. These cameras take film formats such as Minox, 16mm, Super 16, 110 format, and a few others. While the cameras are still floating around out there, the films are getting harder to find (as I just found out since I bought a 110 format camera).

VIEW CAMERA

The granddaddy of all cameras… the view camera. While not the oldest type of camera, it is one of the oldest types that’s still used today. A bellows separates the lens and the film plane, and the distance and angles between the two can be adjusted. Large format cameras use the view camera setup, and many modern versions are still used today for professional needs. If you think digital photography is an expensive hobby, just do some research on these puppies and the film that goes inside them.

PINHOLE

OK, so this really is the simplest of all cameras. The pinhole camera can be nothing more than a bunch of folded up cardboard and a piece of film. No lens, no shutter, no aperture, no need to focus, no nothing. This is something I’d like to try out eventually, but I get the impression that it’s a hobby for the patient soul (ie, don’t expect to go shoot some action photography with one of these). Although native to film, pinholes have made their way into the digital realm with things such as pinhole lens caps. And if you insist that your images must be tack sharp, don’t even think about trying pinhole.

AND MORE

I’m sure there are lots of odd little cameras out there from past and present — we’ve really just covered the basic cameras still in use today. I’d encourage you all to try out different types of cameras if given the chance. Heck, maybe even buy some of your own. But no matter what kind of camera you’re using, just remember that you’re still a photographer and you’re still creating a photo — the camera is just a tool.

Link Roundup 04-05-2008

Awesome stuff floating around on the web this week. Here’s a recap in case you missed it.

  • Is Tagcow the Future of Photo Recognition and Tagging?
    Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection
    Here’s a quick review on a service that claims to be able to tag photos — Thomas Hawk checks it out for us.
  • Big and Tasty Food Photography Tips Roundup
    Photodoto
    Into food photography? Check out this massive collection of articles, posts, blogs, websites, and videos all having to do with food photography.
  • Photography Niches You Never Considered
    Photopreneur
    21 photography niches that may have never crossed your mind.
  • 100 wonderful photo effects Photoshop tutorials
    The Photoshop Roadmap
    Wow, a ton of great Photoshop tutorials for achieving various effects with your photos. Be careful, this could be a real time sink.
  • Can You Trust Autofocus with Your Digital Camera?
    Nature Photographers Online Magazine
    Darwin Wiggett analyzes the success of autofocus versus manual focus on Canon and Nikon cameras. A surprising difference.
  • Philosophy of Photography: To “Shoot” Or To “Photograph”?
    JMG-Galleries
    A lively discussion on the topic of photographers terminology. Some feel that the term “shoot” isn’t appropriate for describing the act of photography. What do you think?
  • Buyer’s guide: How to check a second-hand lens
    Photo-Mentor
    A typical photo amateur has a limited budget and therefore hi-class new lenses are inapproachable because of their price, but second-hand devices may have any condition from “like new” to “awful”. Here are some ways to spot the lemons.
  • Evolution of a Photo
    Jake Garn Photography
    Jake Garn shows some examples of how his photographs change from RAW, after Lightroom, and after Photoshop. Great visuals for what each piece of software is intended to accomplish.
  • The top 15 entry-level digital SLR cameras by Photocritic
    Photocritic
    Looking to get into SLR photography? Check this list of great cameras, compare prices, and read the reviews.
  • Photoshop Express revises terms of service
    John Nack on Adobe
    New terms of service for Photoshop Express after getting lots of great feedback from photographers and publishers around the globe.

Shoot Like You’re Using Film

Digital cameras are great: you can take a bunch of shots, view them as you go, and even delete the bad ones (though it’s not advised). But does this make us less attentive to what we’re really doing? With film, you have a set number of exposures you can take — no previews, no do-overs. Obviously, you can carry more than one roll of film, but then it becomes a matter of expense and your ability to carry the film with you.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to shoot film for my first time. We had a little family get-together and my cousin brought her film camera so I could try it out. The camera itself wasn’t much different from a typical dSLR, it’s just missing the big LCD on the back. It was actually a Minolta Maxxum SLR, so the camera was very comfortable to me. I had a good time shooting with it, but I have no idea how I did until we get the film processed.

From the moment I had the camera in my hand, my mindset was completely different than usual. All of the sudden I was limited on my shots and I really began to evaluate what I was doing with the camera. I took extra time to find the right composition, and from the right angle. I gave special attention to making sure the camera settings were just right to give the correct exposure and DOF. I also wasn’t taking multiple shots of the same thing with slightly different settings — no room on the film to do that.

So here’s my suggestion: whether you’ve shot film before or not, set some time aside to “pretend” you’re shooting with film (not all the time, just as an exercise). Limit your number of shots to 36, no previews, no erasing images. Go out somewhere with your digital camera and take your 36 shots before heading back to see what you get. You might just be amazed at what you can teach yourself while you’re out shooting — plus you’ll probably be very pleased with how many good shots you can get when you force that limitation.

7 Reasons To Love Prime Lenses

A prime lens is one that has a single focal length. A zoom lens is one that has a range of focal lengths. The each have their proper place in the camera bag and on the camera. But the prime has always been, and will continue to be, a favorite among seasoned photographers using interchangeable-lens cameras.

I picked up my first prime lens nearly a year ago (105mm f/2.8 macro), and over the course of the year I’ve grown to consider that lens as my favorite. In the last few months, I’ve hardly taken the lens off my camera body. But then I picked up another prime lens (50mm f/1.4) and I’m absolutely in love with these things. Here’s why:

2. LOWER COST

For the same quality, prime lenses cost less than zoom lenses. They contain fewer elements, less moving parts, and their design is simpler. For the same cost, you can pick up a half-decent zoom lens or you can pick up an outstanding prime lens.

3. FEWER LENS DISTORTIONS

Zooms are designed to work well at most focal lengths in their range, but the all display some type of lens distortion at some point — usually at the extremes. Primes, on the other hand, are designed to work great at a single focal length. The distortions have been minimized by design.

5. SHARPER IMAGES

Similar to the argument for lens distortions, primes have been optimized for sharpness and clarity while zooms must sacrifice these things in order to offer up the convenience of multiple focal lengths.

7. BETTER DOF CONTROL

Again, for the same price point, prime lenses are capable of a wider array of f-numbers. They’re faster, and they offer more options at the low end of the f-number scale.

11. NICER LOOKING BOKEH

Generally, as you lower your f-number your bokeh becomes more apparent. Primes are notorious for producing crazy bokeh on specular highlights when shot wide open. Primes will also generally have better and/or more aperture blades, thus giving you a better bokeh.

13. LOW LIGHT CAPABILITIES

If you’ve never shot with a f/1.4 (or faster) lens, you have no idea what you’re missing. Indoor shots — no flash, no problem. Concerts — fast lenses are a must.

17. THEY MAKE YOU THINK

I suppose my favorite thing about prime lenses is the fact that you have to use your head. Composition becomes a thinking game. You have to move your feet to get that shot you had in mind, so you really start to evaluate what’s important in the scene. Fast primes also make you think a little harder about your f-number. The DOF can be extremely shallow; sometimes too shallow to produce an effective shot. Not only that, but on bright sunny days, you actually can’t use the lens wide open without an ND filter because you’ll let in too much light and max out your shutter speed.

So if you don’t have a good prime lens, you’re really missing out. Zooms are fine, and they have their place, but a prime will open your eyes to a whole new level of photography.

Link Roundup 12-22-2007