does the camera matter

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by kelly5577, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. kelly5577

    kelly5577 TPF Noob!

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    i am a beginning photographer. i have a canon rebel t3i. i have a 50 mm and also 70-200mm. i love to shoot pictures and i struggle of pictures of my kids inside... it is always just too dark.


    i only take pics of my kids, but i do want to step up my photography skills. this year I am focusing on getting better.

    do i take the plunge and buy a very expensive full frame camera .... or do i just try to perfect my skills. does the camera really matter?


     
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Up to a point, the camera matters. But it NOT always just gear.

    You mention you struggle shooting in low light. Sure, a full-frame camera will do better in such situations. But don't buy one and expect results that will be on the cover of NG or SI just because it cost a lot of money. You are a much larger variable in that equation.
     
  3. IronMaskDuval

    IronMaskDuval Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not really. Lens first. Body later. Photos coming out of a t3i are fine with the exception of low light, as you have stated. Will full frame do wonders in low light? I think so, but the cost to get there with lenses you want is exponentially higher than getting in to crop cameras. Even with full frame, shooting candids indoors with low light is still tough.
     
  4. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The T3 (and T5) has about a 2 stop less high end ISO than the T7.
    At the high school that I help at, the T3 and T5 are day sport cameras. The T7 are the night/indoor sport cameras.
    So yes the T3 is lacking in low light performance compared to other crop cameras.

    You need to really LEARN how to get the most out of your camera, before you go looking to replace it.
    Are you adjusting your ISO up, for the lower light indoors? The T3 will go up to ISO 6400.
    What exposure mode are you using?
    Post a pic, so we can see what you are running into.

    The 50mm f/1.8 should perform decently indoors at ISO 6400.
    However, it will not make up for shooting in really LOW light. For that you need a flash, and to learn how to use it.
     
  5. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Kids indoors, I just put a flash on the camera and bounce it off the ceiling or wall and can usually be ISO 500 or less. Without the flash I can get decent shots with a couple of room lights on and ISO 1250, 1/30, f/2.8 (or 1/60, f/2). For some candids I might add the pop-up flash dialed down to its lowest setting.

    A couple flash units and radio transmitter can be had for under $200.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Does the camera really matter?

    The NEW-era Sony-designed EXMOR generation and newer sensors are ISO invariant, allowing the user to recover and brighten-up exposures made at shutter speeds that are four or even five full EV values "too dark"...meaning that in dreadful light, the new-era Nikon and Sony and Pentax cameras give you a simply huge advantage. Huge. The kind of advantage where a BLACK frame can be "lifted" (in other words, brightened-up) in post-production software, to make a usable picture. This is the main difference between the old-tech Canon sensors, and the newest, state-of-the-art sensors used in Sony,Nikon,and Pentax d-slr cameras.

    Yes, the camera does matter if you are still using an old-tech sensor, which is what Canon put in its Rebel series bodies for something like nine years in a row...the same, basic 18-MP sensor that has since been bypassed by newer-tech sensors in "other" types of cameras. Canon's newer 6D and 5D Mark III full-frame cameras have better sensors, but are still unable to do the 4- and 5-EV "lifts" of dark exposures that the Sony,Nikon, and Pentax cameras can easily do. This is what a truly "ISO-invariant" sensor can do...and this is the one area where the camera truly does offer a HUGE advantage, in the field, and in the studio.

    In lower light conditions, it's often just a better idea to bring in ancillary lighting gear: a reflector is a HUGE boost in many situations, if one can be used. Electronic flash is a HUGE boost, many,many times. Even a little, tiny 1/8-power flash pop can make a difference indoors or outdoors, when the light is poor!

    YES, the user and his or her skills are important, but the reality now is that there _does exist_ an entire group of cameras that have exposure and exposure-recovery capabilities, in which a severely under-exposed, pretty much black image, shot in raw capture mode, can be "lifted up", and a usable-to-good picture made, by deliberately under-exposing (or when accidentally under-exposing!) and then using software to brighten up the final picture. So, yes, the camera does matter.

    I started shooting with the Nikon D1, in 2001; the Nikon D610 or D800 are truly exceptional cameras, compared to that old dinosaur. Compared to my Canon 20D from 2006, or my Canon 5D Classic, the new-era Nikon D3x or D610 or D800 are __vastly better__ imagers, across the entire spectrum of ISO levels, and lighting conditions.
     
  7. beagle100

    beagle100 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree with the others, you could spend your Christmas money on an expensive full frame camera and lenses or ... maybe buy a $50 flash
    www.flickr.com/photos/mmirrorless
     
  8. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    A lot of good advise here. Brand or sensor aside. Using a fast lens and a speedlight can make things better.

    If using a speed light, getting it off the top of the camera hot shoe is best to avoid shadows. That would require a $15 vello's Canon ttl cable. Simply holding it in your left hand above the subject at a 45° angle will produce good results and fully illuminate the subject.

    If speed light is on top of camera, bouncing it off a white ceiling will produce better results. Even taping a white business card to the Speedlite makes even better, some speedlites have a white card built in.

    Pop up flash on camera can be problematic, so it's best to dial it down. I have actually taped a piece of tissue paper over them to soften the light and got good results. With my camera, I shoot in manual, meter the bright area, set the aperture and shutter speed, then let the flash simply fill in. The reason for manual is the ability to adjust the ISO to gain the proper shutter speed for the subject but with kids, just get it to your sync speed which is probably 1/250s.

    Of course, a full frame camera with the latest sensor and a fast lens like a 50mm 1.4 will be a great advantage but an expensive purchase.
     
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  9. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Excellent post!

    1. Get a speedlight attachment. Or a Canon equivalent.

    2. Get something to fire it off your camera. A TTL cord will work, but they are usually only about three feet long. I have Pocket Wizards, and there are less expensive brands of RF triggers.

    3. Get some cheap modifier, such as a white "shoot through" umbrella. Even a flat panel reflector will help as long as the children are in one place. I have several large sheets of white foamcore. The hardest part of that is figuring out how to hold them where you want them.

    With a flash attachment (unattached) your photography will make giant strides. Learning flash will take some time, but enjoy the process.
     
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  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    To some extent the camera (and lens) does matter, but the photographer's knowledge and skill is more important.

    Using flash gives you way more control of the light quality and the light direction (off-camera flash), important to making high quality images.
    Strobist: Lighting 101: Introduction
    AND
    • Flash Photography Techniques - Tangents
    In low light the short duration of flash can serve as a means to stop kid motion instead of using shutter speed to do that.
    You can also 'drag the shutter' to make your kids 'pop' from the background.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  11. kelly5577

    kelly5577 TPF Noob!

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    thanks everyone..this is some great insight! I will look into all those suggestions! love this board
     
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  12. BigJason

    BigJason TPF Noob!

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    Kelly,

    What I haven't seen anyone ask yet is How are you shooting?

    It's easy for us answering to fall prey to The Curse of Knowledge, in which we assume that because we know something, it's obvious to everyone else and we can't imagine another person not knowing it. ;-)

    So please take these in the spirit of "your doctor's" questions rather than an interrogation:

    -What mode are you in?

    -Have you opened the aperture on the lens to the max?

    -Are you using an understanding of ISO yet to get faster shutter speeds?

    Going into 'A' mode, and dialing the aperture to the smallest number (biggest opening), should let the camera automatically raise the ISO and choose a fast shutter speed to compensate for the low light level inside your home.

    Or you could go into 'M' and open the aperture, raise the ISO to whatever the camera will allow (you typically won't need to go higher than 1200), and find a shutter speed that is lower than 1 / your lens length (eg. 50mm = 1/50th or faster... 1/60th, 1/70th etc.) While you test this out I'd stick with the 50mm because the zoom lens will force you to have to go to even faster shutter speeds (1/70th or faster).

    So...how have you been shooting to this point? Let us know and we'll be able to give you specific advice that's relevant to you on how to capture better images. Thank you!
     

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