My lenses are sharper than I am

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by sabbath999, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Messages:
    2,696
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Missouri
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I was just reading a post that was talking about how the resolution power of a lens exceeds the ability of a digital camera to record an image, and it struck me that my lenses are also far sharper than I am.

    I have been spending vast amounts of money over the last half year (at least they are vast amounts of money for me... people who are either very rich or who don't pay cash upfront for purchases like we do may not think it is a lot of money) to buy equipment. 2 D80's, a D40, an 18-200 VR, a 50-500 BigMa, a 105 2.8 VR Macro, SB-600 flash, a 1.8 50mm, 5 4gb memory cards, a new iBook laptop for image editing on the road, Capture NX software, etc... and now I am saving up for a D300, a 70-200 2.8 VR or 80-200 2.8 (have not yet decided), plus a studio setup.

    Last night, I was looking back over the stuff I have shot since moving to a DSLR a few months ago (March of this year... previous to that I had been using a 4mp junk P&S) and I notice that while I am certainly "getting back in the saddle" so to speak, my stuff is still vastly inferior to what I used to shoot back in the day, when I shot professionally.

    On the one hand, I know that getting "back in the game" after not taking a picture in earnest in 15 or so years means that my skills are "rusty" to say the least... on the other hand, even at my best, the picture taking capabilities of my equipment exceeds the skills I had even when I was at my best.

    The resolution of my lenses are much higher than the resolution of my mind's eye.

    My point for bringing this up here is that I am one of those people (I think it is a pretty common thing) that gets caught up in the "equipment" aspects of photography... "if I just had a better lens" or "if I just had a new and better camera" then I would be better... I don't think I am the only one here who falls into this trap, either.

    There are times when one really DOES need to upgrade equipment. For example, I have been shooting some local sports, and I need a 2.8 zoom lens... you just can't shoot sports well at night under the cruddy lights that a lot of these stadiums have without fast glass. Now, it is just a matter of whether I want to spend an extra 1200 or so to get the VR 70-200 over the every-bit-as-sharp but no VR 80-200 (doesn't matter one whit for sports, but the VR would be nice for birding in low light and zoo work).

    Having said all that, it is MUCH more important to work on using the equipment I already own to take sharp, properly exposed pictures. The equipment I own already is more than good enough to take sharp pictures... if a picture isn't sharp and well exposed, then it is the fault of the photographer (me) not the camera or lens.

    Right now, I think the pictures I am taking are "good" but they fall far, far below the level of some of the work that you all are doing. Looking at the stuff being posted by LostProphet, DigitalMatt, NJman, Chiller, ThorHammer, Abraxas, AlexB and Sw1tchFX (just to name a few of the most outstanding, there are MANY more here that are just fantastic) I realize that I have a LONG way to go to be in their league... and they give me inspiration to stretch out and challenge myself to get better.

    It really isn't all about the equipment... I need skills. You know, like photography skills, nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.

    Anyway, the point of this wandering mess of a post is to see if there are any other "equipmentaholics" who want to fess up with me, and explain what I am talking about.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I think that a large part of why we are members of an Internet forum...is that we are "equipmentaholics" to one degree or another. We like to talk about the best and latest equipment.

    Reading some other forums...makes me wonder if some people buy the best equipment just to brag about it on their forums.
    I read things like..."I just bought (insert several thousands of dollars worth of gear), now what do I do with it?"

    I like new gear as much as the next photographer (a lot) but I agree that money and time would be much better spent by upgrading our skills rather than out gear.
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    203
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Reminds me about a topic I recently read that 99% of backfocusing complaints are user error not manufacturing faults.

    You can buy the sharpest lens in the world but if you're like me at a party the other day and didn't realise the little focus switch now reads M instead of S, then you can't really blame your lens or your friends for being blurry.

    The other thing that gets me is a standard 10mpx camera is sharper than most lenses bolted on it. Ok I have seen some crazies with a Nikon D70 + the $1800 105mm AF-S MicroNikkor but that aside will people please stop blowing up their pictures to 100% on a computer monitor and complaining that the camera isn't sharp. At any reasonably viewing distance the image is sharp as a tac. Stop complaining about the equipment and start taking photos.
     
  4. S2K1

    S2K1 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Messages:
    288
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    I am an equipmentaholic, but fortunately I don't have money to upgrade. Why is that fortunate? It forces me to do the best I can with what I have. Not a bad thing because I can improve my 'skill'. I had a Digital Rebel with the 18-55 kit lens for 5 years, and then I dumped a bunch of money in a 30D lenses and then I proceeded to take 20,000 pictures in 3 months. I thought the camera was the reason my pictures were getting better, but it was just me taking so many pictures. Taking pictures and tweaking what you did is part of the learning process.
     
  5. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,527
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I feel like I'm holding back my XT, my kit lens, and my 50mm 1.8 that's not even heavy duty stuff and I just feel like I'm a bad photographer. I am saving for a Macbook Pro, photoshop CS3, a 70-200 F4 L, and a 30D body AFTER that when I am ready to get something more durable (I baby the XT but I am quickly racking down that 50,000 shutter life). So, I know what you mean. I feel like I could give my same equipment to some other memebers on this forum, and REALLY see some work done, even if entry level, but I am working my way up. I do have to say I feel bad that I feel like the weakest link yet I STILL want better stuff(I'm not one of those crazys who think it will automatically take better pictures, that's my job, but I do think I can go farther faster if the stuff leaves more room for me to improve with).
     
  6. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    13,601
    Likes Received:
    1,929
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    This post has struck a nerve with me. I'm gonna chew on it for a day or so. I'll likely post under "Off the Topic", but I feel the need to vent some personal issues for my fortunate reemergence back into photography. Is that something we can do here?

    Thanks Sabbath999.
     
  7. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    478
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I buy what I need to get the work done. That's why I still use an olde D70, even though I'm shooting with lenses like the 17-55. I just don't need the speed of a fast body right now.

    You should buy the 70-200 for the AF-S, not the VR. the AF-S is worlds faster than the screwdriver 80-200. I tried shootign football with my D70 and 80-200 (bad combination to boot for AF) and was for the most part unsuccessful. It just couldn't track anything moving towards or away from you fast enough.
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    203
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    That means it depends on camera body. The D200 and D2x make short work of AF. It's no AF-S but makes it more than perfectly acceptable to track targets at sports, at least so far... wonder how it would holdup to motor racing...

    Anyway the 80-200 comes with AF-S motor too, just slightly rarer, and still cheaper than the 70-200.
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    478
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The AF-S one is the older one, i believe. I dunno, they're all good lenses anyway.
     
  10. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Messages:
    8,345
    Likes Received:
    68
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I shave with mine.
     
  11. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    478
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    LOL

    Gotta watch out for the Nikons, people have been known to cut themselves on those..
     
  12. marcuspeddle

    marcuspeddle TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gangneung, South Korea
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Buying a Contax 645 medium format camera mostly cured me of my desire to buy more and more equipment for two reasons. One, the camera is made for professionals (I am just an amateur) and there is nothing lacking. I've had cheap cameras in the past and I often thought, "if only it had (insert feature here)." Two, lenses for the Contax are made by Carl Zeiss and are both extremely good and extremely expensive. My camera came with a normal lens (80mm) and although I felt a little limited at first, being restricted to just one lens forced me to become better at seeing. Once I realised the huge number of possibilities for photography with just a normal lens, I no longer had the urge to spend a month's salary (at least) on a new lens.
    This loss of 'equipmentitis' also transferred to 35mm photography. I bought a 35mm prime lens for my Nikon D70 and that's what stays on there most of the time. I do want to buy an 85mm lens but that is because after shooting many photos with a normal lens, I sometimes feel I need a slightly longer lens. Not for the sake of having a collection or covering the whole range of focal lengths, but based on real need. I also want to buy a Nikon D300 because, based on my reading, it doesn't appear to lack anything I need for my photography. I would like to buy the D3, actually, but I don't think I can justify the expense as an amateur.
    Realising what equipment you really need and then buying the best is the best way to avoid equipmentitis and, in the long run, to save money.
     

Share This Page