Upgrade your photography, not your kit.

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Slaphead, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Slaphead

    Slaphead TPF Noob!

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    Well I've had the D90 for about a month now (Gripped with SB-600) and do you know what - I didn't really need it. There's not one photo I can take with the D90 that I can't with my trusty old D40x.

    The problem for me is that it has too many toys to play with - I find myself playing with the camera and not using the camera. Taking test shots and marvelling at the better ISO performance, the active D-Lighting, the multiple focus points that consistently mangage to pick out the eyes. Fantastic, but I havent actually produced much, if anything, of photographic value with it. I've posted a couple of photos from it but in all honesty for me these photos were borderline "Do I, Don't I post" cases. I suppose playing with the camera means that I'll know the camera inside out, but I sometimes get the feeling that I'll pass the 100,000 shutter lifetime just taking test shots.

    Do I regret buying the D90 - hell no. It'll serve me well and I'm immensely happy with, but what I've learned is that I don't always need the latest and greatest, and that I need to get back to photography and stop messing around.

    So excuse me while I re-read Understanding Exposure, dust off the D40x (I know this camera inside out so I won't be distracted), and get back to making photographs, not test snapshots.


















    By the way, has anybody got any news on the D400? ;)
     
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Ahh, you have figured it out ... it's not all about the equipment.

    The great photographer's and great photograph's that we have seen in the past were not using these super duper camera's that we have today ... yet their photographs are envious.

    How are they able to take awesome photograph's without matrix metering ? ... or 9 point auto focusing ? ... or low noise at 1600 ISO ?

    For those photographers that did not experience photography before all these new electronic camera's ... most of you are getting caught up in the equipment as the means to obtain a good image.

    Just prior to my purchase of a DSLR a couple of years ago, I was shooting with Manual Exposure, Manual Focusing, and 35/120 roll film (32-200 ISO).
    I have many great photo's using that equipment ... more than what I have captured with the DSLR.

    Forget what the camera can do for you. The camera does not make the picture ... the camera is just a tool to capture the image you envisioned.

    Lens to focus the light onto the medium
    Camera to control exposure
    Sensor/Film to capture the light (into a static medium)
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    But when it comes time to get to work all that play is going to pay off, assuming that any of those features are actually useful in real world situations. ;) Your fingers will know exactly what to do when your brain sends the command, and you won't have to fiddle around with the camera.

    99.9% of the time I operate my DSLRs just as I would my much simpler, old, mechanical, film cameras. But occasionally I do find myself in a situation where a fancy feature might come in handy. When that happens things usually go smoother if I've played around with that feature before (for instance the AF modes, auto-bracketing, etc...).
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    It has always been so.... From a book on photography published in 1888 (the book was written before film was introduced):

    "The lens is always considered the most important of all the tools the photographer employs. So it is, but I should like to say boldly that, within limits, I do not care what make of lens I use. It is as well to have the best your means will allow, but there has always been too much made of particular variations in the make of lenses. It has been the fashion to think too much of the tools and too little of the use made of them. I have one friend who did nothing last year because he had made up his mind to buy a new lens, and could not determine whose make it should be, and he was tired of his old apparatus. His was of the order of particular and minute minds that try to whittle nothing to a point. I have another friend who takes delight in preparing for photography, and spends a small fortune in doing so, but never takes a picture." H.P. Robinson
     
  5. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    It takes a little while to figure out new cameras. To figure out where all of the adjustments are, and when to use them. Once you do have it figured out, you will be taking photos with that much better quality. Also, it does take a little while to get past the newness of the new features. Give it a little more time.
     
  6. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On gear:

    A useful 'rule' to follow is to consider buying [or replacing] a piece of gear when you become painfully aware of at least two good shots you couldn't take because of your kit's limitations.

    Built into this is the little [but I think, important] concept that you've grown as a photographer to the point where you understand and can readily relate your gear to photo situations.

    Too often the temptation is to pick up a piece of new 'bling' just to see what can be done with it. It's a very expensive way to go about making a fine picture.
     
  7. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  8. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Far too often we get wrapped up into thinking "If I only had body X or lens Y" my photography inspiration/quality/skill/etc would really soar, only to find 6 months down the road we have one more piece of equipment and are looking at the next lens/body. Sadly, nothing changed in the department of our quality/inspiration/skill. It is very easy to confuse want and need. I would really like the Pentax k20d and use my k10d as a backup. However, like you have already said, there isn't a single shot that I could take with the k20d that I can't take with the k10d. In fact, there are probably no images that I have taken w/ my k10D that I couldn't have taken with my 35mm *ist Pentax. So, do I really need a k20D, absolutely not. Will I buy one? Given what I have already said, no, there is no reason to get one. If I bought one, it would merely be due to accumulating "stuff" and wouldn't improve my abilities at all. Many DSLR's are very capable and 99.5% of the time we are limited by our imagination, not our equipment.
     
  9. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I love gear. I love technology. I often take things overboard, Right now I'm trying to piece together a 8 foot tall rack of equipment just for music and surround sound movies, And I hardly even watch movies to begin with. But new gear is fun, even if it is completely unnecessary, and while it won't make you a better photographer on its own, it at least keeps your interest in your hobby and can help you concentrate more energy in photography.

    Sometimes GAS will help you accomplish new and better things. Buying lighting equipment for example opens up a lot of opportunity to learn. A macro lens is another good treatment for GAS, again new gear that actually opens new doors, that may have been limitations of previously owned equipment.
    Buying old manual lenses and adapters are inexpensive and can actually fuel your creativity. Now I will agree with the other statements above. That is exactly why I still use 20D's and have not upgraded to 40, or 50D's. The advantages won't make any decipherable difference in my photos. would it be nice to have? yes, but I would get a lot more enjoyment out of the other things I have listed.
     
  10. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I like to intentionally regress. I often use cheap equipment to challenge myself.

    Just yesterday I went to the zoo with a point & shoot camera with the goal of taking pictures that are every bit as good as what I could do with my DSLR.

    Did it work? No... (it was EXTREMELY dark and cloudy and my $99 P&S has a reasonable highest ISO of 100)... but still I brought home a bunch of shots from angles I didn't have before and a few that were not too bad, like this one:

    Penguin with $99 Point & Shoot

    Using very limited equipment helps me get better at taking pictures because it forces me to be more creative since I can't just rely on uber sharp/uber fast/uber expensive technology to just do it all for me.
     
  11. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Take a look over at 1x.com and search for photos that specify "D40" as the equipment used. Now do the same search for "D3".

    Notice something? Nope, me neither. There's nothing between them.

    Until I'm capable of creating photos that stunning, I have no real reason to upgrade from the D40.


    ...except for maybe CLS capability ;)

    *shut up, NAS!*
     
  12. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    specific reasons for me to upgrade: I shoot weddings so I need some high iso/low light capabilities. I also shoot gymnastics, so I need more frames per second, and higher ISO. Also I like the weight distribution better on my D300, even without the grip. The built in CLS is nice too. Oh, who can forget the AF. Gotta love 51points, and full use of older lenses... Reason enough for me to upgrade.
     

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