Does the Camera Model really matter?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Olivia Green, Apr 17, 2018.

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  1. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For a fraction of the cost, mastering the craft will give far better results than just purchasing gear. If someone wants to increase the number of keepers, master the craft and don't spray and pray. If the shooter knows why he is taking the shot, what is his vision, understands composition, posing and camera controls and lighting and the number of exceptional images will skyrocket. Mindlessly lifting the camera to the eye and shooting in auto with a zoom lens from where happening to be standing will rarely yield a perfect image. A perfect image takes coordinating a lot and blind luck isn't very reliable. I am now shooting the best camera I have ever owned. It has little effect on me getting an exceptional image. The 12 inches behind the camera/lens do that. Get a camera that takes sharper images will only give someone taking crap photos sharper crap. The camera and lens people( "art lens" my ass, it won't make art, the photographer does) try to make folks think a piece of gear will transform someones work. It won't. Skill will and it costs much less but takes some work. No question a camera or lens with specific abilities opens doors to shots otherwise not attainable, but a poorly lit, poorly composed, poorly posed, poor expression shot with a fuzzy idea will not be transformed by any camera. Most photographers I see don't push the limits of their gear. The first thing I do when I get a new piece of gear is to find the limits. I don't want to slam up against it during an important shoot and shooting at the extremes often gives shots that everyone doesn't take. I like taking shots no one has taken before. It is possible and easy to do even with mid grade gear. My most awarded photo was taken with a 10 mp d200 that didn't have useable iso over 400, and per Ken Rockwell, one of nikons all time 10 worst lenses. The image made a long time pro in that field, literally, football field, nearly fall out of his chair.


     
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  2. texxter

    texxter No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Can you elaborate on what you mean by pushing the limits of a new piece of gear? I can see learning to use a new camera well, or making sure one understands the behavior of a new lens... is that what you mean by pushing the limits? Or do you mean something altogether different?
     
  3. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Texxter, when I get a new piece of gear, I want to know how much I can get out of it, at what point does the ability or quality fail. For example, I shoot all modifiers against a wall to "see" what the light pattern looks like. I used that knowledge to create a chiuroscuro effect on a hill in the back ground knowing a grid has a substantial less bright outer ring of light with a hotter spot in the center. I only had power on the r side of the background hill so had to place the main and my bg light there but wanted that darker than the other side of the subject . Feathered the gridded light so only that darker ring hit the hill on the side the light was on, hid the hot spot behind subjects head and let the brighter light go past on the far side of the subjects head that was the subject shadow side of the main light. Didn't learn that from anyone, knowing the limit of my gear let me create it. I'd say that is pushing limit of my gear. Another example has the shot containing pushing the limits in several ways. Boomed a camera at the end of a 12 foot boom, facing down with a fisheye lens, subjects underneath looking up to it. I was tethered behind a black scrim firing the camera and reviewing shots while I bounced a studio strobe off the ceiling from behind the scrim with me to light the subjects. Ever see that done before? I'd say that is pushing the limits and doing things folks rarely and probably never will do. I had to test the key to the shot, being able to keep the boom out of site of the 180 degree fisheye and it be secure enough to trust it with $4,000 in camera and lens hanging 8 feet up in the air. I also don't usually fire the camera from my lap top so had to make sure that worked reliably before bringing in the subjects. I have 5 einsteins and when I built a shot had one light left and needed 2. Made one light do the work of two with the help of some cinefoil and appropriate height and angle again in a way I have never seen done before. With my new camera, I immediately calibrate it to my light meter to know EXACTLY where my clipping points are and that enables me to move the highlights just inside clipping to get the best possible blacks at the other end of the histogram. I can work right at the limit of the sensor. I also test to find the highest iso I find acceptable without post and what will give an acceptable image with post processing noise. I know how far I can take my iso when in difficult situations. My greatest revelation came with my 8 stop vari nd filter. On the d700 above 5 stops or so, the camera couldn't grab focus so had to shoot to get the appropriate nd setting, lower it to get and set focus, then re dial it in. It had to be on tripod as I had minimal dof to work with. Testing the d 850, it focuses the full 8 stops nd when I can barely see through the view finder. Now I don't have to limit my self to being on tripod at 4-5 stops nd. Plus the 850 native iso is 64 not 200 saving me 2 stops nd over what I am used to. I have tested my lights with both the original vagabond that I can get 6 pops per second and the mini that will give me about 2 then run out of steam. I haven't tried it at 9 for the 850 with battery pack or 10 fps for the d500 so still have some trial to do. Have done trials on stopping motion with the 13500 flash duration that drops to about 1/2500 when power is increased and works for the motion I want to stop. I know how high I can take power before the duration drops below that level. Einsteins have a readout on the lcd that tells the flash duration as you shoot but I need to know if I have enough power at that level to accomplish what I want to get at the distances. aperture and diffusion in use. In all the above instances, when the need arises, I have no hesitation to take my gear to it's tested and known limits. I don't want to take photos everyone else takes, I want to make images no one has seen. and shooting at the limit helps. You are absolutely right too when it comes to lenses. How many folks take the time to shoot shallow dof at usual subj distances and then varying distances subject to bg? If not, they are probably just guessing on what the oof bg will look like. I'm not pulling it out of thin air hoping I like the look, I am choosing it. It's mastering the tools and the craft that results in more great images consistently. When I show up for a shoot, I am expected to hit a home run and I am completely confident I will. I like the quote "the harder I work, the luckier I get." I really enjoy having a challenging situation and pull it off with an image that makes it look easy. For me, that is the beauty of location work. It drives you out of the box.
     
  4. keen.observer

    keen.observer TPF Noob!

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    This camera-lens combo will give good landscape images...depending on your use for them. Will you make 3x5 inch prints for the family snapshot album? Will you make 8x10 inch prints for your portfolio? Will you make wall sized prints to advertise your future photo business? For less than 8x10 inch prints, the kit zoom lens will be fine. For 8x10 inch prints, or larger, you'd be better off with a Prime (non zoom) lens...something like a 20mm, or a 24mm, or 28mm.
     
  5. daveren

    daveren TPF Noob!

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    I have a D3300 and think it is great. I also have a Nikon D90 which is great if you don't mind carrying the weight. Anyway .... I would use the D3200 and get yourself a good polarizer filter and maybe look at Adobe Lightroom to do some post-processing tweeking and I think you will find you can get some amazing results. The only "complaint" about the D3300 is that I think it leans towards the blue - this may be because of the lack of Infared filter. I take it everywhere and use the stock collapsible lens. Hey ..... if you don't have a "good" camera with you ... you won't get the shot.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I've owned cameras that were atrociously poor (Argus C3) in terms of ergonomics and functionality, and cameras that were basic on controls and had average ergonomics (Nikon FM, for example), and famous classic cameras (Nikon F Photomic FTN and F2A and F2A-SB) and Nikon F3, Nikon FE-2, and many (12 different models) of digital SLR cameras from awful (Fuji S1 Pro), to good, Fuji S2 Pro, Canon 20D,the Canon 5D, to extremely good in the Nikon D2x,to the very finest camera of its era, the Nikon D3x...and am currently on a pair of Nikons the D610 and the D800...I can tell you that a camera with a small, crappy viewfinder like the Nikon D70 is a poor rig compared to the D3x or the D800...the high-end, $3,499 to $7995 cameras truly are _better shooters_ than the low-cost models.

    A superior camera is simply easier to shoot with.It shoots quickly. it has great controls. It has all the features you will ever need. As Gary mentions, a superior camera, after one familiarizes himself with it, leads to easy shooting, and lots of well-captured images, on a consistent basis. Once you own a top-level camera for a while, you realize that almost invariably, any mistakes or errors are your very own fault, and you lose the ability to blame the equipment.

    Does the camera model really matter? At times, YES; for example, the low-end Nikons do not allow FP Synch or full remote flash capabilities, so, an entire class of flash photography is not within the scope of the $488-$699 models; the cameras actually LACK advanced features. The same thing exists with some other features, like buffer depth, or speed of sequential shooting, or low-light autofocus capability, and so on. At times (and not a "lot" of times), yes, the camera model can be an issue. However, as I see it, for the majority of uses, many models of cameras will provide adequate performance. However, there have been a number of cameras I have owned that were not all that good at focusing in tricky situations, or with consumer-type lenses with slow maximum aperture values.

    The MOST-important difference I will say is to look at the viewfinder' size, brightness, and clarity, and how well it interacts with your eyeglasses. Same with rear-LCD viewing and/or flippy screens. To me, the superior viewfinder camera is the one I WANT to use....this is where the low-level d-slr cameras have small, "squinty" viewfinders, which for me, hinder my shooting. The better the viewfinder, the easier the camera is to shoot, in my 40-plus years' worth of experience.
     
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  7. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ^what he said.

    I can make the same images with an entry level camera that I do with my D810, but it’s takes a lot more time and deliberate pre planning to do it.

    The D810 is just an extension of my hand and my mind. Nearly a perfect tool for creating the photographs I enjoy. I rarely have to think about how to do something with it, and very rarely is it the cameras fault when an image doesn’t work out like I planned.
     
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  8. Ran Van

    Ran Van TPF Noob!

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    If you decide it's something you want to continue doing, then upgrade your hardware.
    It's not all about the hardware but more so, the 10" behind the viewfinder. Get good with what you got, so when you get better hardware, you will find it much more enjoyable.
     
  9. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    that's what I thought...till I got a D850
     
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  10. BananaRepublic

    BananaRepublic No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As the old saying goes "its a poor workman who blames his tools" on the other hand "you cant make a silk purse out of a sows ear"
     
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  11. lorenzossauro

    lorenzossauro TPF Noob!

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    I also have a Nikon D3200 and i think that only serves for portraits (with 18/55mm too)
     
  12. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    100% agree on the 100% viewfinder. Makes a huge difference for me. When I borrowed the Fujifilm XT1, I wanted to see if it was viable to change systems. The view finder blew me away. Then those out of camera jpegs were impressive. So I ordered the XT2 and never looked back. The viewfinder is so important to me, I only shoot with 100% ones. Film, F, F2, and F3.
     
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