Just retired....need advice from veteran shooters

Plantman

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I've shot a Canon 35mm for years. I want to upgrade to digital. My problem is a $500 budget. I shoot mostly macro of plants and occasionally need zoom for distant tree subjects. I've looked at the Canon SX50, but can get a factory refurbished Nikon 3100 for about the same money.
I'm concerned about the Canon image quality with that small sensor. I would also like RAW. The Canon SX40 has a hack that will enable RAW, but don't know if I'm computer savvy enough to get it to work. The Nikon comes with the usual 18-55 lens, but don't know how that would do on macro.

ANY opinions would be appreciated as I'm about to go nuts muddling through the technical jargon.
Will the small sensor in the SX50 and 40 yield "snapshot" images? The zoom on the SX50 is a moot issue to me, what normal amateur can hold that 50x lens steady?

Please give me some feedback/opinions. And yes I realize my budget is a factor....but it is what it is.

Thanks in advance for your time and expertise.
 

goodguy

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Get the Canon G15
Its a point and shoot and goes for about 400$, awesome camera, very fast and good quality lens shoots in RAW has all the features an entry level DSLR has.
Will give you great macro shots.
I love my Canon G15, its for the photographer who want all the pros of DSLR but in a smaller package and fixed lens.
 

brunerww

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Hi Plantman - welcome to the forum - and to the world of digital! I understand where you're coming from. I shot 35mm starting back in the 70s - but made the transition about 7 years ago and am glad that I did.

Do you have any EOS EF lenses from your 35mm Canon days - or are they all FDs? If you have EF lenses from Elan or Rebel cameras, all you need is a camera body - and you can get a brand new Canon T3i body for $427 from getitdigital via eBay.

The T3i will get you a lot closer to the image quality you're accustomed to than the SX50 will :)

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
 

vintagesnaps

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You could consider used and try a seller like KEH, that could give you more options on a budget. I've done well buying from them and they have a good reputation; their ratings are reliable as to condition.
 

Buckster

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What brunerww said.

Do you have existing Canon lenses and other associated gear? If so, you just need a body.

I'll chime in to add that even if your old Canon lenses are FD rather than EF, you can still make them work for you with an adapter, especially for what you're interested in shooting, and you can always upgrade with newer EF lenses later if you want to.
 

Big Mike

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I will echo what Bill said above.
Were you shooting with (do you still own) Canon 35mm auto focus (EOS & EF) gear...or was it older manual focus (FD lenses) gear?
If it was EOS cameras with EF lenses, then you can just get a Canon digital body and hit the ground running.
If it was older FD lenses, you could use an adapter but it's typically not worth the hassle (for most people).

Either way, I tend to agree with the sentiment that you might be unhappy with a smaller sensor (and maybe a non SLR camera, since that's what you're used to).

So if you were looking at a Nikon D3100, you should also consider the entry level DSLR models from Canon, rather than a 'point & shoot'. Although, if you do want a more compact camera, the Canon G series (as mentioned above) is a good choice.
 

Designer

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Plantman; since everybody has an opinion, here's mine:

Get the Nikon 3100 with the 18-55 lens. You can do macro with an inexpensive extension tube mounted between the lens and body.
 

Buckster

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If it was older FD lenses, you could use an adapter but it's typically not worth the hassle (for most people).
Hassle? What hassle? You mount it to your lens before mounting the lens to the camera. It's that simple.

Do you have one? Do you use one? Describe the "hassle" for you in your actual experience. I'm interested because I can't equate my actual experience with them as a "hassle", so I'm interested to understand this "hassle" thing of which you speak.

And where are the studies that revealed the statistic that "most people" (over 50%) find that it's not worth the "hassle"? Feel free to link to those scientific studies/polls/whatever that provided you that information.

Thanks in advance.
 

Big Mike

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Ok, fair enough...I don't have an adapter (although, I do have an FD 50mm F1.2 that I'd like to use...so I might try one someday).

One of the issues (maybe a better word than hassle) is that (from everything I've heard & read) you have to choose between losing infinity focus (adapter without lens element) or degraded image quality (adapter with lens element). The amount of image degradation is up for debate, of course.

Another issue is that most EOS cameras (especially the entry level DSLR bodies) aren't really designed for manual focus....the viewfinders are rather small and dim compared to older cameras. And they certainly don't have split prism screens like the manual focus cameras. You can put them into some modern cameras...but that's another issue.

There is the issue of stop down metering...and other metering variances. Probably not a huge issue...but certainly things that aren't an issue if one just used EF lenses.
 

Gavjenks

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The 18-55 Canon kit lens is actually able to do fairly decent macro straight up, without any extension, loss of aperture control, speed, or focusing light (tubes make it darker), extra expense of tubes that preserve those features, etc. etc.

Just attached normally, it has a surprisingly close focus ability and can achieve 0.35 magnification (you can fill the frame with an object 3x as large as the sensor). For example, a monarch butterfly with wings folded would come awfully close to filling the entire frame at the limit of your close focusing range.

So you could actually just use the kit lens alone for awhile, and then upgrade to extension tubes (with electronic connection preserved, but expensive, though not as much as a macro lens) or a simple bellows or similar (cheap as dirt, but less convenient) a little later to achieve up to and beyond 1.0 magnification.

Another issue is that most EOS cameras (especially the entry level DSLR bodies) aren't really designed for manual focus....the viewfinders are rather small and dim compared to older cameras. And they certainly don't have split prism screens like the manual focus cameras. You can put them into some modern cameras...but that's another issue.
Not only does Canon's most expensive macro lens not have AF, it doesn't even have a manual focusing ring at all.

In macro, AF is useless, and in most cases, built in MF is even useless. You focus by rocking your body back and forth (handheld) or adjusting the position of the whole camera with dials and rails (if tripod mounted).

One of the issues (maybe a better word than hassle) is that (from everything I've heard & read) you have to choose between losing infinity focus (adapter without lens element) or degraded image quality (adapter with lens element). The amount of image degradation is up for debate, of course.
Yes you do lose infinity focus, but if you're shooting macro... then all of your subjects are by necessity only a few inches from your lens at most anyway. So why would anybody care about losing infinity focus? This is only relevant if for some reason you expect to need to shoot a macro image of a bug and then at a moment's notice, swing up and take a portrait of somebody 30 feet away. Which is not a realistic requirement for almost anybody.

In normal usage, if you want to shoot bugs and portraits, you would just remove the bellows or extenders and attach the lens normally, then shoot at your far focus (if using something like the kit lens). If using FD lenses, then you would never have infinity focus, but you're being reimbursed for that cost by getting a lens for like 1/10th the price of a lens that does have infinity focus.
 
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Buckster

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Ok, fair enough...I don't have an adapter (although, I do have an FD 50mm F1.2 that I'd like to use...so I might try one someday).

One of the issues (maybe a better word than hassle) is that (from everything I've heard & read) you have to choose between losing infinity focus (adapter without lens element) or degraded image quality (adapter with lens element). The amount of image degradation is up for debate, of course.

Another issue is that most EOS cameras (especially the entry level DSLR bodies) aren't really designed for manual focus....the viewfinders are rather small and dim compared to older cameras. And they certainly don't have split prism screens like the manual focus cameras. You can put them into some modern cameras...but that's another issue.

There is the issue of stop down metering...and other metering variances. Probably not a huge issue...but certainly things that aren't an issue if one just used EF lenses.
One of OP's main concerns, per his actual words, is budget. If money's no issue, sure, order your favorite EF lenses to go with that spanking new body. But if money is an issue, and you ALREADY HAVE FD lenses from shooting Canon SLRs for 35 years (again - that whole "actual words used by the OP" thing), then FD to EF adapters are a great idea.

Here's more of OP's actual words in use: He mostly shoots macro of plants. Guess what? FD to EF adapters work great for that since (get this) you don't NEED infinity focus for that sort of thing and that means you don't need to keep the adapter's lens in for that kind of shooting. If he ever does need to focus on infinity, he can put that lens back in place to do so.

Oh, and in case you missed it, the lens in question can be removed and replaced in the adapter, at will.

And let's talk about that "degraded image quality" you brought up with the adapter's lens when it IS in place (again, won't be an issue when he's shooting macro, which is "most" of the time per his actual words, because it won't be IN the adapter when he's shooting macro). Nonetheless, here's a link to images I shot with an FD to EF adapter WITH the lens in place in it:

http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/nature-wildlife/294261-critter-shot-500mm-f-4-5-l-fd-mount.html

Do you REALLY see image quality issues by having that lens in place? Especially for the cost savings of buying an adapter vs buying new EF lenses when on a tight budget? Let's be honest. Sure, if there's another piece of glass in the light path, it will affect the image. But to what degree? In what way? Is it perceptible? Is it detrimental? Are the images unusable? Will anyone even know if you don't tell them? Seriously now. Citing this as though it's a serious concern is just silly.

The viewfinders are small and dim. OMG. They're not so small and dim that you can't see what the heck you're doing with them. Are they the optimal viewfinders of their big brothers or older cameras? No. Does it REALLY matter? Not much. And, as you mentioned, replacement viewfinders with split prisms and brighter screens are available. You forgot to mention that they're a LOT less expensive than a new EF lens as well. (Budget-minded OP, remember?)

Metering variances are SUCH a HUGE problem when shooting macro and chimping immediately and having a histogram and "blinky's" to see if you've got the right exposure before firing off the next 100 frames, right? NOT. He could even shoot "Live View" and have a pretty good idea how things are going to turn out exposure-wise. Welcome to the digital age of photography.

Try this: Get an adapter and get some hands on actual experience. THEN use that actual experience as a basis to advise others when you get the urge.

There are just as many "hassles" and "issues" with using reversed and/or stacked lenses, extension tubes, bellows and so on, but you don't chime in to advise macro shooters against using them because of the "hassles" or "issues", do you?

We all use what our budgets allow us to use. If he's got FD lenses from his 35 years of Canon SLR use, and not much budget to work with, and mostly shoots macro, then I think your advice about FD to EF adapters is questionable, especially knowing what I know about what it's like to work with them, and how well they actually work when you do.
 

Gavjenks

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Do you REALLY see image quality issues by having that lens in place?
Yes, I definitely see image quality issues. Whether that is their cause is unclear.

It's very difficult to compare without images of the exact same subjects with both an adapted and equivalent non adapted lens. But chromatic aberration is extremely noticeable, almost rampant right off the bat in all of those images (to the point where in some cases, blades of grass are completely separated into two images in different wavelengths that don't even touch one another). And there is ghosting in a couple of them, and the colors seem fairly off in a few (possibly also CA, or possibly due to attempts to fix other things like low contrast).

Impossible to say which if any of those things might be due to the adapter, but as standalone images they most certainly do not scream "holy **** these are optically perfect, so there must be nothing wrong with the adapter." There are quite visible optical imperfections in them without having to squint your eyes at all, and it very well MIGHT be due to that adaptation.



That said, the amount of optical flaws there, even if we assume they are all due to the adapter, may very well be justified by the cheaper cost, depending on just how budget-minded one is. It's not like you duct taped a magnifying glass onto a Holga or anything.
 

table1349

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The 18-55 Canon kit lens is actually able to do fairly decent macro straight up, without any extension, loss of aperture control, speed, or focusing light (tubes make it darker), extra expense of tubes that preserve those features, etc. etc.

Just attached normally, it has a surprisingly close focus ability and can achieve 0.35 magnification (you can fill the frame with an object 3x as large as the sensor). For example, a monarch butterfly with wings folded would come awfully close to filling the entire frame at the limit of your close focusing range.

So you could actually just use the kit lens alone for awhile, and then upgrade to extension tubes (with electronic connection preserved, but expensive, though not as much as a macro lens) or a simple bellows or similar (cheap as dirt, but less convenient) a little later to achieve up to and beyond 1.0 magnification.

Considering that Macro is generally defined as 1to1 ie. 1:1 capture, the 18-55 3.5-5.6 only does closeup not macro photography.


Not only does Canon's most expensive macro lens not have AF, it doesn't even have a manual focusing ring at all.

Funny, this is Canon's most expensive Macro Lens and it has a focus ring as well as AF. Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM | Canon Online Store

If you are talking about the MP-E 65, mine has a focusing ring that sets magnification and focus. (Page 5 of the user manual.) It just happens to be manual only focus.
 

ShooterJ

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*Raises hand*.. where IS the OP? :lmao:

Sorry.. carry on. Hehe
 

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