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  1. #1
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    Photography help?

    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum and new to photography. Well, new to good photography at least. My partner bought me a Canon S5IS years ago and we used to snap photos of holidays etc and it did the job fine. For some reason I was inspired to take better photos etc, not for professional use, but for a hobby and fun.

    So, I went out and bought the Canon 650D with the twin lens kit. I've heard it's a good DSLR for beginners so thought it seemed great. I've been using it for a few weeks and I'm having great fun with it. I didn't realize how much cool stuff was in my hometown until I wandered it's streets with a camera.

    I've noticed though the lenses that came with it don't allow for certain scenarios. For example, my partner asked me to take photos of an engagement ring from the 1940s... Even zooming in I couldn't get a clear close up. I've been told I need a macro lens for that.

    I've shown some photos to friends and apparently some shots are great, but some they've said I need a more wide lense etc for this or that. I looked into more lenses but I'm confused... Sales reps run rings around me with this stuff, and we all know they don't care about the customer and only want the money so will say anything to get it (even tried selling an amateur like me a few $2000 lenses). I tried reading up on the details on some lenses and got confused with focal length and aperture and the way they interact etc.

    Then you talk to a photographer and they say "you need a 40mm or a pancake" then another photographer says "you need a 70-300mm" for the same scenario.

    So I thought I'd ask here, what do I need? My main shots are nature, flowers and the odd portrait. We also want something to take good clear photos of our child when they arrive. Mainly natural (such as colourful flowers or landscape shots of trees, parks etc or old buildings etc)

    I've also been told to avoid sigma lenses and stick to canon, then others say the opposite

    Can someone please help an absolute noob out?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squidy View Post
    I'm new to the forum and new to photography. Well, new to good photography at least. My partner bought me a Canon S5IS years ago and we used to snap photos of holidays etc and it did the job fine. For some reason I was inspired to take better photos etc, not for professional use, but for a hobby and fun.
    Welcome to the forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squidy View Post
    I've noticed though the lenses that came with it don't allow for certain scenarios. For example, my partner asked me to take photos of an engagement ring from the 1940s... Even zooming in I couldn't get a clear close up. I've been told I need a macro lens for that.
    Lenses have a Minimum Focus Distance. Macro lenses can focus at closer distances. You could use extension tubes with whatever lens you have to get closer to a subject or you could buy a macro lens. Many macro lenses are good for other uses other than macro.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squidy View Post
    I've shown some photos to friends and apparently some shots are great, but some they've said I need a more wide lense etc for this or that. I looked into more lenses but I'm confused... Sales reps run rings around me with this stuff, and we all know they don't care about the customer and only want the money so will say anything to get it (even tried selling an amateur like me a few $2000 lenses). I tried reading up on the details on some lenses and got confused with focal length and aperture and the way they interact etc.

    Then you talk to a photographer and they say "you need a 40mm or a pancake" then another photographer says "you need a 70-300mm" for the same scenario.

    So I thought I'd ask here, what do I need? My main shots are nature, flowers and the odd portrait. We also want something to take good clear photos of our child when they arrive. Mainly natural (such as colourful flowers or landscape shots of trees, parks etc or old buildings etc)
    There are many choices for each of those subjects and many ways to choose. I do not think there is a right answer for your question, only preferences of different photographers. You can shoot flowers with any lens and will get different results with a telephoto than you will a wide lens. If you want close ups you would need a macro lens. If you want flowers in a landscape you might want wider lens. You could end up with five or six lenses to do all of the different things you mention.

    Were you looking for a one size fits all answer?
    Quote Originally Posted by Squidy View Post
    I've also been told to avoid sigma lenses and stick to canon, then others say the opposite
    Salesman at the local camera store push sigma and other lenses. Not because the lenses are better than Canon, the store makes a higher profit margin. You will get the same answers here, some use sigma and some like to stick with Canon. I personally stick with Canon. There is no right answer to this only opinions.



  3. #3
    Senior Member Kombi's Avatar
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    1- Welcome to the forums.
    2- Which two lenses did you get with your kit.?

    I'm going to guess 18-55 IS II and 55-250mm IS

    3- Take a deep breath and relax

    Odds are to start out you have most everything you need to get decent shots to share with you friends and family. It'll be using the right lens in the right situation.
    Finding out which lens (I'm learning) is a very personal choice. What may work for me may be awkward for you so
    a photographer and they say "you need a 40mm or a pancake" then another photographer says "you need a 70-300mm" for the same scenario.
    A good macro lens will help you take close ups of small items, but it is not essential.

    Use your zoom but step back from your subject.

    there is a ring sitting on the bookshelf next to me so I swapped a couple lenses to show you can get the same shot.

    keep in mind I didn't set up lighting etc, just some really quick shots to show you.


    18-55mm @ 55mm about 30cm (12") away from ring


    55-250 @250 about 1m (1 yard) away


    55-250 @ 90mm with 25mm extension tube about 30cm (12") away from ring



    original image cropped


    So 4 different ways to achieve the same photo, none using a macro.

    Shoot in the largest format available (RAW) and edit after if required.


    your 18mm will be fairly wide for most situations.

    Having both those lenses I find their limitations are indoor situations.. and once you borrow, or rent an L series lens you notice how nice your images can really be.

    Anyway hope this made sense.

    As for your next lens? with what you hope to shoot I suggest reading the reviews in the section http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Canon-Lenses/ for Brian's Canon Lens Recommendations

    sidenote:
    another option which I chose when I started was magnification filters. I got a set of inexpensive filters by hoya, +1 +2 and +4 they work to achieve macro pictures, and stacked you get higher magnification.. and with extension tube even closer.
    Good images.. but not true macro caliber.
    Last edited by Kombi; 08-19-2012 at 03:31 AM. Reason: sidenote

  4. #4
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    Hi I wouldn't avoid Sigma and Tamron lenses all together. Yes, some have issues, but generally speaking they are a good value for us regular folks If you do want Canon lenses, I'd keep an eye on refurbished lenses at the Canon Store's website. Adorama also has a refreshed list of refurbs from time to time (use the link on this Site when making purchases to support TDP). There are all kinds of ways to turn a lens into a macro going from really cheap (think it's a cannon 550 filter) to a hundred or so (kenko extension tubes). An original Canon 100mm macro is nice, but the price starts going up to a few hundred for that. Keep asking questions and I'm sure others will answer.
    Edit: Speaking of Adorama, Mark Wallace had just done a video on their Site about shooting in "P" mode. It talks a lot about the different looks you get with shutter speed and aperture. It would be worth a view if you get confused with it.
    Last edited by andnowimbroke; 08-19-2012 at 03:14 AM.
    Words get in the way of what I meant to say.

  5. #5
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    Hey all,

    Thanks for your replies, greatly appreciated.

    Yes, I got the 18-55 IS II and 55-250mm IS and they seem ok… although I've been told they're not? I think this is part of my problem. I'm happy with the results but pro photographers say theirs is better blah blah blah

    I wasn't looking for a one size fits all answer, I'm aware I'll need more than one lens etc but I'm just trying to work out which ones to buy. I've been told so many different stories on what to buy and what to avoid… but they always conflict etc. I'm not after pro quality photos, but I would still like to have some level of quality. When it comes to flowers etc I'd like clarity and vibrant colours etc, mind you I bought Lightroom so that'd help somewhat (but I'd still like to use it as a last resort)

    I see what you mean about indoor shots, I tried a few shots indoors and the results felt "cramped" etc, like I couldn't get far enough away from the subject.

    Thanks for the ring photos also, it definitely puts it in perspective. I just got back from looking at lenses and had my camera bag on my shoulder and instantly the sales guy tried selling me the virtues on the 650D and said I should look into it… Pointed out I already had it and he then tried showing me their most expensive lenses. I don't have many friends into photography so it's hard going into a store and not being eaten alive.

    See, I love the quality of the lenses I currently have, but I'm constantly getting told I need other lenses and to sell these on ebay etc etc and put the money towards another lens and all that. It all gets confusing to say the least.

    I always shoot in RAW mode with no jpg. Problem is though people point ut distortion on lenses I have etc but I honestly don't see it. It looks VERY smooth to me, but people say it's grainy etc etc… Mind you, these are the same people who go "oh Canon are really bad, you should have gone Nikon" etc

    I just want to learn and take good shots! *runs off in tears*

    I'll check out the lens reviews also

    Thanks for the help so far

  6. #6
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    Squidy,

    Welcome, I would rate myself as a nearly blind enthusiast (just kidding... no really I have 20/20 vision) , that once worked in a high end camera store that had the absolute best at hand.... in 1978. What the 650 can do (I have the 600) just keeps me giggling and smiling w/ how far the photographic world has come. I bought my 600 about a year ago.

    The 650d is an amazing piece of technology. The lenses in the kit are plenty enough for "take good shots." The software that comes bundled w/ the camera and updates available at canon website is likely "enough" for "want to learn and take good shots." I think the user "Fast Glass" says it really well, "amateurs worry about equipment, pros worry about getting paid, masters worry about light - I (we) just take pictures" or words to that effect.

    You comment about learning is spot on - There are plenty of dials, buttons and settings enough to worry about, add in all the tweaks you can do in DPP, and taking good pictures, if not amazing pictures are well within the grasp of your current set up. My opinion - The single best way to learn is to take pictures, fiddle with a setting and take the picture again, have some organization to it - i.e. practice. A single digital picture is effectively free, it is not likely you will burn out the shutter on the 650d anytime soon. Learning what light does, what to expect, how to manage it is really important - i.e. exposure.

    Focus, the posts here are great tips on macro and close focusing. Even though the camera/lens/software is amazing, focus is still one of those "got to haves" in the picture. Only the smallest tweaks in focus (some say none) can be made in the software.

    In DPP is a setting that will correct many of the distortions caused by each specific canon lens (it is in the "tool palette" "lens" tab that is either under the "view" menu heading or its own button when in an edit window) - I know of no lens that is perfect. You can play around with an awful lot of settings, etc that really show the latitude and flexibility of the camera you have. Take three pictures of the same subject with 2 stops/steps above/below what the camera tells is the correct exposure and load them into DPP and play, knowing which way the exposure goes is a good thing. Move all the sliders around and see what happens - some are kind of funny effects in my opinion.

    The 650 has an equal/better sensor to the 7d - arguably a "pro" level camera - you have enough hardware to take "great" shots, in a few short moments of practice you will certainly "get it" and have yet more fun.

    Again, welcome to forum and many happy clicks to you.

    Mike
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

  7. #7
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    To get a little better image quality you pay a premium. Where you pay a few hundred bucks for a cheaper kit lens you might pay in the thousands for the upgrade to a canon L lens. You might pay 3 times as much but the improvement will be fractional, definitely not 3x better. If you are happy with the quality your present lenses put out, why care what others think is better. You found what works for you.

    The one lens that I would point you toward, because flowers, image quality and color seem to be a reoccurring theme is the canon 100mm L IS macro lens. It will do several of the things you mentioned very well and is an extremely sharp lens. It would be an excellent lens as your first L lens and a start to expanding your kit.

  8. #8
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    Sweet, thanks, I'll check the lens out

    I've been looking at that site Adorama and I'm damn well impressed. In Aus for example we pay $795 (a little over $800us) for the Canon 18-135 lens... That Adorama site has it for under $300au... holy cow. With shipping I'd be paying $340 or so... That's under half what we pay here :/ I was thinking of selling my 18-55 and getting that one... Worth it, or are they completely separate lenses? (from what I've read they're the same, but one has deeper zoom, but I'm a noob and probably wrong)

    I might hit that site up for an L lens also, see what they have

  9. #9
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    DPP?

    See, I'm pretty sure that's the problem I'm having, becoming too influenced by what the "pros" are telling me. As for exposure and lighting I'm learning about it, but it's taking a while. But, regardless of that it's fun anyhow

    As for the take multiple photos that's what I've started doing today. I realised all the settings appear in Lightroom for each shot so I've changed settinga and taken more photos etc so I can scroll through and see what the settings were and what the differences are. As I said, it's a learning experience, but damn it's fun

  10. #10
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squidy View Post
    DPP?

    See, I'm pretty sure that's the problem I'm having, becoming too influenced by what the "pros" are telling me. As for exposure and lighting I'm learning about it, but it's taking a while. But, regardless of that it's fun anyhow
    DPP = Digital Photo Professional

    Digital Photo Professional comes on the disk that you receive when you purchase a retail Canon SLR. And no matter which Canon SLR you buy, you can always upgrade to the newest DPP (available from the Canon website) for additional features and bug fixes.

    Whenever I do a photo job that involves processing lots (and lots) of pictures, I use DPP. In my mind, it does everything I need a batch post processing software to do. I can adjust exposure, sharpness, noise, color, contrast (shadows and highlights independently), and apply lens corrections and add ratings. I can copy settings from one picture and apply those settings to every picture, or I can simply adjust the settings of all the pictures at the same time (assuming I want the settings to be the same). And best of all--it's free.

    After using DPP to convert the RAW files to jpegs, I then choose some select images to further post process in Photoshop. Truth is, for most of the fine tuning I do in Photoshop, I could alternately use GIMP (free download).

    A lot of the "pros" use Lightroom, and there's nothing wrong with that. I've used it, but I never found the additional features of Lightroom to be worth while for me. And if "pros" don't use DPP, then I'm fine being called something else. ;-)

    Last edited by Sean Setters; 08-19-2012 at 04:04 PM.

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