Story time: A recent trip to the camera store ...
So, like a good little photographic soldier, I headed off to Calumet Photographic to pick up a Hoya ø67mm CP for the T28-75mm. As I’m standing there, in waltzes a “newbie” holding a Canon EOS XSi in his hand and an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, asking the sales guy for his opinion on a new 50mm f/1.8 (not in stock) or f/1.4 lens for his camera, as he’s getting terrible results, INDOORs, with the zoom. :rolleyes: (This may be one of the most "typical" situations we all see.)
It seemed like a tutorial opportunity if ever I had dreamed one up. I watched as the sales guy hemmed and hawed, obviously nowhere near ready or willing to help this young man learn the fine art, but more than ready to sell lenses to him. I debated my position, (heh heh, being just a novice myself …) but, I interrupted him and proposed a couple pointed observations, based on what I was hearing.
"You say you are disappointed with the no-flash result from your Canon XSi and this “IS” lens, eh?" Answer: Yes. (Explain lighting/stability problems with low-cost lenses)
"You are using ISO-1600, are you not?" A: Why, yes. (Explain high-ISO issues and poor image quality)
"You want a 50mm f/1.4 to solve your low light issues?" A: Yes (Explain focus issues with shallow depth of field at apertures wider than f/2.8)
Man, instantly, there was a thirty-minute to one-hour conversation if ever I saw one and I was wondering where my ol' buddy Sean was, to help out. I did my best to try and wrap up these issues … and explained the problem with using f/4 lenses, indoors, without extremely bright lighting. I then explained the severe DOF issue you tend to get when aperture is set below f/2.8. I also explained that 99% of all zooms do not go below f/2.8 aperture. So … buying a 50mm lens would only partial solve the problem of taking “group” photos in less than optimum lighting. Single subjects, it's fine. You would successfully sacrifice the proper focus to get the extra light. But in a group of three or more, depending on orientation, of course ... you are going to lose at least one, perhaps two, in the shot to O-O-F (out-of-focus).
Man, the poor kid's eyes were rolling. This is precisely why buying a DSLR, without some kind of training, could really be a mistake. It would take him months of experimentation to figure a lot of this out … and perhaps some of it … he'd never figure out.
I was kind of in a rush (the dog was in the truck), so I bid him good luck and left him to the mercy of the sales guy. I’m glad I do not work in these stores, because I’d be too damn busy discussing all this stuff than able to make a good sale. It’s hard dealing with "newbies" and explain what you love to do. Obviously, to anyone following the forum, you can see with all the flack I am taking in DLSR Chat the idea of an “INFO” button. Here’s was a guy, obviously new to the deal … and the time it would take to teach him ranges in weeks to months, not one 30-minute trip to the store. Can imagine going to “Best Buy” and seeking knowledge. -Buzz!-
Put what you can IN THE CAMERA, itself. They (the manufacturer's) can easily do it. On a more advanced level, you could even have an analysis program, much like “Intelligent Preview” and “AUTO”, working together, to help the user understand where improvements could be made. A lop-sided discussion between the camera and himself … working out solutions with whatever piece-o-*#$@ lens he pops on the camera body.
"Newbies" are not going to appreciate the difference between the crapo "kit lens" and a better quality optic until someone 'splains it to them. It'd be kind of cool to produce an "in-store" TRAIL IMAGE CF CARD ...a small one, that has side-by-side images they can review in the camera and at home, using all the different lenses with an identical subject ... demonstrating the advantages of each. Design it for each camera model and see how it plays. You could have only done that with a print book, years ago ... but with digital ... it is instantaneous and best of all, "in-camera."
Oh jeez, there I go again ... it hurts to think like this ... :eek::(:p
I noticed that the young man had a brand new camera, the EOS XSi. As I examined his Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens (I had never seen the "new" one, up until then. My own experiences were only with the original version <non-IS>, back 2005. It got shelved pretty quick in favor of the TAMRON AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF)), I realized that he might be able to get by if he did several things differently, but guys ... I don't have all day to explain stuff like that to Canon users. I figure, you pick your poison ... and he can go to the Canon forum and fend for himself. I'm not getting paid for my time, either, unlike that guy behind the counter.
I mean, screwing around with you guys on here is one thing ... when it comes to real time stuff ... as our shameless Governor has been so quick to point out, it's "pay to play, Pal!" Especially with non-SONY camera toters. Like I said, I could have spent a couple hours explaining and demonstrating different results to further his understanding, but I kept looking at his camera and shaking my noggin'. Too much work. I bought my SONY to avoid these kind of problems. I had to sell all my Canon crap to pay for it and make the complete migration. I had a lot more going on than just a camera and a "kit" lens.
I mean a 50mm f/1.4 on a SONY ... has Image Stability. On a Canon, it's got squat! You are probably right, I should have argued that he change brands before he got dug in by the cost of glass ... but, as I have found out on this FORUM, you cannot save those who do not want to listen (a lesson from ol' Noah, by God!). Would he have made the change? I doubt it. He bought his choice of camera for a reason ... I respect that (not really, but the hell with it) and I am just not going to go through a song & dance to get him to convert. Someone, several months ago, should have successfully done that when he was initially shopping for a rig ... but, he wound up with a low-end Canon and a "kit". Live with it and learn! :rolleyes:
If I sound bitter, I am not. Unlike our upcoming President, I just get tired of repeating myself. The message should be clear enough ... there is a lot to be said for "in-the-body-stabilization", PRIME lenses, low light and the fact that every single lens you mount enjoys the use of it. If you are too thick to appreciate that fact ... what can a I say? "See ya on the Dark Side", I guess. Oh yeah, "and bring a flash."
Welcome to the SONY DSLR forum ... where it is supposed to be fun, not more work.