? for a230 user
Hello. Newbie here. I currently have the above camera, sony 18-250 and 50 1.8. I have been using them for about 1.5 months.
Last month I was in the school cafeteria photographing my children's winter program using the 18-250. As you all can probably tell the photos did not come out as expected. I had blurry, out of focus, under exposed, and red eye pics (forgot to turn on the red eye reduction button :().
When I am outside though I can take great pics with my camera. I have three young children under 10 years old and that is the reason I purchased a slr.
I really like both lenses, but my questions are should I return both lenses and purchase say the tamron 17-50 2.8 and 70-200 2.8 or keep a combination of? I figure as my children grow up the 2.8 lenses will come in handy for future indoor programs and maybe sports. Also should I purchase a flash?
I know..I know. Entry level dslr, but higher end lenses:p. I figure I could learn with the a230 and as my learning curve grows, step up to something better.
Thank you all.
The 18-250 is not an ideal indoor lens. You would have fared much better with the 50mm indoors and would have gotten away without using flash.
However before replacing lenses, you can try and add an flashgun like the Sony 42 and it should work much better for indoor use without casting red-eye.
Thank you for the response.
Originally Posted by Elisha82
The school stage is about 20-25 feet away from the first row of seats and elevated about 4 steps. Will a flash help still? I am assuming I need to be in the first row so that I will not have the top of peoples' heads in my pic.
Would the 70-200 2.8 be better suited if I stayed in the back. The elementary school cafeteria is not big?
f/2.8 ... give and take
Okay, there are some serious issues, here, that I have gone through, myself.
One is that you will have to immediately consider is that f/2.8 might not even be enough aperture w/o flash assistance. Low light is tough. Also, as you rocket through your zoom with your wide aperture, to get the shot, the depth of field (DOF)closes down very quickly. DOF is the focal plane in which the center of focus (COF) in the shot exists. As that COF gets closer to you, the focal plane or DOF get shallower. For more on this, seek out the exposure manual. It is kind of convoluted and requires some deeper explanation than this simple question allows for.
For a 20 to 25-foot shot @ the 250mm's f/6.3 aperture, you may need a flash with some real pop ... and that would be the SONY HVL-F58AM. Since I am going to assume flash is allowed (always an important consideration), this one is very flexible and should cover a lot of issues.
Personally, forced to shoot w/o flash, I had a lot of success with the CZ 135mm f/1.8, but that lens is not even close to being cheap. I also would invest in a much better sensored camera, if you go that route, or you are only attacking the problem from one end. If you spending this kind of money, it is no time to go cheap. The α550 or α850 would be the call. Low-light photography is some of the most expensive you can do, other than SPORTS. It really puts a lot of people off.
The bottom line here is that armed with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and the HVL-F58AM flash should allow you to get well lit images. The 70-200 f/2.8 and the 17-50mm f/2.8 lens combination are, absolutely, a dynamite set of replacements for the 18-250mm. You, of course lose the 18-250 "one-lens-does-it-all" convenience, but as far as zooms go ... that pair is a low cost ticket of admission to improving your photography. As you have found out, indoors, tapping on the 18-250 requires some portable sunshine.
Admittedly, the resulting shadows can, sometimes, be a little harsh from a single direct flash (depending on the angle and whatnot) and a second (SLAVE), of to the side, flash (HVL-F42AM) could help to eliminate them, it they will allow you to place one (don't forget to retrieve it when you are done).
Please consider that EVERY shooting situation has its own solution. Having the equipment to deal with that is always great! :D
What the heck, give them a try and see how it works. The experience, itself, is the greatest teacher. :cool: But, you do not get any experience unless you have the equipment to try it with.
Academically speaking: Since you are anticipating changing your lenses ... grab an α550 to marry them to ... and get the upgrade you truly need right from the get go .. and quit fighting the underpowered technology. Why look back? Let the kids or the wife use the α230/18-250mm introductory/convenience package.
Let's face it:
- You have gotten started.
- You want these images to be better ...
- You are ready to move up.
- You have made the case!
- Time to get ... serious.
The new lens bag, filled with:
TAMRON SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) ø67 lens
TAMRON SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) ø77 lens
SONY HVL-58AM flash
Make it so.
(besides, if it does not work ... it goes back, right?)
Thanks Don. How much will all of the above cost:D? Time to convince the wife to shell out a few thousand dollars after spending a grand:p.
Anyway some pics. No PP done. Please C&C. Don't know which software to use. Any suggestions? I have a mac, btw.
Photoshop ... and Lightroom
Knock out software ... offering more than just tweaking.
When it comes to cost ... pass the plastic and do not look back. It's much better that way. The pain comes later. :D
Ok Don, you just advised a Father with a young family and a self-styled "newbie" to junk $1000 worth of new equipment and to spend $4000 on top. So, my question to dadof2wns, can you afford that sort of money and, if you can, do you even want to spend it?
If Yes, there are better ways to spend your cash. For instance, don't buy the Tamron 70-200mm, in low light it's damn slow to AF and continous AF on a moving subject is impossible.
If No, tell us your preferred budget and we will help you spend it wisely, maybe.
Don's info is correct, but as Peter said, a hefty chunk of change. The A230 is a very good camera, its only real drawback is the high ISO settings. I used to own an A300 which was the same thing in terms of imaging. I was afraid of ISO 800.
One thing to bear in mind is that only a few years ago, even pros didn't have access to clean shots at high ISO. ISO 800 film looks pretty rough in many cases. What you are trying to do is not easy. Long distance, low light, with movement. To do it well is going to be expensive. If you are in a position to go the route Don has listed, by all means go for it. But if this is still a hobby, and perhaps not something you will become very serious about, I find it hard to recommend spending that much money. For a cheaper option I would keep the A230, do a couple of upgrades on glass, and probably focus on flash for the darker situations. I think I would aim for the Sony 42 flash, and try to get fairly close. Trade in that 18-250 for the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, and something else in the long side. An f/2.8 would be ideal, but they are expensive. I hear a lot of complaints about slow AF on the Tamron, but it would be the most inexpensive answer that would really be useful. Another option is the Sigma that runs around $800 and has HSM focusing, which is similar to the SSM focusing on Sony's pro lenses. A lot of people have trouble with Sigma quality control, and often have to send brand new lenses back in for adjustments, but after that they tend to be good. I now shoot Canon and there are a couple of focal lengths where many people prefer the Sigma equivalent to the Canon pro lens. Then you still will sometimes encounter someone that will never buy Sigma again.
There are less expensive options. The 18-250 is VERY slow at 250. The old Minolta 70-210 f/4 "Beercan" would be considerably faster at the long end, which is going to be a little shorter than 250. You will probably pay less than $200 for one, but it is a used and very old lens. No warranty, and probably no repair parts if you need them. The focusing is not going to be super fast. Tamron and Sony both have consumer grade telephoto lenses in the 70-200/300 range that will be faster than f/6.3 at the end, but not by much.
It is going to be tough to pull out without some serious spending. Even if you went the route Don listed, images aren't going to be incredible. Any way you look at it I would try to get as close as possible. There is a saying "if your pictures aren't good, get closer" and I continue to learn that myself over and over.
In terms of image editing, Don is again correct. If you stay with this you will end up with Photoshop and either Lightroom or Apple's Aperture. (Don uses a PC and may not be aware of Aperture, but it is used by professionals the same way Lightroom is. Used to be more popular than Lightroom, but Lightroom has more market share now) There are VERY few serious photographers that don't use that setup. There are a few others out there (Bibble is the only one I remember off the top of my head) and they are good, but the vast majority use Lightroom or Aperture with Photoshop for fine tweaks. I really like Apple software, but I tried both and Lightroom worked better for me. However I recommend getting the trial of each and seeing what you like better. For me Lightroom does 90% of what I need. (Side note that I don't think has come up, shoot in RAW, it gives you so much more headroom to fix mistakes, especially in exposure and white balance) I use Lightroom to import my photos from the card reader (this one is really cool because it has an iPod/iPhone dock) and it organizes them into folders. Then I use Lightroom to crop, adjust exposure, colors, noise reduction, sharpening, even cloning out dust spots, etc. Then use Lightroom to export the jpeg. For 90% of images I am done. If an image needs something serious cloning (power lines for example) or other heavy duty work, you send it to Photoshop.
But there are alternatives to that setup. Until a couple of years ago, programs like Aperture and Lightroom didn't exist, so people manually managed the catalog in folders on their harddrive, and just used Photoshop, along with the RAW extension, to handle stuff. It can still be done that way, and some do. The nice thing about Lightroom is it keeps a record of your changes. 2 years from now you can go back to an image and it will still have a record of your edits, and you can step backwards (maybe I don't really want it cropped that tight). I personally haven't shelled out the money for Photoshop yet, and use Photoshop Elements for my stuff. It has a lot of the features of Photoshop, but is easier to use, and even has more cataloging capability (though nothing on the level of Lightroom or Aperture). Photoshop Elements costs something like 1/5 of Photoshop. The Gimp is a free and open source software with many or most of the features of Photoshop. It also comes with a learning curve about as steep as Photoshop. I'm not sure how it handles RAW conversion though. You could use the Sony software that comes with the camera to output jpegs, then tweak in Gimp and avoid shelling out any additional money. Pixelmator is a mac only image editor that gets rave reviews. For a whopping $59 you get something with most of the features of Photoshop and easier to use. Again I don't know how well it handles RAW, you may have to convert to RAW in something else and send to it. The reason everyone eventually ends up using Photoshop isn't because it is so much better than this other software, it is because everyone uses it. There are 1000 times more tutorials and plugins and hacks for Photoshop than for any of these other image editors. In the long run, that becomes important. In the short run not so much.
Jason, I hear what you say and agree with much of it.
The only thing is, Lightroom is **** at handling Sony RAW files especially with high ISO shots. I've read that LR3 may be better but I only used up to LR2.5
DxO is much better for Sony RAW. Only thing, the LR interface is better.