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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,559

    Cool 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 67mm 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. (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 ...
    Last edited by DonSchap; 01-07-2009 at 05:05 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    788
    Much of what I read before buying said that the 18-55 IS on the Canon's now is actually a decent lens. It's not L glass, but sounds like it is miles better than the non-IS 18-55 they put on the XT/XTi and before.

    One of my goals upon first getting my camera was sitting in family/friends gatherings, and capturing candid shots of others. I'm still disappointed in my ability to do that, and hope a combination of the Tamron 17-50 and the MinO 50mm 1.7 will get more of those shots for me.

    However I've started to learn a lot more about times that, unfortunately, the shot just isn't possible.

    The best retail help I got was from a store manager at a Wolf camera. I told him I was thinking about getting either the A300, or D60, or XSi, and then adding a 50mm prime for low light. He said if taking pictures of my daughter was my main concern, then I could get away with flash. That way I kept the whole range of the kit lens, and could still take indoor photos. For times I can use flash, a little bounce has been very useful.

    I think maybe that guy should pick up the 24-70 f/2.8 L and the 50mm f/1.2. Might help a little. And to save him a few bucks the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 maybe?
    Last edited by laydros; 01-07-2009 at 02:34 PM.
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    Good story. Many of us on here though are like that guy you ran into. Bought a new DSLR and don't really know how to use it. No formal training, maybe a book or two, and just hands on experience. It's all in the learning process. He will just have to learn for himself the limitations and advantages of good glass.
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    130
    I feel that digital cameras have spoiled many people into thinking that they can just so buy a DSLR and instantly have these wonderful photos produced, when in fact it takes months (even years) to get the basics down to learn what works and what doesn't.

    If he really wants to take good pictures, he will learn on his own. I took the beginners photo class last semester using film and learning the old fashioned way what it takes to produce a good photo, and I've just bought my own DSLR taking what I've learned with me to take pictures with the new camera. I'm also taking a digital photo class this upcoming semester to learn even more about the basics of photography as well as post-processing, printing, etc.

    -Matt
    Nikon D40x
    - Nikkor ED 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II

    Give me feedback on Flickr

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,562
    Should have told him to get a Sony and gave him a link to this site.LOL

    Frank
    Sony A77
    Sony A580
    Sony A 100
    Maxxum 400si.
    Sony 18-70 Kit Lens
    Minolta AF 35-70
    Minolta AF 50 f/1.7
    Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 Di LD
    Tamron 60mm Macro
    Tamron 17-50 f/2.8
    Tamron 2x Converter
    Sony HVL-F42AM
    Quantaray 70-300 4.5-5.6 Macro
    Slingshot 200 Bag



    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22083244@N06/

    http://s305.photobucket.com/albums/nn219/sparkie1263/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    Quote Originally Posted by GotToyota? View Post
    I feel that digital cameras have spoiled many people into thinking that they can just so buy a DSLR and instantly have these wonderful photos produced, when in fact it takes months (even years) to get the basics down to learn what works and what doesn't.

    If he really wants to take good pictures, he will learn on his own. I took the beginners photo class last semester using film and learning the old fashioned way what it takes to produce a good photo, and I've just bought my own DSLR taking what I've learned with me to take pictures with the new camera. I'm also taking a digital photo class this upcoming semester to learn even more about the basics of photography as well as post-processing, printing, etc.

    -Matt
    Sort of what I expected in some respects. But I've come to see that it really is not as easy as it looks and takes a LOT of time working on the art of photography.

    Quote Originally Posted by sparkie1263 View Post
    Should have told him to get a Sony and gave him a link to this site.LOL

    Frank
    LOL, yeah he should've traded up for a Sony.
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
    Posts
    2,152
    Way to goToyota. Very sensible to take a course and sensible to recognise that you need to.
    As Don pointed out, there's an awful lot to learn and it won't happen overnight. I've been at this for years and I can still learn (especially with this newfangled digital stuff).
    Would you believe my first camera was a Box Brownie in the sixties, followed by a Yashica rangefinder working up to a top of the range Minolta 9000 in the eighties. Lots of learning and lots of fun.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    37
    LOL.. love the story Don.
    I was "that guy in the store" just a few months ago. I can totally relate to all that.
    Even after 5 months with my camera I still don't have a clue what I'm doing half the time.
    I've resorted to reading books now, but finding quality books in my local library has been a mission too. I've got to say that websites like this one is really helpful as I get to compare ideas and listen to other peoples expereince.

    You are not running a tutoring programme by any chance are you?
    -------------
    Sony Alpha 200
    Minolta AF 50mm f1.7
    Tokina AF 28-70mm f2.6-2.8
    Sony DT 18-70mm f3.5-5.6
    Minolta AF 70-210mm f4

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    Quote Originally Posted by ShaunZ View Post
    LOL.. love the story Don.
    I was "that guy in the store" just a few months ago. I can totally relate to all that.
    Even after 5 months with my camera I still don't have a clue what I'm doing half the time.
    I've resorted to reading books now, but finding quality books in my local library has been a mission too. I've got to say that websites like this one is really helpful as I get to compare ideas and listen to other peoples expereince.

    You are not running a tutoring programme by any chance are you?
    Have you read vol 1 and 2 of Scott Kelby's digital photography books?
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,559

    Thumbs down Photographer, interrupted

    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!

    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.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 01-07-2009 at 05:53 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

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