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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Raleigh, NC, USA
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    Crisis of "faith"/brand/etc and a bit of resolution

    It has been a dreadful dry period for me. Something just got sucked out of my photography about 2 months ago. I've been having this big crisis of faith. I am very frustrated that there is all of this nifty (often used) glass at a couple of local stores. The people there are nice and helpful, and I want to support them. But they don't carry Sony Minolta. I've saved up a little to go to the Tammy 17-50mm, but I've been questioning it, and considering using that money (and selling my gear) to go CaNikon. I'm frustrated with the high ISO noise as well. I'm REALLY interested in low-light candid photography (among other things). Hell, I've been so frustrated I thought about just dumping the SLR and giving up on the craft.

    I'm still not convinced that swapping brands is out of the cards, but I know that the camera isn't what makes the photos. Any DSLR on the market today takes GREAT photos. It's what is behind the viewfinder that counts.

    So tonight my wife and I packed the baby in the car and went to a neat Irish pub/restaurant with some friends from work. I wanted to travel light, so I put the 50mm on the camera, and put the kit lens in the diaper bag for backup, but it stayed there.

    And I shot pictures. If I needed more shutter speed, I cranked up the ISO. I was so frustrated with ISO 800 when I first got the camera, I have never tried to shoot at 1600. But tonight I did. I sat at a table, with Smithwicks and Guiness and good company, and shot pictures.

    Not really anything great. In fact, to most people here, who like to shoot birds and landscapes and stuff, this is mostly dumb pictures. But somehow the frustration of not getting what I wanted for so long, and the limitations of the single prime lens, and perhaps a couple of (English size) pints, helped me get some of the pictures I have been looking for.

    So first off, this is going to seem very boring, but I like the composition, and I like the underexposed/grainy look. And, its ISO 1600. Like I said above, I gave up on that, but it had a nice effect for this one. Is this what Ted Nugent means when he says you should shoot everything you eat?



    This martini glass was sitting all by itself.


    Our friend Friederika was listening to someone intently.


    My beverage for the night. This shot was double hand held, camera in the right and pint in the left.


    Our friend Sylvia was having fun watching Katy and Ellie


    And finally my favorite of the night.


    (There really is a point, I'm almost there)

    So the pictures are soft. The 50mm f/1.8 just doesn't cut it below about f/2.8. And they are really noisy. It kinda has a nice grainy look, but if I didn't want that, I wouldn't have a choice. Could an A700 for $1000 fix the noise? Meh, it would be better. Would a used 40D for $600 do better on noise? Probably on par or better than the A700. Ouch.

    OK, thats my personal problem. I'm interested in feedback, but here is the point, and my "contribution to the community." FWIW.

    It's way too easy to get hung up on equipment and settings. If you are doing artistic photography, what matters is that you get out there and shoot. And if that seems to be broken, you sometimes need a spark to get it going. Yes, new gear will do this. But sometimes thats not a good idea, or an option at all. Read a book, surf flickr. Give yourself something different. Only having the 50mm lens put some real limits on my shots. My boss is a good friend of mine and was sitting right beside me. There are no pictures of him simply because he was too close. I had to work with what I had, and it really helped me push. I fiddled a little with the ISO, and manual focused a few shots, but for the most part I looked in the viewfinder, and composed.

    So go listen to a podcast, look through a photographers book, or even get the old film body out of the closet. But do something, and go shoot.
    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    God's Country - Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by laydros View Post
    Could an A700 for $1000 fix the noise?
    no.

    Would a used 40D for $600 do better on noise?
    yes.

    Probably on par or better than the A700. Ouch.
    its at least 1 stop better. CaNikon will allow you to shoot at higher iso's and get much better images. but you cant have everything, neither canon or nikon are going to offer you IS with a prime.
    D800e l V1 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l EP5 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    9,545

    Thumbs up Movin' on up ...

    Jason,

    I’ve been shooting the SONY line since they released it back in 2006. My advice, as others on this forum can certainly attest to, has always been to go with an α700, obviously, if finances allow. The α200, α300, and α350 basically are “introductory” DSLR cameras and are capable of a lot of things … but, when you want to get serious, the α700 is the choice. It has all the extras and a 12.2 MP CMOS sensor. That, coupled with the Super SteadyShot, delivers the goods as well as you can expect.

    I have easily shot 20,000 exposures with mine. I have experimented with some outrageous combinations and have found that unlike the predecessor α100, ISO-1600 is entirely doable and can look quite nice from the α700. Match that up with some quality glass … and you can do business.

    The thing is, you seem to be expecting a lot from your α300. You are in a low-light scenario and that does not play to the α300’s strengths at all. Shooting outdoors, you will have to admit, it does much better. I see the same kind of response from the α100. If were to put the α700 and the α300 side-by-side, with that 50mm f/1.7 you have … you could see the difference immediately. The debate of whether to go “glass first” or camera first dies right here. This may be hard to hear, but remember, I didn’t design these cameras: The α700 is where all serious photographers should start. The α200, α300, and α350 are for people that do not plan to invest any more money in their craft, because they limit the scope of what you can do with your glass. Once you begin to use better glass, you will almost instantly expose the drawbacks and limitations these camera bodies represent.

    I can understand your disappointment. It is a hard thing to deal with and I do not expect to make many friends revealing this aspect. It is a lot like telling a woman her baby is ugly. Unfortunately the truth is in the output ... and once you shoot through the α700, your faith in the SONY line should be restored. When I finally received mine, on September 25, 2007 … it was like finding religion. I slipped on the TAMRON SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di LD MACRO lens and finally understood that true image quality was now in my hand. It was easy to see the improvements of the CMOS sensor and its higher ISO, which had plagued the earlier α100’s CCD sensor.

    Just hop on over and put the α700 to the test. After that, if you still feel rather annoyed and disappointed … the other two companies will happily take your coin. Consider the α300 a training effort. You cannot make it better than it is. You have graduated … it is time to step up.

    Good luck

    BTW: Just to back up my assessment, you can go to this LINK and read over some other opinion and review, comparing the CaNikon offerings and the Olympus.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 02-20-2009 at 11:22 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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    God's Country - Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonSchap View Post
    BTW: Just to back up my assessment, you can go to this LINK and read over some other opinion and review, comparing the CaNikon offerings and the Olympus.
    that doesnt back up anything. the iso6400 coin shot is:

    1/160s
    f7.1
    +0.7EV

    its an old trick to try and deceive people on iso performance. anyone using those settings in the real world is an idiot. he's about 7 stops over what he should be which beings him back to iso50.
    D800e l V1 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l EP5 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Raleigh, NC, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rooz View Post

    its at least 1 stop better. CaNikon will allow you to shoot at higher iso's and get much better images. but you cant have everything, neither canon or nikon are going to offer you IS with a prime.
    I keep losing shots (including many from tonight) because the Sony IS has done it's job and the background is sharp, but the shutter speed was still to slow to freeze the subject.
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    God's Country - Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by laydros View Post
    I keep losing shots (including many from tonight) because the Sony IS has done it's job and the background is sharp, but the shutter speed was still to slow to freeze the subject.
    yes, thats the problem with any IS. it doesnt freeze the subject. alot of new people to photography dont understand that. an a700 will give you pretty good iso but its a stop behind the d90/40d.
    D800e l V1 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l EP5 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
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    You've got a serious case of "have your cake and eat it".
    Switch to Canikon and you'll gain better ISO performance and promptly lose it again with camera shake.
    I've never had a Canikon so I can't say if there is any real advantage but I'd think it marginal at best.
    If you're REALLY interested in low-light candid photography, you need the fastest lens available, something like a 50mm f/1.2 MD Rokkor.
    You'll also have many failures, that's the nature of the beast and what makes it satisfying when you get a "keeper".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Contrasting your investment in SONY/Minolta ... perhaps it would be for the best, Jason. Access to equipment and opportunity is important. If the local group does not support it, then what the heck? Why argue or fight city hall?

    I, too, lost my interest in a particular manufacturer because of limited results and their unreasonable clinging to one solution. I sold most of my stuff before I really went nuts with a big glass investment. I am far more comfortable with SONY/Minolta ... because of prior exposure and SONY's continued innovative approach and willingness to listen to their user base.

    Honestly, I can identify with the issues you have been having and suggest you "borrow" some CaNikon gear and try the same thing with it, before you take your final loss. Remember to tally the overall cost of new glass and see where the bargains really are. What the heck, you may even be back.

    Good luck with your choice.
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    God's Country - Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peekayoh View Post
    I've never had a Canikon so I can't say if there is any real advantage but I'd think it marginal at best.
    dont confuse your opinions with the facts.

    fact #1: Canikon have a 1-2 stop advantage in this particular area.
    fact #2: with a moving subject lack of IS in short- medium focal lengths is irrrelevant and camera shake is a non issue cos your shutter sped has to be high enuf to freeze the motion of the subject.
    fact #3: the lens you put on is irrelevant to the difference in performnance aswell cos the sensor and processing is the difference.

    1 stop is the difference between 800 and 1600. in extreme cases, we're talking a 2 stop advantage. thats the difference between iso 800 and iso 3200. that is a massive difference. sorry to be the bearer of bad news and calling it like it is, but thats what it is.

    if someone is sold to the sony brand and want to stay there then i say wait for the next generation of sensor and if that doesnt cut it then either accept that you dont have that performance or move on to Canikon if low light and iso performance is your thing.

    before anyone has a dummyspit at me here i am NOT saying CaNikon is better than Sony. thats personalk preference. what i am saying is in this particular area, there is a clear performance difference. i personally do not shoot alot at hi-iso so to me this advantage is irrelevant, but its there.
    D800e l V1 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l EP5 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  10. #10
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    Nov 2008
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    Well, I'm entitled to an opinion even if I don't use a Canikon.
    And you're ignoring the fact that anti shake redresses the balance.
    Whether the subject is moving or not is irrelevent relating to camera shake.
    All I'm saying is that there are two approaches and I doubt that either is a conclusive winner.

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