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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Des Plaines, IL

    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 06:05 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

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