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Old 11-21-2013, 05:51 PM   #21
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Good rangefinder vs SLR link:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/rangefinder-vs-slr.htm

Leica/canon/Nikon sharpness comparison:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/m9/sharpness-28mm.htm
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:08 PM   #22
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I've always considered lens quality to be the primary concern; the body is just the body - though with digital the different CMOSs do make a difference.
In the bottom line, it's not the camera, but the photographer.
Back in the days of film cameras, one upgraded the sensor by purchased the improved films that came out every few years. No need to buy a new body. However, digital sensors have blown way past where the best films were. Current sensors are so good, that there isn't a lot of reason to upgrade just to get the latest, greatest sensor.
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:26 PM   #23
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No need to consistently buy new bodies, though I think the argument is still out on sensors blowing past film lol. Depends on the use. I made the CMOS comment merely to annotate some bodies may have slightly better sensors than others. In the old days, every body could take any film of the same format. A user can't switch CMOSs around. But again, I about 7 years out of date since I last researched digital technology - just before I bought my D200. I'm just too lazy to mess with film anymore. The JOBO sits unused in the basement.
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:02 PM   #24
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Okay people - my wife dabbles in this area - what toy should I get her for Christmas.

She has (IIRC)
Nikon DSLR (D5000 I think)
Tripod
remote shutter
.18-.55 lens
?? - 300 lens (bought by her on a trip to asia)
entry level external flash (nikon speedplay?) (latest gift, was a hit)
a filter that went on the external lens
a camera bag that I picked out for her and she didn't like (not doing that again)
photoshop, lightroom on the computer
a few books

We have primary school age kids, so, some pics of the family to be used for cards, kids at sporting events, she likes to photograph the moon when its notable, etc. She is purely a hobbyist, no plans to change that.

Where should she go next. Anything missing? I was half talking (group conversation) with people who suggested fixed lenses are optically superior and push the photographer to hone their composition. If I did that what should she start with? I typically drop 200-500 at Christmas.
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:10 PM   #25
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Ask her what she wants to do. Portraits of the kids? Simple studio lights, or an off camera flash with reflectors (can be made cheaply) Landscapes? A wild angle lens A gift card? Has she a smart phone or iPad? A DOF (depth of field) app that also gives hyper focal length (look it up lol), or a card reader and Photogene app (nice for adjustments of the final image). An iPad *grin*. I never use my computers, except for advanced layering. The iPad is easier and can produce professional results quicker and more mobilely (is that a word?)
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:16 PM   #26
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Filters, for the most part, seem a waste of money, as the effects can be done in post processing on the computer. Or iPad...

Does she want to photograph objects? A small product table, scraps of different color cloth for backgrounds,
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:23 PM   #27
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If the flash has a cable connectin and can be used off camera, there are flash holders that move the flash higher up, and produce better lighting for kids and portraits . I'll find a photo...

http://www.camerachums.com/Vertical-...9?refid=Google A

handlebar flash such as a Mecablitz ( also called Metz). These are superb flashes with many flexible easy to use features
Portable power pack for a flash. Can be worn on the the belt. Flashes use a lot of battery power. I've done several weddings in a row with a Metz and a portable battery pack, without recharging in between. Even for norofessiomal use, it's aPIA to be replacing batteries, or be out of batteries, and need them for an indoor shot.
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:26 PM   #28
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By wide angle, in the first post, I meant ultra wide. Tamron makes a 10-24 which is decent, at half the price of the Nikon version.
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:42 PM   #29
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She has this flash.
Amazon.com: Nikon SB-400 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras: NIKON: Camera & Photo

I'd say she mostly takes portraits of the kids, but there is a mix. She mostly likes to learn from the art side. Landscapes may be her next area to dip her toes in. There is no desire to commercialize her hobby.

Her brother did an outing with a skilled photographer (in New Zealand, the horror) specifically to train him to use his camera. Something similar (alas in PA) may be the ticket, as opposed to a product.
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:51 PM   #30
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Sesq,
I have a Nikon DSLR (D90). One of my favorite lenses is Nikon's 35mm f/1.8 lens (Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX). It costs just under $200. It's great for low light photography.

Would she be interested in taking close up photos of things like flowers and insects? If so, consider a macro lens. I like my Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro. It's priced a bit higher than your range, but it's nice! I've heard that the Tamron macro lenses are nice, too, but I haven't used one.
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:57 PM   #31
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How about a workshop with a noted photographer in her area of interest? She could learn a lot from a pro in a very short time & may also get her hooked into the local photographer networks.

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Filters, for the most part, seem a waste of money, as the effects can be done in post processing on the computer. Or iPad...
True with the exception of a polarizer. If she doesn't have one, it would make a nice gift.
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:08 PM   #32
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I got my first full-frame digital SLR a year ago - and EOS6D. I've really enjoyed it. Great low noise performance as well. It's a good match for the wide-angle "skyscape" type of photographer I like to do.

It still has a mirror, but by using it in "live view" mode which raises the mirror it's easy to leave the mirror up during multiple (bracketed) exposures.

I do a lot of exposure bracketing - up to 7 exposures for sunset scenes to capture the huge dynamic range. The EOS6D can do up to 7 bracketed exposures automatically.
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:11 PM   #33
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How about a workshop with a noted photographer in her area of interest? She could learn a lot from a pro in a very short time & may also get her hooked into the local photographer networks.


True with the exception of a polarizer. If she doesn't have one, it would make a nice gift.
I don't use a polarizer anymore. Multiple exposures work better for me. Software is really good at doing the things you used to need polarizers and neutral graduated density filters for.

Lightroom 5 is great and pretty easy to use. You don't need Photoshop except for pretty esoteric things now.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:26 PM   #34
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Several years ago I went for a week long backpacking trip in the Sierras with a bunch of photographers (all of us wilderness-photography-wannabees). I must have carried 20 lbs. of gear - DSLR, 3 lenses, tripod - while I vividly remember one other guy carrying a little Leica and some tiny "pancake" lenses. Total weight of his kit maybe 5 lbs. While the telephoto I carried gave me a few shots of birds and Marmots that my friend missed, for everything in the normal to wide focal length range he was able to shoot everything I could and more. And while I was thrashed from carrying my gear around after 3-4 days he was happily marching around the whole time scuttling up peaks while I could only watch in exhausted envy.

What I'm getting at is that the advantages of a mirrorless system depend a lot on the sort of photography you do. If you're a bird/wildlife photographer and all your weight is in big honking telephoto lenses then they don't offer much advantage. However, if you're a primarily a travel and/or backpacking photographer they provide a fine alternative to DSLRs with little loss in quality.

On an entirely different note, I agree with the other poster regarding the ability to replicate some of the sky darkening effects of a polarizer using multiple exposures and post-processing. However, no post-processing I'm aware of will eliminate reflections from water (or, crucially, from water bearing vegetation). So I still carry a polarizer for just this purpose.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:44 PM   #35
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For impromptu pics of the kids, especially indoors, a fast prime would be useful, something in the 80-100 range, 2.8 or less.

If the portraits are posed, then yeah, look into lighting.

For moon shots, you need real long range lenses, like maybe a telescope.

I've shot moons with 300mm zoom on a crop sensor and it's still not large enough.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:59 PM   #36
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On an entirely different note, I agree with the other poster regarding the ability to replicate some of the sky darkening effects of a polarizer using multiple exposures and post-processing. However, no post-processing I'm aware of will eliminate reflections from water (or, crucially, from water bearing vegetation). So I still carry a polarizer for just this purpose.
The clarity feature in modern digital camera raw processing software does wonders. It more than makes up for some of the ugly artifacts polarizers can introduce to skies, etc.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:03 PM   #37
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Yeah but if you hate to post-process, polarizers let you capture it right.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:05 PM   #38
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Yeah but if you hate to post-process, polarizers let you capture it right.
I love the post processing, even after I "capture it right".

Polarizers screw up my panoramas!
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:10 PM   #39
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Ask her what she wants to do.
+1 on that.

Also consider a screen calibration tool. A Colormunki Smile is cheap ($80) and simple to use. Reviews find very little difference in results between that and much more expensive versions. I bought one for my sister's birthday and she likes it. If she prints a lot she'll want the Colormunki Photo but that's quite a bit more ($400). I have one and think it's worth it.

And I'm a big fan of Lightroom but it won't run on Ipads or tablets, you'll need a desktop or laptop.

But I'd start with seraphim's suggestion of just asking what she wants to do.
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:48 PM   #40
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I do a lot of exposure bracketing - up to 7 exposures for sunset scenes to capture the huge dynamic range. The EOS6D can do up to 7 bracketed exposures automatically.
I'm so annoyed that my camera (5dii) only does 3 exposures in bracketing. This is extremely nice to have if she does any HDR photography.
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