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Digital Photography: 101-back To The Basics!

Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/18/2013 - 3:46 PM

Hello to All!

I have been asked by a fellow FAA-er,(real word, I'm sure) to open a new thread where questions about cameras, tripods,lenses,gear,toys can be asked and in some cases, even answered! I've been draging my feet on this, hoping Murray(the slacker)Bloom, would come to his senses and re-open his great thread, but nooooooo, he's too busy, huh Murray!!! So I'll give it a go and hope Murray and others here will step in when I'm in over my head or just making stuff up, and give actual good answers.

I've got 30+ years as a "Professional Photographer" (means I got paid, that's all) and many years in the studio, shooting everything from Diamonds and Jewelery( for the late Leona Helmsly) once!, to thousands of images for a local textbook publisher. Cars ,kids and stuff. Food, buildings and people for Travel Mags too. So I'm a "Jack of All Trades", but maybe not a master of any! So that's where my "advisors" will come in, especially answering anything involving the "Dark Sciences" Photoshop and such!

These are of course, just my opinions and you're getting what you paid for, so keep that in mind! I'm more of a "Run what ya Brung" kinda guy and don't think getting the next best thing............(fill in the blank) is always the answer. On the on the other hand, I do enjoy spending other people's money! So keep that in mind too!

I would hope that there will be good discussions here and good questions too. As always, you can email me privately, if you're a shy person, like me, or join my small group and ask there:

So let's see where this goes and enjoy!



Oldest Reply

Posted by: Nature's Details on 01/18/2013 - 3:59 PM

If there are no debates or arguments, this might be a quiet thread!! :P

Serious now. Good idea for a thread. I am sure I will be posting questions.


Posted by: Nature's Details on 01/18/2013 - 4:13 PM

I will ask the first question. Not so much for me, but a question I know is asked on this forum from time to time and something I see a lot on others.

Is a beginner photographer with a budget of say $500, better off with a good quality bridge camera ie FugiX10 / Canon G12 / Panasonic LX5, compared to buying the cheapest DSLR, with kit lens? Even though the sensor is bigger in the DSLR, I have not heard good comments about kit lenses. The lenses in those high end bridge cameras are usually extremely sharp and fast, with Fstops as wide as F1.8. The bridge cameras, also usually have most if not all the same manual features of a DSLR and most have viewfinders. (although EVF and not TTL)

One way to look at the low end DSLR, say a Nikon 3100, would be that later on the beginner can invest in better glass.

What do you think?


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/18/2013 - 4:47 PM

Murray the slacker here. Yeah, I've been busy with work, love, and other pointless stuff.

I usually shy away from which camera is better or cheaper for this or that, since the players are constantly changing. I'm not one to recommend or dis a piece of equipment based only on what I've read, or maybe handled at a camera shop. I'll keep an eye on this thread to see if I can contribute, though.

Regarding the Nikon D3100, it's a very good buy, has has a great sensor and processing engine, and accepts most Nikon auto lenses (not the older screw-drive 'D' type glass, though; which won't autofocus on it). If you like lightweight plastic cameras, it could be the one for you. Interestingly, some of their kit lenses are remarkably good, and you might want to check out Ken Rockwell (.com) for his lens reviews.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 5:36 PM

Rich this should be a big help to several folks! Way to go!

Murray you let love get in the way of photography? Well just teach her how to use part of your cameras and you can make a great photo team! :) OK had to toss that in there

OK Rich for what it is worth. My biggest issues with cameras these days are the noise factor and the fact that unless you have the current mega buck high end camera you are going to get noise in any shadow. That is where I pull my air out (sick of spending time in PS for noise!) when everything is right, and noise in the shadows and some in the barely there shadows. I think it was Murray that clued us into the fact the camera company's have duped us into cameras that were not cheep that still will have noise. I wanna take a photo without noise one day regardless of how I shoot. So do you happen to know what the current camera...or maybe ones that might be sold on eBay that are still late models that have almost or zero noise regardless of settings...and as much as one pays for a pro-sumer camera that they have way more noise than some higher end P&S cameras do. Shame on the camera company's!


Posted by: Lynn Palmer on 01/18/2013 - 5:50 PM

The Canon EOS starter DSLR with kit lens can take some decent images and sells in that price range. I also have a G12 as my P&S. I've posted a handful of images taken with it but would probably recommend the DSLR with a kit lens as a primary. The advantage of the starter DSLR is that you can add better lenses over time.


Posted by: Nature's Details on 01/18/2013 - 5:52 PM


The reason that images from some lower end P&S have less noise, is because there is noise reduction applied, through the processing engine, when the camera produces the JPEG image. Some cameras apply more noise reduction than others and often it is something you can adjust by setting high/med/low.

The higher end cameras, that shoot RAW, will not produce "more" noise, it simply has not processed any of it out. That is up to you to do, in a program like Adobe Camera Raw.

The low end P&S will produce MORE noise than a prosumer DSLR because of the smaller sensor. However you may not notice it as much, because of the in camera processing. A JPEG processed in a crop sensor DSLR should produce less noise than a compact camera, under exactly the same circumstances. On the down side though, with the extra noise reduction in the camera, the image will also come out less sharp around the edges.

Better to shoot RAW with a prosumer DSLR and edit out the noise, while controlling edge sharpness, than letting your JPEG engine do it for you.

Sorry Rich!!!! I am answering questions, in your thread!!! :(


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 6:00 PM

I know the lower end P&S camera have more noise and I know the higher end DSLR's have less noise from the get

go than a Pro-sumer DSLR. I am asking Rich if he knows which ones have less. I use PS Adobe Camera Raw all the time.


I only shoot Raw. The sensor also make a big difference in issues as well those things I do know. The P&S have smaller sensors


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/18/2013 - 6:09 PM

Andee, actually, she does great with her point-and-shoot, but it will be a while before she gets her hands on my Nikons. heh heh heh ;-)

Back on topic, noise comes from the electronic portion of the camera. It's not about optics or light. Every circuit generates noise when it's operating. Turn a radio or TV all the way down and put your ear to the speaker. You'll hear a gentle 'hiss.' That's noise. Whatever program material you're listening to masks the noise because if its greater volume (signal). An important statistic in electronics is "signal to noise ratio," which what is what we're dealing with when talking about digital camera noise.

Image processors (like in your camera) are very complex circuits, which generate noise on many levels. The fact that noise is as minimal as it is today is nothing short of a miracle. The problem arises when there is little signal to mask the noise, like a dark scene or during a long exposure where both noise and signal pile up until the shutter closes. In those cases, the signal level falls back into the noise range and we see it in our pictures. It's really as simple as that.

Fortunately, there are programs available, such as ACR and Noise Ninja, among others, that do an admirable job of minimizing the noise. Some cameras are better than others at concealing it, especially Nikon, which allows you to shoot at astronomical ISOs without seeing very much at all.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/18/2013 - 6:11 PM


If this $500 camera is going to be your work camera and not your only camera for snapshots and such, then the 3100 or the Rebel body is the way to go. I like the Fuji, Panasonic and especially the Canon G12, if you are going to be using this camera all the time for everything. Lugging around a big DSLR when you don't have to, is a pain.

I have mentioned and will mention again, I have several images here on my site taken with a 10 year old P&S, a Canon PowerShot A710, which captures a whopping 7.1 MP!!! and the sensor is smaller than my nail on my pinky finger!

So this is how I feel about worrying about not having the right/best/latest camera/lenses,etc. Shoot with what you have/can afford and when and if you start selling stuff, then upgrade, if you feel that your current gear is limiting you somehow. But trust me, once you go down that road of the next best thing, you're chasing your tail, forever.

Bottom line: If you are a professional photographer, working everyday, then you don't need to spend the "professional money"! Period! There was an artist here about 6 months or so ago, that sold a 40" x 60 " from her iPhone!! If you have the money and you enjoy improving your camera gear kit, then go ahead, just don't let a lack of "something" keep you from creating your art.

And finally, don't worry about the kit lenses, they are a bargin, but you'll be capturing images on a much better/larger sensor,



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 6:14 PM


But not the lower Nikon's end like mine. (Nikon D90) So what ones are better at masking that noise you said

there were ones that were better. I bet those 3 to 5 thousand dollar jobs...What ones should I be drooling over?


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 6:18 PM

Rich I just hate my camera! It had to go back for repairs in the first year...very irked at that. I do not want a 10,000 camera

but want better than what I have one day.....not very soon. My money goes for bills right now saving for an upgrade comes

later but I do need one for a back up sooner that that as my kid took off with my back up recently....


Posted by: Roseann Caputo on 01/18/2013 - 6:19 PM

but it will be a while before she gets her hands on my Nikons. ROFLMAO! That's just hysterical, Mur.

Anyone care to give some thought to a simple light meter? I wouldn't mind some suggestions there.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/18/2013 - 6:20 PM


Oh, sure, now you show up!!!LOL Thanks! You can handle the hard questions!

Andee, here are a few questions:
1. What is you average ISO that you find yourself using?
2. Do you shoot "to the right", slightly overexposed, like I do ( Murray's already typing I'm wrong)
3. Do you ALWAYS use a tripod?
4. Are you pushing your images to make bigger prints than the native capture is?



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/18/2013 - 6:20 PM

Andee, chronologically, I'd imagine that we're talking from the D300 onward (which may include yours, tho), in the case of Nikon. Newer is better, but you don't need the really high-end stuff, since some of the semi-pro cameras are really good with noise nowadays, using the same processing engines as the 'big boys.'


Posted by: Roseann Caputo on 01/18/2013 - 6:22 PM

Tiny - Don't know if this is helpful or not but in case it is:

I did my best to find something in your price range.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/18/2013 - 6:25 PM

Not necessarily wrong, Rich; but probably. ;-)

Rich knows that I'd rather underexpose slightly (to the left) because I'd rather contend with a bit of noise than blown highlights. Please, don't anyone mention how HDR cures everything.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 6:27 PM

Rich I like 100 - 200 ISO if I can get away with it and shoot indoors food stuffs for now.

Shoot to Right?? Is that a typo and you mean Light?? or something I must not be doing

I just shoot until my back hurt too bad. I hate tripods but have one and do not use it like

I should.

Thanks Murray. I wish I would have gone for that when I got this one.....if I had known about

FAA back then I would have but I was trying to do portraits when no one wanted to spend $$$$


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/18/2013 - 6:27 PM


According to DP Review:

There are no noise issues, more than can be expected. As Murray mentioned, your sensor, from 2008, which was probably designed a year or so before that, cannot compete with sensors on newer comparable cameras of today,



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 6:28 PM

OK no typo on that then... I need another photo class....OK I am going to leave..................or maybe just lurk! ;)


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 6:30 PM

Rich my camera has a firmware update I have never added because I am afraid of blowing the thing up.

Probably not for noise...but needs one. I have downloaded the firmware update file but it sits on my computer.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/18/2013 - 6:31 PM

Right/Left is about camera light meters (displays nowadays).

- | . . . . . . 0 . . . . . . | +


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 6:37 PM

Thanks Murray once you mentioned what you did above I realized that is what ya'll You can tell I do not use those....


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/18/2013 - 7:22 PM


You little lurker you! Here's what I think you need to try. Go take an image, anything,using your system and then using a tripod and setting the ISO at 100 and using your +- add about 1/3 to 1/2 stop to your exposure, which as Murray has shown, is just a few bumps to the right, (+) and then get those two images onto the monitor and compare. See if there's any noise, in either. If you're hand holding your camera, then you're probably bumping the ISO a bit too, just to get the right aperture and shutter speed. Also, you do need to update your firmware. Look and see if it's something that's important and then just do it. It might have to do with noise, don't know,



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 7:39 PM

How hard is it to do the firmware? I hear if you do it wrong your camera is ruined. As much as I hate it I can not afford to ruin it.


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/18/2013 - 7:51 PM

Ahhh...the Rich and Murray show returns!!

...kinda like the knowledgeable male version of Laverne and Shirley for us fledgling photographers. ;c)



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 8:04 PM

OK that made me laugh really hard Peter too funny. I wonder if they have a theme song picked out! :)


Posted by: Billy Griffis Jr on 01/18/2013 - 8:23 PM

Always shoot with the ISO as low as you can get by with. I don't like tripods much either and rarely use them, but I can't use a tripod to shoot birds, a bird is long gone before I can get it close to set up. If I already have one set up, it's almost impossible to follow a bird in the air.

This was shot at ISO 400, hand held. Even at 100% the noise is almost nonexistent, and the in camera noise reduction is turned off.

Sell Art Online

This one is ISO 200, JPEG straight off the camera except for a slight increase in contrast to bring out colors and detail a bit better. Any current DLSR should be able to match this no matter what brand, even the less expensive models. These were taken with a Pentax K 30, their "prosumer" model I suppose.

Photography Prints

Only upgrade your firmware if it includes an improvement you know you need. I won't even think about trying it with a $650 camera unless I'm sure it will be a worthwhile improvement. Same as BIOS updates on a motherboard (in a computer) I've been repairing computers for 15 years and avoid BIOS updates like the plague.Too easy to fry a motherboard...

Roseann - All modern digital cameras have light meters built in. Most are pretty accurate, light meters have been used since the 50's, they've gotten pretty good at building them.

Kit lenses - yeah not great, but most will do a decent job to start out with. Get a better one soon as you can.

Can't afford it? Here's an idea. Save dollar bills. No, I'm not kidding. Never give a store a $1 bill, use anything else but never your ones. Put those up in a coffee can or shoe box and DO NOT TOUCH. Don't even count for 2 months. You'll be amazed how much you have saved up. You'll also be surprised how little you miss those dollar bills. I've done this for al ong time, bought a couple of my lenses this way. It works, I promise, and you can save up some money, even if you think you can't afford to make it without those $1 dollar bills.


Posted by: Tony Murray on 01/18/2013 - 8:36 PM

I'm looking for a decent video camera…..any recommendations?


Posted by: Roseann Caputo on 01/18/2013 - 8:40 PM

Thank you, Billy.


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 01/18/2013 - 8:46 PM

FWIW, I am not the "sponsor" of this thread, my Photo 101 contest series is a distinctly different animal... I approve of this thread, however. }:-D


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 9:36 PM

Billy I have no money to shop to have ones, and one would have to have cash and I have to use

a check for those rare times I do shop for needed items. So I would have no dollars to save.


Posted by: Roy Erickson on 01/18/2013 - 9:42 PM

"I" have the Nikon D3100 - and sometimes I get great pic's and sometimes they are worthless - it's not the camera, of that I'm certain. I have two problems - one is memory (mine - not the camera's) and never really "learned" to use it - still working on that. Second - I do mostly nature shots and don't have time for tripods when walking through woods and fields - but I also have a problem doing any kind of settings - it's called eyesight - I don't wear glasses, but I need reading glasses to see the fine print on the menu or when trying to set the manual settings on the camera - so I shoot a lot in AF - I know that's bad form - but not a lot I can do about it.

reading is NOT an option - I get bored reading technical stuff and it's worse if I don't understand the language. BUT, if you show me, and have me do it a couple of times - I could untie the Gordian knot.


Posted by: Jeffrey Campbell on 01/18/2013 - 9:56 PM


If you call the Nikon Customer Service Centre they will walk you through the firmware update over the phone. Make sure you have a properly charged battery. It literally takes about 5 minutes.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 9:58 PM

Thanks Jeff. I will try that next week as I figure they are not open on the weekend

or on Monday ...maybe..... Where would I find that phone number?

Edit: Does it take a lot of battery power for those updates?


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/18/2013 - 10:07 PM

RE Noise.

I bought a newer crop body camera and was so upset at the noise that I went back to an OLD full frame sensor. The difference in noise is remarkable. (Oh, the old full frame ran 600 bucks used and in GOOD shape.)


Posted by: Jeffrey Campbell on 01/18/2013 - 10:10 PM

Not much battery power, they just want it charged properly, Andee.

Nikon Technical Support

8AM - 12AM (Eastern)
7 days a week



Posted by: Dwayne Oakes on 01/18/2013 - 10:24 PM

For a change I just went with a Nikon Coolpix P7700 p&s camera in favor of my Nikon D7000 (traded)
I wanted more of a point and shoot/jpeg approach to photography after years of shooting Raw/DSLR. The coolpix line has always
had a great lens and jpeg engine. I keep my ISO locked in at 80 and let the camera do all
the work. Here is a shot right out of the camera.

Dwayne Oakes

Photography Prints


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/18/2013 - 10:35 PM


What do you consider" a decent video camera"? Wil this be used to create "professional" videos or just video snapshots? Big difference and in $$$.

Peter, I get to be Laverne ok? Fledgling!!!??? You red herring you!

Roy, thanks for joining in, but I really encourage folks to get used to carrying a tripod, it will improve the quality and quantity of good images, period! And shooting in Auto is fine, you have some great images!

Jeff, thanks for the info. Cameras today are really just a computer with a lens attached and should be upgraded when needed.

To the guy in the helmet, full frame wins almost anytime over a APS-C sensor, as you found out, just the quality of the pixels and the size of each pixel is the answer,



Posted by: JC Findley on 01/18/2013 - 10:38 PM

Yupp, and while I knew that, I thought the technology advances might have made more of a difference than it did. I mean when it comes down too it, the Nikon D800 has smaller pixels than a 12MP crop sensor and a LOT smaller pixels than my 12 MP full sensor, but my guess is it does pretty well.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 10:48 PM

Thanks Jeffery!

JC what do you mean when you went back to old...full in older model camera or what? Are you using Canon?

I know that sensor is king over MP. Well I want the least noise I can. And full frames are more costly. But one day.....

I am going to have one. I may need to go used first which I hate as you never know how someone took care of it.


Posted by: Loree Johnson on 01/18/2013 - 10:58 PM


Hate to disagree with Murray, as I am such a newbie compared to him. But, here goes. Whenever I have had a problem with noise, it's always been because of (lack of) light. Either improper exposure (underexposure) or high iso (due to lack of light). However, I agree with him that I would MUCH rather deal with noise than blown highlights. So, it's a delicate balance. Getting the best exposure you can at lowest iso will all but eliminate noise. If that means using a tripod, then use it. If that means lighting up your subject better, then do it. Maybe some inexpensive lights are the solution to your problem rather than a newer, more expensive camera. Especially if the you are having the problem mostly with shooting still life. Then again, my subjects of choice are nature, so I could be blowing smoke....

Am I the only photographer who has gotten home with a memory card full of useless images because I thought it would be cool to shoot some mushrooms on the forest floor, so I cranked up the iso, only to forget that I did it and then shot perfectly well-lit subjects the rest of the day on iso1000?


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/18/2013 - 11:09 PM

Thanks for your input Loree And on the card and file things.....Not that but I did a baby shoot with cheep studio

lights they looked great on the LCD screen then realized I had not changed the ISO and I had major grain. That

was when I downloaded LT3 for the noise reduction. That was a mess. I saved them but that was a mess. Thankfully

they were a practice shoot and not for pay but still a mess when you do not remember to look and change the ISO settings.


Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/18/2013 - 11:17 PM are hysterical. I love reading these threads. @Tiny. I love my G12. It laid the foundation for me as I transition to my new T4i.


Posted by: Beverly Livingstone on 01/18/2013 - 11:19 PM

Thanks for the info everyone


Posted by: Nikunj Vasoya on 01/19/2013 - 6:23 AM

Sir,please give me some tips for photography.
it is my one of the favourit hobby and now I am enjoying it seriously without having my own camera it is true.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 9:37 AM


If you hang around this thread or ask questions related to things with photography these folks know a lot and

can help. Hopefully you can get a camera of your own to learn on and take more photos with great tips from here.


Posted by: Billy Griffis Jr on 01/19/2013 - 9:55 AM

Loree - Nope. I went out one morning and snapped a half dozen shots of a hawk flying around, a dozen shots of other birds, some tiny flower macros...then found out I still had my K-x set to ISO 3200...I had done some tinkering with it the night before, 10PM, and got some pretty decent shots of local shopping center signs, a church steeple and so forth, and forgot to reset things the next morning. The good light shots in the morning were surprisingly good, I used my usual method of letting the K-x set the exposure by its built in light meter then fine tuning by the look of the test shot. Never realized I was getting 1/4000 shutter speed for a reason...

Andee - I'm in the same boat, no income right now at all, so I'm not saving anything either.

Nikunj - Learn the basics. Especially exposure, which is the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and ISO and the way they interact. I don't intend to get into it very deep here, but here we go...

Aperture - A variable iris to let light in. The bigger it gets, the more light it lets in. Bigger apertures are higher numbers. Normally the biggest aperture is around f1.4 to f2 with a 50mm lens. Smallest will be from f16 to f22. Smaller apertures mean less light but more depth of field. Depth of field is how much is nominally in focus at a given aperture.

Shutter speed - Exactly what it says, the speed at which the shutter opens and closes. Faster shutter speeds mean less light and vice versa. Faster shutter speeds also have a greater ability to stop motion. The general rule is to use a shutter speed equal to or faster than the focal length of your lens to minimize photographer motion. So if I use my 200mm Vivitar, I want to keep the shutter speed at 1/200 or faster. That's 1/200 of a second. 300mm lens, 1/300 or faster. Slower shutter speeds let in more light, so if you use a shutter speed of around 1/60 and an aperture of f4 you can often get a good sunset. The same setting will be greatly overexposed if you take a shot from the same spot at noon on a sunny day. (Overexposed means too bright, underexposed means too dark.)

ISO - Sensitivity to light. A numerical representation of how sensitive to light the camera's film or sensor is. Higher numbers are more sensitive to light, lower numbers are less sensitive. This means you can take a picture at a higher ISO and use a much faster shutter speed than the same picture under the same lighting at a low ISO. The trade off is higher shutter speeds also introduce more grain (with film) or noise with digital.

That's a very basic primer. Should be useful to a lot of people just starting out. There's much more to it, lens selection, composition, lighting options, flash, tripod, monopod, studio setups, backdrops, and so forth. For example, if I want to get a shot of a flower covered in dew, the lighting looks great but not a drop of dew to be found at first I would just be frustrated...then I glanced at a squirt bottle one day and that little light bulb went off...I bought one at the local dollar store and filled it with water, now I always have dewdrops on demand...

That's just one trick I picked up along the way. I keep some black felt on hand, and some black construction paper. Haven't used it in a while, but sometimes it makes a great black background if I want to set up a shot. I need to redo, my old one is shot from handling and moving around.

And as usual always remember the 3 P's.





Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 10:03 AM

Andee, I shoot Canon and went back with a used original 5D. They are running around 600 bucks now which is around the price of an entry level DSLR. If I recall you shoot Nikon so it would be the D700 in the same general class for your needs but I am not sure of the price there.

Here are a couple I shot with the crop sensor in the four days I had it before returning it. The Art Deco was so noisy it was unusable until I cleaned it up but the cleanup resulted in a lack of clarity at full zoom. If you look under the green box it is rather soft. The boardwalk was not overly noisy but still gets a touch soft under the green box as well. Both were shot on a tripod so I was expecting them to be tack sharp when I was pixel popping but the camera just couldn't produce that.

Sell Art OnlineArt Prints

Edit: Oh, and for contrast on that, this is shot with NO light except that provided by a clear night and 3/4 moon.

Photography Prints

Not to turn this into a sensor size thread but the larger sensor was simply a must for me even if it means older technology.

Loree, yes, I HAVE come home and realized I shot a whole card on 1600 ISO in good light where it wasn't needed. While a touch grainy, it ended up not killing the image and I am working on altering my memory to remember that I did it as an "artistic choice" and not a mistake.... :o)

Photography Prints


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 10:47 AM

Loree, Right On! (Hopefully Murray is busy right now) , but if you properly expose or even over-expose a bit (1/3,1/2) it will help the shadows and that's where NOISE lives!

Andee,try it! Go find a shot/image with a little shadow and a little highlight and shoot the way you normally do and then 1 frame over a bit and then look at the noise in the over one. I'm asuming you also using a low ISO, so break out that dusty tripod for this!

Andee, I don't know what you use for lights, but there are lot's of cheap lights on B&H Photo. The ones I've used for interiors and such, have a slave function, so no wires and the screw into a regular light bulb socket! Cheap $10-15 a piece!

Arlene, do not encourage Peter! Next thing you know, he'll be adding stuff to this post, correcting me, pointing out mistakes I've made, really annoying stuff, which WE don't want right!

Nikunj, I see a few good images, so it seems you can borrow a camera and that's good. And I also like the Flamingo painting you did! Email me or post something here on what you would like to learn and I'll try and help. Make sure you read what Billy posted, until you understand it, good foundational information. When you ask, try and keep it specific and not broad, like "I want to get better", thich will help with my answer and other's answers. Good Luck and welcome!

Billy, thanks for that reply! And as far as the "dew drops", here's a tip for you! Go to the drug store and get a small botle of glycerin, $5 or so and mix it with water, maybe 50-50 to start, don't remember now, it's been years. Start with a small amount and spray that on a flower or leaf, until you get the mixture right. What glycerin does, is hold the water droplets on what ever you spray it on and also, doesn't run off or evaporate as quicly as water and it doesn't harm the plants either!

JC, really nice images! And good info on sensor sizes/image quality,



Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 10:57 AM

Ahhhhh, glycerin, thanks! (The Panama Jack suntan lotion I was trying just wasn't working the way I expected.)


Posted by: Lynn Palmer on 01/19/2013 - 11:03 AM

@Arlene et al If it hasn't already been mentioned, the other big advantage of the little Canon G12 is that it shoots in camera raw.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 11:08 AM

And furthermore,

Here is a soon to be growing list. The newer you are to photography, the more you need to follow the rules. After you have gotten comfortable with photography, then you can decide which "rules" you don't need for the type of photography you are doing. But in the beginning, follow the rules, which will improve your images and technique.

Uncle Richie's Camera Commandments:

1.You can get "professional" results without professional gear, but you cannot get "professional" images if you don't use professional techniques!

(most of the problems I see here on FAA, are all the results of not following simple guidelines, example: use a tripod, instead of bumping up the ISO and opening up the aperture to compensate. "My image id blurry, it's out of focus, it has noise, it's dark, the top is in focus, but the bottom isn't, etc. All can be solved with the use of a tripod.)

2. Use a tripod, but only for those images that you want to turn out good! Any images that are not important, then don't worry about the tripod. (Tongue inserted in Cheek!)

More to come,



Posted by: Lynn Palmer on 01/19/2013 - 11:12 AM


I only edit my images on laptops. I have two 17" models, both with 1600x900 high def screens. Nonetheless, I know the image is not equivalent to the high end Sony monitor I used with my old desktop--color gamut, etc. My question would be that if I buy a good quality stand-alone flat panel monitor, will I see a significant improvement in the image quality and colors when it's connected to my laptop since I won't be able to upgrade my video card?


Posted by: Charles Kozierok on 01/19/2013 - 11:14 AM

Here's a post I made in a similar thread about a week ago, with a new photographer asking for tips.


Here, off the top of my head, and in no particular order, are a few of my key tips for new photographers.

1. Always shoot RAW.
2. Back up anything you want to keep in at least two separate locations.
3. Don't worry about getting the best camera and other gear when starting out. Work on technique.
4. Learn your camera's ins and outs.
5. Practice shooting anything and everything.
6. Experiment. Try things you wouldn't normally shoot. Look for new angles and options. When you're about to shoot something, turn around and look in the other direction too.
7. Take into account what others think of your work, but only to a limited degree.
8. Don't obssess over sharpness. One of my favorite catchlines: "Artists don't pixel-peep".
9. Know all the rules of composition -- and break them regularly.
10. Take advantage of the golden light at sunrise and sunset, but don't let yourself get locked into shooting at only these times.
11. Use a tripod when it is necessary. Don't use it when there's enough light to make it unnecessary, if it will slow you down or impede your creativity.
12. Resist the temptation to overprocess your image with gaudy oversaturation or cheesy effects. These will appeal to you when you're new, and you'll cringe at them later on. Trust me.
13. Don't be afraid to bump up the ISO if necessary. Modern cameras make very clean images even at 4-digit ISOs.
14. When you're ready to spend money on equipment, spend it on good glass first, not bodies. Glass retains its value; bodies depreciate almost as quickly as computers.
15. Get a decent photo editing package and learn how to use it. You don't need full Photoshop to start.
16. Learn how to read and understand histograms. They are THE key tool to checking if you've nailed exposure.

That's all I got right now. :)


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 11:15 AM


My thing is the subject I shoot right now...when I do...(I have got into digital painting and have become an addict of )....

IS FOOD....oops cap lock got hit...anyway I am hungry when I do and hate to go that extra mile...OK OK I know that has to stop

and get down to business if I want to get it better. How about posting a link to those for when I have a little extra money. not sure

when. Mine oar off eBay from years back.... Cowboy Studio....will make due for now. This is my third upgrade and I have stopped here

for now due to funds..but these had cool soft box housing. But I have to take of the cover makes too soft and I want everything tact

sharp one day.


I see those all giving you an email from Dawn. That would make me mad to have cool shots spoiled by noise from camera sensors.

Wait that is me that happens to me all the time. That is why I do not love photography like I did when I had a talking P&S film camera!

Did you return a brand new camera or a use one? And was that a Canon? And Yes I shoot Nikon due to $$ and now that is what

I am use to. As for lens I do not have an investment mostly kits so if I ever changed the 50mm is the only one I would miss. That is

the one lens I use all the time now since doing still life as it is a tad better sharpness wise. But I want to shoot more outside but right

now I hate the mushy soft noise stuff I get...blehck! I want to get closer with a lens ans not have to stand in the middle of a lake with

my 50mm...not a great idea..and not I have never done that. Oh and unless Rich has an issue with it, sensor chat is great to know had

I known that I would never have bought what I did in 2009. An dis very photography related.


We just need to sell a ton more on her to have get a few things we need to have. I am not asking for the moon but would so

love to have a decent camera to shoot the moon with...a whole 'nother photo issue for when I have a better camera.....


Posted by: Charles Kozierok on 01/19/2013 - 11:16 AM

"My question would be that if I buy a good quality stand-alone flat panel monitor, will I see a significant improvement in the image quality and colors when it's connected to my laptop since I won't be able to upgrade my video card?"

Most likely yes. The question is what exactly this buys you... as long as your laptop screen is of at least reasonably good quality and it can be calibrated, you may not need an external.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 11:18 AM

@ Lynn, I have never edited an image that was not done on my laptop. So long as you keep your monitor calibrated I don't think it will improve your image output. It may not look quite as good on a laptop monitor, but you can still do the editing you need to do.


Posted by: Tony Murray on 01/19/2013 - 11:18 AM

Professional video. But not a lot of bells and whistles.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 11:20 AM

Hey Uncle Richie do you recommend to turn off the VR or the Canon equivalent whilst on a tripod....

I have some softness due to handheld camera shake I know....I know I know use a tripod...wa wa wa

I hate getting the thing out ans setting it up! I want the microwave version of photography when the best

many times in the slow cooking of the crock-pot versions...takes time but oh soooo much better....sigh...


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 11:26 AM

I traded a in a used crop sensor for a used full sensor. I got the used crop because I liked it better than ANYTHING that Canon was making new except the 7D which was way out of my budget.

All that said, IF you buy from a reputable dealer, ie, Adorama, B&H or local then you have a good idea of what you are getting as far as wear and tear. Right now, on Adorama, they have a 5D in E- for $550. I would want an E or E+ so you would be looking at ~ 600 and I bought the 50mm f1.8 which is ~ 100. So, IF you ever decide to go that way, the whole thing would be less than 700. (You would likely need a macro for what you do though.)


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 11:28 AM

Andee, ALWAYS turn off the VR for tripod shots or it will induce movement and soften your shots. It is why I don't own VR (or in my case IS) glass. as I shoot everything on a tripod.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 11:30 AM

@ Charles's rules....

I would amend 1 to shoot RAW AND Jpeg.

I know I know, almost the whole pro-tog world loves RAW but I do not. I prefer to work in JPEG but shoot in both for the 1/100 shot where Jpeg doesn't work for me.


Posted by: Andrew Pacheco on 01/19/2013 - 11:30 AM

I've got a question about extension tubes VS. Macro Lenses. Can you get deeper DOF with a macro lens than what you can achieve with extension tubes? I currently use extension tubes and a focusing rail for my macro work, but I'm always longing for deeper depth of field. Would a macro lens satisfy my urge?

Thanks in advance!


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 11:34 AM

Lastly, @ the everything on a tripod post. So, I was shooting the ruins of a Gothic Smallpox hospital along the East River and saw this Coast Guard vessel coming, I did NOT have time to set up the tripod or even get the camera off the tripod so flipped the camera to Vr mode, dialed in f2.8 and shot with the tripod just hanging off the camera. Oh, I also had mirror lockup enabled so had to hit the button twice for each shot. Sometimes, you have to improvise.

Art Prints


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/19/2013 - 11:45 AM

Great list, Charles.

I'm not quite sure what you;re asking, Andee, but a soft box does not make an image unsharp. A softbox makes the light more diffuse and helps get rid of harsh shadows. This was shot with a softbox
Sell Art Online
but hopefully you won;t find it less than tack sharp.
The key to sharpness is the lens and the aperture. Even a fairly poor lens can be very sharp at its optimum aperture. If you shoot at f/2 you will have a very narrow area in focus, if you shoot at f/22 it will all be mushy from diffraction. Stick around f/8 and you'll probably be OK

(that photo's from my blog, btw )


Posted by: Lynn Palmer on 01/19/2013 - 11:51 AM

Thanks JC, I won't be trading in my laptops anytime soon but I was just wondering if I bought an external monitor would I see a discernable difference? My local Best Buy has a 20" HP flat panel monitor on sale for $'s a 5 ms response time; 3,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio; 250 cd/m² brightness; 1920 x 1080 resolution; VGA and DVI-D with HDCP inputs, etc.

Regarding the full size sensor discussion...
I recently traded in my APS-C 1/2 size sensor for a full size sensor and will never go back. The reduced noise levels are well worth the trade up. I also bought used, a Canon 5DM2, and it's working perfectly so far.


Posted by: Roy Erickson on 01/19/2013 - 11:52 AM

Two of my really basic problems with the Nikon are blown out whites - or anything light colored (I'm certain a polarizer would help - and I have one - I just don't use it), and reds - they hardly ever look the red they should be.

Other than that - I use Serif PhotoPlus X2 (they are up to about 5 or 6 now) for my photo processing. I like it - to me it's much simpler to use than PhotoShop - it works with both jpg and RAW. I seldom shoot RAW - I don't like processing that much and use my photo program more for my digital constructions than actually processing photo's. I also use it for adding my signature and © to the image. My other photo processing software is PhotoZoom Pro 2 by Ben Vista (they are also up to 4 or 5 now). I use that program a lot - especially on my digital constructions.


Posted by: Charles Kozierok on 01/19/2013 - 11:53 AM

The most important thing about the monitor is the panel technology, not specs like response time, etc.

For a super cheap price you're going to get a super cheap panel.

You may find this worth a read:,2817,2362048,00.asp


Posted by: Roy Erickson on 01/19/2013 - 11:54 AM,2817,2362048,00.asp,2806,2355089,00.asp


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 11:56 AM


Is that one with your full frame sensor? Lots clearer and cool save of your shot to be so quick. I could never

pull that off with mine. but I do not go out much. Taking a tripod would attract too much attention to me shooting

and I like to not be yeah this big old camera up to my face is not that incognito...I know my good

tripod is too heavy for me to carry around and I am afraid of the cheep one I have falling over with my camera on it.

I have a Bogen and a ball and head attachment and with my camera and the times I need a flash it will slide down

even when I tighten the thing. Not sure if I got a bad one or that is the way that head is.

As for Raw that is good for me as I can not get it right in camera...if you get it right in camera you do not always

need Raw. I do know of one studio pro that only uses jpeg he gets in right in camera and never needs if

you do not need it no use to. But for me...I still need Raw... But I can not stand having the extra files to do both

and since I have hard time tossing stuff..... clutter-bug here...I only use Raw. less room on my smaller SD cards

which is what mine takes.


Posted by: Lynn Palmer on 01/19/2013 - 12:01 PM

@ Roy Hi from a fellow Gator!

I would suggest you reconsider and begin shooting in camera raw. I bet if you do you will be able to pull out the detail in those blown highlights you mentioned. I use Photoshop but Elements and Lightroom also would work. It takes me about 10-20 seconds to open, adjust and save each image if all I'm doing is adjusting for basics like highlight and shadow detail. Adjusting for the reds would be easy too.


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/19/2013 - 12:08 PM

Roy, I use Canon but for a long time I was troubled with the colours, especially reds. I overcame that when I realised that the default style settings mess with saturation, etc. I now shoot in neutral mode and do any saturation/tone adjustments by hand. Maybe Nikon also builds in saturation adjustments to its standard shooting mode.
If your whites are consistently over-exposed then either you are following the advice to "expose to the right" ;) or your camera's exposure meter must be off. The simple solution would be to dial in a third or half of a stop of under-exposure as standard, I would have thought.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 12:08 PM

Just make sure you have a program that you can edit/view those Raw files if you

only use it to start you will will not be able to add them here until you do.

Paul that is a lovely image and the tiny thumb view did not do it justice when you added it to my Food group

the other day. I had to go back and check to see if you added that to my Food group yet and you you

got a feature today in that group after I viewed it today on the full page...very nice. I think the softness I am

talking about with the cover on is the setting is all one big mess from subject to subject when I set

up my lights I need a place to put them to leave them up. Oh well right now I can not.


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/19/2013 - 12:46 PM

@ Rich....Shirley you must be joking? Oh wait you're Larverne..

So then, when I read reviews on full frame bodies and they rave about low light image quality it must really be a huge difference. My Canon T2i even with an L lens, definately has the issues JC described regarding softness and noise. In good or studio light I am happy with my stuff but I have been eyeing the 5D Markii for an upgrade as the prices have dropped bigtime since the Markiii came out.



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 1:17 PM

What is an L lens?


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 1:29 PM

L Glass = Canon's Pro glass designation.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 1:31 PM

Thanks JC! What is the Pro for Nikon do you happen to know?


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 1:32 PM

I don't think they have one. One of the reasons I stuck with Canon is I understand the glass and what is good and what is not. It is not as easy with Nikon, or at least not for me.


Posted by: Loree Johnson on 01/19/2013 - 1:43 PM

Andee, I would consider anything with and aperture of 2.8 or larger to be "pro" in the Nikkor line. (Either that, or just look at the price tag! Pro=$$$$$) LOL

Except, of course, the 50mm, which you already have. I think it's the only affordable "pro" lens Nikon makes.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 1:52 PM

Thanks JC and Loree... Loree you gave me a good laugh with all those dollars signs...I would

have to sell a ton to get one of those. I would love a macro but know those are costly too.

OK Soaking up a lot but will have to refer back or ask more questions later. My head hurts!


Posted by: Fraida Gutovich on 01/19/2013 - 2:20 PM

Hi Rich! Would really appreciate a lens recommendation from a seasoned professional. I have the Nikon D7000 and my passion is large waterfowl and shorebirds. Currently I shoot with the Nikkor 55-300 4.5-5.6 telephoto lens. If I have a budget around $1000-$1200 what would be the next best step up from my current lens? Thanks so much! :)


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 2:22 PM


Looks like no one is going to jump in and I know less than I should. I have a friend that's also a pro photographer and he just bought a $400 +- camera, HD, yada yada and loves it. The next jump would be the $1,000 Canon or Panasonic,Sony Cam's. My brother shoots video with his 5D MKIII and is used in full length feature films, but that's a big bump up$$$
Here's a good place to start:

Hope this helps,

Give me a budget if you need more than this link,



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 2:26 PM


My guess and it's a guess, since I haven't used tubes in 40 years or so, is that a Macro lens will ALWAYS have better DOF than basically a hollow metal tube. Extension tubes are more about getting closer and enlarging the image, 1 to 1, or greater and that means the DOF is going to be sacrificed.

If anyone know differently, please chime in,



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 2:41 PM


Are you trying to get a longer lens or a better lens? A better lens will be beyond your budget that you listed, HOWEVER, what I might suggest is a Nikon Tele-Converter, either a 1.4 or 2x, for about 1/3 of your budget. You'll lose a stop or two, but if you are happy with the quality of your lens now, this might be a good compromise.

I looked at your site and the images are great, so I'm not thinking you're unhappy with your current lens. I take few bird shots, but a have a few and they were all ataken with a 100-400 lens and maybe one even with a 1.4 converter.

Does this help?



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/19/2013 - 2:48 PM

Rich and Fraida, Nikon's teleconverters will only fit a few of their lenses because they project forward into the lens barrel, which would hit the rear glass element in lenses not designed to be used with them. Consider a converter made by someone else, since glass hitting glass is no fun at all.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/19/2013 - 2:57 PM

Wrich, you could be rong about Macro lenses versus extension tubes. While I haven't run comparison tests, I suspect that, coverage-wise, you'll end up with about the same shot. A macro lens will generally give you better depth of field because it can be stopped down further, usually to f32, f45, or perhaps further. Another major difference is that the dedicated macro lens is optically corrected for close shooting, while with tubes, the optics of a more "normal" zoom or prime lens are maximized for 'normal' shooting distances. This means sharper pictures with the macro lens. Macros also usually have a flatter field, which improves how they handle copy work.


Posted by: Colin and Linda McKie on 01/19/2013 - 2:58 PM

Rich and Andrew, in macro, the DOF depends, to a first approximation, on the magnification, so at a given ratio, say 1:1, DOF will be the same at a given aperture whether reached by macro lens or extension tubes. Using tubes may lose sharpness, as lenses are generally computed to work best without extensions. Proper macro (or micro for Nikon users) lenses will always work better for closeup.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 3:02 PM


Didn't know about this and Nikon, good info. But how do you feel about my suggestion of a converter vs a new lens?

Extension tubes, seem the poor stepchild to "real" macro lenses and I'm considering the cost vs value vs results. As I said above, I can't see a hollow metal tube delivering better DOF than a big old hunk of glass can.

Shouldn't you be busy someplace!!!???



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 3:10 PM


Aww Geez! I knew this was going to happen!

I would think the upgrade from an APS-C sensor to a full frame sensor would indeed be worth the investment. You need to go bug JC and see what he thinks, since he posted this a bit earlier.

HOWEVER, maybe an upgrade from your Rebel T2i to the new Rebel T4i/650 would almost be the same as far as a quality bump. Here's the side by side:

Your 2010 sensor is more than just 2 years behind the new T4i sensor and the new camera also shoots great video!

Here's what I would do. Go to Sam's or Costco and buy the new body, maybe $600 or so. Take it home and then shoot the same image, with a tripod from your old camera and the new one and see what Photoshop says. Look for an image that has both highlights and a shadow, shoot both at the same ISO, with the same lens and F-stop and compare. This new camera may be good enough, until the 5D MKIII's go down in cost,

And for the last time, I thought I told you not to call me Shirely!



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/19/2013 - 3:12 PM

Rich, a new lens would be preferable, but the teleconverter, if designed and made well, can do the job. One thing I've learned, however, is that teleconverters ALWAYS degrade the image to some extent. I'd shop where they'll let you try one out for a few days and decide for yourself. One thing to keep in mind is that the converter has to hold the weight of the lens or camera (depending on where your tripod mounts, or where you hold your camera). This means metal only for the lens mounts and converter barrel. No plastic!

I have a set of extension tubes that I almost never use, choosing the 60mm Micro instead. However, tubes can provide entry into the macro world when bucks are lacking. I've seen pretty good images made with them, although I always assume that proper macro glass would do better.

Preparing to go out for lunch at Outback, but this can be fun, too.



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 3:14 PM


Bring me home a "Bloomin' Onion!"



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/19/2013 - 3:17 PM

I wondered how long that would take you, Rich. Good job!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 3:25 PM

Or at least bring us back a photo of one.....Please! lol


Posted by: Andrew Pacheco on 01/19/2013 - 3:25 PM

Thanks for the tubes vs. macro lens info you guys! I just might take the plunge and buy a lens.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 3:27 PM

What about those camera and lens renting places before diving in to buy one you might not like?

Anyone use one of those places to test before buying one? I have wondered about them.


Posted by: Colin and Linda McKie on 01/19/2013 - 3:30 PM

Andrew, if you don't want to spend too much on a macro lens, the Sigma macros in 50mm or 105mm are very good value. We've had two of the 50mm in Pentax and Canon fit, and they work very well, if a bit slow and noisy to autofocus by modern standards.


Posted by: Lynn Palmer on 01/19/2013 - 3:48 PM

I have two lenses...

Canon EF 24-105mmL IS USM
Canon EF 70-200mmL USM f4

The 24-105 is great for a walk-around lens but the 70-200 isn't quite long enough for wildlife shots and with a 4.5' focal length doesn't work as a macro either. I'm not principally a wildlife photographer so if I buy the Canon EF 2x iii extender, it will make the 70-200 work well enough for my occassional wildlife shots, But will it reduce the focal length by half so it also works as a "kinda" macro? $300-400 for the extender is in my budget but $1200-1500 for a new lens isn't.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 3:56 PM

Andrew, One of the best Macro lenses I've ever had was an off brand, Tamron, 90mm F2.5, back when all my gear was Nikon,film cameras. Look at Tokina,Sigma and Tamron and also if you have done this before, eBay, for used lenses. I've sold a ton of stuff for others and know my way around, so if you need some tips, let me know,

Andee, the lens rental places are good, but geared towards professional and by that, I mean, not cheap. As a professional, I could rent a lens and bill the client, so the lens people generally have a 3 day minimum, which can get expensive, plus shipping,etc.

Colin and Linda, right you are! And nice images over at your place,especially the B&W waterfall stuff! I always suggest the longer Macro, so you're not right on top of the subject, like with the 50mm lens would be.

I just gave a talk to a camera club 2 weeks ago, on Macro photography and in one of the PowerPoint slides, I show the focusing distance from the end of the lens to the subject and here it is: 50mm about 6", 100mm about 18" and the 180 Macro was 33" to the subject. Now this becomes important when the subject is alive, like a frog or insect and/or your subject is a small flower or something close to the ground and you end up kneeling in the nice damp mud. With a longer lens, you can always use a tripod or even stand up and get the shot!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 4:06 PM

Rats that sounded like a great idea before spending the money on something that is not what I want. OK....


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 4:06 PM


I just had to be comment 101 to match the tread title...carry...on...


Posted by: Colin and Linda McKie on 01/19/2013 - 4:09 PM

Hi Rich, thanks for the good words.

On macro lens focal lengths, agreed the longer ones tend to be better for natural history work. We use the 50mm for food photography on full frame, and we find that curry and rice doesn't spook easily! It gives more DOF than the longer lenses, which suits our subject matter better, but we use a 90mm tilt-shift, occasionally with extension tubes, for the more inclusive shots.


Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/19/2013 - 4:22 PM

@ Lynn, the G12 does shoot RAW as you mentioned. It was my first exposure to shooting RAW and quite the learning experience. I am not about to put the G12 away though. It has served me quite well while shooting some of my culinary images. The wait staff in the restaurant don't gawk while I shoot away. Many of my images have been published by the Rehoboth Foodie who is a food critique in Delaware.

For the boys....I was told it is better to under expose when using lightroom 4 for post processing. Your thoughts.


Posted by: Lynn Palmer on 01/19/2013 - 4:36 PM

I agree Arlene, I save my G12 for similar low key shooting situations. However I think your culinary gallery should have a safety filter warning against a calorie-rich viewing environment. So many wonderful images of scrumptious food!


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/19/2013 - 4:54 PM

It's a personal thing, but I prefer the shorter macros. Longer ones tend to compress the subject and have a 'look' that I don't really like. The short ones (50-60mm) allow you to get much more intimate with your subject; but as has been noted, they do tend to frighten tiny wildlife, unless you're very stealthy.

As for mud, rocks and other things harmful to knees, I carry a pair of plastic knee pads (designed for carpenters), which helps a lot. They're also great for begging, when the occasion arises.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 5:00 PM


Aren't you spposed to be eating out somewhere!!! I do have the same knee pads ans also a single little cute floral knee pad, which fits in the backpack.

Arlene, before Murray responds, here goes. There is more information in a slightly brighter file than a darker file, just try it out and see for yourself. Take an under-exposed image and one slightly over and just look at the file size.

Now with that said, and I know where you got that LTR4 info, because you sent me the link from Youtube! But if everyone says LTR4 likes a slightly darker image, so be it. But I ain't a changin'!!!



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/19/2013 - 5:42 PM

Rich, you may be right about brighter images making larger files. I've never looked. My only question is where in the visible spectrum that extra data occurs. I haven't a clue, and would love to know so I could exploit it. Barring that, I'm hesitant to simply agree that bigger is better in this case. What sort of percentage increase are we talking about?

Got delayed. Outback still awaits. ;-)


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/19/2013 - 6:27 PM

What is up with LT4 needed something like that......that is nuts!

I have noticed a lighter file is larger and deeper rich colors seem to increase the file size as well.

Murray you should have been there and back by now.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 6:33 PM


My thought on this and I usually don't have many, so I maybe wasting one here now!, but is this, if the shadows have more info/detail, then the noise issue should be less, when asking photoshop to find detail in the shadows, if slightly under-exposed. Also, by experience, seems easier to darken something,especially in Camera RAW, then lighten something later in Photoshop,


I don't smell any onions yet.....


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 6:51 PM

I am the opposite on Murray on the macro. I MUCH prefer the 100mm range to the 50mm. Oh, and the Canon 100mmf2.8 USM macro is not overly pricey as glass goes and the end of the lens doesn't move in and out.


Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/19/2013 - 7:03 PM

Rich, you are right, it was in that Youtube link. I received a complimentary copy of the Lightroom 4 crash course when I purchased the program that suggests the same thing. In viewing it again, it is explained that the data is there with the under exposed image but you can lose it when the image is over exposed. Either way, I am still experimenting......learning the basics. I did look at the lighter file and it is larger, but I feel as though I achieved what I was looking for with the image that was slightly under exposed.

@ Lynn.....I am really enjoying being the tag along photographer on these culinary outings lol. Because of a commitment in New York, I may not be adding to that gallery until spring. :-(


Posted by: Fraida Gutovich on 01/19/2013 - 7:29 PM

Thanks so much for the input Rich and Murray! I think I was looking for a tad faster lens than my 4.5 and have done some research on the Nikkor 18-300 3.5-5.6. If any other members have this lens and care to comment on whether they like this lens I would appreciate it. Perhaps renting the lens from Borrow Lenses would be a safe bet to start! Thanks again!


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/19/2013 - 8:23 PM

Rich, thanks for the side by side comparison but while the low light noise might be slightly improved in the t4i I still didn't feel the full performance of my wide angle L lens would be realized with the still small(improved) sensor. Soooo I just ordered a "like new" 5D markii from B&H and they are taking my "like new" T2i trade-in to make the cost even more reasonable. Is it wednesday (delivery day) yet???



Posted by: Gregory Scott on 01/19/2013 - 9:02 PM

Canon 100mm 2.8 usm is my best lens, and it's perfect for... (drum roll)... hummingbirds!


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/19/2013 - 9:11 PM

SWEET Peter, enjoy!


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 10:30 PM


I really don't worry about the speed of a lens so much, but the performance. You're in LA and there are a ton of camera stores there. Just go in with your body and current lens and ask to borrow the lens you think you want to move up to and go outside and shoot two images, one with your old lens and one with the new. Go home, and see the two images on the monitor and see if the improvement is worth the price! You're done!



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/19/2013 - 10:33 PM


Aww Geez! Again!!! I hate to say this, but great decision! Now of course, you're obligated to show some before and after images!!!



Posted by: Fraida Gutovich on 01/19/2013 - 11:48 PM

Rich.....more good advice!!! Thanks again......going to head to Samy's on Monday! :)


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/20/2013 - 1:29 AM

Fraida, that zoom is slower at the long end (300mm) than whatever you are using with f/4 now.
Trouble is, with long lenses you need a big front element to get a fast f-stop.

Depending what you are shooting, for macro both a reversing ring to join two lenses (one zoom, one a short prime) and a reverse mount ring, possibly with a short tube, represent cheap entry points into the world of macro.

A reverse-mounted prime is reckoned to be sharper for macro work than the same prime with extension tubes, probably because it is has a flatter field of focus that way round, and it also does not suffer from light loss the way you do with tubes.

BTW, I don't agree with the comment about macro-lenses offering a smaller f-stop thus making their results look sharp. At f45 in 35mm nothing is going to be sharp because of diffraction and, in any case, stick 50mm of extension on a 50mm prime that stops down to f/22 and your f/22 becomes and effective f/45 anyway, because the iris is further from the sensor and therefore effectively smaller.

I went into this stuff on a blog I did


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/20/2013 - 9:52 AM


Samy's is good! Also, ask about any used or demo lenses they might have and try them out too.

When I tried out lenses, I would go to my camera store and this was back in the "old film" days and bring my camera body and a Bogen plate for the tripod. Then I would take one of their tripods and a store guy would help and bring a few lenses outside. I could then focus on the building down the street and some signage, for detail. I would shoot each lens, 3 times, wide open, middle and closed down. All of this was on a tripod, because you can't hand hold the camera perfectly for each series of shots and for each lens. Then, I would get the roll of color negative film processed, they had a 1 hour lab inside and could get the roll, just the negatives, since I didn't need any prints and then take the film to their light table and with my good Nikon loupe, see the results!

Now you just need a laptop or tablet!

Good Luck!



Posted by: JC Findley on 01/20/2013 - 10:28 AM

Yupp, my 100mm macro gets extremely soft somewhere between f16 and f32. f32 is virtually useless. f22 is pretty good. f16 and below is tack sharp. I will say, on the other end, it is the ONLY glass I have used that is tack sharp wide open at f2.8. Not all that useful at 1:1 macro but extremely useful for shots like the Coast Guard tugboat I posted above.


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/20/2013 - 11:18 AM

It's not the lens's fault that it gets soft at those apertures, JC, it's the laws of physics. A sensor with less tightly-packed pixels would stay sharp a little higher up the f-scale, but even the best of them hit a theoretical limit at around f/11 and a practical limit a stop or two higher.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/20/2013 - 11:26 AM

That's true guys, there are theoretical reasons that sharpness deteriorates as the aperture narrows; but that's nearly always trumped by the apparent increase in sharpness due to increased depth of field. Which, incidentally, is usually the reason that a small aperture was chosen in the first place.

My 60mm Micro lens' sweet spot is somewhere between f11 and f16, but I'll go way smaller when I have to. Sharpness holds up well enough.

This was shot at f36. Check out the green square:

Sell Art Online


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/20/2013 - 3:34 PM

What kind of spider in this Murray? Any ideas?

All I know is when I take a photo I want the entire think in focus and day I will!


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/20/2013 - 5:12 PM

A tiny brown one, Andee; about a quarter of an inch long. That's all I know.


Posted by: Andrew Pacheco on 01/20/2013 - 5:14 PM

Thanks for the added info about macro lenses everyone! I'm still weighing my options, but all your valuable input will really help.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/20/2013 - 5:51 PM


What ever you decide to get, whether tubes or a Macro, it will be better than having neither! Make what ever you get work, until you feel that the equipment is limiting you in some important way, then upgrade.

Get what's within your budget and go shoot!



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/21/2013 - 6:26 PM

Production Numbers!

Many times photographers feel that they either haven't shot enough images or too many for any given "outing". So here's what I did this past Sunday, 1/20/2013. I was just coming home from the grocery store and drove by Hooters, which I swear I had to do anyway!!!, and saw that the parking lot was full of hot rods, street cars,etc. I got home, unloaded the groceries, grabbed my camera(NO TRIPOD!!!OMG!!!) and drove back. The quality of light was pretty good, bright overcast and I was hoping by shooting at 200 to 400 ISO, I wouldn't miss the tripod and I didn't think I missed any shots because of the lack of my tripod.

Cars were beginning to leave, but there was still quite a few,maybe still 30 or so. I arrived and started shooting at 1:15 and my last image was 1:49. I took a total of 140 images, which included 46 "series" of the same image, but maybe with a different angle. So far, I've gotten 10 good images and there maybe a few more, 3-5.

So out of the 46 series shots, I only used about 10 of those, so far, so the vast majority will never see the light of day! Not quite 10%, but as i mentioned, I will get another few and probably will be at the 10% number. I think I did fine. And this is really from years of shooting events for magazines and such. They usually just want 1-3 images and will usually only use 1 or 2.

Here's the new Gallery and you can see that I converted 2 of the total 12 into B&W:

And here's one of my favorites so far:

Photography Prints

So the bottom line for me and this shoot/event/outing is this, first and foremost, I saw an opportunity to create some images and took it. I ended up with a few new images on my site, and it took less than an hour to accomplish! And I'll end up "throwing out" maybe 120 images( they will live on my hard drive for a while).

My purpose for posting this here was to show production numbers and the resulting images, but also to encourage everyone, to make yourself an assignment, can be less than an hour if you like, but pick up the camera and use it! Even if you just get one image, it's one more than you had and also, it got the "creative juices" flowing!


P.S. By the way, I spent probably 4 hours on Photoshop, fixing stuff on the cars, since they all drove here and weren't pulled out of a nice clean trailer. I also added a slight Photoshop filter effect, "paint daubs", which you can see with the green box.


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/21/2013 - 7:34 PM

"I also added a slight Photoshop filter effect, "paint daubs".....I had to read that twice Rich as I thought you were allergic to PS filters!

I totally agree with shooting as much as you can, after all it's not like you're paying for film. A few months ago I spent the weekend in Chicago and was stoked to shoot such a cool city. As luck would have it, the weather and light was awful and I think I liked only 5 out of the 500 shots I took but I sold one of those 5 shortly after posting it. I have also been burned by trusting that what you see in the LCD screen is correct and I shoot the same things at assorted settings/apertures as continue to learn.



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/21/2013 - 7:48 PM


I did sneeze a few times when applying the filters! I just like the effect with the cars and the paint/chrome on the cars. Selling is GOOD! I would love to spend some time in Chicago!!! Great buildings and parks!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/21/2013 - 7:56 PM

Always wanted to shoot some cars but afraid of being ran off by the owners.

I am not so sure I would want my license plate to be on art for sale tho.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/21/2013 - 8:01 PM

Licence plates can be taken care of in edit. I usually blank out the original and put my name there and owners usually LOVE that you are shooting there care if you ask.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/21/2013 - 8:01 PM

Oh, and for that matter, hand them a card and you probably have a sale.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/21/2013 - 8:25 PM

JC I am a big chicken....And feel awkward to shoot even when I have been asked. But that is

a great idea on the biz cards. I have not seen any cars to shoot since I have been thinking

about wanting to do that tho. Over two years..... Before I saw them a lot. around.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/21/2013 - 8:38 PM

Best way to do it is find a local car show and hope for either overcast or partly cloudy day.

Cars are generally not my thing unless they are rusted out heaps on a deserted farm, but I will pull into a car show if I pass one and am not in a hurry.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/21/2013 - 8:53 PM

We use have one a few streets behind us but I have not seen it for awhile. I think it was in the summer.

I will try to keep my eyes open for it come summer. There was a fast food place that had a car night

but that was several years ago. I need to practice on my own car sometime to get use to what angles

look good.


Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/21/2013 - 9:08 PM

@Peter, your Chicago images are fantastic. I can't wait to go back there. I know so much more now than I did about photography when I was there in 2011. @ Rich, I have a few images of antique cars. There is one I have contemplated putting in my gallery. I just was not sure that it was legal to post the logo. (it happens to be Ford).

I have been reading about HDR photography. My T4i has and HDR mode, but can't you make a faux HDR image using photoshop? In essence, can't I create a merge and get a similar result?


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/21/2013 - 9:15 PM

Arlene, it depends on what you mean by HDR. If you're talking about an image with High Dynamic Range, you need multiple original shots and either HDR software, the HDR feature of Photoshop, or to be really good at merging images manually. However, if you mean creating an image with what many people think of as the "HDR look" from one image, you can use Photoshop's "HDR Toning" feature; but such an image really isn't HDR.

Some cameras, perhaps yours, will shoot an additional image or two and use an algorithm to combine them. It's sort of 'HDR for Dummies' because it doesn't require a whole lot of thought or a real understanding of what's happening.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/21/2013 - 9:21 PM

@ Murray

Murray, some new fangled cameras do HDR in camera by merging multiple images so it is a true HDR. You don't have all that much control over how its done so I think they come out "HDRy" or the "HDR Look" you speak of.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/21/2013 - 9:22 PM

Oops, guess I didn't read your whole post as you said that. Duh on my part.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/21/2013 - 9:24 PM

Not your fault, JC. Apparently, I added the second part after you'd read it, but before you posted.


Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/21/2013 - 9:29 PM

Murray, I am referring to High Dynamic Range. I am still learning my Canon T4i and discovered that when set on the HDR mode I can not shoot RAW. I will probably experiment with it next time I am out on a shoot. I thought it might be interesting to see what I can create with Photoshop and Lightroom 4. I am not too excited about the HDR for dummies part. I prefer to understand what I am doing and have more control over the finished image.

JC...I think mine is a new fangled camera lol.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/21/2013 - 9:32 PM

Looks like a great thread rich. I am still working on my challenge. Lot more thinking than action.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/21/2013 - 9:33 PM

Good luck with your experiments. You might want to also shoot a bracketed series of shots of a couple of the same subjects so that you might eventually be able to compare in-camera HDR with the 'real thing.' I'd love to see the result of that.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/21/2013 - 9:35 PM


I would try what your camera software has to offer and see the results. If this is an important image, I would use the camera's software AND take at least 3-5 images, a few over and a few under and then run them through Photoshop Elements and see which looks the best.

Andee, people at car shows love having people come up and take the photos of their cars, that's why they are there!!!



Posted by: JC Findley on 01/21/2013 - 9:39 PM

It is Arelene.

If you are really wanting to get into HDR, here is a true master and a great tutorial.

While your camera will do it, the reason you have to shoot in JPeg is because the camera will do all the editing for you. Most in camera HDRs are so so unless you like the particular way your camera does it but you give up any and all control over how the image comes out. I actually like the "HDRy" look when it comes to cars but I do not like the look on most other subjects.

I like this HDRy
Photography Prints

I would not be all that happy if this one was quite as grunge though.
Art Prints


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/21/2013 - 9:41 PM

Rich good to know...I am still fearful of the one that wants a cut if I sell one or they have someone that sells

photos or they do for a profit...again I am very shy at that sort of thing. Another reason I did not make it at

portrait work. Fear of people. And my stupid camera! And my forgetful brain :( I know I need to get out there

and get over that. Maybe I will have the chance. And I have been drooling over used gear and hope one day

to day..... wish I could upgrade my fear!


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/21/2013 - 9:42 PM

And your camera WILL bracket RAW Arlene, so that is a good suggestion to try both. You can download the full version f Photomatix for free and try it BTW. It just puts watermarks on the final image. If you like it then you can buy it.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/21/2013 - 9:45 PM your photos. I recently came back from holiday with 300 photos which I couldn't,t wait to download.....seems 80 percent of them did not look half as impressive as they did I,m feeling a little camera flat at the moment


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/21/2013 - 9:48 PM

Thank you for the kind words Maria. FWIW, in the digital age, I shoot an awful lot of images to get a few that are keepers, especially when I am trying something new. (Which are my son's basketball games at the moment, and I shoot 1000 Jpegs and end up keeping 50-100...)


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/21/2013 - 9:54 PM

Does anyone use the histogram around here to get what they want in camera? I see a lot about that how to use the

histogram to help get better shots. As long as you know how to read them that is. Any thoughts? I know too that

if the LCD light it too bright you can get home with some too dark files.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/21/2013 - 10:01 PM

I use the histogram a lot more during post-processing than when shooting. In the camera, I sometimes turn on the blinky overexposure warning and don't worry too much about underexposed areas for reasons I mentioned earlier. I NEVER judge exposure by the LCD image, though. I've learned what the camera is capable of recording in RAW and just shoot accordingly.


Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/21/2013 - 10:02 PM

Murray and Rich, I am creating a list of what I am referring to as assignments. Thus when I get to that important image, I will know what I am doing. I will share the results.

@JC, thanks for the link. I found this one while researching.
It really is very basic.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/21/2013 - 10:05 PM


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/21/2013 - 11:26 PM

Murray why do you use the histograms after or in post instead?


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/22/2013 - 12:13 AM

Andee, I always check the histogram when I'm shooting - it's just routine for me now. There are two things I look out for: first, that the chart is not pushed over to the right and empty on the left (or vice-versa). if it is I adjust the exposure to pull the chart back as wide as it will go without leaving more than the tiniest possible blank space on the extreme left; secondly, for low contrast scenes where everything is bunched together in the middle and there are big gaps on either side, I increase the exposure to shift the cluster of bars across towards the right where more information is recorded.
I hadn't really thought about it, but in both cases this amounts to "expose for the highlights, develop for the shadows".It's also "exposing to the right" but without going as far as over-exposing.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/22/2013 - 12:57 AM

I guess it comes from learning photography with film, before there were camera histograms, Andee. I sort of "see" exposure intuitively and usually determine the center point with the camera meter or a handheld one. While I can tell (with scary accuracy) what the camera's exposure range is, I can't do it with an LCD; this talent requires an optical viewfinder. As I wrote earlier. I sometimes turn on Nikon's overexposure warning which keeps me from blowing out highlights.

In post, histograms are extremely useful when I'm crafting an image, because even my most natural-looking shots are usually highly manipulated.


Posted by: Billy Griffis Jr on 01/22/2013 - 3:13 AM

"and I shoot 1000 Jpegs and end up keeping 50-100..."

Same here. I actually got a better average with film I think, because I had to think about eery shot, every time I tripped the shutter it cost $. Then again with digital I can experiment. I'll take chances and break rules a lot more with digital.

Murray - I almost always set my exposure myself, and like you I can be pretty accurate. I usually start at f8, ISO 200, and set shutter speed by looking at the ambient light. Early AM and overcast conditions, I'll go with ISO 400 or maybe 800, and most of the time I get the exposure very close without using the camera's meter. I've never used a histogram at all, never really thought about it. I guess that's from film cameras before the histogram existed. I can usually see the LCD and have a good idea if lighting changes have affected exposure, and on cloudy days I change it as I go, by watching what's happening to the light. Shutter speed is all that ever changes, except in early morning when it gets light enough to switch from ISO 400 to ISO 200. Then shutter speed usually has to change too...I use the camera's meter to set exposure occasionally, but not often, probably once every week or so.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/22/2013 - 3:53 AM

Paul do you use the histogram over what you see inthecamera viewfinder or on the display screen?


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/22/2013 - 4:05 AM

It's a bit of a mix, Maria. I usually shoot in AV mode outside. First I check the shutter speed to see if it is what I want, if it isn't I adjust the ISO or the aperture accordningly, Then I fire a shot to check the histogram and dial in some over- or under-exposure if needed.

If I'm shooting panoramas, where I want the exposures to be identical, I would then read off the shutter speed and aperture from a correctly exposed shot, switch to manual and put in those values.

In the studio I set the shutter to 1/100 just to be sure I'm synching with the strobes, decide on the aperture and adjust the light output to match (again, using the histogram, because I'm too lazy to work out all the maths from the guide numbers and distances).

Took me a while to remember what it is I do! It's all second nature now.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/22/2013 - 5:09 AM

So there's hope for me then...maybe. I have had somuchhelp and still struggle. Sometimes I think I've got it and sometimes it's like I know nothing and everything I had learned seems undone....I havn't got to the point where infix all, or rather the three main things, aperture, speed,and fstop, before I shoot something, I tend to stumble on the thing first then it's like a race against the clock looking at the menu and fiddling until it looks good on the ev ....Kim find it much more difficult, but sometimes more enjoyable than painting. I can,t give up on it, I,m hooked, but so far to go :(


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/22/2013 - 7:29 AM

Good lord! Of course there's hope! I'd be proud to have your shot of a hoverfly in my gallery. Apart from the focus and DoF I particularly like the way the out-of-focus background works, swirling around the subject.
What you need is constant practice, trying all the time to get the best lighting, composition etc that you can. You'll probably find that your work improves in a series of big leaps with long stagnant periods in between. I think it must be because your subconscious suddenly grasps a key aspect of photography that you hadn't really understood before, so suddenly you can do whatever it is quite naturally. Then you stall until the next big jump. It's worked like that for me and I know the same has happened with a colleague whose rather better than me. When I look at some of the pictures I took five or ten years ago I can't even imagine how I managed to make them so bad, but at the time I was really pleased with them.
Since I've started food-blogging (yes, another puff! I'm now at I've looked at several other food blogs and almost all of them have me wondering how the photos can be so horribly lit and composed, then I pull myself up and tell myself to look at my own discs of food shots from 2004. I wasn't any better back then.
By the way --- I still struggle. It's always a struggle and you'll always look at some other people's work and think "wow! I wish I could do that".


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/22/2013 - 7:33 AM

You will get there Maria. If you practice enough it becomes second nature and really subconscious. I shoot everything except action on manual and while it wasn't this way for me in the start, I don't even think about what I am doing while I do it now. My thumb rolls in the fstop I want and index finger dials in the shutter speed without even consciously thinking about it. It just comes with practice and doing.


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/22/2013 - 7:50 AM

Oh, yeah, I misunderstood, What jc said.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/22/2013 - 7:54 AM

I kind of thought you said the same thing, only more detailed.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/22/2013 - 10:21 AM


Like Paul and JC said above, it's all about getting out there and shooting and then learning from what you did, both good and bad. Remember, I probably will keep 10% of what I shot at the car show BUT that means, 90% will be trashed!!! And on most days, I know what the heck I'm doing! So don't get down, get up and go shoot!!!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/22/2013 - 11:03 AM

Thanks to "All" for the info on histograms what you do/did why, where you have been etc. My memory is so

poor I have to relearn on a regular basis and every now and again I can remember something I thought I had

forgot. Then some times I just say phooey .....and I am re-learning it all over again....once again.


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/22/2013 - 3:56 PM

@Arlene...thanks! I loved Chicago and will revisit it soon. I really want to visit NYC this summer as well.

- Peter


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/22/2013 - 7:14 PM

Thanks guys, it's so supportive and relieving to know everyone's in the same boat, at one time or another no matter how experienced you are, makes me lighten up a bit, I fact just before I ad this I found myself playing around with the disappointed holiday photos, cropping etc, and began to smile and almost whoop! Whoop! To myself, maybe I just had a stale stage, so continue I will, THANKS :)


Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/22/2013 - 8:51 PM

@Peter, my son lives in Chicago. I love the city. As for New York, I am there at least once a month for two or three days but have not had time to go on a shoot with my new camera. I hope to extend my stay this spring and or summer. New York is one big photo op. I was headed to Penn Station last week from Queens. The skyline was totally amazing.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/22/2013 - 8:58 PM

Let me know if you come down this way Peter.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/22/2013 - 8:59 PM

And if you ever DO have time for some shooting Arlene, let me know, would love to meet both of yall.


Posted by: Luke Moore on 01/23/2013 - 5:07 PM

@ Maria ... You always have great artistic vision, just keep plugging along at it. I see your progress and it impresses me. I'm still learning many things myself, most of us are. I've been know to read photo books throughout the last few years :) One that I particularly found helpful and continue to reference for my own learning is "Understanding Exposure" 3rd edition by Bryan Peterson. Lots of examples especially with aperture, etc. It runs about $15-25 US

I can't remember what kind of camera you are using a DSLR or a point and shoot?


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/23/2013 - 9:46 PM

So...has anyone had a waterproof camera and submerged to find out if it worked after.

An old forum buddy has a Olympus camera that he washed with soap and water after

a paintball shoot and it worked fine after. It was really greasy in there and that cleaned it.


Posted by: Roy Erickson on 01/23/2013 - 10:22 PM

Dear Lord God - I would like a camera that can think. Thank you. Amen. My mind is not up to this.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/23/2013 - 11:45 PM

Luke, thanks for the encouragement! I now have a samsung NX11. 18-55 OIS...whatever that is, I know the 18-55 is the lense length, and I have read about IOS but it has now escaped me.
That book sounds like just what I need, I need to cover aperature, speed, f.stops, from every angle until it is imprinted on my brain!!!! I could put my hands on a couple of books I already have, apart from the tons of library books, through which, on reading, I have heard myself saying...ahh! so thats it...but you know still hasn't least not how I need it to click! Its worse than algebraic equations..I just know its not that difficult...I am probably making it seem harder than it is....the thought of picking up one of my books and reading again, which is what I should do, just sends my nerves squirming. and I could be out there practising!
While I was training my new pup to poo outside this morning, i took the camera, aas its a bit of a waiting game....and we are both determined! I shot some flowers, a blue flower which i spent numerous hours shooting last year, and I have to admit I am seeing them differently, and when i look at the old photos of them, which i was in love with....I think is so bad!
i remembered this morning also that bright daylight, 38 degrees here, is not good for photographing in. But I did play around with the numbers on the screen and the light scale, -+, I was annoyed because the histogram wouldn't display and I wanted to have a go at just using it without the other light changing thingies....:)))) I will put a couple of photos up that I have taken over this past week, please feel free to rip right into them...:))

Severely cropped was this image of a myriad of deep dark waters weighting between bollards at Portsea Pier and ferry Crossing. The more I cropped it the deeper it felt.

Sell Art Online

Another one severely cropped. I was really surprised that this one worked as I cut out the shrubs which initially seemed to frame the image well. But i think I wanted to focus on that fine line between land and water, the difference between looking at boats from land and sailing out to sea in them. I like how the reflections are tinged green as though the metal parts are oxidised and even lichened.

Photography Prints


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/24/2013 - 10:23 AM


You are getting better. I like the water and chain, but I might like to see more of the piling and a little space to the left. In the other image, which is also good, my question is : what are you taking a photo of? the weeds or the reflection? I think the weeds and if you used a shallow DOF,the reflection in the water wouldn't be so intrusive to your image. Here are two posts I made the other day about this subject:

"There are many places to learn on the Internet and also Youtube. If you have any questions, that I can help with, let me know, either post here or email. ISO,Aperture and shutter speed are all just tools. If you want everything in your viewfinder "sharp" or more correctly within the DOF, use numbers like F11,16,22 or higher. If you want less DOF, like flower shots, you want the numbers to be smaller, F8,5.6 or 4.0 or lower. So, the higher the f-number, the higher or deeper the DOF will be and conversly, the smaller the f-stop numbers are, the smaller or more shallow the DOF will be. Late at night, when you can't sleep, repeat this and you'll be gone in no time!!!LOL"

"There are a few things you should know and understand and here is a very simplistic lesson:

1.ISO is what used to be the "film speed" but now refers to the amount of light/detail you want in your image. Example ISO 100 is the lowest in most cameras and when used, will have the greatest detail and the least amount of "grain or noise". ISO 3200 would be great for dark places, but you sacrifice quality for the ability to take an image, very noisey/grainey.

2. Shutter speed is the amount of time you want your "shutter" or lens to be open. 1/250 or 1/500 second, will stop most anything, drops of water.etc. 1/2 second means the shutter is open for 1/2 second and should be on a tripod or other solid surface, because just about anything below 1/30 second, and it's almost impossible to hold steady and a long lens makes it worse!

3. Aperture is the size of the hole or openin in your lens. The smaller the number, the larger the hole! F4.0 is "wide open" a large hole and with that you loose almost all the depth of field,(DOF) on the other hand, F22 is a tiny hole and is used when you want everything in the viewfinder to be sharp and in focus, like landscapes,etc.

So Jani's flower was taken with the lens, wide open and produced almost no DOF and that's what I do most of the time, like my image above, very "shallow" DOF.

4. Everything above is related, so if you increase the shutter speed to capture a moving object, you will have to either open the aperture or increase the ISO, and vice versa.

How you doin' on your assignment???



Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/25/2013 - 1:07 AM

Thanks Rich,
I will read it slowly and try and intelligently absorb it, then I will get back to you, the assignment is still in my head, choosing what photos to use, what if anything to do witht hem digitally, a bit of research on the area, and am thinking about speaking to one of the neighbours who has lived here a long time, we havn't. I know our house has has a bit of history though so I could add what i've heard,second hand....i am trying to live up to national geographic...haha..


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/25/2013 - 5:08 AM

I am going to go over and over this useful info, which, I know I know but, I don,t know well enoughh. Then I will set myself a set of questions in quiz form and maybe it will sink in. :))


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 01/25/2013 - 5:34 AM

I haven't been lurking in this thread as much as I should, but here is my main advice for the relatively new photographer. It's based on the Photography 101 course as taught in the early 70s. I never took it, but I helped my girlfriend lug a big view camera and heavy around the city to take photos. So I became a photographer without actually using a camera myself! Being a good photographer is mainly about learning to see. The following method will expand your vision:

Give yourself topics on possible attributes, elements, or subjects of a photograph and try to get as wide a range as possible of as many elements or dimension that you can :
high key
low key
high contrast
low contrast
directional light
harsh light
soft light
wild animal
golden mean
rule of thirds
square crop
slow shutter speed
fast shutter speed
narrow depth of field
wide depth of field
background bokah
black and white
motion blur
lit by one bulb or candle
make a photograph to utilize and feature each every function in the user's manual.
etc, etc, etc.
If you add enough dimensions and subjects and styles and techniques, it will greatly add to your ability to "see".

It's important to frequently start with the "assignment" and then go hunting for what fits, and not just fits, but works well. Of course, you should always take any good shot possible, but with your broader perspective, you will see more of the good shots. In other words, it's not enough to just take photos, and then after the fact, wedge the photo into a category. Start blank, with your photo "assignment", and then go hunting, and use you imagination to visualize a photo in your mind, and seek it out. Or search your environment, looking for the specific attribute you seek. With your vision expanded in many dimensions, you will find that you become better at recognizing a good photo, or creating it, or seeking it out.

Random shooting doesn't help you very much. Thoughtful shooting, deliberate goals, and self critique and analysis of what worked and what didn't will, in this digital age, allow you to learn extremely quickly.


Posted by: Claude Oesterreicher on 01/25/2013 - 9:10 AM

And participate in Gregory Scott's contests, when you can. They're diverse, QUITE informative...and fun. :))


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/25/2013 - 1:51 PM

Thanks for that reminder list (A reminder for me anyway) Rich. You may need to add

that on occasion as the BIG SKIP swallows it up. Shame it was not in the top.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/25/2013 - 3:13 PM


Which list?



Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/25/2013 - 6:58 PM

I think she meant Greg's list Rich! But of course you knew that :)) The list reminded me of how you need to see, and be prepared as a painter. Good reminder though that it is also extensive in photography. I spend so much time with controls, worrying about sharpness or DOF and light that there's no room in my head, or my arms begins to ache, or my back :))) before I snap!
Seriously though, it is an important reminder about looking and to have in mind what you are after before you go. The thing is I might not have anything in mind but strongly want to create and if the camera is the most convenient at the time, then camera it is, I see lots of interesting images through the viewer, but I almost know its kinda time wasting because there will probably be no use for the image. It does make more sense to me to have a little assignment going as you are challenging yourself, forced to see other things/elements, and you are learning...problem is i am not always sensible :))) But its all good stuff and if someone is going out of their way to help then I will take action. Interestingly the assignment that Rich gave me, I took lots of photos of the environment but only half looking, thinking, 'that's an interesting image', but not thinking too much about several of the things on the list, which i should be doing. Then my son's girlfriend was describing a building that she passed on her jog around the neighbourhood, and found out that it used to be an asylum, she said it was really creepy and began to describe it, so I began to think hmm, I could use the building as part of the assignment, and so i am building up a reason why i should, and with the help of the list, will tick off what I will be looking for, instead of just shooting interesting aspects.
Thank you...all.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/26/2013 - 3:14 AM

Rich to answer your questions about photos above, firstly, I am trying to recover the original to show pilings, don't know if i will be bale to though :(( With the grass and reflections, I saw the reflections first, but didn't just want reflections in the shot, I tried a couple of different angles, while Dave was saying, 'hurry up', it must be a pain in the neck to have someone stop every few minutes to take a photo! Then I noticed the grass and wanted the grass to be like a screen from which to see the reflections through. As I said before, I liked the idea of there being a sense of adventure, that is the water and boats, and the sense of safety, on land, being so closely bound, yet so seperate, but the defining line, which would be the bit you can't see where water meets land, so fine. I tried to fade the reflections a bit in PS and highlight the grasses don't know if it worked ( I suppose i will have to go through the rigmarole of putting it on my page to copy on to here!!!! Is there no other way!!!??)

Art Prints


Posted by: John Hoey on 01/26/2013 - 7:31 AM

I am definitely interested in contributing to this discussion. I started shooting way back in the early 80's using a Canon A-1, and then moved uo to what was then their top-of-the line camera, the EOS 630. Although I was late getting into the DSLR game, I have immersed myself into it fully. My subjects do tend to be a itttle eclectic, but macro is my passion, and still-ife, particularly splashes and the like, are my favorite things to shoot. I am a biologist (Ph.D., Molecular/Cellular Biology), and that's the way I earn my living. However, it would be a dream to be able to make a iiving doing photography---hey, we all can dream, right?



Posted by: John Hoey on 01/26/2013 - 7:47 AM

Marie: When I really, really have the need to correct something in a photo which, only for the moment, exceeeds my expertise with Photoshop, I send it over to For about $8, their experts do amazing things with your images. It usually takes


Posted by: John Hoey on 01/26/2013 - 8:04 AM

Maria: It usually takes them less than 24 hrs to complete a Project and return the pic (electronically) to you.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/26/2013 - 9:42 AM

The one posted from this date and time. Right now you can see it.

..........Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/24/2013 - 10:23 AM...............


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/26/2013 - 11:11 AM


When I think of a screen, which you are using the grass to be, I think of focusing out past the screen, not on it and also on the object outside, human eye can't do that, we don't have that Depth of Field! So that's why I suggested either the image is about the grass or the reflection, but can't be both! If the reflection was more simple, like a tree or something, maybe this would work, but it's too complicated and too much detail. Tell Dave, congrats! He's now a member of Photographers Widows of the World! PWW!!!

John,welcome! Here's my group which you might enjoy:

Andee, OH THAT LIST!!! Good list and I'll try and repost it every once and a while,



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/26/2013 - 11:32 AM

Thanks Rich!


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/26/2013 - 11:34 AM

Uncle Rich, I shot this before sunrise so it wouldn't be too bright and used a reallllly high fstop and got a nice long shutter speed but I still couldn't get the waterfall to silk out like I wanted. Should I try an ND filter next time?

Art Prints


Posted by: John Hoey on 01/26/2013 - 11:46 AM

What was your f-stop on this one?


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/26/2013 - 11:51 AM

JC I bet you are hog heaven with all that snow! :)


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/26/2013 - 11:54 AM

Like, f a million or something....

In all seriousness, probably f16.

You would think Arlene, but we only got a dusting here.


Posted by: John Hoey on 01/26/2013 - 11:59 AM

What exactly are you trying to do with the waterfall?


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/26/2013 - 12:01 PM

Sorry John, I was just playing around. (trying to be humorous, and obviously failing.)


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/26/2013 - 12:22 PM


On this shot a slower shutter speed would really have helped, maybe something that captures the moving water better, maybe like the January to April long shutter speed, March might work but who knows with the weather the way it is now,

Hope this helps.......



Posted by: John Hoey on 01/26/2013 - 12:28 PM

Yes, a slower shutter speed would've been my suggestion too.
If it's too bright outside, the ND filter would've helped as well.
What was your ISO?


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/26/2013 - 12:30 PM

JC I thought you were getting tons. Well there is still some winter left! Happy snow thoughts for you! :)


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/26/2013 - 2:43 PM

Speaking of ND filters and the ability to silk water falls, smooth/steam the surf and keeping all the pesky people out of your shots, here are some interesting facts.

• .3 (2X) Reduces the light one f-stop.

• .6 (4X) Reduces the light two f-stops.

• .9 (8X) Reduces the light three f-stops.

• 1.8 (64X) Reduces the light six f-stops

• 3.0 (ten f-stops) & 4.0 (seventeen f-stops) are for astronomical and sun studies.

The 64x is next on my buy list and should be fun when combined with 50 ISO even in full sunlight.


Posted by: Loree Johnson on 01/26/2013 - 3:05 PM

@ JC-

This was taken with a 64x ND filter and a 10 sec. exposure:
Art Prints

And this one with a 64x and a 4 sec. exposure:
Sell Art Online


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/26/2013 - 3:32 PM

You can cheat a bit with a polarising filter, which costs you a stop or so, and you can cheat a bit more with two polarising filters stacked, which should enable you to lose three or four stops of light.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/26/2013 - 4:27 PM


I've shot with the 3.0/10 stops and never even got close to all the way. The 1.8 should be more than enough.

Loree, nice stuff!


Right you are, but I would hesitate to put too much glass/filters in fron of the lens. The high quality ND seem to be the way to go.

If anyone is going to get these types of filters, always,always get the best filter/glass you can. Doens't make sense to put a $20 filter on a $1,500 lens!



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/26/2013 - 4:32 PM

Rich makes a good point. Any glass at all in front of the lens will degrade the image. Some is unavoidable like the ND to slow the shutter down. Your pictures will be sharper without a filter. I always take off my protective haze filter when I shoot (I keep one on each lens), but in truth, the lens hood will protect the front element well enough.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/26/2013 - 5:56 PM

I never stack filters for the reasons stated. I have a polarizing filter but it is no where close to what a good ND will do for ya though they do cut out some light.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/26/2013 - 6:31 PM

I apologise Rich, I didn't see that as a list, thanks for pointing it out Andee, very valuable info which I printed out for reference as soon as it went up..
Rich, I see what you mean and of course you're right, when I took the photo I wasn't thinking about what had to be the focus as in DOF, my main concern at the time was framing, having the grass the screen, and keeping the reflections included, but not reducing its focus, Dave was hungry and we were on our way to the Mariner cafe for lunch :))) I think he likes to be the focus sometimes too Hee hee!
John. I don't want to send my images off for someone else to fix, I want to be able to do it myself. But, good to know, though I don't think I'll ever be in a position where I need that kind of support...though you never know, so I will store that info away, for the time being. Anyway welcome to the discussion, we beginners need all the help we can get :))


Posted by: Loree Johnson on 01/26/2013 - 6:51 PM

Thanks Rich. I love my ND filters.

For those who want to get more out of Photoshop, I think the best thing I ever did was take a class at my local community college. Inexpensive and very informative. Also, Adobe puts out textbooks called "Classroom in a Book," which the class mostly followed, so if you can't do a class, I highly recommend the book.


Posted by: Heather Ward on 01/27/2013 - 12:11 AM

What a great thread. I am looking into a new camera myself. I'd like to do some wildlife photography as well as shooting my own drawings with a bit higher resolution than I have now. Any thoughts on the Canon Rebel? Also wondering what would be the specs for a good telephoto lens for wildlife photography. My current 10x zoom isn't enough.


Posted by: Heidi Smith on 01/27/2013 - 12:37 AM

Art Prints

I shot this with a ND at 20 sec exposure noon time. Love my filters! :)


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/27/2013 - 8:43 AM

On the topic of crossed polarisers, here is an interesting set of shots at various extinction strengths - it's a bit more complicated than I thought, as it requires a linear polariser with a circular polariser, but the guy manages to cut the light by nine stops (exposure going from 1/320s to 2seconds) before encountering a colour cast that is too extreme.

I think people will be surprised by this:


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/27/2013 - 10:10 AM

Heather, the first thing you will have to get used to doing is thinking in terms of mm zoom v the 10x,20x,30x thing. When I went from a point and shot to a dslr figuring out what "zoom" I was using was one of the more confusing things. The amount of zoom you will get per mm length will also vary if you are using a full frame sensor or a crop sensor. The Rebels are 1.6 crop sensor camera. What that means is a 100mm lens is a 160mm lens for all intents and purposes, 200mm becomes 320mm etc etc.

OK, what in the world does all that mean to you? It depends on what kind of wildlife you will be shooting. Songbirds, you will likely need 300mm or more. Dragonflies? 100mm macro. Charging grizzly bears? really REALLY long glass! The Rebels in general are good solid entry level DSLRs, something that will give you good reach, reasonably solid images and an "entry level" price would be something along the lines of this,, or , neither is cheap but both are pretty inexpensive as long glass goes.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 10:21 AM

Good glass is so costly. One day I hope to add some to my 'one' good glass collection. I wonder why the glass is

so much it because folks can use it for longer time? And they want to get all they can for it. Esp since

folks will update their camera whenever there is a new one....(for those with the budget that is) Or is there really

a good explanation for it. I often wonder cause I feel the camera company's have many in a vice on their price

anyway. Sure they have a right to charge what they want just like we do but still hurts when you want something

and can not afford what you need/want to get the best image you can for business use. Oh well........................


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/27/2013 - 10:31 AM

I don't know if they are gouging us over the price of glass but you do have to take account of the fact that it is high-precision and has an awful lot of electronics and mechanics built into it, with all the associated design costs. It is not just the glass you are paying for. Also, while the market for cameras is huge, particularly the entry-level DSLRs, far fewer people are willing to splash out on special lenses. Most probably make do with the kit lens that came with the camera and maybe a slow 75-300mm zoom to extend the range. So they will be producing a limited number of the high-end lenses.


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/27/2013 - 10:39 AM

Just my thoughts...

Andee there are lots of reasons why good glass is expensive and I'm sure the old film pros will tell you they have always been that way. The materials,glass and craftsmanship is far superior and they do last if well cared for. Also, consider if your own work improves and you sell more, the glass
is a worthwhile investment. In my own case, early on I sold almost exclusively my digital artwork, but since upgrading my equipment (and improving my skills) my photography sales are equal to the art sales now.



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 11:02 AM


Rebel is a good choice and you can get a "kit", body and lenses at Sam's or Costco,etc., for under $1000 Any good lens that you would need for "wildlife" will cost as much as that or more,depending on the quality of the lens. So I would suggest the Canon Rebel, T3i or newer T4i to start with and this set-up will be more than enough to improve your copy work(shoot RAW when you copy your art) and will allow you to capture some wildlife images. Then you can begin to acquire the lenses you need, down the road,

Heidi, nice shot! I never even think about using a ND filter, other than in the woods someplace with water!!!

Paul, good info.

Andee, good lenses are a major investment, no doubt. And not for everyone, especially if you're just starting out with a DSLR. It's more important to learn your camera and system and then make decsions about buying or upgrading to new lenses.

I think I'll start a new post about lenses and equipment right now!



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 11:38 AM

Lenses/equipment/stuff I need to take great photos!

Many times on this forum, we'll hear discussions about "glass", "sensors" gear stuff, we don't have and it may be confusing,especially if you are starting out on your long photography trip through life. Nice big fat expensive lenses are fun to have, BUT NOT FOR EVERYONE! Let me explain here a little. If you are starting out with your first DSLR and really just learning that "system", you don't need the best lenses available, because you may not be using the camera correctly and that trumps the glass. You may not be using professional practices,(tripods), ratio of the length of the lens to the shutter speed,etc. and that will trump the glass. You may not be creating great images yet and that certainly trumps the glass and expense.

1. You have just bought your first DSLR,something like the Rebel or the Nikon version. You are on a tight budget, you don't need "L" glass lenses.
2. You are a "hobbyist" and shoot once a month and still don't know what all the buttons are for on your camera, you don't need expensive glass.
3. You have been shooting for years and all your friends say you take great pictures, but you haven't ever sold one yet, " " " " ".
4. " " " " " " but you still are using "free software" to edit and adjust your images, mostly flowers,kids,cats, Y D N E G!
5. You hate carrying around a "camera bag" and like the 1 lens that came with the camera, Y D N E G!
6. You don't own a tripod and don't think it's necessary, Y D N E G!

And there are more scenarios that I could come up with, but I won't.

There are many "professionals" here, who earn their income from creating images for clients or for their art, which they sell and sometimes, in the discussions about lenses, the impression that is given, is that there is only one way to capture great images and that's with great gear, which I say "baloney maroney"!!! Also, we have a few Gear heads here that are really almost scientists, with their vast knowledge of all things photographic and they will debate and discuss, for hours, subtle,tiny differences from one lens to another, one F-stop to another F-stop and actually, I learn a lot, but my point here is that while the information is good, good in a lab setting, it doesn't mean it always works in the field.

That's like car guys debating the chemical compounds used in creating rubber tires, which is the best, which is the softest,which is best when wet. Important if you make your living manufacturing tires, but if all you do is drive around town on them and once and a while replace them, then the information doesn't apply to you or affect you.

Same thing about lenses,etc. Spending money, you may not have won't make you a better photographer, if you don't do things in a professional way with that gear. And conversely, you can create great images with less than professional gear, I know, I have!!! And I've seen examples here.

So yes, there are people here that should have the best equipment money can buy, becasue at their levels, it's a tool and a needed tool, but for the vast majority, not needed.

If you can afford it, then go for it, but if you can't, don't let it hold you back, or worse, keep you from shooting!

My fingers hurt!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 12:40 PM

Paul and Peter thanks for your responses. So true. I just really want some better gear (Sorry me saying that gets old I really do.)

But I did not think about the extra that goes into it as you said. And in my short film days of the SRL I had a crummy lens then too.

I just got glasses and there is a big difference in price their too. Will have to wait on the better glass for now.

Rich what can I say? lol Thanks for the Chapter on good glass. It took me a bit to figure your abbreviation but I finally did... :)


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 1:00 PM


Y A W!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 1:13 PM

What I need is a hands on year long one on one (or a small group) teaching experiences doing

nothing but learning hands on taking photos to get my thick brain to get it. That would be nice.

It would take me that long of using the right settings at the right time to get it and have it stick.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 1:15 PM


Day 1: what one thing would you like to learn fully today?


Remember, there are no dumb questions, but in my case, dumb answers!!!!!!


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 1:22 PM

How to make a time machine and go back in time....ask the art teacher if I could borrow a school camera...

which I found out too late I could have when I was told we had to have one of our own...then learn when

my brain was a tiny bit better.....................OK having said that I am a hands on, visual learner. I can pick

up a thing or two but I do best at learning in person when I can see it. Or one thing I found that there is

a live class called creativeLIVE and when they have something I can watch and learn. They have been

sidetracked lately getting in to things other that photography.......Anyway not sure what one thing I would

like to learn that I could grasp in one day..................I will give it some thought and be back.....................


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 1:43 PM


Let's start with something simple: The relationship of the length of the lens and the shutter speed required to maintain a sharp and movement free image?

Easy Peasey!



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 1:52 PM

Even that's no longer simple, Rich. It used to be that you chose a shutter speed that was the inverse of the lens' focal length. If the focal length was 125mm, you chose 1/125 as the slowest shutter speed that you could use without courting the blur monster. It was a pretty good 'rule,' too. Now that's complicated by Image Stabilization, Vibration Reduction, what have you. With that same 125mm lens setting on your multipurpose zoom, you now can shoot as slow as 1/30, after adjusting for crop factor and 'effective' focal length.

As you say, it's still relatively easy peasy.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 2:02 PM

Hey, where's my onion!!!



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 2:03 PM

They had better appetizers, but going back this afternoon; so you never know.



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 2:06 PM

OK I am willing to try that. Right now I am using a 50mm lens on my Nikon D90...

I like everything tact sharp or as close to it as I can get. I shoot more indoors right now and use my Speed light

and one or two studio strobe made by Cowboy Studio. I know nothing about changing the setting on my flash I

have the SB 600 the cheaper Nikon flash. Oh not sure about the easy peasy part...listening to you and Murray!


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 2:14 PM

To keep your images sharpest with that lens, stay above 1/80 second, hopefully higher. But as far as sharpness is concerned, you're already doing the best thing, using flash. The effective shutter speed is infinitesimally short, and the abundance of light will allow you to use middle or small f-stops. Best of both worlds most of the time.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 2:28 PM

I have been using 125 with 11 to 16. Mostly 11 as 16 is too dark. But when I do that it has been food shots. I am

sick of soft spots on my food so I have to shoot more over head which limits the angles and options of creativity.

I want all sharp no matter if I am side shooting or over head. But I am sure camera shake may be an issue over use or tripod as I am in a hurry to get it done before my back hurts too bad...dratted back! An now I have

bad shoulders too. Sniff sniff. I am too worn out! But I am not giving up!....YET.....


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 2:36 PM

Shooting food with a fixed-lens camera is always problematic, and you have to use depth of field creatively. A view camera, with its swings and tilts, allows you to lay the plane of focus across the plate, so everything important is in focus. There are also a few lenses (high-dollar) for smaller cameras that will do a similar job. It's an example of using the right tool for the job.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 2:37 PM


So what I was going to say before "somebody" interrupted me was this. On lenses without IS or VR, image stabilization or vibration reduction, you need to shoot the shutter speed, equal to the length of the lens. So as "somebody" pointed out, a 125mm lens should be shot at 1/125 of a second, if it's hand held. A lot depends on the hand too! Conversely, a 30mm lens should be shot at 1/30 or so, to keep any movement from showing up in the image. This is just a generalism and can be used when out in the field and shooting,whether you need a tripod(always) or can hand hold the camera/lens. If you're shooting birds or wildlife, say a 300mm 0r a 400mm lens, then your shutter speed should be around 1/500 to insure sharp images.

Now with that said, I have a few images here that I shot with a 600mm F4 lens, hand held @ 1/60 of a second, but more than a few of those were way to blurry, the lens weighed in at around 17 lbs I think!

Hurry, while Murray is out eating, did you have a question about studio lighting?



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 2:53 PM

As for sharpness, here's an example of when things go right. Shot on film:

Photography Prints

Sell Art Online


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 3:07 PM

I was not quick are both helpful! Thanks.

I did not think about that fact that my 50 was not a VR lens. So all fixed lens are non VR for Nikon or IS for Canon?

I could never hand hold at 50 and get as sharp as I could with 125. I am not very good or patient with using tripod.

I have a ball and head attachment and it is not that great to use with my flash on top as it still slides forward even

tho I have tightened it down. But the angle thing is more the problem. What I need is one of those fixed things used

for portrait work on a big pole that slide up and down and it on big rollers...OK I need a OK back to what I

need to do with what I have and the small space I have to work it in.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 3:13 PM

I haven't checked the lineups, but would guess that most prime lenses are not VR/IS.

That's why I use a three-axis head. Ball heads have never made much sense to me, although I own two of them. They collect dust most of the time. 'Standard' heads just have many more advantages, in my opinion.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 3:23 PM

I do have questions about studio lights but mine are not really pro grade...not

sure what watts they are either just looked and they do not say on the side.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 3:27 PM

These are bulbs of flash heads?


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 3:27 PM

Do you have any pix of those to see what you mean Murray? I am sure I paid a ton when I bought it but I pretty

much hate it and the tripod as I keep pinching my fingers on it. I would rather have one like portrait pro Sandy

Puce has. It is very fast in it's slide & locks in place, she also ways it is very light very good for hauling with you.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 3:28 PM

Murray let me see if I can find in the old email with what I have on the Studio light.

They have a big cylinder shape to he housing and a thin narrow bulb. I have had

them 3 to 5 years....


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 3:29 PM


It seems from your images that you have posted, that the quantity of light isn't an issue. So what's your question about studio lighting?


but Andee hurry
before Murray
sends a flurry of images, not blurry!!!


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 3:30 PM

I want to learn to use them so I do not have so much PP

after wards...was I fast enough? Typos.... I am sure


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/27/2013 - 3:49 PM

Just to complicate things a bit .... the shutter speed to get a sharp photo (as in pixel-peeping sharp) now depends on the number of megapixels in your sensor as well as the focal length of the lens.

The more megapixels, the bigger the magnification when you look at the "actual pixels" view, so the more you will notice any slight camera shake (or motion blur, come to that).

That means that if you are going to stick to the 10x8 size print that was a pretty standard "big" size in the film days, then setting the shutter speed no slower than the focal length should work fine, but if you are going to try for the largest possible print sizes then you may need to be more stringent in your choice of shutter speed.

Of course, these rules are only for hand-holding, not for tripod work.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 4:03 PM

I still can not find what bulb size they are. I bought them off eBay (2008 yikes longer ago than I thought)

I think they stopped making them or they were only made for when they were on eBay

But I can never figure the best placement for my food shots. But they are rectangle soft boxes.

And is it best to have the box vertical or horizontal when shooting a plate of food or does it matter. Does

close or farther away make more light. I hear more concentrated one way but it does not make sense'

I think it is this set only an older model. The lights and soft boxes. I got mine for 120.00 in 2008


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 4:04 PM

Paul that is the reason one day I want a camera with a larger sensor but I have to wait..... :(


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 4:12 PM

Andee, here's one of my ball heads, shot just for you. It's a squeeze-grip type by Manfrotto. Rich knows how I like to use visual aids:

Sell Art Online

Art Prints


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/27/2013 - 4:12 PM

Can you adjust the output or do you have to work with what you've got?
If you can't adjust the output than I think the only way you can balance them is by moving them closer or further away from the subject.


Posted by: DANCE with NATURE on 01/27/2013 - 4:20 PM

As a photographer 30 plus years
I highly recommend Nikon camera

I own several bodies
And if someone is tied on budget $500 dollars
Visit and talk to DAN ORCHARD

Many of my friends were send there and never had any problems
If budget is tied get good used camera

I recommend D300 for sure happy to say I own that camera and it is best of low end cameras

Also depend what one wants to shoot wildlife or scenery

Hope it helps


Posted by: DANCE with NATURE on 01/27/2013 - 4:20 PM

Wimberly head is awesome


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 4:36 PM

Thanks guys! Much appreciated!

Murray mine is the same brand but not like that. it is a ball and socket vertical grip. I think that is why it is tipsy

with camera and flash. Hard to stop at one point it just keeps tipping and for what I paid at the time it should work

better I think even tho I forget how much. It has bubble level thingy although they may all have that...unless that

is my cheep video one I am thinking about that has that. I will use sometimes as it has the long panning handle

I like but would still like to tip the thing from time to time with my table shots..


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 4:57 PM

MIne has a friction adjustment to prevent tipping. Does yours?


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/27/2013 - 4:59 PM

The wimberley head is amazing but it's for the sort of massive lenses that nature pros use.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 5:39 PM


Almost all studio lights have a way to adjust the power,usually a slider on the back somewhere. On your link of the lights, it looks like the knob on the back is the adjustment. Horizontal or vertical really doesn't make a difference, the how close the box is, does. I used to have my light source right outside of camera/viewfinder. The soft box would actually rest on the table top! This helps two ways, it allows the power to be lowered, so it pops faster and also helps with using a single light source and just bounce light back in. I don't like the light to be seen as "Omni directional", I like a shadow to help define the object being photographed.

Is your head the kind that looks like a pistol grip? If so, you need to adjust it, it should be rock solid.

Try shooting with only one light and a bounce on the other side. Then take away the bounce and see if you like the effect. THEN take a piece of black foamcore or cloth and use that as a "negative bounce" and see the effect, you might like it!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 7:06 PM

OK here are some quick pix of the gear in question. I can not even get the top off of the tripod par but it will not

tighten down enough to keep the camera with a flash on. It has always been like that. I think I got it in 2005 or 7

I password protected it to keep it from showing up in my feed somewhere. the password is popcorn. But you

can see the back and inside of my studio lamp

popcorn is the pass word


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 7:24 PM


It's a good head, something is wrong. You need to tighten something. I've had huge lenses on that and not a prroblem,



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 7:29 PM

Andee, if the bottom of the grip attaches to the tripod and the top to the camera, you're spacing the camera way above the tripod. This will give the weight of the lens, flash, etc. a lot of leverage, which can cause tipping. Might even pull the tripod over with a long lens. That's why I chose the horizontal grip, although I hardly ever use it.

Is yours a complete head, or a ball head adapter?

EDIT: I just saw your pictures. It's a head, although if the ball is too small for your gear, there may not be enough friction to keep it stable, especially with a long lens. The zoom in my pictures weighs a ton, but the ball will still support the combined weight of the lens and camera (also not light) without tipping. Have you tried tightening the adjustment wheel?


Posted by: DANCE with NATURE on 01/27/2013 - 7:39 PM

Paul, yes I use wimberly for wildlife nikon 600 mm
I also like for my 300 mm gives me that flexibility and don't have to fight ball head


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 7:43 PM

Rich it was not cheep that I do know, but it has never be really tight even tho I use to be able to tighten it a little more.

Murray this is a ball that is why it slides. That thing is greased. But the one thing is I can not take it off the tripod now.

The thing will not budge. I do nto want to scar it up with some wrong tool trying to get it off but it is a pain. So bummed


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 7:45 PM

Depending on what the lower power switch position is for, you may have a Hi/Lo type flash adjustment, although variable is a lot better.

Also, it looks like the flash tube and modeling light are pretty well sunken into their tiny reflector, which may not provide very soft light when used with a large reflector or umbrella. What has your experience been?


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 7:46 PM

Loosen the three set screws on the underside of the tripod's mounting flange.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 8:01 PM

Murray One of those little rascals was almost all the way out. But I ended up taking the

all three out and the thing will not budge! I am about ready to toss it out the front door!


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/27/2013 - 8:04 PM

The trick, then, is in geting enough leverage to turn something round. If you have a big-jawed pliers, you can put tape on the teeth and tape around the grip's flange. Then, if you squeeze hard, you should be able to get enough leverage without causing damage.

If that fails, try running over it 7-9 times with a large truck.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/27/2013 - 8:35 PM

Billy, some of your points were so simply put that I was actually making sense of them and copied them down onto ereader text...great for note taking and on the go reading.
I took some photos for my assignment yesterday at different f stops. And noticed the light was the big difference and of course depth of field, but there still wasn't that bluriness that I was expecting,and wanted, at my longest length of 50mm. I now know that a lower shutter speed may help with that. My exercise for today, experimenting with shutter speed, think thats how I'm going to have to learn. Oh! and it actually clicked today (thanks Billy) that the shutter speed should be equal to or faster than focal offence to anyone else, you've probably all said it a million times, its just that focal length has only recently sunk in..:((
In combination with Rich's list I should go well!!!!


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 8:56 PM


Your ball head/pistol grip should be more than enough for your set-up:

You just need to find out what is loose or slipping.Put your camera and your heaviest lens on it and see what moves, the tripod or the head. If the head isn't attached right, like Murray says, with all three set screws tightened down, you will have some movement. You will need a small flat head screw driver to tighten the 3 set screws under the silver/grey ring that the head get's attached to. If those 3 set screws aren't tight, tehn that's your problem,



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 9:28 PM

Rich it is the ball part where there is moment. I can move it without squeezing the trigger part without much force

at all. It is when my speed-light it on that it slides forward all at once. My hand hurts so I am going to have to call.

it a day or I will not be able to drive at work tomorrow. Thanks for all the helped guys. I never recall ever having to

take out those 3 little screws. I only have to twist it on the middle one that stand up. So not sure why it will not come

off. Should it go left to loosen and right to tighten onto the tripod or is is the opposite? It will not budge either way tho.

Murray I am about at the run over it part!


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/27/2013 - 9:42 PM


You can run over your tripod if you like, just have Murray replace it, it was his suggestion,after all!

Here's mine:

1.Turn the tripod upside down
2. Extend the middle shaft down towards the floor
3. See the round silver plate and then see the 3 small set screws
4. Find a small flat head screw driver and tighten the 3 screws
5. Turn the tripod upright and get on with your life!

These small set screws are what holds the ball head tightly to the tripod and if they are loose, then any weight on the ball head will cause the head to move.




Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/27/2013 - 10:15 PM

Rich I took them out ..(all 3 and as it was one was falling out which I did not know) and put them back and no

difference in the ball slipping. I was just trying to get the tripod mount off of the tripod itself and never had trouble

with that in the past but it is stuck on. I would never run over it. That might tear up a tire...can not afford that. I

like the idea of send Murray the bill. I forget how all this got started. I was not even concerned with it until all the

talk in using a tripod to shoot with....hum... whose idea was it to use a tripod? Oh It will be OK I use to put

it in the box it came in until I ended up getting a bag then it was tall enough to leave the thing attached...I see

now a big mistake!I only used it few times so it never stayed on the tripod. I guess it just glued itself on there

staying that way.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/27/2013 - 10:29 PM

Sell Art Online

Rich this was one I was considering for the front cover. But, to me there's not real depth/perspective. Again i was focusing on composition and have no doubt not considered many other things. I'm sure you'll tell me what they are to improve it.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 2:03 AM

Maria, I'm not Rich, but one immediate improvement (in my opinion) would be to crop that gray thing out of the bottom. The picture doesn't need, and it's much stronger without it.


Posted by: Hakai Matsu on 01/28/2013 - 2:37 AM

Andee, i own the same joystick head too, unfortunately it's not that dependable anymore because of the slipping, i used to be able to tighten it with L-Hex key (somewhere at the base after the grip), but overtime it's slipped over again. partly because i use too heavy camera config (7D / D300 - with 85TS lens). i use adjustable big ball head now but even that is not helping for precise shooting. large 3 axis head work best!


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 3:44 AM


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 3:53 AM


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 3:53 AM

Here's a tripod I've been using for over forty years, an old Husky Quickset. It's a three axis type, and I particularly like the crank on the elevator column. You don't see those much, anymore. Notice the difference in condition between the tripod and newer camera. Old is good.

Sell Art Online


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/28/2013 - 4:16 AM

Hi Murray,
I thought that it might need cropping but wouldn't that take away the v in the tree, I didn't want to shoot without the hut because of maybe taking too much away from the rest of the tree and the composition. The more I look at it the better I like it and can actually see that the background does fade nicely but I would have liked more detail of the tree bark. Anyhow, I will try the cropping and see what happens. Thanks.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 4:29 AM

Just scroll it to the bottom of your window and crop it there; or move the window past the bottom of your screen. :-)


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/28/2013 - 5:10 AM

Interesting point about the tripod crank, Murray. I wonder why they stopped making them. I picked up a small, cheap but rather good one with a crank and tubular steel legs a few years ago. It's much more controlled than heaving a column with a camera on it up and down by hand. It's also indispensible for doing macros with a TLR because two full turns of the crank lifts the taking lens into exactly the position the viewing lens was in (2.5cm per turn).

Oh ... they are still making them


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/28/2013 - 5:44 AM

Of course Murray, now why didn't,t I think of that?? I may also try cloning the tin roof with greenery and see which works best.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 6:06 AM

Yeah, Paul, that's it - control; and it's so much easier to use. Interesting about the TLR


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 6:38 AM

Yeah, try the cloning. Actually, the V distracts me. It pulls my eyes downward, away from an interesting progression from the foreground to the hills. The tree seems to work better as a framing device.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/28/2013 - 10:50 AM


If you took out the three set screws and then put them back in and really tightened down on them, then it's the head. That head was really designed for action/sports or nature/animals, not studio stuff. If you cant' find anything that looks like it's loose, then you should just give up on that head. For shooting indoors,/studio work, the head that Murray used to photograph Washington as he crossed the Delaware is "mo betta!"

I have one, an old(not as old as Murray's, thank god!) and it has three handles. It's more than you need but you'll get the idea, it's a Bogen 3047 head.

Here's a cheaper version:



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/28/2013 - 10:53 AM


Nice image, but won't work for your "assignment" could be anywhere! Certainly not for the cover shot!

Your editor,

Mr. Franco!


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/28/2013 - 10:55 AM


I've seen boat anchors in better shape than that tripod head!!!

I'm calling the Tripod Police!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/28/2013 - 11:06 AM

Hakai thanks for backing up my issues by having the same...Sad thing is mine has

not been used much..maybe 5 times or so.I think they should have been recalled!

Murray did you need a drum roll to your classic gear? That is what I would rather have

minus the long worn trip it has I like all those handles it has very cool!.

Uncle Richie I will need that info later so if it gets swallowed in the big skip I may ask again

for the links or what kind it is. No money right now for anything. Thanks for the info!

Oh and I can not get the head off the tripod so I will need help with that before I do get

one that works.....And to think of what I paid thinking it was a great one...ugh!


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 12:12 PM

Andee, if you take it to a camera shop, they will get it off embarrassingly quickly.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/28/2013 - 12:48 PM

I am not sure we have any around, maybe Radio Shack can help. Maybe not. But I am not sure if we have any brick

and mortar camera shops around here any more sad to say. I think online was cheaper for folks and they just could

not compete. But I will check. I no longer have any strength for that. I use to be able to open any jar and could open

a home canned jar with a good sealed top that flat thing, I could get it off with my thumbs but not any more.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/28/2013 - 1:20 PM


If those nasty set screws are loose, then the only thing that is holding the head to the tripod is the way it was twisted on and by you I would imagine! So, if you can secure the tripod legs, extend them if you have to, then put a nice comfortable towel or blankie on a chair, cover the legs and then sit on the legs, with the head hanging off the chair, get a long screw driver or pipe or something for leverage and twist the head off. "rightey tightey, lefty lousey! So if this is done right, you want to turn the head away from your leg direction, back towards the back of the chair.

Or wait for the mailman to help! Or take it to a hardware store or Home Depot!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/28/2013 - 1:37 PM

Thanks Rich yea I am the one to blame for it being put on there.. The 3 screws are all back in place.

Do not need to be removed to get it off ? I never messed with those before only yesterday. Only the

one the in the center I saw that sticks up I attached with that.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/28/2013 - 3:20 PM

OK, Murray, I didn't think of it as a distraction, i can see how it might take your eyes downward, I was thinking it might be a starting point to look into it, will take a long hard look at it.
Aw! Rich, took this on a jog around neighbourhood! Do you need to see more neighbourly activity, i did have one of a dried up creek, the last time I saw any water in it was at least 4 years ago!
I live at the bottom of a mountain range, trees are in your face!! :))


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/28/2013 - 4:49 PM


The 3 set screws on the underneath round metal thingie are there to keep the head from turning if it gets loose from the main thread. If you loosen the set screws or even take them out, the only thing holding the head on is the main threaded bolt coming up from the tripod base.

You can even get even with the tripod if you like. Find a hammer and wrap a cloth or tee shirt around the head of the hammer and then while holding the tripod legs,firmly, smack the head, counter-clockwise a few times and then see if that loosen it enough for you to turn it yourself. But first, go pay some bills and this will be more fun!



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/28/2013 - 4:52 PM


No whining!!!!! Go find a real image! We can hire other photographers, but we thought you could do this, remember the assignment!

Your editor,

Mr. Franco!


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/28/2013 - 5:55 PM

Rich (and others) can you share your thoughts on "prime" lenses?

I love my 17-40MM as I shoot a lot of land/cityscapes but I've read a lot about the superior low light and sharpness performance of the primes.
Would the "nifty fifty" be a good choice? I'm sure others who favor macro would like info on primes for that as well.



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/28/2013 - 6:00 PM

Ooh prime lens chat...yeah! I use nothing but my 50MM now better than my kit lens zoom. The pro boys

will give us a book of good info on primes. I bet Murray shows us his gear photo with all his lens.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/28/2013 - 6:04 PM

The fifty is outstanding Peter. (Any of Canons anyway.)

MOST of my portfolio is shot with the 50mm f1.8 or the 100mm f2.8 USM Macro.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/28/2013 - 6:36 PM

Prime lenses, in all most all cases will preform better and deliver sharper, perfect images, over zoom lenses of comparable range. I once attended a photo seminar many years ago, with Ernst Haas, called the father of "color photograghy", by many. His favorite lens was his 50mm. I don't know if he even owned any zoom lens then. But I remember telling us, when one of the "pros" in the class asked him why, he of all people, who could afford any lens he wanted, only had 3-4 in his bag. Ernst replied" Take the 50mm, if you want a 35mm, take a few steps back, if you want a 80mm, take a few steps forward!"

Primes are much less complicated to design and build. They just focus in one place, no back and forward. here's a nice one:

But good primes ain't cheap!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/28/2013 - 6:48 PM

Rich I had a film photo teacher....(a 6 week crash course so I could shoot a friends wedding)

and even tho he was forgetting a lot of stuff he was a big 50 fan. And said his legs was his zoom! ;)


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/28/2013 - 6:50 PM

What??...10,000 dollars?!

Rich, that reminds me of when I ordered a beer at a swanky waterfront nightclub and the waitress says, ''8.75 please"...I replied, "You must've misunderstood, I only want ONE beer."



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/28/2013 - 7:01 PM

Rich it is on back order now I can not get


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 7:56 PM

As so often happens, I'm going to be the contrarian here.

Prime lenses used to be the rule during the film days. The reason was simple, they had decades of evolution behind them and were the best glass available. Zoom lenses of the period were expensive, not very good optically, and often very large and heavy. One advantage primes had, and still have to some extent, was a wide maximum aperture, good for low light and short depth of field situations.

Now, zoom forward thirty years. Most zoom lenses, even kit lenses, are now optically superior to many vintage primes. Sure, a modern prime may be better than a zoom, but it often will take sophisticated measuring equipment to discern the difference. Back in the day, I had only two zooms in my case, a Nikon 43-86mm and the venerable 80-200mm. I now shoot almost exclusively with zooms. High-end pro zooms are the match for most primes, and the ability to change focal length is invaluable.

Also, consider that most primes aren't really a match for a cropped sensor camera body. For example, shooting a 50mm prime on an APS sensor body gives you an effective focal length of 75-80mm, which is actually a short telephoto; not particularly well suited to general photography, not to mention landscape, architectural, etc. To achieve the proper dimension for a cropped sensor camera, you need about a 35mm prime, and fast glass of that focal length can be quite pricey nowadays. With the trend to full frame sensors, the 50mm is making a comeback, but I'll still take a good zoom for its versatility.

Just to please Andee, here's that camera case photo. The only primes are a 50mm f1.8, my 60mm f2.8 Micro, and the 10.5mm fisheye. Everything else is zooms:

Sell Art Online


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/28/2013 - 8:01 PM

I don't disagree with Murray at all here, but one advantage a prime has over a zoom for me is price.


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/28/2013 - 8:06 PM

Murray, good points about the sensor size. I recently upgraded to a full frame body and thought the fifty would be worth exploring, especially since the one I'm looking at
is slightly (90%) less than the one Rich suggested.



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/28/2013 - 8:09 PM

Very funny know you would have added shot of your gear even if I had not mentioned it..... :)

Peter how are you liking your new camera?


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/28/2013 - 8:19 PM


Hate to do this, but I sorta agree with Murray!!! Yikes!!! At least about the zoom quality and the advantage over primes.

I think I had a 50 once, but can't remember. I had a 90 macro that I loved, but can't think of any other primes, I've owned and used. I did have a 300mm f2.8 for my Nikon and used the hell out of that, but those were exceptions.

I think what maybe is happening, is we're all agreeing but for different reasons. When I was working, and had an assistant or two, I would bring every lens I could find! When I became my own assistant, not a single prime lens every traveled with me. The zooms are faster and more productive, at the level I was using.

I've been told that the 50mm is the purist lens and close to how we see, but I have never taken a photo with a 50mm prime lens in 30 years! There are great lenses out there, both prime and zoom and it's only another tool. If you can afford, both the price and the space in your bag, then get both. But for me, I would rather use a good zoom then a bag full of primes instead!



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/28/2013 - 8:28 PM

Well for me price is a big deal and my 50 will have to do. It sat for a long time until I came here and that dog

gone res box and not sure how long I have been getting my moneys worth out of my 50mm. But if I needed

a zoom I would use one....just want to get a good one some day and not the crummy kit lens I have!


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/28/2013 - 8:47 PM I'm perplexed. I was under the impression that one of the main advantages of the primes over the zooms was the low light performance.
Meaning, you could use a lower ISO setting and acheive better results (less noise) with the prime at the same focal length the zoom would be using.

Andee, I've only had a few hours to play/shoot with it, but so far I'm more than happy with what I see.



Posted by: JC Findley on 01/28/2013 - 8:51 PM

Yes and no Peter. The thing is that low light performance is that an f2.8 zoom will be = an f2.8 prime. BUT, you will not find f1.2 and f1.4 zooms. (At least I have not seen them.)


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 8:53 PM

That's true, Peter; but that advantage quickly dissipates as you stop down the lens. f8 with a prime is the same as f8 with a zoom set to the same focal length. Prime or zoom, very few pictures are taken with the aperture wide open. I choose the aperture for creative and pictorial reasons, not because of ISO or noise. I can deal with that later in post-production.


Posted by: Lena Auxier on 01/28/2013 - 8:56 PM

What is a good lens to use for landscapes for a Canon T1i? I've been looking at Canon EF 24mm...and the Canon EF-S expensive though...I have Canon EF-S 55-250mm and the the Canon EF-S 18-55mm, it came with that one. I hate using tripods


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/28/2013 - 9:15 PM

Ok, thanks guys. I think I'm going to get the 50 anyway as the 5D with the 17-40 seemed a little cumbersome as my walk around (non tripod day) set-up. I will share my results when I get a chance to use it.



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/28/2013 - 9:26 PM

Peter so sorry I did not realize you had only had it a few hours.....look forward to hear how it works over time... :)


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/28/2013 - 9:45 PM

Now, let me say I ONLY do this with the macro, but I DO shoot wide open for ISO/Noise/speed issues. The reason I have no issue doing it with the macro is that it is tack sharp wide open.

The reason I do it is to freeze movement. In the case below, it is the fast moving clouds. The other time is shooting my son's basketball games. Even at ISO 3200, I need f2.8 to get the shot down to ~ 1/100th of a second.

Sell Art Online


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/28/2013 - 9:54 PM

Hey, if a 50 works well for you and that's how you"see" then that's the lens for you. It's your tool.

Lena, if the images on your site have been made with the lenses you have, then you don't need any new lenses!

Murray, and the other Tack Sharp Artists, I have many shots that were taken at wide open, it's just the way I see. Not all lenses need to be the best glass available, but the best glass that the artist can afford!

Peter, it's going to be a lens that lives in your camera bag, don't do it!!!



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/28/2013 - 10:01 PM

Rich and JC, I didn't mean that lenses shouldn't be used wide open. There are lots of situations where depth of field isn't an issue, like the examples that JC gave. My point is that most of the time you want more than a minimal plane of focus. That, coupled with the fact that most lenses have their sweet spot somewhere near f8, that's the area where most pictures get taken. That's all.


Posted by: Hakai Matsu on 01/28/2013 - 10:44 PM

these days fantastic primes are more than affordable, look at voigtlander and samyang lenses. that is if you savour manual focus. :)
i'm lucky that i dont need AF in my line of works, therefore im sticking with primes.
in a very very rare cases while i need to focus on moving things, im prone to look like having parkinson while focusing. lol


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/29/2013 - 1:27 AM

rich, you're scaring me now, hopefully scaring me into getting my butt into action! What does he want?? i wonder. I'll have to go back tot he assignment and read it properly, think I've missed soemething!


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/29/2013 - 3:17 AM

The best modern zooms are very nearly as good as a prime. My 70-200 f/2.8L is as sharp as anything I've got at all focal lengths and wide open.

However, every now and again you may come across some lens that just has a feel to the pictures that others don't. I get that with my Leitz Summicron 90, which is a late 1970s lens (and still costs a packet today - in fact, more than it did a few years ago)

Sell Art Online Photography Prints

For landscape photos, a fairly normal lens would probably be a 35mm for full-frame or a 24mm for crop frame. However, for some types of landscape, particularly panoramas with little or no motion in the foreground, an excellent alternative is to use an 80-90mm (FF) or 50mm (crop frame), hammer off a quick succession of framse and stitch the images together in photoshop.

Like this:

Art Prints

I would have needed a super wide-angle to get all of that into a single frame. It was shot with a 24-70, zoomed to 70, I think. Doing this, you end up with a super-high resolution image, which is super-sharp (but sometimes the frames won't join together properly and the hoped for image goes to pot).

There may also be times when you want to use a telephoto lens instead of a wide-angle for a landscape. This was shot with a 180mm prime lens on an old Mamiya twin-lens-reflex camera (probably equivalent to something like 100mm on 35mm full frame) and it really pulls in the snow-capped mountain far beyond the town:

Sell Art Online


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/29/2013 - 10:36 AM

Can someone remind me what the camera term 'shooting wide open' means so I do

not have to dig through the big skip. And also what the effect is by doing so. Thanks!


Posted by: John Hoey on 01/29/2013 - 10:39 AM

Shooting with lens at its widest aperture. The effect is a shallower depth of field, blurred out background (Bokeh), etc.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/29/2013 - 10:42 AM

Thanks John! Are those the smaller numbers or the larger ones? One day I hope to remember this stuff!


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/29/2013 - 10:43 AM

Wide open is basically slang for shooting at the maximum aperture (or smallest fstop #) a lens has.

It does a few things. 1. It gives you the shallowest DoF that piece of glass can give you. 2. It gives you the fastest shutter speed for a proper exposure that glass can give. (assumes no change in ISO) 3. It MAY give you a vignetting effect at the edges.

On most glass, the final image will not be as sharp as it would if stepped up a couple fstops.


Posted by: Loree Johnson on 01/29/2013 - 10:48 AM

Smaller numbers Andee. On your 50mm, 1.8 is wide open.


Posted by: John Hoey on 01/29/2013 - 10:49 AM

The smaller numbers. It takes awhile to drill these things into your brain, I know.
The best way to do so is just shoot. Take lots of pics and play around with the settings on your camera, taking notice of what happens when you alter one setting and then another. It'll help you understand the relationship between shutter speed and aperture.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/29/2013 - 10:54 AM


Here ya go!:

"There are many places to learn on the Internet and also Youtube. If you have any questions, that I can help with, let me know, either post here or email. ISO,Aperture and shutter speed are all just tools. If you want everything in your viewfinder "sharp" or more correctly within the DOF, use numbers like F11,16,22 or higher. If you want less DOF, like flower shots, you want the numbers to be smaller, F8,5.6 or 4.0 or lower. So, the higher the f-number, the higher or deeper the DOF will be and conversly, the smaller the f-stop numbers are, the smaller or more shallow the DOF will be. Late at night, when you can't sleep, repeat this and you'll be gone in no time!!!LOL"

"There are a few things you should know and understand and here is a very simplistic lesson:

1.ISO is what used to be the "film speed" but now refers to the amount of light/detail you want in your image. Example ISO 100 is the lowest in most cameras and when used, will have the greatest detail and the least amount of "grain or noise". ISO 3200 would be great for dark places, but you sacrifice quality for the ability to take an image, very noisey/grainey.

2. Shutter speed is the amount of time you want your "shutter" or lens to be open. 1/250 or 1/500 second, will stop most anything, drops of water.etc. 1/2 second means the shutter is open for 1/2 second and should be on a tripod or other solid surface, because just about anything below 1/30 second, and it's almost impossible to hold steady and a long lens makes it worse!

3. Aperture is the size of the hole or opening in your lens. The smaller the number, the larger the hole! F4.0 is "wide open" a large hole and with that you loose almost all the depth of field,(DOF) on the other hand, F22 is a tiny hole and is used when you want everything in the viewfinder to be sharp and in focus, like landscapes,etc.

So Jani's flower was taken with the lens, wide open and produced almost no DOF and that's what I do most of the time, like my image above, very "shallow" DOF.

4. Everything above is related, so if you increase the shutter speed to capture a moving object, you will have to either open the aperture or increase the ISO, and vice versa.



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/29/2013 - 11:20 AM

Thanks so much EVERYONE! You are all so cool and helpful I just keep forgetting that 'Wide Open' I guess

because to me wider is larger and larger is bigger and bigger and in numbers that means a higher/larger I always get confused on that one.....sigh. You would think I am just starting out...but I am really

not but that gets me every time. .............................................................................Thanks again Ya'll

OK the person who came up with camera term.......not a fan of......just saying.......


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/29/2013 - 11:23 AM

The numbers are inverses. f2 means that the aperture opening is half of the focal length, f4 a quarter, etc.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/29/2013 - 11:35 AM

But can anyone tell me why the person who invented that decided that?

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

No one really knows. I think they never wanted anyone else to

OK who knows why but I will try to remember what it means. Thanks! :)


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/29/2013 - 11:50 AM

It's the ratio of the width of the hole to the focal length of the lens, isn't it? Something like that.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/29/2013 - 12:07 PM

Andee, I think the guy that came up with that system for f-stops, also came up with the Tax codes we use here in the U.S.,



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/29/2013 - 5:57 PM

He has sure had a long life


Posted by: Debra Forand on 01/29/2013 - 6:06 PM

Ok, I am going to throw this question out there. My problem is not learning all the tech stuff, I am getting that ( somewhat), but my issue is focusing! No matter what I do I have so many pictures that would be awesome if they were just focused. Even when I use a tripod I am having this issue and I am beginning to think it is my camera. I am using a Cannon XS!


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/29/2013 - 7:47 PM


If you are relying on the "auto" focus function, then that's your problem! You need to turn it off and go manual and place the focus where you want it, not where the camera thinks it wants to go!

Let me know if this makes sense!



Posted by: JC Findley on 01/29/2013 - 8:12 PM

Rich is right on, though to expand on that, I think he means picking the focus point manually and not relying on actually manually focusing.

The way I do it is I set my focus spot, let the camera focus, then I turn the auto focus off all together.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/29/2013 - 8:49 PM


Gets 5 points for his explaination!

What we both mean, is that the camera and the focusing function needs a realy hard edge or line to be able to focus on. If you art trying to focus on just a smooth part of the object, you'll hear the auto focusing go back and forth, trying to find that edge. When you manually focus, you tell the camera "this is where I want the focus to be!

A good example is trying to get an auto focus camera to focus on a reflection on a piece of glass, won't happen!



Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/30/2013 - 7:47 AM


With my camera (also Canon), if I half-press the shutter button while pointing it at something then it locks on to that subject. Once it has locked the focus, then as long as I keep the button half pressed the focus does not change.

That means I can, for example, point it straight at a person close to me, lock the focus on them, keep the button half pressed, recompose so they are on the edge of the shot, press the rest of the way down to take the picture and the person will still be the main point of focus. (It's a lot quicker and easier to do than to describe!)

One problem could be that you are using all your focus points, so the camera will be happy if more-or-less anything in the frame is in focus. I usually use spot focus with just the centre spot, because that is the quickest and most accurate (for sports, I would use one of the edge points and try to keep that over the player's head).

If you are already using spot focus, then the problem could be that you are not making sure the active focus point is exactly over your main subject, so the camera is picking up something from the background and focusing on that.

You already know how to change the active focus points, right? Press the button on the top right of the back of the camera and whirl the little wheel.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/30/2013 - 7:59 AM

She doesn't have the little wheel on hers Paul. (You can also use the little joy stick thing on ours, which I prefer to the wheel.) She should be able to do it with the left/right up/down thingies though, (I think.)


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/30/2013 - 8:23 AM

Trust you to want to use the joystick instead of the steering wheel!


Posted by: Debra Forand on 01/30/2013 - 3:00 PM

You guys are to funny, but awesome! Thanks for the tips, I they are all great and all make sense. I do not use manual focus enough and that could very well be my issue. So mental note to turn auto off! Second yes I do know how to change my focus points and have done trial an error to see what works best. Now you lost me when JC started talking about the Joystick??? What Joy stick?

Again thank you and I will take your suggestions and see how it goes.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/30/2013 - 6:20 PM

Debra, I am going to clarify a little.

I do NOT like manual focusing at all. For that matter, with one exception I never ever use manual focus. The reason is the camera does it better than me as almost in focus and tack sharp look about the same in that tiny view finder. Another potential issue is that diopter thingy, (Tech term) is way to easy to bump and you could shoot all day thinking it is in focus but isn't.

What I DO recommend is manually setting the focal point so it works for you. Keep in mind, the center focal point is more accurate and will work in lower ambient light. While my camera is on the tripod, I will often move the center focal point over where I want the focus, let the camera do its thing, then turn off the auto focus and recompose the shot.

The one exception where I do manually focus is close in macro work where even recomposing is enough to move the focal plain off where I want it.

The joystick is a thing on Paul and I's cameras that is just to the left and above the wheel. The wheel is what I use to change the fstop in Manual Mode but it does other things too. The joystick can move the focal point or move around the image showing on the LED screen when zoomed in.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/30/2013 - 6:44 PM

I think that having the camera on "auto" or "manual" all the time will lead to poor images, something will go wrong. When composing your image, you need to make sure where the camera thinks you're looking. If I'm on "auto-focus" the last thing I do before clicking the shutter is to make sure the little green light is on in the viewfinder, which tells me, it's in focus. If I think that it's off a bit, I will move the camera and then back and see if it's still focusing on where I want it to focus, not where the camera thinks I want to focus.

I may use manual focus 50% of the time, depending on what I'm shooting. If there's a lot of depth to what I'm shooting and the camera is having a hard time finding my focal point, I'll put it on manual. Just have to remember to return it to auto when done.

Of course eyesite/glasses changes everything and auto becomes more helpful. I'm currently not wearing glasses, so for me, right now, this week, it isn't an issue!



Posted by: JC Findley on 01/30/2013 - 6:48 PM

Yupp, had 20/10 vision at one time. I do NOT anymore, so that is why I like letting the camera do it.

Oh, and if you have live view, you can use that and zoom WAY in and use manual focus that way to get it really tight. (I do not have live view.)


Posted by: Peter Chilelli on 01/30/2013 - 7:29 PM

I depend on "live view" quite a bit for both focus and composition, especially since I recently got bi-focal glasses. I struggle at times with the small view finder as it always seems to put my eye on the bi-focal split. Sucks getting old!!



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/30/2013 - 7:58 PM

Dear Old Codgers!

Looking at both of your images on your "sights" it looks like this isn't an isuue! And if it becomes one, there are many after market eye pieces/hoods that can help.

The auto/manual focus discussion is really for people new to DSLR's and maybe photography in general, not "old" guys like you two!



Posted by: JC Findley on 01/30/2013 - 9:51 PM


That said, my work-arounds work for me, and since that is all I know, that is generally how I teach it.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/30/2013 - 10:22 PM


Good point!

What I hope to show and explain here, is that people that have been doing this for years, have their own way and they have learned that, through trial and error. When you see opinions posted here on this thread from "professionals" and you feel you're not yet a professional, then you need to accept the information and see if it works for your present style.

"Professionals" are a bunch of "nit pickers", looking for the ultimate this and that. Don't get caught up in or get affected by this, if you feel you know less than what is being posted by professionals.

I was certainly not a professional when I started and there is probably no one here,posting, that started as a professional, so please keep that in mind.

What I'm seeing is a lack of "dumb questions", but not a lack of "dumb answers!", mine included. I would like more dumb questions!



Posted by: Debra Forand on 01/30/2013 - 10:38 PM

Thank you Gentlemen!! :) Rich I thought it might be my eyesight since I am not spring chicken so I was depending on the auto. Appreciate all your pointers!!


Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/30/2013 - 11:23 PM

Just catching up with this thread. Great info. Been spending lots of time with my camera....just shooting. I am not sure why this info is not sticking to my brain. I graduated from college at the top of my class for crying out loud, I delivered babies, I titrated meds.....What is it about f-stops and aperture that trip me up all the time? So glad I can just come back here and read this thread over and over again. I have some great in focus shots that are either under or over exposed.


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/31/2013 - 5:30 AM

There are still times when I'm out shooting with an old film camera and trying to calculate exposure corrections because there is a filter on the lens or a shutter that is a bit off in its timing, and I just get totally confused, end up twiddling everything the wrong way and the picture comes out a complete mess. I suppose if I were to shoot large format every day I wouldn't do that, but switching between digital and film means I'm not properly immersed in it.


Posted by: John Hoey on 01/31/2013 - 5:57 AM

Sometimes I think the entire process is made so much more complicated than it needs to be. One of the things I've learned is the best way to get a grasp on photography (or any other topic) is to simply immerse yourself into it. Just go out and shoot---shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. When I was shooting with my old Canon A1 way back in the early 80's, stationed in Newport RI, I'm sure I didn't have a real solid understanding of photography. But my best friend and I literally shot the hell out of that place. That's where we learned---and we did it by using trial & error. Today, as I shoot with my DSLR (Canon EOS 7D), it's crystal clear to me that those early days so long ago are where I learned the most important things about how to take pictures---shoot, shoot, and shoot. Of course it goes without saying it's critical that you also study your pics; strive to constantly improve on your results. For me, every single day is another opportunity to take my craft one step forward. Never become complacent!


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/31/2013 - 6:12 AM

Oh! No! Aperature and f.stops are the same thing! Aren't they??:(


Posted by: John Hoey on 01/31/2013 - 6:15 AM

Yes, but technically they're a little different. Aperture refers to the diameter of the opening in the lens, while f/stop is the number (the actual measurement)---but yes, for practical purposes they refer to the same thing.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/31/2013 - 6:15 AM

You're in luck, Maria. Yes! One is just a way to measure the other.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 01/31/2013 - 6:45 AM

Hmmm!? One is just a way to measure the other. Are you able to draw a diagram. I can't visualise what you are saying. When you say...the you mean the measurement of light....or the lens?


Posted by: John Hoey on 01/31/2013 - 6:57 AM

F-stopis is an actual measure of the diameter of the lens. And consequently, this will have an effect on the amount of light which enters the camera.


Posted by: John Hoey on 01/31/2013 - 7:02 AM

Simply think of the lens in your own eyes. In the dark your lens (iris) opens wide to allow more light to enter. If you took a small ruler (as they do at the optical shop when measuring your pupils for glasses), you can actually measure the diameter of your lens. In the dark, those measurements would be closer to the lower numbers (f/4.5, 5.6....). In well-lit rooms, those numbers would be closer to the higher numbers (f/11, f/16....)


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 01/31/2013 - 7:39 AM

Maria, I guess the simplest way to think of it is this:
Imagine you are a plumber. The f-stop is the diameter of the pipe.
The aperture adjustment is your way of choosing pipes with different diameters
You want a little water (or light) to go through, you choose a small-bore pipe (f/16, f/22)
You want a lot of water (light) to go through you choose a larger bore pipe (f/1.8, f/2,8, f/4)


Posted by: Luke Moore on 01/31/2013 - 9:59 AM


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/31/2013 - 10:24 AM


Good info!

Another way to think about aperture and f-stops is this analogy: a shotgun and a rifle. The shotgun is used primarily as a close range gun and the rifle is more long distance, hundreds of yards, now,even thousands. The main difference(keeping it simple here) is the size of the hole. A shotgun will have a very large hole/bore at it's end and a rifle a very small bore hole.

So think of the shotgun as the widest f-stop/largest hole and you use this when you want your bullet/depth of field to be shallow. The rifle is used when you want great DOF, shooting a landscape. You want everything in focus(DOF) from the rock in the foregound to the distant mountains, so a very small hole/aperture is needed. If you are going to photograph a flower and only want a small shallow part of the blossom to be in focus(DOF), you use your widest aperture/largest hole(shotgun).

So again, the larger the number of your f-stop, f16,f22 the longer the DOF will be and the smaller the number, f4,f2.8, the shallower the DOF will be.

Hope this helps,



Posted by: Donna Van Vlack on 01/31/2013 - 10:39 AM

Wow I learned a lot here.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/31/2013 - 10:52 AM

My problem is when I want only a flower and not the weeds close if I use the recommended even part of

the flower is not in focus. This might even be at F8 nothing extreme...and I am not a fan of that over all and many

times that softer part includes noise with it. So that is why I like it all in focus. (Perhaps due to my clunky wunky

camera) in those softer parts of the image. And if I want to I could blur some in post. That and my eyes never seeing

good for as long as I can recall I am not as big on the special effects DOF as many others are. Even tho I have seen

others work and find it rather nice so there is hope down the road for me coming to be at peace with that sort of image

if I wanted to try it. And once again could be camera shake and I should just toss in the towel....well OK not doinng that.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/31/2013 - 11:20 AM


T-R-I-P-O-D, what does it spell? Better images,Yeah!!!!! Did you get the head off the tripod by the way?



Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/31/2013 - 11:37 AM

It spells H-U-R-T-S M-Y B-A-C-K And can't tip it like I want it...grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

No have not tried anymore to get it off. It is sitting out, collecting dust. I need to put it

it away since I can not get it off to at least not collect dust.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/31/2013 - 11:38 AM

Oh but since I can not afford a new one so taking it off the tripod is not time sensitive.


Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/31/2013 - 11:47 AM

OK....I think understand f-stop. I believe my "exposure" problem may have more to do with shutter speed. Don't I have to change my f-stop when I change my shutter speed? I have relied on auto or Av mode before my T4i. I don't feel like I can call myself a photographer until I master manual. It is starting to sink in. I agree I really need to immerse myself in my photography, but somehow life seems to get in the way. to NY again next week and no time for photography. I have made a note card (like a school kid). So hopefully I won't be taking a step back when I get home.

With that said........let's throw ISO into the mix. I have kept my ISO on 400 for now while shooting indoors.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/31/2013 - 12:20 PM


ISO and what used to be called ASA, was the film speed back in the day. ISO is sorta like the gas pedal, the more you press it the faster you can go(faster shutter speeds,smaller F-stops), but it has a price to pay. If you are just slowly moving along,(ISO100) and in no hurry, you can take nice slow,sharp, noiseless images. If you put the "pedal to the metal" you're gonna get to where you want, but there's a cost, in the car scenario, gas consumption,tickets, etc. But in the camera scenario, noise/grain.

So ISO is like the gas pedal, all cars can go really fast, but for most of your driving time, it's slow and comfortable. You can always punch it, to pass a slow moving truck(dark lighting conditions), but it's not there to be used all the time.

Some artist love that noise and in Photoshop, you can even add noise if you like, but for the vast majority of photographers, the lower the ISO, the better the image capture. With your new sensor, 400 ISO is fine for inside, but if you're doing tabletop stuff, then go back to ISO 100 and a tripod and you'll have better images, images that can be enlarged and not see the noise. If you're sightseeing, then 400 is fine, 1600 is fine. I would rather see a grainy image that's great, then not see the image at all, because the ISO wasn't pushed to help with the image,



Posted by: Charles Kozierok on 01/31/2013 - 12:36 PM

This interactive tool will explain the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO far better than words.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/31/2013 - 3:36 PM


Most Excellent!! Everyone interested, take a look at this site and play with the buttons, ISO light quality and aperture,



Posted by: Ellen Lacey on 01/31/2013 - 3:45 PM

Great link Charles! It's going into my photography help library! Thanks!


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 01/31/2013 - 3:47 PM

That's the best interactive explanation I've seen so far.


Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/31/2013 - 3:55 PM

Wow is a great link. I have it bookmarked. Rich, thank you for your informative explanation. I am actually staring to retain some of this. :-0


Posted by: Crystal Lewis on 01/31/2013 - 4:00 PM

I'm new to photography and photo editing software. Currently I use an olympus camera which only allows me to take still life because when there is movment the image is blurry. I'm realy interested in wildlife photography but I need a better camera (stronger zoom and faster shutter speed). What do you suggest? Also are there any good books for beginers?



Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/31/2013 - 4:24 PM


Your camera probably would allow you to take better images, it's that you have it set on the wrong button or something. What model is it? What would your budget be if you were to buy another better camera, $200,$500, $1,000?

As far as books, I would just go to the public library and get some"Learning the Photograpy Basics.for Dummies" books and just look through them and see what you already know and what few things you need to freshen up on. Then visit Youtubes and do a search on whatever you feel you need to learn/practice, say "Composition", which is everybody's basic thing to learn, if you want to be able to create good images. Watch some of the most popular videos and then go from there.

I visited your site and it seems you're already starting to take good images, so you must have taken a course or had some help already. I would suggest you get out and start shooting, after you fix/adjust your camera(find the manual!) and then see what you need to learn more about and then post it here or join my small group:

and post your question there or email me.

"an olympus camera which only allows me to take still life because when there is movment the image is blurry." This is telling me, you just need to find out what your "settings" are in your camera. You may have it set on a small F-stop and not know it or you may have it set on a slow shutter speed. There are probably 10 things that are causing your camera problems. Let's see if we can fix your existing camera, to get you started!



Posted by: Arlene Carmel on 01/31/2013 - 6:43 PM

Took quite a few photos of collectables I am getting ready to put up on my Etsy store. I think I am getting there. ISO 100 , f/5.6, focal length 50mm

Art Prints


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/31/2013 - 9:29 PM

Here is what I have happen any thoughts as to why?

Using one or two of my studio strobes and with my speed-light on camera to trigger those. When I have shot off two by mistake....yes I know I should change the setting but I found this out that the first one would be a little darker than the next one would be brighter and more what I wanted and I think the speed-light does not fire on one...but as I type this out I forget which one. I think it is the second fire the flash does not fire. Nothing is set up or I would go check. I need to do that again and report back..But any ideas why this is happening? So when it comes down to it I have fire it off two to get the lighting I want.


Posted by: Michael And Heather Allen on 01/31/2013 - 10:03 PM

(this is Heather, darn sharing an account, lol) So...for the pros (you know, the ones living off photography)...did you take classes, get a degree,study photography, or are you self taught? I couldn't afford photography classes in H.S. (camera, film) and didn't bother with college, so I'm winging it (which I've done since I was old enough to covent my mom's 35mm, which she eventually gave to me a few years ago, so yeah, like 30ish years). The technical stuff gets me turned around, even though I know what shutter speed, iso, F-stop, etc are. I guess it's looking at a situation and instantly knowing I need x shutter speed and y f-stop-I have a general idea but have to stop up a little and down a little and play with the shutter a bit...then again, I could never figure out my light meter either, I don't even know if it actually functions properly, lol (it was my mom's she sent it to me with her old Miranda).

I see a lot of discussions about camera bodies...I always felt the glass was of more importance between reasonably similar bodies. I haven't upgraded from my Rebel XT because I want to save up for better glass (I usually use a Sigma lens now, it's not bad at all, but it's not great-I do have a Canon Macro and the speed blows the Sigma away). Which would be a better investment?


Posted by: Rich Franco on 01/31/2013 - 10:18 PM


Very nice. I'm reminded of a song, somewhere, "The rain in Spain,stays mainly on the Plain" and I think you've got it!


You may have one strobe taking longer to recharge than the other, but hard to tell from your description. Try one light at a time and see if they will pop as fast as you need. If one is slower, then you just need to relax and shoot slower. And I think you may be over lighting your stuff. Small table top stuff should only need one light and some bounce.


Glass is good, but what it's attached to is "gooder"! I would rather shoot with a great sensor and a mediocre lens then a great lens and a cheap sensor. Your Sigma is probably fine, but the Rebel XT should be the next investment.



Posted by: JC Findley on 01/31/2013 - 10:30 PM

@ Heather...

I am only a pro because I haven't had a real job in the last year, so take that for what it is worth.

Anyway, I learned reading books or asking people in forums like this then trying things and practicing until I accomplished what I wanted to with the technique. Tonight I spent the evening shooting a college basketball game with a friend of mine because I want to learn how to shoot sports so I can get good images of my son. In the last two months I have shot around 6000 images as I learn and still have a ways to go before I get there. Anyway, no formal classes for me.

Regarding glass v body I would do glass EVERY time unless there is something a new body would give you that your current one doesn't AND you NEED to be able to do that something your current body doesn't.

EDIT: Obviously, you will find different views on the glass v body discussion.


Posted by: Billy Griffis Jr on 01/31/2013 - 10:35 PM

Heather - That's kind of a toss up. If you have a camera no more than 2 or 3 years old, yes a lens would be the better bet. But in the past couple of years most of the camera companies have made some advances that make a newer body worth looking into as well. The difference between a 7megapixel (MP) camera and a 16MP is huge, and not only in resolution. Most have improved greatly in low light/high ISO capability, auto focus speed and accuracy, metering speed and accuracy, you name it. Just from one model to the next my Pentax K-x would take 4.7 shots per second in continuous mode, my K 30 two years newer gets 6 shots per second. In camera software has improved, basically everything, so newer body is definitely worth considering.

Yes, the lens makes more difference than the body in a lot of cases, a good lens can make a huge difference, but if you're using an older camera it may be limiting you as well. The K-x I had before was the best entry level DSLR made when I bought it, according to all the reviews, and was said to have excellent high ISO performance. 2 years later the K 30 blows it away in that regard. I tried not to use the K-x at ISO 400 if I could avoid it, I could see a tiny bit of noise getting started in low light conditions. I'll use ISO 800 with the K 30 and not worry too much, although I still try to stay below ISO 400 if possible. And that's just the difference in the past 2 years, in one area.

Then on the other hand, a good lens will go right along with you to a new body later on. If you have a body that does a good job now, a lens is often not as expensive as a new body, and will be usable later when you do get a new camera.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 01/31/2013 - 10:53 PM

But Rich why is the second shot the one I like the one that is brighter? The first pop is darker.

I wish I had a radio wizard to not need the speed light but for now that is what fires the strobe remotely.


Posted by: JC Findley on 01/31/2013 - 10:58 PM

Billy is right on but I am going to use his example to emphasize my points.

OK, if you have a camera that shoots at 4.7 fps and works fine at 100 ISO do you NEED one that shoots 6 fps and works better at 800 ISO?

The answer is personal. IF you're shooting something where 6 fps would give you a large advantage then it may be worth it. IF you shoot everything on a tripod do you need to work at 800 ISO? Would it give you something you cannot do now and need to be able to do? If you are shooting sports in a dim HS gym then 800 ISO might be a help.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 02/01/2013 - 3:55 AM

I'm glad I asked that question now.....about aperture and fstops, the response was great and as soon as I get a minute will absorb it all and watch links, thanks! Looks like other people needed the explanations too, that's great. If I don,t get it this time, then there,s definitely no hope :))


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 02/01/2013 - 4:29 AM

Heather, I'm self-taught - or, rather, I learned what I had to learn to get my pictures accepted by microstock sales sites. They were fierce critics of technical mistakes in pictures (well, looking back, they were pussy-cats when I began compared with what they are today, but it felt like fierce criticism when 50% of my photos were being thrown out for "bad lighting" or "out of focus" or "your image has dust spots on it". these days its 10 times more strict and 90%+ of my pictures pass the inspection). It's got so much tougher today that you can't start learning like that any more but you can get people to critique your photos in various places - including a startnign a private thread here. I warn you, though, it hurts to be told that something that was the best you could do and which your friends said is brilliant is full of mistakes; but it's not much use having critics who are kind and try to avoid hurting your feelings.
Books are useful, too, to help you understand the technicalities, but nothing helps like a pixel-peeping critic who won't let you get away with anything, and then going out and practising and practising and practising.
I've been doing photography full time for six years, during which time I've only done one job for cash - I turned the guy down the second time he asked. I don't want to work for other people, I want to do what I like and let people buy my stuff if they feel like it. It's worked for me so far. You can look at my portfolio to decide whether you think I qualify as "professional". I use the term sometimes but inside I feel like I'm just having fun.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 02/01/2013 - 4:50 AM

Anyone know Ingeborg Tyssen's and Pat Brassington's work? I have just booked a spot for an artist's talk by Pat herself and ingeborg's husband tomorrow at the gallery where their photos are on exhibition. I had a look at the work and thought it was great, mostly black and white.


Posted by: John Hoey on 02/01/2013 - 7:56 AM

Paul: you are absolutely right. I'm a micro stock photographer as well. Those folks are pretty brutal. One of the things driving me crazy is how a picture can be acceptable by one or three of the top sites but be deemed unacceptable by another because of "flaws" or technical issues. Of course I understand they all have different criteria. But sometimes it seems as if they apply some arbitrary standard that I haven't quite been able to figure out yet. But they're all tough, and I'm happy and humbled any time one of my photos gets past the review process :)


Posted by: John Hoey on 02/01/2013 - 8:01 AM

My thoughts are it ultimately comes down to budget and level of commitment. Some folks are the type who want to learn all they can before taking the plunge into expensive glass. I am the exact opposite. Personally, I never want to be limited by my equipment; at the first opportunity I bought "L" lenses for my Canon, and have never looked back. My earlier images taken with the kit lens were really great. But there is no way I'd ever consider working with anything less than top of the line glass.


Posted by: Michael And Heather Allen on 02/01/2013 - 8:58 AM

Thanks all. I hadn't looked at the newest bodies..and now I wish I hadn't, lol. Makes my XT look like a dinosaur in some ways. I'm scoping out the T3I now (I don't see much difference in the T4I except consumer type stuff like built in filters). The HD video option is rather weird to me, on a DSLR too, but I know why they did it. I would love the "nicer" bodies, but they are just too clunky for me. I bought a Rebel because the grip felt comfortable enough to hold for hours, where the bigger ones (like the 30D at the time) felt like my hand had to stretch too much. I kow it's silly but I was bummed to find only black bodies, no silver. I like silver. It doesn't absorb heat as much and to me, it looks more like a "real" camera (probably because the 35mm of my childhood was silver).

The "L" lenses are the glass I'm talking about. The Sigma is nice, but I find it is a little soft on long distance shots (like mountains in the distance). It's not focus, it's just...soft. Like the details are just a little off. It's hard to explain.

I did stock years ago but decided it really wasn't my thing, since they have a million sunsets and landscapes to choose from. I think it was Big Stock Photo I used, but I can't even remember. I do recall the declines. I will probably jump into some critiques here (once I learn where to go for them), I'm a big girl, I can take it. I know I'm not the best photographer in the world, so I don't expect to hear all rave reviews :P My biggest problem is I don't like rules with art, so unless it's technical stuff (uh, hey, idjiot, your horizon is crooked) it's all personal opinion to me. I see some art and wonder wth the big deal Picasso. Not my thing, but obviously it works for some people! Both of us like unique angles and viewpoints, so some stuff just winds up not following the rules.

We also won't work on commission. I can't do it, it's too stressful trying to get what someone else sees in their head into my camera. And weddings. NEVER ever. We did a few as favors and kept getting asked to do others and had to say no. Wedding photogs earn every penny they charge, imo. I'll keep my dayjob (not photography related at all) first.


Posted by: JC Findley on 02/01/2013 - 9:05 AM

Heather, I understand what you mean by "just soft" at distance and yes, good glass will fix that.

I am not a fan of video in a DSLR but it is in most of them now.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/01/2013 - 11:12 AM


I think you need to post or send me the images you're talking about,don't understand what you mean,ok?


Keeping your old XT and buying new glass, is like putting $800 worth of new tires on a $300 car! Here's a side by side of the T3 and the T4:

If budget isn't an is


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/01/2013 - 11:12 AM


I think you need to post or send me the images you're talking about,don't understand what you mean,ok?


Keeping your old XT and buying new glass, is like putting $800 worth of new tires on a $300 car! Here's a side by side of the T3 and the T4:

If budget isn't an issue, I would recommend the newer T4i. It will have many functions that you will probably never use,BUT this is a camera that you can keep for years, until you decide you need to move up to a full frame sensor and you may never even decide to go there! You have some nice images now and a newer sensor will help with any image issues youi may have, as far as file quality,etc.

I also think that a new T4i camera/sensor might improve your Sigma lens results!!! Right now, I can see heads exploding out there, but here's my theory: The larger, newer sensor handles the pixels that are grabbed by the lens, in a more efficient and productive way, compared to a 8-10 year old sensor on Heather's XT camera. How it handles the pixels, may actually reduce, by some small measure, the apparent "sharpness" of the image. And it might not even be the lens causing the "softness", but a number of other possiblities, camera movement, long exposures, using the highest f-stop, F22 instead of backing down one or two and using the F11-F16 and try another image.

( Heather, here's a good point to go try this test, take your camera and tripod and Sigma and just go outside and shoot down the street, across a field, whatever, but find something that you can use to judge the quality of your lens, stop sign, fence post,etc. and shoot on a tripod F8-11-16-22-32? and then see what the image looks like on your computer. You might be surprised!)



Posted by: Andee Photography on 02/01/2013 - 11:13 AM

I would have to process a matching set to show you. Will do that later. Today is not going so good.... Thanks Rich!


Posted by: Michael And Heather Allen on 02/01/2013 - 11:35 AM

Ack...budget is a bit of an issue at the moment, we recently bought a new (old) house and have been fixing it up (it used to be a summer cottage, now it's our full time home). And of course, if *I* get a new toy Mike will need one too, it's only fair, so his 30D will move up to the 60D. I'll have to read the comparison on the T3i and T4i.

Any suggestions on a place to buy? We like going local in case there's a problem, but with budget constraints I don't think a local shop will be able to give us the best deal. We drove to Erie PA to get the Macro lens from a camera shop there because it was a lot less expensive than the ones up here....


Posted by: JC Findley on 02/01/2013 - 11:38 AM

Buying an T4i is like buying a new car when the one you have works JUST FINE and only needs 800 bucks worth of tires....


Posted by: JC Findley on 02/01/2013 - 11:40 AM

Adorama or B&H for cameras new and used Heather.

By the way, in my opinion the 50D is better than the 60 and you can get a NICE used one for half the price. (I only buy used from one of the above camera places)


Posted by: Andee Photography on 02/01/2013 - 11:42 AM

JC what is the scale that is the best to buy or the grade on both of those sites?

You mentioned once before but I forget. Sorry


Posted by: JC Findley on 02/01/2013 - 11:46 AM

First of all, you should not buy a body at all unless you can get THIS... Buahahahahahaha

I am going to get my younger son a used 40D for his birthday.

Here is Adorama's

Condition Cameras & Photo Gear Lenses
N Product is brand new and was never used. Includes full manufacturer's warranty. Product is brand new and was never used. Includes full manufacturer's warranty.
D Little or no signs of wear. Little or no signs of wear.
E+ May have slight wear but only visible under close inspection. Barrel may have slight wear but only visible under close inspection. Lens glass is flawless.*
E May show signs of light wear and/or usage. LCD may have very slight blemishes. Barrel may show signs of light wear and/or usage. Lens glass is very clean.*
E- Shows signs of moderate wear and/or usage. LCD may be scratched. Barrel shows signs of wear and/or moderate usage. Lens glass may have some dust / spots that should not affect picture quality.
V Appears well used and may include dings, scrapes/scratches, heavy brassing on body or LCD, but is in fully functional condition. Barrel appears well used and may include dings, scrapes/scratches, heavy brassing. Lens glass may have marks or haze that should not affect picture quality.
G Appears to have been used heavily, showing multiple dings, scrapes/scratches, cracks and heavy brassing but functions correctly. Barrel appears to have been used heavily, showing multiple dings, scrapes/scratches, heavy brassing. Lens glass may have fungus, excessive dust, and/or scratches that can affect picture quality.
F Item works with certain malfunctions. Read comments for exact details. Item works with certain malfunctions. Read comments for exact details.
X For parts only


Posted by: Andee Photography on 02/01/2013 - 11:52 AM

Very funny....I will have to wait until next week to pick up a few of wish!

What is the lowest grade you will go on one from this list at Adorama JC?


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/01/2013 - 11:53 AM


I like eBay for used stuff. I can give you some advice if you thibk you might go that way.


You get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? So Heather should keep her 6-8 year old camera and then go spend $2,000 or so, for some "L" glass, is that what you're sayin Bunky? The car ain't workin'!!!



Posted by: JC Findley on 02/01/2013 - 11:53 AM

I want E or higher but would consider E-


Posted by: JC Findley on 02/01/2013 - 11:59 AM

I always wake up on the right side of the bed.... :o)

But, my Honda works JUST fine for my needs thank you and yes, new tires on the car cost almost as much as the car is worth BUT it meets my needs and I just don't need to go out and buy a new BMW to drive around NYC. Heather never said her camera wasn't working or there were features she NEEDS on a new body. Video? Who cares about video?

Seriously, I would much rather have good glass. PLUS, glass can be shared between her and the hubby. A new body means one for each.


Posted by: Michael And Heather Allen on 02/01/2013 - 12:01 PM

Best buy actually has both of them on sale. Before tax and add ons like SD cards (cuz we only have CF cards) and extra batteries, we'd be looking at about $1200 for both. I don't even think we'd need the batteries right away, we haven't been on any epic shooting adventures that needed them lately anyway. Well, maybe one for the Rebel since I imagine it's smaller. I need to go see them. I see the Rebel got bigger. I hope it's still comfortable to hold.

Uh, no. I will not be buying a camera worth more than my car :P


Posted by: JC Findley on 02/01/2013 - 12:04 PM

Yeah, that is outside my reach as well Heather but I WOULD buy a camera worth more than my car. My car does not make me money. My camera does.


Posted by: Michael And Heather Allen on 02/01/2013 - 12:06 PM

Mainly, the "problem" with my XT and his 30D is the file sizes...or the max size prints that are possible with them.


Posted by: Michael And Heather Allen on 02/01/2013 - 12:07 PM

Haha, without my car I'm not making money either.


Posted by: JC Findley on 02/01/2013 - 12:11 PM

Ahhh, but a $1000 car will get you to and from work, whereas some fields of photography require much more expensive gear.

Now see, wanting to sell a larger sized image IS a good reason to get a new body. Might I recommend a used 5D for Michael. It would be too bulky for you since you didn't like the pro-summer cameras.


Posted by: Michael And Heather Allen on 02/01/2013 - 12:24 PM

I just need to mention that I went on DP Review to check out the T3I and this was on the sidebar. I would buy this if I had the extra cash just because, and replace my old P&S that I have on me 24/7


Posted by: John Hoey on 02/01/2013 - 12:49 PM

Might I suggest an EOS 7D? This camera is nothing short of spectacular---I don't care what kind of photography you're into....


Posted by: Maria Disley on 02/01/2013 - 6:02 PM

John you said,
F-stopis is an actual measure of the diameter of the lens. And consequently, this will have an effect on the amount of light which enters the camera.

Sorry to be so anally pedantic, but i have to sometimes ( and in this case always with the tech side of the camera) i am seeing at the moment...the fstop numbers oncamera screen or through viewfinder and now in addition, the diameter of the lens...correct? Now the diameter will depend on how wide the lens is open...correct? we are not just talking about the static diameter of the lens...? so just tell me again what is it that open and closes the opening of the that aperature? is this the close relationship that f.stop and aperature have? If that is correct then I can begin to visulaise the two working in conjunction with each other, and so make sense to me, and I will most probably remember.

I'm just reading through all the explanations.
Simply think of the lens in your own eyes. In the dark your lens (iris) opens wide to allow more light to enter. If you took a small ruler (as they do at the optical shop when measuring your pupils for glasses), you can actually measure the diameter of your lens. In the dark, those measurements would be closer to the lower numbers (f/4.5, 5.6....). In well-lit rooms, those numbers would be closer to the higher numbers (f/11, f/16....)
this helped me to visualise too


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 02/01/2013 - 6:12 PM

Maria, the f-stop and aperture refer to the same thing. In the back of a lens there is a diaphragm, a variable sized opening. It can vary from fully open to nearly closed. The f-numbers refer to how much the diaphragm is open. f2 means it's open half the focal length of the lens or zoom setting, measured in millimeters. f4 would mean that it's open to a quarter of that length, etc.

This also illustrates a difference between kit and pro zoom lenses. With a kit zoom, nearly always, the effective aperture (diaphragm opening) becomes smaller as the focal length increases. That's because the fixed diaphragm opening becomes a smaller fraction of the longer selected focal length. Optical factors (movement of the lens elements) do keep the short and long zoom apertures relatively close, though. With a pro lens, the aperture opening is automatically adjusted by actually changing its size or position as the lens is zoomed, so the effective aperture remains the same.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/01/2013 - 6:29 PM


I'll be happy to translate "Murray" into english. Most lenses have a range of the opening/hole/aperture size and the more expensive the lens, the greater the range. So, kit lenses may only open to F3.5 and an expensive lens will be open F1.8, or 1.4 or even 1.2, which would be a very expensive lens. The F-stop is the number the photographer uses to tell the lens how much of a hole or actually, how much light the photographer wants for a particular shot. If there were no numbers, you couldn't accurately always choose, say F2.8. So the F-stops are the numbers used by lens makers, which is a standard around the world and an F4.0 in the United States is the same as a F4.0 in Australia.

So for your purposes, what you need to know is the smaller the number, f4.0,f2.8, the smaller or more shallow the depth of field will be and conversely, the higher the number, the higher or greater the depth of field is. The math that Murray is explaining, really doesn't matter now and may never matter for that matter! Your DOF is a tool and the f-stops and the size of the aperture, is the way we use that tool.

Aperture = size of the hole
F-stop = the numeric indicator of the size of the hole/aperture

Hope this helps,



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 02/01/2013 - 6:35 PM

Rich, if you're going to translate me, please get it right. ;-) My first paragraph is about what you said.

The second is probably irrelevant to Maria and many others, but I'm sure some have wondered why cheaper lenses have variable apertures when zoomed, while pro lenses do not. That's what I was explaining; although I agree that it's the effect, rather than the theory, that is important.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/01/2013 - 6:51 PM


Took you long enough! LOL

I agree, but very complicated systems sometimes need simple explanations and when talking about simple, my name always comes up!!!



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 02/01/2013 - 7:16 PM

I've never been accused of being simple; but I admit that, sometimes, clarity works!


Posted by: JC Findley on 02/01/2013 - 7:19 PM

I think you are perfectly clear Murray!


Posted by: Andee Photography on 02/01/2013 - 7:25 PM

Are we going to have to separate the two of your boys Rich and Murray?

I hope your spats of sorts are all in good fun. It is nice in here even if it hurt my brain!


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 02/01/2013 - 7:26 PM

Rich is a good guy. We're just playin'.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 02/01/2013 - 7:30 PM

I thought so but I figured it would be fun to tell you guys that! Make you feel like kids! :)


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 02/01/2013 - 7:35 PM

And you did. LOL

Rich appears to be a more practical photographer. I'm more technical and usually dig into the nuts and bolts. I always need to know why, for some reason. So we complement each other even if we don't always compliment each other.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 02/01/2013 - 7:36 PM

I understood everything thanks, it was very interesting and then i was interrupted by the jehova's witnesses calling, and they were interesting too,and commented on one of my paintings in the hall!:) So, i got in involved in a long discussion about people doing the right thing..and the repercussions, but you lot giving your time and knowledge to simpleton's like me..haha...only in the world of camera's and algebra mind you!! Will be resurrected!
while i have an open mind to everything i'm not easily coerced into anything, which he will find out when he returns to explain the resurrection.
So, why did god allow man to invent the camera....just a thought!

All this back and forth about fstops and aperature really is beginning to make sense. I for some reason now like knowing that f1.4 means the lens is a quarter the way open. Murray's math was very basic and imperial haha. f1.4 didn't mean much, but 1/4 open does....visually.
Although I'm probably making harder for myself, i am trying to master manual.....because i reckon this is the most difficult but the more freer, and paradoxically, i will have more control over what i do with the i handle it and what it produces.
Even though i was chasing the shadows at first light this morning and shooting everything that interested me, i am more aware that I should be thinking about what and why i am shooting.


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 02/01/2013 - 7:42 PM

Actually, it's not a quarter of the way open, Maria. f1.4 is 0.714285714285714% the focal length, although if it's the maximum aperture of the lens, it will be wide open, physically. heh heh heh

f4 is a quarter open.

If the aperture diameter equaled the focal length, the lens would be would be f1, which is a type of race car. You almost never see f1 lenses, except some expensive ones made for cinema cameras.

Shooting manually is similar to driving a car with a manual transmission. You have more control, but you have to be more involved in the process.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/01/2013 - 8:07 PM


If you understood all of Murray's post, please email me and explain,thanks,

f1.4 is 0.714285714285714% the focal length, Slacker!



Posted by: Maria Disley on 02/01/2013 - 8:15 PM

Oh! f4 is 1/4 open...ok...that's that fixed...yes makes sense...i wasn't concentrating on the actual numbers....but i need to match the correct numbers to the image of actual section amounts of lens open to light...if you know what i mean.
I think that answers your command too prof. :))


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 02/01/2013 - 8:19 PM

That's pretty much got it, Maria.



Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/01/2013 - 10:19 PM


What Murray said!



Posted by: Paul Cowan on 02/02/2013 - 5:32 AM

It's worth bearing in mind that on some lenses you see the f-stop marked as f1:4. Note the use of the colon symbol. this means F ratio = 1 to 4 (or f/4) and it is a fairly slow lens
No end of times you see people mixing up f1.4 (with a full stop, meaning F ratio = 1 to 1.4 a very fast lens) with f1:4
The Germans also sometimes used a comma instead of a full stop, but those both mean the same.


Posted by: Maria Disley on 02/02/2013 - 5:40 AM

i'm able to take that in now that i have the other sorted. i just need to be observant when looking at the f stop and the numbers and symbols following it. thanks for that. :)
I did write quite a bit earlier but it timed out and i lost the lot, will try and regurgitate later.


Posted by: JC Findley on 02/02/2013 - 8:44 AM

I had NO idea on that one Paul, thanks....

Uncy Richy and Murray, would you mind splaining 1:1 and 1:5 and such and how it applies to macro/micro speak and how it works varies with a crop or full sensor.

Your caring nephew,



Posted by: Photographic Arts And Design Studio on 02/02/2013 - 9:12 AM

Just wanted to say thanks to Rich, Murray, Paul, JC and so many others for all of the great info (practical, theoretical, philosophical)....I've been reading it all. Also to Maria, Andee etc. for asking the great questions! This is such a great forum for info. Even though I "know" some of the info, being mostly self taught, here are definitely gaps...and this forum is filling some of them in. So from all of us that have been reading without actually commenting! Thanks!!!


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/02/2013 - 10:01 AM


Have you cleaned your room young man! Ok, then I'll answer. This is probably a Murray answer, but I assume we're not asking about what 1:1 or 1:5 means right? But you're asking if the sensor size affects the image produced? Yes and no, thanks for asking.

You want more? Ok, if you are shooting macro on a full frame camera, shooting 1:1, lifesize, then you're getting a 1:1 image. If you are using a APS-c sensor, like the Canon Rebel and a full frame lens, then your image will be greater than 1:1 and is often called "Micro" than Macro.

If you are asking about the actual numbers/sensors/image size produced, then here's a more detailed explanation from Wiki :

35 mm equivalent magnification, or 35 mm equivalent reproduction ratio, is a measure that indicates the apparent magnification achieved with a small sensor format, or "crop sensor" digital camera compared to a 35 mm-based image enlarged to the same print size.[17][18] The term is useful because many photographers are familiar with the 35 mm film format.[19][20][21][22][23][13]

While a "true" macro lens is defined as a lens having a reproduction ratio of 1:1 on the film or sensor plane, with small sensor format digital cameras an actual reproduction ratio of 1:1 is rarely achieved or needed to take macro photographs. What macro photographers often care about more is simply knowing the size of the smallest object that can fill the frame.[8] For example, the 12 megapixel Micro Four Thirds Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 camera with a 2x crop sensor only requires a 1:2 reproduction ratio to take a picture with the same subject size, resolution, and apparent magnification as a 12 megapixel "full-frame" Nikon D700 camera, when the images are viewed on screen or printed at the same size. Thus a Four Thirds system macro lens like the Olympus Zuiko Digital 35 mm F3.5 Macro lens with a true maximum image magnification of 1.0x is rated as having a "2.0x 35 mm equivalent magnification".[24]

To calculate 35 mm equivalent reproduction ratio, simply multiply the actual maximum magnification of the lens by the 35 mm conversion factor, or "crop factor" of the camera. If the actual magnification and/or crop factor are unknown (such as is the case with many compact or point-and-shoot digital cameras), simply take a photograph of a mm ruler placed vertically in the frame focused at the maximum magnification distance of the lens and measure the height of the frame. Since the object height of a 1.0x magnified 35 mm film image is 24 mm, calculate 35 mm equivalent reproduction ratio and true reproduction ratio by using the following:[25]
(35 mm equivalent reproduction ratio) = 24 / (measured height in mm) (True reproduction ratio) = (35mm equivalent reproduction ratio) / Crop factor.

This is way beyond any actual "in the field" application, as far as I see,



Posted by: Paul Cowan on 02/02/2013 - 10:27 AM

Can I disagree, RIch (not that it matters much)

If we agree that "true" macro is 1:1 size on the sensor, then the size of the sensor doesn't matter. Life-size is life-size.

But it doesn't really matter, anyway, since that magnification is so huge.

If I remember correctly, I had to zoom out to 1:1 to take this (yes, I said "zoom out" it was shot with canon's MP-E 1-5x lens, which is almost a microscope in its own right) but maybe it is 2:1 or something:

Sell Art Online

I suggest having a look at it in the loupe if you want to see what 1:1 macro (or, OK, maybe 2:1 or 3:1) blows up to look like on a 21MP camera.

By the way, in order to get this sharp I not only had to use a tripod and mirror lock-up, I also had to use the delay timer to damp vibrations from pressing the shutter releaese, stand very still not to shake the concrete floor and hope that no car went past outside at the moment the shutter went. And I won't even try to tell you what a b*tch is was to focus and arrange the lighting!

SO, I think some of the lens manufacturers decided that if something increases to 1:1 on a 10x8 print, then that is good enough to call a lens a "macro lens". But that only requires 1/8 natural size on a 35mm frame (which is one inch wide) and for a 1.5x crop it would only have to be 1/12 natural size.

It's all pretty academic, anyway, What matters is what your picture looks like at the end of it.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 02/02/2013 - 10:40 AM


Can I sit next to you in Science Class?

I was trying to explain that if you took a full frame lens and used it on a cropped sensor, it would be more than 1:1, right?

And anything, like your image is Micro not Macro, at least to me,



Posted by: John Hoey on 02/02/2013 - 10:41 AM

Paul is absolutely correct. I use an EOS 7D with 100mm f/2.8L lens. Although this is a crop-sensor camera, my lens is a "true macro", and the resulting image is by definition a 1:1 reproduction. However, because the sensor is not full frame, my camera doesn't capture the same area it would if it were full frame (compared to 35mm).


Posted by: John Hoey on 02/02/2013 - 10:47 AM