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  1. #31

    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Exile in Bulgaria
    Posts
    31
    Lots of great info here. Like most of you, I'm a keen amateur, and have been since I did a bit of photography at college years ago. Then it was just B&W 35mm so we could develop the shots, and since then I've always had a camera. For ten years I've had the same Kodak digital, and took some decent pictures on it, but I've always wanted a 'proper' DSLR. Last year I was able to buy a Cannon EOS 600D, and also bought a great little book called 'from Snapshots to great shots' which is aimed at my camera, so any stuff regarding menus and other settings is all what I will see on my camera. Very useful.
    Hopefully this year I'll get more use out of it and learn a bit more about using it.
    It'll be nice to share photos and get some feedback from the more experienced guys here too
    I do have a deviantart account, but I'd not recommend using it to share stuff with family..they 'ahem' cater for all sorts on there lol. I used to use Photobucket, but tbh I can't remember what upload limits they have, so it may affect the quality of your prints. Just my tuppenth ;)

  2. #32
    Hi all, I'm really new here but this topic is right up my street - I'm a long time shooter and lover of the arts. I'm down to share some images, techniques or ideas.

  3. #33
    Community Admin Chaosphere's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    UK, Manchester.
    Posts
    3,479
    Wow, almost four years ago I started this thread! I thought it about time to post some down the road reflections on my experienced with photography, which I have fallen completely in love with.

    First of all, photography as a creative medium. Well, in my mind I divide it into two (inseparable) parts. The science, and the 'art'. The science, I love. From starting here four years ago with f numbers and exposure triangles, I went deep down the technological rabbit hole. From reading up on optics to better understand how my lenses focus and depth of field works, to reading (borderline academic papers) about iso variance and invariance and how this affects my night sky shots, I've read up on so much of the science of photography, and loved every minute of it.

    The art I find much harder to grasp. It doesn't help that I'm likely a very harsh self critic, but I often find myself feeling as if I'm struggling to find that creative magic. It happens, and I get more pictures that I'm happy with now than I did even six months ago, but it sometimes feels like it doesn't come naturally to me! The upside here is I feel like I'm constantly learning, and that my pictures today are better than yesterday's. Regardless of these frustrations, I love the trying, thanks in part to my love of the technic craft involved. I'm well aware that for many, the technical is not a significant part of the thought process, and that the creativity and end result will always be more important. I get this - it doesn't matter too much if you understand things like hyperfocal distances as long as you can point the camera at the right things and get the shots you want. This is even easier with modern technology that can do a lot of the work for us, but personally I can't (and wouldn't want to) separate the science from the art, I'm too interested in the former.

    Now next up, I couldn't write about photography without talking about gear.. And yes I've developed a serious case of GAS....... Gear acquisition syndrome, of course. I think the most important thing I've learnt is that the gear doesn't really matter too much.. Sure, there are some cameras and lenses better suited to certain jobs, and at times there's no getting around this. For 'normal' everyday use, though, the differences can fade away somewhat.

    When I upgraded from my kit standard zoom, I read review after review and ended up getting a Sigma 18-35 f1.8 Art lens. I got this as the reviews were all blown away by its quality, there simply wasn't another zoom like it. I was happy as Larry, until I started to use it. Why? Well, that f1.8 comes with a cost. It's huge, and it's heavy - it is simply no fun to carry around all day. It's also restrictive. 35mm is a great focal length* (my girlfriend is just getting into photography, and I got her a 35mm prime as a starting point). Is it sharp, high contrast, minimal distortion and CA? Sure. It takes beautiful photos. The thing is though, for my use - and by that I mean viewing my photos on digital devices and printing no larger than A4-ish size prints, it's just not necessary. I recently purchased a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 on ebay for 1/7th the cost of the sigma (it's well used, but in no way that affects the photos), and the pictures it takes (with the aforementioned viewing conditions) are almost indistinguishable from the Sigmas.

    *I'm still shooting APSC, so keep in mind that's a 50mm lens in terms of full frame field of view.

    I still use my Sigma when I have the time to really set up the shot (it has some focus woes - a huge part of why I downgraded to the Tamron for my walkaround lens.. doesn't matter how sharp the lens is if it doesn't focus), but the Tamron has replaced it as my day to day lens. It's great! If I were starting over, I'd never bother with the Sigma. I'd still upgrade to a constant f2.8 zoom from the comparatively slow kit lenses, but I wouldn't spend a fortune just for something shiny - in this case it ended up being only a nuisance to use. Marketing will tell us we need that sharper lens or that wider aperture, but it really pays to think carefully about how you want to use the lens, and how you will view the photos afterwards.

    Now with the sensible out of the way, let me say that despite all I've just said I'd still have a room full of 50 lenses, each more impractical than the last, if I could. It goes back to enjoying the craft of it. I just love some of my lenses for how they are made and what they do. The list of gear I'd love to own doesn't seem to get any smaller no matter how sensible I try to make my purchases. Instead I'd just leave more of it at home during those longer trips away, and only take out the more niche or 'better quality' stuff when I've got the luxury of time and a car boot to lug it all around in. There are some photos I've taken that we do want to print in larger formats, and lenses like the Sigma enable that without any sacrifice in quality, but for a 6+ month tour of Asia I'm not convinced that these few examples are really worth the negatives! It goes back to that question of what you want to do with your work.

    Well that'll do for now. Maybe some of you have found this relatable. I'm sure I'm not the only one here to go on a similar journey. We (technologically minded folk, as many keen PC gamers are, I think) tend to love shiny things, and photography can offer these in abundance. I'd more than suggest anyone looking for a new camera or a new lens to post up here about it first, maybe you can learn from our mistakes to save yourself some cash and end up with the gear that actually best suits your needs! I will say again that I love photography, and love the tech involved. I'll no doubt ignore all of my own advice and stockpile ridiculous lens after ridiculous lens as I continue to enjoy the art, but hey we medics have always erred towards do as I say and not as I do, right?





    For any interested, here's a list of my current gear, and the excuses I tell myself to get a good night's sleep.

    Pentax K-3 - my dad took my old K-50 and I upgraded to Pentax's (at the time) top APSC camera. I can't for the life of me remember why, but I'm glad I did. I adore this thing. It is built like a tank, has survived tropical monsoons and my everyday abuse with barely a mark to show for it. It packs a feature list that punches well above it's weight, and I'd recommend it or its successors to anyone. I specifically didn't go into camera brands as I believe they are all more than capable of producing beautiful photos in the right hands. Sure there may be pros and cons, but unless you're spending thousands on the top of the line cannikons or mirrorless bodies, you're compromising somewhere. This pentax has been wonderful to use, and although the lens line up may be more limited than its rivals, there still seems to be a 'lens for everything', so I can't say I see it as a problem going forwards.

    Sigma 18-35 f1.8 - I've said enough in the novel above. Would not buy again, even if it does have the potential to take truly incredible quality photos. I'll likely sell this and buy a wide angle prime for astrophotography instead, as this is really the only thing the Sigma beats the Tamron on by a large enough margin for my personal use.

    Tamron 17-50 f2.8 - A cheaper and nicer to use replacement for the Sigma above. I'd buy another if this one got thrown off of a cliff, or something...

    Pentax 50-135 f2.8 - Equivalent to the 70-200s in full frame field of view, this lens is great. It's compact enough given its focal range and aperture, and takes beautiful photos pretty much throughout the range, wide open. I've printed fairly tight crops of images shot at f5.6 and f8 and they have surprised me with their quality. At these apertures this lens works wonders.

    Pentax 200 f2.8 - I love animals, particularly birds, and the above lens just doesn't get me in close enough. This prime is as sharp as the Sigma, and has buckets of character. I fall in love every time I use it. Its fairly big and heavy, but I still don't regret travelling with it - its just such a joy to use whenever I find the chance.

    Pentax 300 f4 - I got this in the black Friday sales for a great price. Its currently sitting in the UK some 7,000 miles away from me. I can't wait to see what it's like on a trip out to the woods.. I just hope I find it 'enough' of an upgrade in reach compared to the 200.. I may end up selling one of them, we will see.





    When I'm back in the UK, I'll edit and post some of the highlights from our travels here. Then perhaps it'll be time to arrange a dMw photography field trip, ey?

    Now I hope this wall of text doesn't break anything...
    Last edited by Chaosphere; 22nd February 2018 at 06:19 AM.
    The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

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