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Andre
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#9
Dec31-10, 03:45 PM
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Quote Quote by Andy Resnick View Post
Good idea for a thread, Andre.

I'll just toss out these two sites:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech.htm
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/index.shtml

I'll also state Andre's point that the number one most important part of any photograph is *you*- your eyes and your brain.

The second most important part is the lens. A garbage lens on a pro camera gives garbage (as always, there are exceptions- gifted photographers can use a garbagee lens and make great art: see http://www.squidoo.com/holgaFAQ). A great camera, great lens, and poor technique will also (generally) produce garbage.

The third most important part of a photo is the *lighting*. Get a decent flash, learn how to use it.

I'll mention that you are *not* really locked into a brand nowadays- you can get adapters that let you attach (pretty much) any lens onto any camera. Maybe not beginner stuff, but there's enough enthusiasts out there (and here) that can help.
Thanks for that Andy, maybe I'm allowed to comment a bit. For instance from the first site

Forget Resolution and ISO

Resolution and ISO are silly numbers used to try to sell you more expensive cameras.

Resolution, expressed in megapixels, is no longer relevant. Forget it when comparing cameras. I've made great 12 x 18" (30x45cm) prints from a 3MP camera and 40x60" (100x 150cm) prints from a 6MP camera. 6 Megapixels is all anyone needs for anything, and every camera here has two or three times that.

Resolution is nothing more than a sales pitch to get you to pay more.

Now that every camera has double-digit megapixels, camera makers invented another meaningless number they can use to extract more cash from the innocent, called ISO.

ISO is a rough measure of sensitivity to low light. It only matters if you shoot in the dark, and then shoot without flash. As soon as your flash pops up, the higher ISOs aren't used anyway. Even if you learn how to use the higher ISO settings of your camera (few people do), there isn't much difference between cameras of the same type and era, regardless of cost. All the higher ISO settings do is make the picture look grainier, and the cameras that sport the highest ISO settings look horrible at those settings!
This is a bit of misinformation, the pixelmania arguments are typically Nikon that refused to keep up in the megapixel race. It's more complex and also a function of pixel quality and lens quality. Indeed it is useless to increase pixel count if the lens is the critical limitation for more resolution but often it is not. Smaller pixels are obviously struggling with signal noise ratio but that doesn't mean that the optimum solution is in the low pixel count. And a high pixel count allows you to crop, the more the better.

<edit>
Tinypic seems out at the moment but when it's back I'll demonstrate how important that is.

Let me illustrate the importance of pixel count with this picture:


this is on 15% of the real size which is 12.1 MP of the Canon 450D, you see that I used it in the current photo challenge in a crop of 50% size. That'sthe closest I could get that picture with the 300mm zoom

This is a crop on 100% size:



So if the camera was only on say, 3.5 MP, the best I could have done was this:



So more pixels is indeed more resolution (lens depending) and a priory dismissing the higher pixel count is an unjust generalisation.

Then the high ISO. Apart from the fact that natural light is miles ahead of flashlight for a nice harmonious shot, there are also several occasions that the normal numbers fall short. If you want to do fast sports hand held with a telelens on a gloomy day or marcoshots from life insects, the situation requires high shutterspeeds and small apertures, allowing only a little light to the sensor. That's also where high iso numbers save the day.