Digital Camera Buyer's Guide Introduction - Comments

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  • #51
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Zooms or Primes

What type of lenses do you experienced photographers prefer to shoot with most of the time. I currently only own two zoom lenses (one being the kit lens) and I'm thinking about either getting 1 or 2 primes or a nice large aperture zoom lens. I mostly care about image quality right now so I'm thinking about adding some primes to the collection but is there really that significant of a difference between a good zoom lens and a good prime?


Pic taken earlier today with the Pentax 18-55mm WR kit lens:
2rwndpv.jpg
 
  • #52
Borek
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is there really that significant of a difference between a good zoom lens and a good prime?
In my experience - yes, primes are better.

How come you bought a Nikon and you shot with Pentax?
 
  • #53
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Yes the Pentax K-5 is a great camera, best in class for high ISO noise. But if you insist on comparing with Canikon, the available glass for Pentax is not the best. It may be harder to find what you like.

A comparison between zoom or primes is apples and oranges. Yes primes trend to be sharper because they can be simpler but there are many (expensive) zooms outperforming (cheaper) primes. But when you find yourself constantly changing primes, missing shots, whereas you could have solved the situation with a simple turn of the zoom ring, make sure you have some zooms as well.

Quality is expensive and this looks like a good one
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1234/cat/46
 
  • #54
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I ended up purchasing a Pentax 40mm f/2.8 prime lens today. I figured I'd try it out and see how I liked it since prime lenses are suppose to be Pentax's specialty.


How come you bought a Nikon and you shot with Pentax?
I ended up canceling/returning the order for the Nikon. After trying it out again at the store it felt too much like a soccer mom's camera. To add to that, nice glass from Nikon is very expensive. Sure, the lens selection for Nikon is much greater but it seemed that I needed to spend nearly twice as much to get decent basic lenses.

The K-5 is a VERY nice feeling camera. Compact, sturdy, great ergonomics, and the weather resistance is a big plus too.

But when you find yourself constantly changing primes, missing shots, whereas you could have solved the situation with a simple turn of the zoom ring, make sure you have some zooms as well.
Right now I have the kit 18-55mm and DA 55-300mm lenses so I've got just about all the focal lengths covered. The kit lens will get replaced eventually (performs great for such a cheap lens though) and I really like the 55-300mm. I'll probably get the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 somewhere down the road to replace the kit lens. I'm still shooting a lot and not quite sure what focal lengths I want in a walk around lens.
 
  • #55
Andy Resnick
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What type of lenses do you experienced photographers prefer to shoot with most of the time. I currently only own two zoom lenses (one being the kit lens) and I'm thinking about either getting 1 or 2 primes or a nice large aperture zoom lens. I mostly care about image quality right now so I'm thinking about adding some primes to the collection but is there really that significant of a difference between a good zoom lens and a good prime?
Outdoors, I shoot a 15mm f/3.5(Nikon), 85 mm f/1.4 (Zeiss) and 400mm f/2.8 (Nikon). When I go wandering around, I'll take either the 15mm or 85mm (rarely both). I prefer primes for aesthetic reasons- it forces me to think more. For the macro/micro shots, I use more specialized equipment- I have a favorite lens just for reflected DIC imaging, a (different) favorite lens for transmitted DIC, another for phase contrast, another one or two for macro, others for darkfield, etc.

There are good quality zoom lenses- some have a surprisingly large range of focal length. For me, I went to the extremes beyond zoom coverage- although there are 12-24mm zooms, they don't have an aperture ring and they have more distortion than the 15mm. I was considering the Voightlander 12mm, but I'd have trouble using that lens with my camera.

It's important to realize that good lenses are designed to image a few things really well, so you should think about what you want to photograph- landscapes? wild animals? people? buildings? studio work? night/dim light? Each of those subjects has different requirements in terms of focal length and aperture. Again, there are some good zooms that can cover a large range of subjects.
 
  • #56
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Well I got my new prime the other day and so far I really like it. Not only is the lens extremely well made but the IQ is incredible. I won't be able to put it through its paces until later this weekend but so far I'm very happy with it. I'm really tempted to get the DA* 55mm f1.4 but I guess I should pace myself and not blow my entire bank account on lenses.

106io90.jpg
 
  • #57
Borek
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If you want to be able to compare lenses you should post uncropped 1:1 part of the image. At 640 pix even pictures taken with cheap, idiot cameras look perfect.

And I think we should move the discussion to photography thread, or start lenses thread.
 
  • #60
I'm not interested with DSLR coz I find it complicated to use, lol. I have a Samsung Galaxy Camara. It works like a semi-smart phone too. The only difference is that you cannot make a call but you can send and receive sms. You can immediately post the photos to facebook and other social media channels. It is so easy to use.
 
  • #61
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Looking forward to the rest of the series! One question though. With the meteoric rise in smartphone cameras, is the quick shot camera near death? I believe the only advantage at the moment is a bit of zoom?
 
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  • #62
DaveC426913
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I think this may be the very first PF Insights I've ever followed.

Write faster please.
 
  • #63
DaveC426913
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This is surely outside the scope of this article, but I am interested to see if taking RAW format pics is of any benefit to me. I've taken some test photos in the 'JPG and RAW' mode, and used RAW image software, but frankly I can't see much I would do to the RAW image - at least, nothing that isn't otherwise doable in PhotoShop. The compression that comes wth JPG images does not seem to be mitigated noticeably in a RAW image.
 
  • #64
davenn
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This is surely outside the scope of this article, but I am interested to see if taking RAW format pics is of any benefit to me. I've taken some test photos in the 'JPG and RAW' mode, and used RAW image software, but frankly I can't see much I would do to the RAW image - at least, nothing that isn't otherwise doable in PhotoShop. The compression that comes wth JPG images does not seem to be mitigated noticeably in a RAW image.
I primarily only shoot in RAW. it has the huge advantage of being able to push the image much further than in JPG .... much, much further

The compression that comes wth JPG images does not seem to be mitigated noticeably in a RAW image
until you start doing serious editing then you quickly find out the problems assoc. with JPG's :wink:

Dave
 
  • #65
davenn
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Looking forward to the rest of the series! One question though. With the meteoric rise in smartphone cameras, is the quick shot camera near death? I believe the only advantage at the moment is a bit of zoom?
great question, Greg.
Smartphone cameras have come a long way in the last 5 years. big jumps in megapix count and overall image quality.
And yes there are now even addon lenses for them, one example .. http://www.digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au/prod11943.htm
not brilliant, but it does extend the capabilities

and the general consensus is that they are considerably damaging point and shoot sales figures
from wiki
According to the NPD Group, up to end of November 2011 point-and-shoot cameras took 44 percent of photos, down from 52 percent in 2010, while camera-equipped smartphones took 27 percent of photos in 2011, up from 17 percent. Unit total sales of all types of point-and-shoot cameras declined by 17 percent year on year, but increased by 16 percent for cameras having optical zoom greater than 10x.[6] At the end of 2012, more than one brand have released point-and-shoot cameras with 24x optical superzoom[7] as compensation of sales decline and at the end of 2013 there were 30x optical point-and-shoot cameras.

P&S camera sales dropped by about 40 percent in year 2013 particularly inexpensive cameras, so Fujifilm and Olympus have stopped development of low-end P&S cameras and focused to develop mid and high-end cameras with more added value
Smartphone photography is also hurting DSLR sales as well
From DPReview, my favourite camera review site ... https://www.dpreview.com/articles/5928296460/canon-q4-earnings-report-shows-camera-sales-are-down

Canon has released its 2014 Q4 financial report, showing an overall profit increase but a continued slump in camera sales. Canon saw its quarterly operating profit - which spans from the three months leading up to December 31 - rise 5.4% year-on-year to the equivalent of $835 million (98.5 billion yen).

Despite the increase, it failed to meet analysts' expectations. Canon's imaging business saw its operating profit fall 6.2% year-on-year, with a 58.3 billion yen operating profit. Sales in that segment fell by 7.3% YOY. By region, the biggest decline in sales came from the Americas, down 11.9% from 2013.

Smartphones are cited as a big cause for the slowdown in camera sales. In 2015, the maker anticipates its compact camera sales will only hit 7.8 million units, which is a substantial decrease from 2014's 9.03 million, and predicts interchangeable lens camera sales will remain relatively flat at 6.4 million units. Still, Canon expects that this year will prove favorable as far as sales go, with the company estimating it'll bring in 3.9 trillion yen, a year-on-year increase of 4.6-percent.
DSLR's will always be there for the serious amateur and professional photographers.
There's an old saying ... " Everyone thinks they are a photographer until the take the camera from Auto to Manual mode"
And there-in lies the huge advantages of DSLR's ( or the old SLR film camera) ... you can get full control over the camera in every aspect.
almost nothing like that can be done with a smartphone camera, extremely limited. Point and Shoot cameras are much better but still have a lot of limitations.

And even DSLR's have come a very long way since @Andy Resnick first penned this insight article.
Huge leaps in lens quality, megapix count, high ISO noise control, faster focussing, image stabilised lenses, better metering to name some of them.

I'll stop waffling for now :wink:


Dave
 
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  • #66
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This is surely outside the scope of this article, but I am interested to see if taking RAW format pics is of any benefit to me. .....
A sunset over daffodils. Left: out of camera jpg. Right: heavy post-processed RAW

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/22026080/daffodils.jpg [Broken]
 
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  • #67
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I primarily only shoot in RAW. it has the huge advantage of being able to push the image much further than in JPG .... much, much further
Just make sure you have a huge memory card :)
 
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  • #68
DaveC426913
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until you start doing serious editing then you quickly find out the problems assoc. with JPG's :wink:
Maybe that's the issue. I have a little G15, not a DSLR, so it may not leverage the power of RAW.
 
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  • #69
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I am looking forward to the continued insight articles! It is a topic I am very interested in...
 
  • #70
Andy Resnick
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Looking forward to the rest of the series! One question though. With the meteoric rise in smartphone cameras, is the quick shot camera near death? I believe the only advantage at the moment is a bit of zoom?
I think you may be right- modern smartphone cameras (2016) perform as well as DSLRs from (IIRC) 2007. One area where inexpensive dedicated cameras have an advantage is the sensor size: larger fields of view, more sensitive pixels, etc.
 
  • #71
Andy Resnick
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This is surely outside the scope of this article, but I am interested to see if taking RAW format pics is of any benefit to me. I've taken some test photos in the 'JPG and RAW' mode, and used RAW image software, but frankly I can't see much I would do to the RAW image - at least, nothing that isn't otherwise doable in PhotoShop. The compression that comes wth JPG images does not seem to be mitigated noticeably in a RAW image.
I consider that a personal choice. For me, I simply can't handle the workflow required to manage routine RAW images. JPG works for me, except for astrophotography.
 

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