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07-21-2011, 07:26 PM   #61
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QuoteOriginally posted by stover98074 Quote
I think starting with the best image is a fair point and I have certainly changed the look of an image via post processing.

I would not consider good manual focus lenses as cheap - rather I view them as inexpensive and good deals. It allows for a host of focal lengths without breaking the bank.

Adding one more image to the mix. This one taken with an old Takumar 135 3.5 preset lens.
There are some excellent MF lenses that can be had for very low prices. I am not referring to those.

There are older less expensive lenses that work great in controlled situations. If the lighting and background are favorable then things like harsh bokeh and purple fringing is not an issue.

I want the best image possible to start with. Where I take it from there is up to me. It is like shooting in RAW. IF you shoot JPEG you are limiting what you can do with the image. If I shoot with a lens with a lot of "character" then I am stuck with that character as it is hard to remove "character" in with post processing.

When I was in school I had cheap lenses..... I mean "artsy". Grainy T-max 3200 and lots of character. I still duplicate that look now for bands or people who want that. I have shot musicians who want the 60's Rolling Stone Magazine look. I always start with a high quality DNG file and work from there.

People can argue all they want about it. There is a reason MF Zeiss, Leica, Olympus glass cost as much or more than most newer AF lenses.

12-24-2011, 06:51 AM   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
You are being very sloppy with the language.

"Quality" = better lens or better image?

If you mean better image

Than look at it this way:

Would you rather hear a Beethoven concerto played on a well tuned $10000 home upright piano by the worlds best concert pianist

or

Played by a first year music student on $500000 Steinway concert grand?
"...Look at the big brain on Brad!"
12-24-2011, 10:12 AM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rainy Day Quote
if I took exactly the same photo from my cheapie telephotos, and then another telephoto that costs 10 times more, would the more expensive model create a better exposure on its own merits?

Or, rather, does the creation of a great photo lie more in the way the photographer takes the photo, ie manipulating DOF, lighting, etc etc?
For your own photos and personal satisfaction, if you know what you want to do and can't do it with the cheaper lens but can with the more expensive one, the expensive glass definitely helps.

For example, I now have the 100mm f2.8 DFA WR macro lens because with my non-WR zoom at 100mm, I couldn't:

- blur out the background nicely, for indoor H&S portraits
- take large enough photos of small objects (from small flowers down to tiny insects)
- get as much centre sharpness as I occasionally wanted, while keeping a nice out of focus background
- get enough edge to edge sharpness on landscapes for large prints
- go out in the rain and shoot, or go down to the beach on a windy day and keep the blowing sand and salt out.

So I bought the expensive prime and now, even as a useless photographer (by professional and most of the photographers standards in here) I can do these things in a way that lets me produce nice photos that I like, at large sizes. So yes, I think expensive glass can benefit even feeble photographers like me, but you must be clear about what you want to do with it - and how it will help you to do specific things that you like, and couldn't do before.

But for great photos in the eyes of others, I think that's down mainly to the photographer's eye and very little down to the cost of the glass (but it may help a great photographer to get more difficult shots).

Last edited by Dave L; 12-24-2011 at 04:48 PM.
12-24-2011, 04:45 PM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rainy Day Quote
...if I took exactly the same photo from my cheapie telephotos, and then another telephoto that costs 10 times more, would the more expensive model create a better exposure on its own merits?
Yes...in most situations, the better lens will give you a better image. Whether the amount of improvement in IQ is equal to the increase in price of the lens is a personal decision.


QuoteQuote:
...does the creation of a great photo lie more in the way the photographer takes the photo, ie manipulating DOF, lighting, etc etc?
The answer is again..."yes", IMHO. But you can answer this question for yourself. Look at photographs you admire and ask yourself why you think the image is successful. Is it the lens or the idea and it's execution?

12-24-2011, 05:14 PM   #65
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What you need to do in photography will give you your lens requirements.

I need to shoot pictures of people on stage from a significant distance away in very low light. This instantly makes my Tamron 70-200 F2.8 worth its weight in gold over my old F 80-200 F4.7-5.6. Yes, it was worth the 12x cost difference - to get the same sharpness as my 70-200 at 2.8, the 80-200 had to be at F8. However, at F8, the 80-200 wasn't so far behind the 70-200 at F8 as well. And it was lighter, shorter, smaller filter size, etc. So without the restriction of shooting stage shots, the 80-200 can get pictures that are as good. At that point, it comes down to the photographer.

Mind you, this is regarding equivalent lenses where the price difference is the speed (another example is the 28-70 F4 vs F2.8). For lenses like the 35 1.8 vs the 43 1.9 ($1k vs $500), that's another issue.
12-24-2011, 06:30 PM - 1 Like   #66
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Somehow, this thread got resurrected. My opinion is that the photographer matters much more than the lens. Furthermore, the photographer's skill at digital editing is far more important the the lens and the camera combined. I say this as one who uses only high quality gear, but the truth is that good post-processing trumps everything else except artistic vision.

Rob

Last edited by robgo2; 12-26-2011 at 04:58 PM.
12-26-2011, 10:25 AM   #67
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A skilled practitioner will do well with the tools at hand, and that may include not taking shots that he knows he couldn't do well. In some cases the more expensive tool allows him to do things he couldn't do otherwise.

I'm not a professional or even skilled photographer, just enjoying the learning and challenge of the hobby. In my other iteration I am a skilled tradesman and I have some tools that are very simple and basic, others that are specialized and expensive. I choose them to do what I need to do, or to make my life easier in some instances.
12-26-2011, 10:57 AM   #68
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There is a hierarchy of elements necessary for photography. In decreasing order of importance:

1) photographer -- if you don't know what you're doing, nothing else much matters
2) subject -- a perfectly composed+exposed shot of boring crap is still boring crap
3) light -- we capture light, not subjects; without adequate light, nothing else helps
4) lens -- light can be captured with various lenses; selection *might* be important
5) camera -- a box for hanging lenses, but many modern cameras are very similar

Yes, for some subjects and situations, the choice of lenses may be critical. For others, not so much so. For many, it really doesn't matter. It's up to the togger to decide what matters and what to shoot with. Many scenes can be shot just as well with an old US$20 MF folder as with US$10k of gear. Prize-winning (and published!) shots are made with Holgas and Nokias. Specialized situations may demand specialized tools. Other scenarios don't. Such is reality.

12-26-2011, 11:49 AM   #69
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I good lens will make it easier for you to do your job, which will result in a better image. It's still *you* who is responsible for the good image. The merits of a fast 50, say, are the low-barrier to entry access to an f1.4. Does the lens look "good" at f1.4? A lot of people would say "no". But if you can think of f1.4 as a tool in your box, it might be easier for you to achieve your desired effect than if you only had an f4 zoom.

As for a wide angle zoom, just pick the one with the handling you like best. I would be more worried about build quality than IQ for something like a WA. Also, flare resistance.
12-26-2011, 01:26 PM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I good lens will make it easier for you to do your job, which will result in a better image. It's still *you* who is responsible for the good image.
I'll agree with the latter, and rephrase the former: A good lens *can* make the job easier and *may* give a better image, depending on what we mean by 'better'. (It all depends on what 'is' is, eh?)

An example: the Tamron 17-50/2.8 is by all accounts a splendid lens... within its range, which doesn't include UWA, tele, macro, ultrafast, etc. In a mucky situation, we might be much more likely to use a lowly DA18-55 (WR or not) instead, not wanting to sacrifice the Tammy. I've considered the Tammy but I have other ways of dealing with that range, with lenses that might not be 'better' but that are quite appropriate (mostly faster manual primes) -- and paid for! If I'm ever forced to shoot small weddings, the Tammy will be perfect. Otherwise it's not. So it all depends...
12-27-2011, 03:01 PM   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
The single greatest step that most photographers could take to improve their photographs is to learn how to use their editing software.
I am inclined to think that there is great wisdom in this statement. What are great ways to accomplish this? I have PSP Photo X2 Ultimate - I have read the manual several times, played with the program, taken tutorials - not sure that I'm much better at PP than when I started. Any suggestions?
12-27-2011, 08:39 PM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
There is a hierarchy of elements necessary for photography. In decreasing order of importance:

1) photographer -- if you don't know what you're doing, nothing else much matters
2) subject -- a perfectly composed+exposed shot of boring crap is still boring crap
3) light -- we capture light, not subjects; without adequate light, nothing else helps
4) lens -- light can be captured with various lenses; selection *might* be important
5) camera -- a box for hanging lenses, but many modern cameras are very similar

Yes, for some subjects and situations, the choice of lenses may be critical. For others, not so much so. For many, it really doesn't matter. It's up to the togger to decide what matters and what to shoot with. Many scenes can be shot just as well with an old US$20 MF folder as with US$10k of gear. Prize-winning (and published!) shots are made with Holgas and Nokias. Specialized situations may demand specialized tools. Other scenarios don't. Such is reality.
This.

Now, given that I am the photographer, and there isnt much I can do with money for my subjects, then the next thing for me to take a look at is light. And lights are expensive. Pocketwizard realizes the importance of light to photographer when they charge 500 dollars for a pair. If I have a lot of money, i will buy lots of lights. With different qualities. I can probably capture similar image at 45mm with a 16-45 2.8 or a 16-50 2.8. Or I can probably capture a similar image at 125mm with a voigtlander 125mm 2.8 as with a 50-135 at 125mm. However...I will totally capture a different image with a 1000 watt strobe with a 3 foot light bank as with an on camera flash.

So money does matter...if you were buying lights. To me.
12-27-2011, 08:48 PM   #73
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
I am inclined to think that there is great wisdom in this statement. What are great ways to accomplish this? I have PSP Photo X2 Ultimate - I have read the manual several times, played with the program, taken tutorials - not sure that I'm much better at PP than when I started. Any suggestions?
I think you want the PSP photo x4 now...they are cheap anyway, you can probably get it south of 50 bucks new..compared to photoshop at whatever they are charging.
Now in terms of PP, you need to know what you are looking to accomplish in your pictures. THere are tons of tutorials out there that goes to explain a lot of things in a lot of different direction, but may not be what you need. In terms of PP for your own photos, a lot of times you only need to know several things, very well.

For example, if you were into landscape, I'd suggest you to learn :

1. Sharpening methods. There are a lot, but not many are subtle and effective. You have to find one or several that works for your image.
2. Colour manipulation.

and i'd also look into HDR....because correct implementation of HDR will do wonders for landscape photography.


Thats it. If you were into portrait, there'd be other things you need to look at instead.
12-28-2011, 07:03 AM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
There is a hierarchy of elements necessary for photography. In decreasing order of importance:

1) photographer
2) subject
3) light
4) lens
5) camera
A good ranking, but I think I would flip-flop subject and light. Great light can elevate even the most mundane subjects. There are situations where the subject trumps the light, but in those cases it often trumps photographer, lens, and camera, too. It's the "f8 and be there" rule.
12-28-2011, 08:30 AM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
A good ranking, but I think I would flip-flop subject and light. Great light can elevate even the most mundane subjects. There are situations where the subject trumps the light, but in those cases it often trumps photographer, lens, and camera, too. It's the "f8 and be there" rule.
I can think of specific situations where a gang of toggers are shooting the same action at the same time in the same light; one gets a Pulitzer prize, and the rest are forgotten. So #1 stays in place. (**) I'll agree that #2 and #3 may sometimes switch places. But #4 and #5 are firmly down there in last place.

(**) That prize-winning shot may beat its competitors only because the togger was 'lucky' enough to hit the shutter at exactly the right moment from exactly the right angle. But that luck accrues to the togger and their experience. I'll cite pioneering PJ Alfred Eisenstaedt who said that a PJ doesn't need deep intelligence, just FAST intelligence. IMHO this is the same as HCB's 'decisive moment' and it trumps all other factors in photography.
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