Any photographers in the house?

You can get a hell of a lot better prime lens than you can a zoom for the same money. If you're looking for "reach out and touch", I'd recommend a 100. With the APS sized imager you have on your XSi, that will be close to a 150 and faster than anything you'll ever find in a zoom at any price. If you need bigger, get closer.

Paleocon wrote:

If you're looking for "reach out and touch", I'd recommend a 100. With the APS sized imager you have on your XSi, that will be close to a 150 and faster than anything you'll ever find in a zoom at any price. If you need bigger, get closer.

On a trip to Alaska? I agree with your assessment of the state of lenses in general terms, but I imagine there are some circumstances where you're going to want 300mm or more.

IMAGE(http://www.alaska-in-pictures.com/data/media/2/katmai-brown-bear-family_6656.jpg)

Paleocon wrote:

You can get a hell of a lot better prime lens than you can a zoom for the same money. If you're looking for "reach out and touch", I'd recommend a 100. With the APS sized imager you have on your XSi, that will be close to a 150 and faster than anything you'll ever find in a zoom at any price. If you need bigger, get closer.

I may go best of both worlds and buy the lower priced zoom for versatility, and rent a higher end prime for the one trip. Unfortunately the "get closer" tactic won't work in this case unless I bribe the ship's captain to steer nearer shore...

I've always wanted Nikon to make something like the Canon 70-200/4. My favorite old Nikon lens was the 75-150/3.5, which was small, light, and long enough. The F4 is usually fast enough, and much more usable than a 5.6. But you get this speed without the huge size/weight/cost penalty of the 2.8 zooms. Find one used.

Teneman wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

You can get a hell of a lot better prime lens than you can a zoom for the same money. If you're looking for "reach out and touch", I'd recommend a 100. With the APS sized imager you have on your XSi, that will be close to a 150 and faster than anything you'll ever find in a zoom at any price. If you need bigger, get closer.

I may go best of both worlds and buy the lower priced zoom for versatility, and rent a higher end prime for the one trip. Unfortunately the "get closer" tactic won't work in this case unless I bribe the ship's captain to steer nearer shore...

A fast prime is definitely preferable to a slower zoom under the circumstances you've mentioned. If you're on a boat, you're not going to have the luxury of the world's most stable shooting platform, so shooting slow with tripod probably won't help you.

I've been into photography for a number of years now. I don't get out shooting nearly as much as I used to though.

I currently have a Nikon D90 and an old Nikon FE manual. I only have these lenses: Nikon 18-120 3.5-5.6 (kit lens), Tamron 70-200 2.8 (used, mediocre quality), Nikon 50mm 1.8, Nikon 28mm 2.8 (used and old, but still so so good).

Tips:

  • Get a circular polarizer. This thing pretty much lives on the end of whatever lens I'm shooting with.
  • Get down - don't shoot from a standing position. A simple change in perspective opens up a lot.
  • Understand basic composition as well as when/how the 'rules' can be broken
  • A good picture is a good picture - no amount of post-processing can change what wasn't there to begin with. In this thought, don't be afraid to erase pictures.

I use Photoshop for post-processing. I usually don't bother with raw format for most things, especially with the sheer size of files that come off the D90. I find that a fine jpg works well for most everything. I probably should use something like Picassa for tagging and organization, but with about 20,000 pictures stored in folders by date and event only, it's a rather daunting task.

Post processing tips (in photoshop):

  • Local contrast: Use the unsharp mask on the full resolution image - radius 60-100 pixels (adjust as you like). Amount ~10%
  • Web resolution sharpens: This is useful if your image host doesn't automatically scale post-processed files. This is not suitable for printing. Unsharp mask again - radius 0.2 pixels, amount >300%
  • Learn Photoshop's blending layers (Curves, Hue, etc) and layer blending options (multiply, hard light, screen, etc..). The only filters you'll ever really need: Gausian Blur, Unsharp Mask, and maaaybe Find Edges for some fancy fancy sharpening techniques.

Edit: Picasa account since I wiped my site and and working on an PHP RSS reader to picasa.

I absolutely destroyed nearly 700 shots because I over exposed them. =\ I forgot to turn down the damn ISO! Argh.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thereal...
http://ihardlyknowher.com/therealedw...

Edwin wrote:

I absolutely destroyed nearly 700 shots because I over exposed them. = I forgot to turn down the damn ISO! Argh.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thereal...
http://ihardlyknowher.com/therealedw...

I feel your pain - been there myself. I was shooting once with a slow tele indoors, so I bumped the ISO upto 1600. Went to a cafe for lunch, switched to the 50mm for some portaits but forgot to turn down the ISO. And I was shooting at f/2 - ruined some great shots completely

Edwin wrote:

I absolutely destroyed nearly 700 shots because I over exposed them. = I forgot to turn down the damn ISO! Argh.

On this one one you could have gone to a much smaller aperture and been okay.

What would you say would've been a better f stop for that one?

Edwin wrote:

What would you say would've been a better f stop for that one?

Bright sunlight & outdoors + Aim of the shot being just to capture a moment? I would say you could have gone for the safest aperture in the book: f/8

As I was doing my write up for my blog, I remembered a few things. With the bulk of the rented face mask, I had an exceptionally hard time to compose my shots. Since the 20D is an older camera, the screen is really small and the histogram on the camera only shows one color. Pretty useless to see if you blew out the whites or under exposed the dark's. Since I was photographing subjects in cover, most of them were dark while the bright South Florida sky was very over exposed.

Anyone have a guide or tips for adding a water mark in Lightroom?

Edwin wrote:

As I was doing my write up for my blog, I remembered a few things. With the bulk of the rented face mask, I had an exceptionally hard time to compose my shots. Since the 20D is an older camera, the screen is really small and the histogram on the camera only shows one color. Pretty useless to see if you blew out the whites or under exposed the dark's. Since I was photographing subjects in cover, most of them were dark while the bright South Florida sky was very over exposed.

Anyone have a guide or tips for adding a water mark in Lightroom?

If you are trying to light up darker subjects against a bright sky, it doesn't hurt to use some fill-flash - I know you don't like using a flash, but this is one situation that definitely benefits from a little flash usage.

Re: watermarking in LR: The long way is to use an Identity Plate within Lightroom, like this article describes. The shorter way is to use LR2/Mogrify - which is free for exporting 10 images at a time and is unlocked by a donation of any amount to the plugin author.

I haven't been big into LR or Aperture, but I have been giving the trials a go recently. I have been playing with the LR beta 3 for a month or so and I do appreciate the bulk editing capabilities. I was planning on picking up LR, but now with Apples Aperture 3 out and playing with it I am kinda torn and being indecisive.

Any thoughts on the two?

You kinda have to try both and see which one works better for you. Workflow can be a pretty personal thing. I ended up sticking with Lightroom partly because the flow works better for me and partly because I had a few thousand pictures that I had processed in Adobe Camera Raw and I wanted to be able to maintain those settings. YMMV.

Edwin wrote:

As I was doing my write up for my blog, I remembered a few things. With the bulk of the rented face mask, I had an exceptionally hard time to compose my shots. Since the 20D is an older camera, the screen is really small and the histogram on the camera only shows one color. Pretty useless to see if you blew out the whites or under exposed the dark's. Since I was photographing subjects in cover, most of them were dark while the bright South Florida sky was very over exposed.

Anyone have a guide or tips for adding a water mark in Lightroom?

If you're concerned about blowing out one color or another, decide what you want to be the central focal point of your picture and meter to it. You aren't going to capture more than a couple stops in either direction from it regardless of what you do. That's just the limits of the technology and, frankly, your ability to perceive. This is one of the many reasons I always tell folks that among one of the hardest subjects to ever shoot is dark skinned black people in white suits. You either end up with floating heads or black cutouts on suits irrespective of how you light or compose it.

Hand metering or spot metering to a gray card will definitely help as well.

Paleocon wrote:
Edwin wrote:

As I was doing my write up for my blog, I remembered a few things. With the bulk of the rented face mask, I had an exceptionally hard time to compose my shots. Since the 20D is an older camera, the screen is really small and the histogram on the camera only shows one color. Pretty useless to see if you blew out the whites or under exposed the dark's. Since I was photographing subjects in cover, most of them were dark while the bright South Florida sky was very over exposed.

Anyone have a guide or tips for adding a water mark in Lightroom?

If you're concerned about blowing out one color or another, decide what you want to be the central focal point of your picture and meter to it. You aren't going to capture more than a couple stops in either direction from it regardless of what you do. That's just the limits of the technology and, frankly, your ability to perceive. This is one of the many reasons I always tell folks that among one of the hardest subjects to ever shoot is dark skinned black people in white suits. You either end up with floating heads or black cutouts on suits irrespective of how you light or compose it.

Hand metering or spot metering to a gray card will definitely help as well.

I have seen these. They seem a pretty ingenious way of doing white balance in various environments. Thought i'd share if no one has stubbled across them.

Also, any tips on installing a focusing screen in a Pentax K-X? If I'm going to shoot manual, I want a focusing screen. If I want to use older K-mount prime lenses, I need to shoot manual.

Paleocon wrote:

Also, any tips on installing a focusing screen in a Pentax K-X? If I'm going to shoot manual, I want a focusing screen. If I want to use older K-mount prime lenses, I need to shoot manual.

No tips since I've never done it, but I've been curious about it too. Here's the installation PDF manual direct from Katz Eye's website: http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/files/install6.pdf

I've been learning and trying different things with our new Nikon D3000. Here are a few snaps I took of one of my favorite subjects (my son). I especially like the last one.

IMAGE(http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e361/SyllverViper/David/davidsmile.jpg)

I love the soft focus on the side, and of course his epic cowlick.

IMAGE(http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e361/SyllverViper/David/Davidpopup1.jpg)

This one is more for context for the next one, where he seems deep in thought while grasping his pop-up book.

IMAGE(http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e361/SyllverViper/David/Davidpopup2.jpg)

With this one, I was lying on the floor, shooting up from inside the pop-up book. I really like how this one turned out.

*relocated from the Tech forum*

OMG OMG 50mm f/0.95 lens
and so far it's only available for the micro 4/3 -

Indy can now take portraits in the black hole.

Novocain wrote:

*relocated from the Tech forum*

OMG OMG 50mm f/0.95 lens
and so far it's only available for the micro 4/3 -

Indy can now take portraits in the black hole.

so what mounting system does it have? i glanced at the link but it wasn't apparent

Novocain wrote:

*relocated from the Tech forum*

OMG OMG 50mm f/0.95 lens
and so far it's only available for the micro 4/3 -

Indy can now take portraits in the black hole.

Actually if I bought that lens and told my wife how much it was, I'd probably end up in a black hole. Its a bit chunky, and with the 2x focal distance magnification on 4/3rd systems, it would be 100mm equivalent, which would limits its general usefulness. It also lacks autofocus, which would make it super hard to focus in low light with that shallow DOF. I'd still love to play with it.

Blotto The Clown wrote:
Novocain wrote:

*relocated from the Tech forum*

OMG OMG 50mm f/0.95 lens
and so far it's only available for the micro 4/3 -

Indy can now take portraits in the black hole.

so what mounting system does it have? i glanced at the link but it wasn't apparent

It's for the micro 4/3 (apparently they share the same mounting mechanism?) so Panasonic GF1, GH1, Olympus Penis-1 or whatever it's called.
and Indy is right about the lack of auto focus. It's going to be a bitch to focus this thing wide open.

hmmm, I have an olympus. I didnt realize it was a common mount. I would like to try this lens before I buy one.

Novocain wrote:

It's for the micro 4/3 (apparently they share the same mounting mechanism?) so Panasonic GF1, GH1, Olympus Penis-1 or whatever it's called.

I'd expect the mounts to be different so the makers could steer people to their own lenses, but maybe there's an adapter ring? If focusing is manual than there's no need for the lens and body to share an autofocus system.

There are tons of adapters from various lens mount standards to the Micro-4/3... the short lens to image plane distance makes it easy to do this sort of thing.

You can use Leica, Nikon, Canon, Olympus, 4/3rds and others, iirc.

Ok, I'm back to reprise my question from a page ago. I finally got around to picking up the lens this weekend, I had planned on getting the Canon EF 75-300 f/4-5.6 III USM per our earlier discussion.

Unfortunately the store I went to didn't carry it, and tried (somewhat successfully) to convince me that this Canon EF 75-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM would serve me far better for the role. Their primary argument (other than the extra $350 in their pocket) was that the Image Stabilization which was missing from the cheaper lens was going to be critical to my long distance shots from the boat.

So that leads to two questions.

First, how important is that IS going to be for me, really. I want to get good shots, but I don't necessarily need professional quality.

Second, if I do go with the cheaper lens does anyone have experience with buying sensitive electronics like this through Amazon? I love me some Amazon for most things, but have always been a bit leery of making electronic purchases through the mail, particularly since the lens isn't even Amazon directly but one of their resellers...

IS is fantastic if you are taking pictures of things that are standing still and for whatever reason you can't control camera movement to the extent that you would like to.

IS is less fantastic if your subject is also moving.

In general, if you can afford it and you would otherwise use the lens, IS is money well spent.

The only caveat is that IS is *not* a substitute for large aperture. But since you were gonna buy the non-IS 4-5.6 lens anyway, this doesn't appear to be a concern for you.

Edit: I have found amazon and B&H photo to be good places to buy online.

your 75-300 link goes to a 70-300 lens. Only worth mentioning because the older version of the lens you linked is a 75-300, which gets much more negative reviews than the newer one.

The newer one gets pretty decent reviews from most, but gets trashed by the L crowd. I personally think its probably a pretty decent lens, and have been looking into getting one myself.

On IS...that feature on that lens is said to be worth about 3 stops. So while without it you'll be looking to shoot higher that 1/500 to avoid softness from camera shake, with it you can knock that down to about 1/60. What this gets you is better performance in low light situations. If for some reason you are shooting faster than 1/500, due to either subject movement or lots of available light, IS is really a moot point.

On other trick that this lens has is an IS mode that does vertical IS only. This is useful for getting shots of moving subjects with blurred backgrounds. Kinda neat, but pretty gimmicky. Looks like this