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Author Topic: Having Multiple Camera Systems  (Read 6226 times)

ehud.eshet

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Having Multiple Camera Systems
« on: September 06, 2011, 04:10:29 PM »
Currently all I have is a Canon SX100 IS point and shoot.
In the film era, I had a Pentax SLR with 28-80 cheap lens (abandoned when went digital).

My wife takes more than 100 snapshots and several videos per month.
We want a better camera and can afford spending up to 4000$

We do not make money of photography.
Most of the snapshots are of our family.
At least half are taken indoor (low light).
About 5% are in low light plus long distance such as performance on stage.
Most of the rest is outdoor.

My wife wants a small camera and I want fast lenses.

What do you say about the following combination:
  • Canon 600D + 50mm f/1.4 + 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II
  • Panasonic GF3 + Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 + Leica Summilux DG 25mm f/1.4

This combination provides:
  • Extremely small camera for standard distance.
  • Fast lenses on both 50mm and 80mm (35 equivalence).
  • Best zoom on 100-300 (35 equivalence).

On the other hand, investing in two different camera systems costs money.

Any comments?
Any better alternative with similar cost ?

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Having Multiple Camera Systems
« on: September 06, 2011, 04:10:29 PM »

Cornershot

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2011, 04:33:49 PM »
I wouldn't call the 70-200 2.8 a compact system and many venues won't let audience members shoot with anything that looks like a professional camera. A big white bodied lens kind of stands out. And if you're shooting ballet, 2.8 won't be enough to freeze action anyways.

Your Canon option has no wide angle, which most people use more than a long zoom, especially inside. Remember that the 600D has a cropped sensor so a 50mm lens is more like 70mm. Maybe use a fast prime for shooting stage performances. A 100mm f2 is fairly cheap, very fast and relatively light. A 135 is even better but far more expensive.  A 17-55 2.8 is a nice wide angle for crop sensors and a good walk around lens.

jimmy156

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2011, 04:51:59 PM »
I have one overiding feeling when reading your post, and please don't take this the wrong way.

It seems that you want to go from a compact camera, to $4000 worth of kit to take "snapshots" of your family. That just seems crazy to me. If you have no interest in photography and learning how to use the kit to get the best results, you really wont see much benefit from having all that expensive gear! A 70-200 2.8 is a big beast, you wont be able to just pick it up and start taking great shots with it without and pratice/experience, and if your not interested in photography per se, i would imagine you would get fed up pretty quick!

AJ

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2011, 05:22:54 PM »
I agree with cornershot.

How about: 600D
17-55/2.8 IS
85/1.8 or 100/2

I've shot weddings, family gatherings, and gone traveling for months on end with a similar setup.  It's very versatile and will net you great image quality.  I'd add 55-250/4-5.6 IS for general outdoor telephoto shooting.

If the 17-55/2.8 IS is too big and heavy then consider Tamron 17-50/2.8 non-VC.  Deadly sharp, small, under-the-radar lens that delivers again and again.

thepancakeman

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2011, 06:00:25 PM »
I don't quite understand the purpose for going with 2 different systems here, and off the cuff the biggest downside is that you are buying 4 lenses but only get use of 2 depending on which body you use.  If you are within a single system, then you don't have to worry about which lens goes with which body--you get 4 lenses (budget and interest permitting) that cover any situation you can come up with regardless of which body you are using.

As to particulars, I'm going to have to disagree with jimmy156--the 70-200 2.8 is an incredible lens, and I have on many many occasions just handed it to a random person and said "here, try this" and they fall in love instantly (and are able to take decent shots without "practice/experience".)  I don't shoot a lot indoors, and with that being said I almost never take the 70-200 off the camera.

For indoors, AJ's recommendation of the Tamron 17-50/2.8 is a solid lens.  It is not going to deliver the IQ (image quality) of something like the 24-105/4.0L, but based on your description of what your doing with it I'm guessing the extra range of the Tamron would be more important to you the ultimate quality.

I realize this doesn't answer all your questions, but hopefully it'll at least help you narrow things down or give you things to think about.

$4000?  Happy shopping!!   :D

DavidRiesenberg

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2011, 06:18:38 PM »
Photography is an exercise in compromises when we have a fixed, limited budget. That is true when one has to feed one system alone, let alone two. And since you mentioned that your wife wants a compact camera, my advice would be to go with the GF3. It seems like it would be a nice, capable body and the lens selection is pretty solid on the wide and normal range. The long range is lacking very fast choices but the 40-150 and 100-300 are pretty good lenses and while in low light you'd have to bump the ISO pretty high, it should work for those 5%.

epsiloneri

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2011, 06:38:00 PM »
For indoors, AJ's recommendation of the Tamron 17-50/2.8 is a solid lens.  It is not going to deliver the IQ (image quality) of something like the 24-105/4.0L, but based on your description of what your doing with it I'm guessing the extra range of the Tamron would be more important to you the ultimate quality.

The IQ of the Tamron 17-50/2.8 non-VC lens is actually very good and well on par with the 24-105/4.0L lens on a crop body. The downsides are a noisy focus motor, no IS (the VC version is apparently not as good) and limited build quality, but the IQ and price are outstanding and as such an incredible value.


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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2011, 06:38:00 PM »

Cornershot

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2011, 07:01:46 PM »
I had a Tamron 17-50 non vc and it was a great lens. For the money, maybe one of the best EFS lens deals, though the autofocus is pretty loud. I kind of wish Tamron had gone for a quieter motor instead of the VC. The 24-105 is also great but for full frame cameras. On a crop camera, it's not as useful a range. Whereas the 17-50 is like having the 24-70, which I think is the most useful general ff lens.

Dave

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2011, 08:26:21 PM »
Forget the multiple camera systems. Choose one and stay there...

I'd start with :
- 600D Kit 18-135 (a quite good lense for long distance also)
- a 50mm 1,8 for low light (imo THE lense with the best price performance ratio)

This is about 1000 Euros. Spend the another 300 Euros in additional Equipmet (tripod etc) and then START SHOOTING!!!
For the rest of the money: Take your wife and book a good holiday. An L-Lense for family-photography is like a 747 for delivering an envelope to they guy next door: Nonsense!

Good photos you'll shoot with your creativity and NOT with your super duper expensive Equipment with red rings.

The best L-Lense won't help you to make good photos if you are not able to use it. And the best way to learn how to use a camera is to learn to work with LIMITATIONS.
If you REALLY want learn quickly: Buy a body and just a Canon 1,4 50mm. It's a great lense. But it has just a "sneakers zoom".

regards, Dave

thepancakeman

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2011, 08:37:44 PM »
For indoors, AJ's recommendation of the Tamron 17-50/2.8 is a solid lens.  It is not going to deliver the IQ (image quality) of something like the 24-105/4.0L, but based on your description of what your doing with it I'm guessing the extra range of the Tamron would be more important to you the ultimate quality.

The IQ of the Tamron 17-50/2.8 non-VC lens is actually very good and well on par with the 24-105/4.0L lens on a crop body. The downsides are a noisy focus motor, no IS (the VC version is apparently not as good) and limited build quality, but the IQ and price are outstanding and as such an incredible value.

Ya know, to be fair, our initial comparison between these two left us using the 24-105 almost exclusively (between these two lenses that is) but as I sit here thinking about it I cannot say for sure that it actually was IQ and not other things such as motor noise, focus speed, etc.   ???  I may have to break the Tamron out again and do a little more head to head comparison on them.

afira

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2011, 09:35:53 PM »
I can't think of a single woman than would willingly carry a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II around her neck or in her lap plus a handbag and camera bag during performances for her children, specifically those requiring her to stand to applaud every so often and keep that massive thing from hitting the poor patron sitting in front of her. It is a beast of a zoom. You'll also have difficulty in keeping up with the action without a flash.

I also agree with Cornershot, I've been prevented from bringing my big white into concerts unless I flash a media badge.

I would personally suggest a very good low-light video camera (Sony or Canon) around the $800-$1200 mark, use this for performances as you'll pick up more continuous action, still be able to obtain stills, be able to cart it around one-handed or place it on a tripod for performances, put it in her 'larger' purse and have less flash distraction. Then pick up a small compact for $400, and a small starter DSLR around $800-$1200 with kit lenses, possibly with a range of lenses (like the 50mm f/1.8 for $50) and equipment like tripods, bags and accessories around $400-$600. Low-end wise, you'll be looking at $2800 as opposed to $4000.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2011, 09:43:22 PM »
Hi, and welcome!

First off, $4K is a hefty budget, but any budget should be spent wisely. I'll echo a previous comment and say that I hope you are planning to devote time to learning about exposure, light, and how to use them creatively. Else, you may just be better off with a P&S.  Ok, enough soapbox - I'll suggest a lineup based on a $4K budget, followed by the rationale.  I'm trying to be pretty comprehensive and so you'll see things that I think will really improve your captures, but that you might not otherwise be thinking about.

Canon T3i - $700
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS w/ hood - $1150
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 w/ hood - $425
Canon Speedlite 430EX II w/ StoFen Omnibounce - $300
Eneloop 4 AA + charger kit - $15
Manfrotto 190XProB+496RC2 kit - $200
Canon PowerShot S95 - $370
Canon Vixia HF M40 - $650
Sandisk 8 GB SDHC cards x6 (3 2-pk) - $120
DxO Optics Pro Standard - $120

TOTAL = $4050 (not incl. $35 in Manfrotto rebates); all prices are current from B&H (you might find better deals)

Now, why am I recommending all this?

T3i - Good IQ (same sensor as 7D), relatively small/light for a dSLR.  Good choice there, more of your budget should be lenses than bodies.

17-55mm - IMO, the best general purpose zoom for a crop body. It was the first lens I bought (with my T1i), and now, a 7D, 5DII, and 9 L-series lenses later, it's still my go-to walkaround lens for the 7D. Fast, great focal range indoors, IS.

85mm f/1.8 - great for portraits of family, great for low light. Why not the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II?  I have that lens and love it...on my 5DII. On APS-C, it's too long indoors, and for stage performances, f/2.8 just isn't fast enough. IS doesn't help much with action, you need a wide aperture to stop action in low light. The 135mm f/2L is also great for that, but much more expensive and too long for convenient portraits on APS-C.  For $75 more, you could get the 100mm f/2 instead, almost a twin but I'd recommend the 85mm.

430EX II - indoors, sometimes you need flash, period. Even at ISO 3200 on my 5DII with the 85mm f/1.2L II, sometimes I need flash (f/1.2 gives enough light, but at the cost of a depth of field about as thin as an eyelash - not kidding).  The T3i has a pop-up flash, which is nice if you're a big fan of the deer-in-headlights plus redeye look. I'm not. The 430EX II allows bouncing off the ceiling for flattering light, and also provides a more subtle AF assist (red/IR, vs. the series of main strobes from the popup or 270EX, and you can use the AF assist even if you don't fire the flash).

Eneloops - best rechargeables, period. NiMH also means faster flash recycle times (my 430EX II can keep up with the 8 fps burst rate of my 7D, for several shots).

Manfrotto tripod/ballhead - you might not think you need a tripod, but you do. It's a key to getting sharp shots, and can help you sharpen your skills, too, by slowing you down a bit so you think about your shots. Also, *you* are a part of your family. Don't leave yourself out of every shot. If you get a cheap tripod, it will be inconvenient and you won't use it. IMO, Manfrotto is the best compromise between quality and value.

PowerShot S95 - a great camera that really is small. The small interchangeable body with pancake lenses is smaller than a dSLR, but still not go-everywhere small. The S95 fits in a pocket, has a very good f/2 lens (28-105mm equivalent), and a large sensor (for a P&S, that is, same sensor as the more expensive G12), meaning better IQ and low light performance.  It shoots RAW for more post-processing flexibility.

Vixia HF M40 - you mentioned shooting several videos per month. Yes, the T3i has video. So does the GF3, and the S95. But they aren't video cameras. Shooting decent video with a dSLR requires a lot of hardware - a steadycam, external mic, etc., you won't get quality movies by just pushing the button. The GF3 is better, but manual controls are very limited, and the ergonomics are quite bad for video. The M40 uses the same sensor as the top-of-the-line consumer ($1500) and low-end pro ($2K) camcorders (sense the theme? You get a lot of IQ bang for less buck with my recommendations of lower end gear with higher end sensors.).  It's a large sensor (again, large for a camcorder), meaning good low-light performance.  I have the M41 version, a bit more on-board storage (but I usually use the SDHC cards anyway), and an electronic viewfinder which I like, but could live without.  Bottom line, if you want to shoot decent video conveniently, get a camcorder.

SDHC cards - I recommend more and smaller rather than few and larger. That way, you have enough memory for a longer trip, but normally you can shoot on one card, then swap and have a backup on the card while you process the images/movies, then alternate and repeat.

DxO - you'll want to shoot RAW, and thus you need a RAW to JPG converter. RAW is like a digital negative. Yes, files are bigger - but storage is cheap. With a RAW file, you can adjust exposure, white balance, etc., with little or no penalty on IQ.  More importantly, noise reduction is *much* more effective on a RAW file than on a JPG, and DxO is much better at it than Canon's free DPP. DxO claims two stops better, and that's been my experience. So, ISO 3200 on the T3i and ISO 800 on the S95 will come out very useable. 

Long response, I know...but, my goal was to recommend a complete package, not use the whole budget on body/lenses and have you go over for important accessories.

Hope that helps, and good luck with your decisions! 
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 10:05:49 PM by neuroanatomist »
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gmrza

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2011, 10:44:30 PM »

85mm f/1.8 - great for portraits of family, great for low light. Why not the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II?  I have that lens and love it...on my 5DII. On APS-C, it's too long indoors, and for stage performances, f/2.8 just isn't fast enough. IS doesn't help much with action, you need a wide aperture to stop action in low light. The 135mm f/2L is also great for that, but much more expensive and too long for convenient portraits on APS-C.  For $75 more, you could get the 100mm f/2 instead, almost a twin but I'd recommend the 85mm.

Out of interest, which lenses would you recommend as the ideal ones for stage action? 

[/quote]
Funnily, I've hit a creative limitation with the 430EX (we have the original version) in that when working in portrait orientation you cannot bounce the flash behind you because the head won't rotate past 90 degrees.  Admittedly that is starting to become an esoteric requirement, but a lot of photographers rely on being able to bounce their flash behind them.  This may or may not be an issue, and the 580EXII is considerably more expensive.
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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2011, 10:44:30 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2011, 11:10:39 PM »
Out of interest, which lenses would you recommend as the ideal ones for stage action? 

Funnily, I've hit a creative limitation with the 430EX (we have the original version) in that when working in portrait orientation you cannot bounce the flash behind you because the head won't rotate past 90 degrees.  Admittedly that is starting to become an esoteric requirement, but a lot of photographers rely on being able to bounce their flash behind them.  This may or may not be an issue, and the 580EXII is considerably more expensive.

Depends on proximity to the stage, I suppose, but I'd say the 135L is probably best suited for stage action (or the 200/2L if money is no object, yeah, right...), assuming you want to capture an individual or two.  The 35L does very well for an ensemble, wide enough FOV that even wide open, DoF is not too thin from that distance.

Indeed.  The 430EX II is the same, and I have no idea what possessed Canon to make it rotate the wrong direction (i.e. the 180° part of the rotation should have been the other way).  I find that a StoFen or better yet, a Rogue Flashbender, can help in those situations. 
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gmrza

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2011, 11:37:40 PM »


Depends on proximity to the stage, I suppose, but I'd say the 135L is probably best suited for stage action (or the 200/2L if money is no object, yeah, right...), assuming you want to capture an individual or two.  The 35L does very well for an ensemble, wide enough FOV that even wide open, DoF is not too thin from that distance.


What I was thinking, if you want to go a little wider than the 135L, the 85 f/1.2L may be a problem due to the slow autofocus - geared down for precision.  Would the 85 f/1.8 be a better bet in your view?

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Re: Having Multiple Camera Systems
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2011, 11:37:40 PM »