Gear Realities

Besisika

How can you stand out, if you do like evrybdy else
Mar 25, 2014
747
168
Montreal
neuroanatomist said:
AcutancePhotography said:
Besisika said:
Hmmmmm ! let me think; give him a T1i with a kit lens to shoot boxing fights under dim lighting - you are going to wait 10 years for him to deliver 13 acceptable images for your photo story.

Dunno about that. I imagine that there were quite a few really good boxing photographs taken even before the advent of digital cameras. ;)

Just do an image search on The Googles and see some of the excellent shots made by photographers who really knew the sport and could anticipate. You could not spray and pray with a speedgraphic.

Professional boxing, sure...the ring is always brightly lit. I've shot amateur boxing where I needed ISO 6400 at f/2-2.8 to get barely adequate shutter speeds. I've used ISO 6400 film (well, Delta 3200 pushed a stop), pretty grainy stuff...
+1
I am a big believer in delivering enough amount of photos to satisfy client's need and not only 2 keepers out of 350 I took, that I can show off on my web page. I can call my self a great photographer only when my customers are satisfied (and I have disappointed few), but that's me and my own standard.
ISO 6400 at 1/320s and f2.0 is standard where I shoot; the main reason i moved from 5D mk III to 1DX. During my last shot, there were 4 of us to start and after the 2nd fight I was all alone, they showed up only when the judges announced the result (with flash).
 

surapon

80% BY HEART, 15% BY LENSES AND ONLY 5% BY CAMERA
Aug 2, 2013
2,957
2
71
APEX, NORTH CAROLINA, USA.
mackguyver said:
As someone who has had the great fortune to make good money and acquire a fairly extensive set of pro cameras & lenses, I thought I'd offer my personal insight into the age old question/fear of whether gear matters and if so, how much. I have used and upgraded lots of gear over the last 6 years or so since getting back into (D)SLR photography, so here are my thoughts.

The following discussion assumes good or maybe even great technique. This is a critically-important assumption as technique matters far more than equipment. The best gear in poor hands will always yield poor results, but that's a matter for another post, so we'll just go with the assumption for now. What follows is my personal opinion from where gear is least helpful to most helpful.

General Photography
Generally, a Rebel body with a kit lens will deliver excellent photos of most general subjects. Even in low light, the IS & STM work quite well unless the subject is moving. In good light, even sports and other difficult subjects can be captured with lenses like the 55-250 if the photographer has good instincts in terms of when to press the shutter.

Portraiture
The first step up in terms of gear helping is probably portraiture. The kit lenses are slow in terms of aperture making it harder to get that great shallow DOF style. Here, camera bodies matter very little other than to direct your lens choice, generally 50-85mm for crop, 85-135 for full frame. An aperture of f/1.2 to 2.8 is best and will give you a big step up from the kit lens. Standard EF primes work very well, though you don't need a fast lens if you shoot in a studio as you'll typically be at f/8-f/11 for most shots. What you save on cameras & lenses can easily be spent on lighting gear, but that's another topic. Just know that reflectors and diffusers used outdoors can acheive excellent results for very little money. The model/subject and your connection with them and their poses is the most important factor in getting great shots.

Landscape
The next step up is landscape photography. There are now a number of excellent wide and ultra-wide angle lenses for crop bodies, so the advantage of full frame in that regard is fading. Better bodies and equipment give you two real-world advantages - better durability and weather sealing for outdoor use, and better shadows in low light. If you don't hike to far away or rugged places or shoot before or after sunset in windy conditions where you need ISO 1600 to hold up in big prints, a Rebel body and one of the newer Canon or Sigma ultrawide zooms will serve you well. If you don't believe me, take a look at some of the winning landscape photos from major contests in the last few years. Most have been shot with crop sensors. One other thing worth mentioning are Tilt-shift lenses. While they are by no means necessary and won't revolutionize your work, they can give you unique shots and better control over DOF. They aren't easy to use, aren't weather sealed, and are all expensive manual focus primes, so these are best used once you've mastered landscape photography.

Macro
From there, I suppose macro photography is the next place where lenses and cameras make a difference. Macro shots are a bit misleading, though, as many of the zooms with short minimum focus distances work very well for close-up shots. What I'm talking about here is 0.5x (1:2) to 1x (1:1) and beyond. A true macro lens will make a huge difference here as you can get much closer, but focus tubes can work quite well with many lenses at a much lower cost. The 25mm tube and the old 24-70L took excellent photos and I used it a lot before I got a macro lens. One you start macro, you'll also realize that you're likely to need a lot of light. That means getting a macro flash, or a body that does well above ISO 1600, or both. I took lots of great photos without them, but trying to shoot a small flower in light wind at ISO800 is a serious exercise in patience. If you shoot still subjects indoors, there's no need to worry about, but for moving subjects or low light, it's important. Finally, focus rails and software like Helicon Focus can allow you to "focus stack" shots giving you much greater creative freedom, but again, it's not necessary.

Architecture
This is another specialty area where normal equipment can be used, but specialized equipment can make a big difference in your work. Full frame bodies aren't need for low light, but they allow you to use fisheye lenses and wide angles with complete freedom, but lenses like the Sigma 8-16 and third-party fisheyes can work with crop cameras. The exception are tilt shift lenses, which will give your work a professional edge. The TS-E 17 & 24 are able to straighten lines, give you better DOF and overcome issues that leveling the camera & cropping the photo simply can't overcome. If you can't afford this stuff, don't give up, though. A crop camera and a ultra-wide zoom + standard kit zoom will get you started and can generate excellent results in most situations if you take the time to learn how to use them and how to shoot architecture.

Event Photography
If you shoot weddings or other events, you will need to invest in better equipment. Fast lenses, especially f/2.8 zooms and flashes are very helpful to have. You will also need to have a back up camera, lens, and flash in case your main gear fails and to use for quick moments when you can't change lenses. More durable bodies and lenses are good to have as your gear will take a knocking. For some events, having a high end body with a fast frame rate and high ISO capabilities is also necessary if your subjects move quickly or the lighting is poor.

Sports & Wildlife Photography
As I said in the beginning, in good light, with good reflexes (and pre-focus) even the lowliest gear can capture great sports photos in the right hands. Think about the great sports photos before autofocus and digital...

Unfortunately, if you're serious about shooting fast-moving subjects (athletes, birds, animals, etc.) a camera with a 6+ FPS frame rate is going to be very useful. If you're getting paid, I would say it's mandatory unless you have incredible reflexes and anticipation skills. That doesn't mean you'll be holding down the shutter the whole game/time, but in quick bursts to catch the peak moment and using AI Servo mode to track the subject(s).

If you want to shoot those same subjects in low light or very low light, plan on getting a high end pro body (5DIII or 1D X). The same goes for lens choices. Athletes and wildlife are very sensitive about having cameras in their face, so telephoto lenses are needed for most shots, and lenses with a f/2 to f/4 aperture will help stop motion and allow good AF in low light.

Finally, I won't cover astrophotography or many other genres where specialized gear is essential. I think that's obvious :)

Summary
So in summary, the answer is - it depends. A good photographer can take good photos with any gear (see the DigitalRev series for proof), but gear does help some or a lot depending on what you shoot.


Dear Friend, Mr. mackguyver.
Just 1 more addition tool In my Idea, The Tool that I use for Shooting The super dark area in the Topless Bar ( The Dancing Girls) in Bangkok Thailand---And Super Shook Proof Camera that build like tank, Which I can us as the Weapon to fight with the Drunk People in the Bar.
I love your post, Great Job, Sir.
Surapon
 

wsmith96

Advancing Amateur
Aug 17, 2012
932
30
Texas
Besisika said:
mackguyver said:
Summary
So in summary, the answer is - it depends. A good photographer can take good photos with any gear (see the DigitalRev series for proof), but gear does help some or a lot depending on what you shoot.


** A good photographer can take good photos with any gear
Hmmmmm ! let me think; give him a T1i with a kit lens to shoot boxing fights under dim lighting - you are going to wait 10 years for him to deliver 13 acceptable images for your photo story.

I've got a T1i - give me a crack at it. I've gotten acceptable results in many difficult shooting situations. I've not tried a boxing match, but I bet I could get them.

Oh, and I have an American Strat Plus with a Fender Twin.

;)
 

wsmith96

Advancing Amateur
Aug 17, 2012
932
30
Texas
surapon said:
Dear Friend, Mr. mackguyver.
Just 1 more addition tool In my Idea, The Tool that I use for Shooting The super dark area in the Topless Bar ( The Dancing Girls) in Bangkok Thailand---And Super Shook Proof Camera that build like tank, Which I can us as the Weapon to fight with the Drunk People in the Bar.
I love your post, Great Job, Sir.
Surapon

You may want to travel to such places with a compact monopod/nightstick
:)
 

dstppy

EOS R
Apr 26, 2011
981
0
Connecticut . . . ish.
What about photography with the lens cap on? Seriously, gear matters, I'm looking at you 5Dmk3

For all the buzz about it, there must have been a HUGE demand for that kind of shots.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,265
1,935
Canada
Have you tried digiscoping?

Top image is with an iPhone through 15X binoculars, bottom image is the full view (rescaled to fit website) with a 60D and 150-600MM at 600mm....
 

Attachments

  • Phone_0163.jpg
    Phone_0163.jpg
    1.1 MB · Views: 215
  • IMG_0159.jpg
    IMG_0159.jpg
    1.3 MB · Views: 182

surapon

80% BY HEART, 15% BY LENSES AND ONLY 5% BY CAMERA
Aug 2, 2013
2,957
2
71
APEX, NORTH CAROLINA, USA.
Don Haines said:
Have you tried digiscoping?

Top image is with an iPhone through 15X binoculars, bottom image is the full view (rescaled to fit website) with a 60D and 150-600MM at 600mm....

Wow, Dear Friend Mr. Don Haines----Wow ---Great Comparision, Sir, I will Dump both of my Canon DSLR, Canon EF 600 mm and Stupid Cell Phone and Buy I-Phone and Binocular in my next Birding Trip. That will Cut my pain in my back after the trip.

Thanks you , Sir.
Surapon
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,265
1,935
Canada
surapon said:
Don Haines said:
Have you tried digiscoping?

Top image is with an iPhone through 15X binoculars, bottom image is the full view (rescaled to fit website) with a 60D and 150-600MM at 600mm....

Wow, Dear Friend Mr. Don Haines----Wow ---Great Comparision, Sir, I will Dump both of my Canon DSLR, Canon EF 600 mm and Stupid Cell Phone and Buy I-Phone and Binocular in my next Birding Trip.
Thanks you , Sir.
Surapon
Quite frankly, I'd rather have the 600F4 and DSLR myself :)

It's an example of how you can get creative with what you have... Some of those spotting scopes that birder's carry around are impressive chunks of glass....
 

Menace

New Zealand
Apr 5, 2012
1,369
0
New Zealand
surapon said:
Don Haines said:
Have you tried digiscoping?

Top image is with an iPhone through 15X binoculars, bottom image is the full view (rescaled to fit website) with a 60D and 150-600MM at 600mm....

Wow, Dear Friend Mr. Don Haines----Wow ---Great Comparision, Sir, I will Dump both of my Canon DSLR, Canon EF 600 mm and Stupid Cell Phone and Buy I-Phone and Binocular in my next Birding Trip. That will Cut my pain in my back after the trip.

Thanks you , Sir.
Surapon

Dear Sir Surapon,
Please donate the 600 to me - I'll look after it as much as my 400.
Many thanks.

p.s. postage to New Zealand
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,265
1,935
Canada

Attachments

  • IMG_9767.jpg
    IMG_9767.jpg
    220.6 KB · Views: 267

Besisika

How can you stand out, if you do like evrybdy else
Mar 25, 2014
747
168
Montreal
Menace said:
surapon said:
Don Haines said:
Have you tried digiscoping?

Top image is with an iPhone through 15X binoculars, bottom image is the full view (rescaled to fit website) with a 60D and 150-600MM at 600mm....

Wow, Dear Friend Mr. Don Haines----Wow ---Great Comparision, Sir, I will Dump both of my Canon DSLR, Canon EF 600 mm and Stupid Cell Phone and Buy I-Phone and Binocular in my next Birding Trip. That will Cut my pain in my back after the trip.

Thanks you , Sir.
Surapon

Dear Sir Surapon,
Please donate the 600 to me - I'll look after it as much as my 400.
Many thanks.

p.s. postage to New Zealand

Splendid idea!
600+400=1000. That is a lot!
I offer my assistance with the 400 whenever needed.

p.s. postage to Canada.
 

DominoDude

EOS R
Feb 7, 2013
959
1
::1
Don Haines said:
surapon said:
Don Haines said:
Have you tried digiscoping?

Top image is with an iPhone through 15X binoculars, bottom image is the full view (rescaled to fit website) with a 60D and 150-600MM at 600mm....

Wow, Dear Friend Mr. Don Haines----Wow ---Great Comparision, Sir, I will Dump both of my Canon DSLR, Canon EF 600 mm and Stupid Cell Phone and Buy I-Phone and Binocular in my next Birding Trip.
Thanks you , Sir.
Surapon
Quite frankly, I'd rather have the 600F4 and DSLR myself :)

It's an example of how you can get creative with what you have... Some of those spotting scopes that birder's carry around are impressive chunks of glass....

Sirs, Surapon and Don,
I've seen some of my fellow birders with Swarowski's ATX 30-70x95 (Swarowski -> http://www.swarovskioptik.com/nature/atx-stx-c210201/atx-30-70x95-p5006351-B3). They get some decent reach with those beasts! And from what I've been told they are not so bad when it comes to digiscoping either... ;) Easy to carry, and they'll even make your wallet substantially lighter to drag along.
An alternative that I have the hots for, is the Celestron C5 Spotter 5" - mostly because that's one I easier could afford if I had any money. (Celestron -> http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/485314-REG/Celestron_52291_C5_Spotter_5_0_127mm_Spotting.html)
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,265
1,935
Canada
DominoDude said:
Don Haines said:
surapon said:
Don Haines said:
Have you tried digiscoping?

Top image is with an iPhone through 15X binoculars, bottom image is the full view (rescaled to fit website) with a 60D and 150-600MM at 600mm....

Wow, Dear Friend Mr. Don Haines----Wow ---Great Comparision, Sir, I will Dump both of my Canon DSLR, Canon EF 600 mm and Stupid Cell Phone and Buy I-Phone and Binocular in my next Birding Trip.
Thanks you , Sir.
Surapon
Quite frankly, I'd rather have the 600F4 and DSLR myself :)

It's an example of how you can get creative with what you have... Some of those spotting scopes that birder's carry around are impressive chunks of glass....

Sirs, Surapon and Don,
I've seen some of my fellow birders with Swarowski's ATX 30-70x95 (Swarowski -> http://www.swarovskioptik.com/nature/atx-stx-c210201/atx-30-70x95-p5006351-B3). They get some decent reach with those beasts! And from what I've been told they are not so bad when it comes to digiscoping either... ;) Easy to carry, and they'll even make your wallet substantially lighter to drag along.
An alternative that I have the hots for, is the Celestron C5 Spotter 5" - mostly because that's one I easier could afford if I had any money. (Celestron -> http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/485314-REG/Celestron_52291_C5_Spotter_5_0_127mm_Spotting.html)
and the Celestron can use a t-mount adapter to mount your DSLR to it.....

and yes, I have seen a birder using an 8 inch Celestron telescope! Some of them are true fanatics!
 

DominoDude

EOS R
Feb 7, 2013
959
1
::1
Si si! *nods wildly @ Don*
T2 adapter mounted on the Celestron will give you a f/10 manual lens with weird bokeh from that lens design. It will be reasonably short and possible to fit it all on a gimbal head. I think there is a a sort of T2-adapter to the Swaroski as well, but they call it TLS APO something.
 

100

EOS 90D
Nov 9, 2013
183
11
How about creativity?

Just an example:

Andy-Murray-in-action-aga-012.jpg

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/gallery/2012/mar/09/week-in-sport-pictures

You can combine slow shutter speeds and action and still end up with an (more than) acceptable image.
Even 3 second exposures at f/11 in dim light can be enough to tell a story about (fast) action.

pf2R4.jpg

source: http://petapixel.com/2012/12/20/blurry-long-exposure-portraits-showing-dancers-in-motion/

Creativity is an important part of photography, well, at least I think it is.
More capable gear in the hands of creative photographers will give them more creative possibilities, so gear does matter.
Good technique will maximize their results, so technique is important too.
But without creativity…
 

jdramirez

EOS R6
May 31, 2011
2,950
0
44
c.d.embrey said:
Google photos of your favorite sport, from the 1950. You'll be amazed at how good they are.

1952 World Series
http://goldinauctions.com/ItemImages/000009/9180a_lg.jpeg
i was at a minor league baseball game a few weeks back and they had photos of people who made it to the majors... from today and yesteryear... and OMG... the images from yesteryear were so awful. They were crazy grainy and looked out of focus... I suppose they were action shots... but I manage to get action shots of baseball in focus even when manually focusing...

I don't disagree with your thesis... but I was surprised because I expected yesteryear to be better...

And for what it is worth... I'm not that impressed with the world series photo...
 
<-- start Taboola -->