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Thread: I've never owned a DSLR

  1. #1
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    Default I've never owned a DSLR

    Is it time? I was up real early one morning recently, and was admiring the colors of the sunrise. I started taking photos with my old Nikon L150 (is that the correct model?), a point and shooter that looks like a mini dslr. It's great for some things. I just have to ask though would using a dslr, with some practice/training, make the photos more realistic, more like "being there"? I used to dabble in oil painting, nothing heavy. It just helps a whole lot to have as realistic a model/image as possible.

    Should I abandon hope in digital photography altogether and buy some sort of film camera? Now is the time of year to invest in electronics, so I have to ask.

    Maybe what I'm looking for just isn't possible in 2 dimension ...

    But, on the other hand, if you want to take some exceptionally nice video, I'm guessing the investment in a dslr isn't a bad investment. I used to swear by Nikon, as a neighbor was into photography, and said to always go with Nikon, as any lense that was ever made would work with any Nikon camera. But I'm leaning toward Canon lately. There's a kit on Wallyworld's site, 18mpix, 1 lense (18-55mm), 3 bills. Well within my budget. This is an entirely separate issue from the realism thing discussed above though. But the ability to produce good video these days seems a must. Or is the 720p my nikon produces good enough for say youtube and whatnot?

    I'm going to ask that people actually read what I'm asking here, and not careen into endless largely unrelated tangents.

    Turns out the Canon Rebel T100 is only priced for an in store purchase. But Freehold is not too far away from where I live.

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Canon-EOS...BoCeWwQAvD_BwE

  2. #2

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    DSLR cameras are slowly fading out. The future are mirror-less system cameras - you can get them from all major camera makers by now. They have interchangeable lenses just like any DSLR. I guess it's not really needed to say, but buying a better camera will not make you take better photos. If you master the basics, you can take stunning pictures even with a crappy old fixed-focus 2mp thingy. But of course, a camera with interchangeable lenses gives you much more control over the pictures you take.

    As for video, almost every camera you can buy these days will do 4k. YouTube is still limited to 1080p, so even with 720p you are still fine.

    I'd love to give you more help, since I worked as a professional photographer for over a decade. But you don't really tell your use-cases for the (new) camera. It makes a huge difference whether you shoot indoors, outdoors, doing portraits or landscape, etc.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo W. View Post
    I'd love to give you more help, since I worked as a professional photographer for over a decade. But you don't really tell your use-cases for the (new) camera. It makes a huge difference whether you shoot indoors, outdoors, doing portraits or landscape, etc.
    I thought I did kind of. Skyscapes in particular. WIll a dslr or mirror less camera (or old style photographs) give you more (make that much more) realism. To what degree can you fool your eye for it to seem like you're looking at the real thing, capturing depths and such. I can't speak in terms specific to "the trade". I just would like to be able to take a photo of the sky, then sit down and pull it up on my screen and attempt to reproduce it as a painting, all the while not missing anything, as I'm not staring at the real thing. If I'm asking too much, then I guess there's no real point in upgrading. For me at least.

    People use terms like stunning and whatnot. Stunning how exactly?

  4. #4
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    Once upon a time - when film was used for imaging and produced the most "realistic" results - the single-lens reflex camera (SLR) was considered the best option by most photographers because of its specific features and the 35mm SLR dominated the market. There were other, larger formats, e.g. Hasselblad, but these were more expensive and less portable and had generally fewer options for lenses. At the low end of the scale were the "point and shoot" cameras, e.g. Instamatic from Kodak, which had lesser optics and a fixed lens. The 35mm SLR was popular because the photographer could look through the lens and judge the effect of focus and aperture selection, all while viewing the image right-side-up**. In certain situations that was a distinct advantage, but the internal mirror was a practical obstacle that had to be moved out of the way before an exposure could be made. That introduced a delay, a noise and some vibration. For those reasons some people preferred "rangefinder" cameras, e.g. Leica.

    Photographers who invested heavily in lenses and accessories for their 35mm "systems" usually wanted to buy a "digital" body that could use those same lenses. Manufacturers catered to that need by concentrating their development efforts on digital SLR bodies. They offered low-end point-and-shoot digital cameras as well that relied on a display to show the results of the photo. Low-resolution, it was an approximation of looking through the lens. Low-end cameras evolved from low-resolution to higher resolution, from fixed-focal-length lenses to zoom (variable focal length) lenses, to better-resolution displays and lately to interchangeable lenses.

    What Timo W. is telling you is that the point-and-shoot camera of yore has now become the equivalent of the Leica, but a Leica that you can still view the image through the lens and one that uses digital rather than analog imaging technology. It's like the best of both worlds, and that is the trend in small-format digital cameras of today. SLR lenses can sometimes be adapted to these new bodies, with varying degrees of success, but dedicated lenses are available for all the "mirrorless" cameras from Nikon, Canon, Sony and more.

    It was generally accepted that the limit of resolution for 35mm film was approximately equal to a 20-megapixel digital image. Most digital cameras easily exceed that standard. Lens quality is a very technical subject but the important points are how much light the lens lets through, how well the lens distributes light evenly over the entire image, how well the lens focuses rays of different frequencies (color) and how free the lens is from internal reflection. These "bespoke" lenses of today are very good at all of that. The human eye sees colors in a particular way, and not everyone in exactly the same way -some people are "color-blind". No one perceives infra-red or ultra-violet to a significant degree. So there is a "gamut" of color that humans see and "color fidelity" in any reproduction system is geared toward reproducing that gamut. Early color films weren't very good at it; neither was early lithography. Early digital cameras weren't as good as later color film technology. Today's digital cameras are very good, and the beauty of digital imaging is that post-processing ("Photoshopping") is remarkably easy.

    Having said all that, as someone who also spent a lot of years as a professional photographer I carry a small Canon point-and-shoot digital camera with a zoom lens for the purpose of taking "personal recall" pictures. A camera does you no good if you don't carry it with you, and this little camera -which fits in a pocket - meets 90 percent of my needs. Before you invest in some expensive "system" why not see what is the minimum you can get by with?

    -CH-

    ** All lenses invert the image; the SLR re-inverts it through a mirror and prism viewfinder.
    Last edited by clh333; November 21st, 2020 at 04:37 AM.

  5. #5

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    Well, I rely on my cell phone. 99% of my photos are viewed on a 3x5" screen. If they're blown up to anything, at best it's an 8x10.

    I see wonderful photos on the web et al like everyone else. I see wonderful photos from phones.

    But what I'm truly curious about, is how many of these are "raw photos". It seems everything of publication quality today is post processed somehow in some application.

    That cameras are simply raw data collection devices used to feed an entire pipeline of processing to get the "real"photo.

    I don't do any of that, I don't have any of those apps, I don't "tweak the light balance" or whatever on my phone. At best I might crop it and print it.

    So, I'm not saying the camera does not matter. It does. But I'm curious how much it really matters to casual photographers. The baseline capability of modern equipment (and even things like phones) is so vast, I truly question whether something like a DSLR is worth the money and inconvenience.

    There are certainly use cases and specialized need they fill, but then those case solve differnet problems (notably lenses and what not) than just "picture of a sunset".

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by tipc View Post
    I thought I did kind of. Skyscapes in particular.
    Telling us that you failed to capture a single sunrise doesn't really say anything about what you plan to do with your camera.

    Quote Originally Posted by tipc View Post
    WIll a dslr or mirror less camera (or old style photographs) give you more (make that much more) realism. To what degree can you fool your eye for it to seem like you're looking at the real thing, capturing depths and such.
    That is quite hard to answer. The way we see the world can hardly be captured by any camera. E.g. our field of view is about 53 (that's 50mm focal length on a 35mm camera), but you'll find taking pictures of a sky or landscape rather boring with that setting. A wider field of view gives more impressive results, despite not being "realistic". Another thing is dynamic range. Our eyes can adopt between dark and light parts very quickly while we focus at it, a camera however has a limited range between full black and full white for the whole picture. For years now, most cameras do have high-dynamic rage modes to compensate this. This again makes the picture less realistic from a technical standpoint, but when viewing it, it seems to be more realistic to us. Also, our brain tends to remeber colors more vibrant than they really are.

    Let me give you an example. This is a sunset picture I took 9 years ago thru my kitchen window:

    P1020610.jpg

    From a technical standpoint, it's not realistic at all. I edited the picture to represent how I remember seeing the sky in that moment. For me, this is a realistic picture, even though it really isn't. But that's kind of what you do with photography.

  7. #7
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    I've never understood the logic behind a mirrored DSLR. After all, the image sensor is right there--what it captures is what your photo is going to look like. Why bother with a flapping mirror (I do own several film SLRs and am wondering what to do with them.)

    What's the modern equivalent of a 4x5 Calumet view camera?

  8. #8

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    It once was all about the view-finder. On a DSLR, looking thru the view-finder is looking directly thru the lense. This is perfect for framing and depth-of-field preview. But it won't help you with anything else like white-balance for example. And it's dangerous if you accidentally pan into the sun. Mirror-less system cameras fix all these things and their digital view-finders have reached a resolution so high that they no longer have disadvantages over an optical one. Even phase-detection for focusing has been made possible in mirror-less designs, that's why DSLR cameras are going the same route analog cameras went decades ago.

  9. #9
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    Are most people even buying handheld cameras anymore since cell phone cameras are good enough for most people?
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post

    What's the modern equivalent of a 4x5 Calumet view camera?
    A 4x5 Calumet view camera.

    There is no digital equivalent - of which I am aware - as a sensor that size is prohibitively expensive. viz: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/searc...rch=yes&sts=ma

    -CH-

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