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Essentials to go with a new DSLR - Page 3

post #61 of 112

Awesome stuff! Fill-flash at magic hour always looks great!


Possibly one of the coolest-looking photographic techniques is to fill-flash your subject while underexposing your ambient exposure (as shown in pdxammo's first two shots above). 

Most cameras have independent exposure control for both their built-in flash exposure, and their ambient exposure. I usually dial the flash down anywhere from -0.3 to -0.7 EV because manufacturers' default flash exposure settings tend to be pretty hot. Then, adjust your ambient exposure anywhere from -0.3 to two stops down, depending how bright it is outside. Experiment!

2. Camera support:

They're a bit pricey (about $300), but carbon fiber tripods are your best bet due to their light weight. Also, I would recommend a ball-head instead of a traditional, pan-tilt head. They're smaller, lighter, faster, and easier to use. The Manfrotto stuff is fine. Another alternative is a good monopod--lighter and less bulky. A good way to shop for this kinda stuff is the bhphoto.com website. They stock tons of pro product. As you browse through their inventory, their site's layout will help you to make sense of the product lines. They're also extremely reputable. The TV network I work for buys tons of stuff there, as do I. Do not buy anything from any online camera retailer in Brooklyn, NY.
If you need to do panning shots (the kind where the subject is sharp, and the background is motion-blurred), an inexpensive, fluid-drag, video tripod head would do the trick. Again, Bogen-Manfrotto makes some low-end models that would service a DSLR body just fine. Have fun!

Edited by studio460 - 4/6/10 at 10:43pm
post #62 of 112
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

For all who are advocating that TrekChick "needs" a fast $2000 zoom or telephoto lens, please consider the following, from a practical, if not necessarily photographically ideal, standpoint:

While those lenses are truly awesome, in the typical very bright sunlight of skiing, and with today's DSLR's, you can still get a useful action-freezing shutter speed with a much slower lens.

Hey there, Bob!

I didn't say Trekchick needed to buy a $2,000 lens, I was just identifying one of the most capable lenses for shooting fast-action sports. A Canon IS- or Nikon VR-equipped lens can also free you from the clunkiness of carrying a tripod around--it allows you to handhold at slower shutter speeds with acceptable blur. A faster lens helps assist in that effort as well.

Since I don't shoot stills for money (I shoot television), I could never justify the $2,300 Nikon 70mm-200mm VR lens for myself. Instead, I bought a used, non-VR, Nikkor 70mm-200mm f/2.8 for $400. But . . . after shooting some available-light, runway fashion for some friends, I realized it was extremely difficult to achieve sharp, in-focus shots without the VR and internal S-motor capability. The non-S lens just couldn't keep up with the models (who were walking straight toward me). And, they were just walking!


As for traveling light, I'm all for it! If I could take only two lenses, here's what I would probably take:

1. Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 [30mm full-frame equivalent].
2. Nikkor 70mm-200mm f/2.8 [105mm-300mm full-frame equivalent].

Though, I probably couldn't resist not throwing a 50mm f/1.4 in the bag as well. For specialty shots, where I can get close enough to my subject, I would take a super-wide lens like the Nikkor 14mm f/2.8 [21mm full-frame equivalent]. The other option is to take one short zoom, and one long zoom. Or just take your new super-zoom--you'll have tons of fun with that, no matter what I said!

Also, don't be afraid to buy used either. Half my lens inventory is used, and in great shape. Just don't buy super-old stuff. Optical designs have improved dramatically over the past decades. Also, most Canon and Nikon glass is "low-dispersion" glass (Nikon calls it "ED glass"). But the non-Canon and non-Nikon brands also offer low-dispersion glass versions of many of their lenses. I used to have a Tamron low-dispersion zoom--sharp as a tack; but I sold it because it was too slow.
Edited by studio460 - 4/8/10 at 1:23pm
post #63 of 112
I think my suggestion of a used 70-200/f4($500) and a tamron 17-55/2.8($350) is pretty reasonable. consider the durability factor too, weather sealing on the "l" glass 70-200/f4 maybe be worth it alone. I skied for several days back and forth across the Swiss/Italian border with the 2.8 version and the 17-55 and a pro-body and didnt feel like i was making any compromises, nor did it impact my skiing.
post #64 of 112

Agreed. Those are great focal lengths and speeds at pretty decent prices. You save a pile of money by settling for an f/4 lens over the f/2.8. Wasn't aware of the "weatherized" nomenclature. That's cool, and definitely worth it.


Let me backtrack a bit . . . forget about my "$2,000 lens" rant. At the time I was considering buying one of those (2005), they were only like $1,700, as I recall. Anyway, I remember reading a review of the "new batch" of super-zooms, like your 18mm-200mm, at about the same time, and they were overwhelmingly favorable. The only downsides I remember was the long minimum-object-distance (when compared to a fixed-length 18mm). But, a modern, compact, super-zoom ain't a bad thing at all! Have fun, Trekchick! It's a good lens!
Edited by studio460 - 4/7/10 at 12:46am
post #65 of 112
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

Any input or ideas on how to turn me into a camera gear ho? 

Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

Don't blame us Bob...

Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

Good point, Whiteroom!


Um.......youz guyz act like I have a reputation or sumthin...

All in all, Bob is right(dang I've been saying that a lot lately) 


But since TrekChick wants to be a skier who takes great photographs, rather than a photographer who just slogs to the "location" with a ton of gear (at least, for now!),

A couple things I've already figured out
  •  I love how this camera shoots (but then I do like shooting with a cannon errrr, canon)
  • This camera has a lot of features and settings that will take me time to figure out (I think I may sign up for a class)
  • I can see the benefits of the 18-200 lens while I'm skiing but its heavy and will take some creative thought to take it with me on the slopes
  • I can see the benefits of other lens' as I learn to use this camera to its potential.
  • I see some good photos in my future, but can't imagine taking pics like pdxammo posted above.  wow!
post #66 of 112
post #67 of 112
 I agree with everything Bob says regarding lenses...

With so much light reflecting in the snow on most days, let alone bright days, any ol' f/3.5 will do...

Once you move into the 2.8 realm things get expensive and heavy very quickly, plus something with better ISO performance than a entry/intermediate SLR would be a strong consideration if you were shooting indoor basketball...

In regards to shutter speed, however, I think my point is valid, even if pre-mature...

TC wants some nice shots, and on these forums we like to see face shots and smoke...

Even if you are shooting at 1/1000th of a second, when skiing, and fully zoomed, there can be some blur.  When you lower your f-stop and you are shooting ap-priority or auto, the camera, even with all the light, might go ahead and extend the shutter speed.  Perhaps it extends it to 1/1250, or perhaps 1/800, but either way, the high speed subject, or flying snow, won't be as crisp as 1/2000.

I mentioned her shots were clear, and I re-iterated the point that snow has a lot of ambient light so it's really no big deal.  But, when she starts using her polarized on a fully extended lens (ultimately giving the chance of more camera shake) she should play around with going fully manual and upping that shutter speed.

But you're right, that's down the road.
post #68 of 112
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
I can see the benefits of other lens' as I learn to use this camera to its potential.
  • I see some good photos in my future, but can't imagine taking pics like pdxammo posted above.  wow!

IMHO, this thread needs some dog-pic (Jester, Dakota, Maddaroo) examples. 
post #69 of 112
Originally Posted by SugarCube View Post


IMHO, this thread needs some dog-pic (Jester, Dakota, Maddaroo) examples. 











really, obviously, the shutter on all of these except the first is horsing around,

the first though, at 1/4000, is a decent example of getting something crisp when the subject is moving very fast...
post #70 of 112
Thread Starter 
Edit: Thanks for the shots Splitter.  Its my hope to eventually be able to get shots like Splitters....it's going to take some time and practice...
Originally Posted by SugarCube View Post


IMHO, this thread needs some dog-pic (Jester, Dakota, Maddaroo) examples. 
I don't have a lot of him yet, but I did take a few on Easter on the way home from the family dinner.....
I know, its not much of an stoke pic, but you gotta love a 90 lb puppy that thinks he's a lap dog.

Okay one more....
post #71 of 112
so if we are all posting work with our toys then here is one of the shots from the scottish FIS championships in Courchevel

fis pic.jpg
post #72 of 112
Dog pic stoke received and appreciated--thanks, splitter and TC.  Our 90# American-bulldog-and-who-knows-what-else mix is a snuggler too. Now returning you to more on shutter speed, lenses, filters, etc, etc, . . .
post #73 of 112
Excellent shots!

post #74 of 112
Thread Starter 
 WTFH, that's a nice shot.....
Doggie Stoke is always good, eh?
post #75 of 112
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

 paid 579 for this lens, brand new, with a 2 year warranty.



That's a fair price. B+H sells the imported version of the lens (same exact lens, but with no US warranty) for $574.95. They sell the US version for $595. That's one thing good about B+H: they clearly identify their "gray market" stock from their US-warranted stock.

So, I finally got around to looking at the lens you actually bought--I didn't even realize it was an IS lens! It's got a terrific focal-length range, and it has image stabilization! That's a lot of lens for under $600. You'll be able to get those super-wide shots (where shallow-depth-of-field is commonly not often used anyway), and those long, 300mm-full-frame-equivalent tele shots. At the long end of the lens, you should still have a narrow-enough field of view to accomplish some arty shallow-focus images, even at f/5.6, providing your background is far away.

For a one-lens pack, your Canon 18mm-200mm is great. And, at only 1.3 lbs., I consider that very lightweight. My "thrasher" DSLR is my old Nikon D70, and the "vacation" lens I usually pack with it is the Nikkor 18mm-70mm f/3.5-f/4.5 (non-VR, but it is an S-lens with an internal focus motor).

So, forget about lenses for awhile, and concentrate on learning your exposure modes and controls. Most cameras have several metering modes, and you may use a combination of those modes on any given situation. I often switch between spot meter mode, and what Nikon calls its "matrix metering" mode, which is especially useful when employing fill-flash. Also, different shooters have different preferences, but I typically shoot aperture-priority 100% of the time.

I really think you'll have the most fun trying that fill-flash thing. Just try underexposing your ambient exposure for a few frames--it's digital, so it costs nothing to experiment. Using only your built-in flash, your subject will have to be fairly close, since your built-in flash isn't very effective beyond about 15 feet. And, again, you'll typically have to dial down your flash output by -0.3 to -0.7 EV. Since it's digital, you can review, and simply adjust until it just "looks right."

Also, I usually have my fill flash always turned on anyway ("forced" on, when using my point-and-shoot) whenever I'm shooting people outdoors (when closer than 15 feet). It fills in the shadows on your subjects, lowering your scene contrast for more optimal use of your camera's dynamic range.

Oh, yeah. One more thing . . . this is one of the few times that I sometimes shoot in shutter-priority. This is mainly because all focal-plane shutter cameras (DSLRs) have a maximum flash synch speed. This ranges anywhere from 125th/sec. to 1/500th/sec., depending on the camera model. This is probably your biggest limitation when shooting daylight, exterior fill-flash, since there's often just too much light out there.

3. Off-camera flash:

Also, pdxammo's beautiful strobe-assisted photography isn't necessarily out of your reach! Since you're kinda set with your 18mm-200mm lens for now, you may want to consider an accessory flash. Buy only a Canon-branded flash, so that you will benefit from the most Canon-to-Canon exposure connectivity. You'll also want a remote TTL (cabled or wireless) so you can do some off-camera flash photography with computer-assisted flash exposure control.

Once you get that, you'll be able to experiment with off-camera flash work where the light is no longer coming from directly above your lens. With a modern TTL-connected flash, you can easily balance your fill-flash exposure with your ambient exposure by adjusting both exposure controls, and reviewing your images to correct. It's a great way to introduce a lot of color contrast and chroma saturation into your images, in-camera. Capturing the most dynamic images in-camera will always be superior to images exposed with less dynamic range, altered later in Photoshop.

[Sorry for the "information overload" you may be experiencing, but I had a couple hours of downtime before my next shoot . . . ]
Edited by studio460 - 4/11/10 at 11:19pm
post #76 of 112
Thread Starter 
 Sutdio460, your contributions are great, thanks...
I'm glad you joined the forum just in time to share your expertise 

I sincerely wish I'd had the lens for my trip to Colorado.  Since I've been home and found the package on my door step, I haven't had decent opportunities to get out and play with its potential.  I'll be doing more with it as soon as the weather and time will allow...

If you check out some of the amazing Trip Reports here, you'll be inspired to get out there on your new ski vibe and take some pics to show me how its done!!!

Sample of one of Splitters boring little Trip reports
post #77 of 112
We just got duncan from the pound last week , he rocks.CX8D6845.jpgCX8D6865.jpg
post #78 of 112
Beautiful dog!
post #79 of 112
Trying to put this back on track a little...  To do the shots of the dog or it could be anything really, all you need is a flash and an off-shoe cord. Which is like an extension cord for the flash that would normally go on top of the camera. Those two items would be pretty big bang for your buck in the grand scheme of things.
post #80 of 112
Originally Posted by pdxammo View Post

We just got duncan from the pound last week , he rocks.CX8D6845.jpgCX8D6865.jpg
Totally rocks--but then all rescued doggies rock.  Now, back to your camera stuff . . .
post #81 of 112
this thread appears to have gone to the dogs
post #82 of 112


copyright studio460

This unedited (no Photoshop work) portfolio test shot is an example of off-camera flash photography: shot with a Nikon D70, a Nikon SB-800 flash, and an SC-29 off-camera TTL cable. The TTL sensor attaches to the camera's hot shoe, and the three-foot cord connects to the flash unit. The flash unit was handheld, pointed at a white wall to diffuse the light. When the TTL sensor "sees" enough exposure, it turns the flash off. All this, under automatic computer-control, and manually adjustable (if desired), in thirds of a stop up or down.

The Canon equivalent of the Nikon SC-29 is the Canon OC-E3 TTL cable ($69.95). Choose from any number of Canon Speedlite flashes from $99 to nearly $500. The 430EX II is their mid-line product at $307. Your camera may also possess built-in, wireless TTL capability, and may not even require the cable to perform off-camera, TTL-controlled flash photography.

post #83 of 112
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by CEM View Post

this thread appears to have gone to the dogs

Where's your dog Colin?
post #84 of 112
not got one!!

got some cracking ski race shots form last week though......

post #85 of 112
After reading a review on Digital Review on the new Canon Rebel 550D, (the best camera they have seen in its class), my wife and I are shopping for a short, high quality zoom. We really want to stay under $1000. It looks like the 18-200 will fit well for us. It is small and light compared to our 100-400 super zoom; particularly with an 2x extender on it. I can't say enough for the 100-400 for wildlife shooting.

Bob is correct about ISO settings. We took a class with Tom Murphy, in Yellowstone NP a few years ago. He had us shooting in 1600 in very low light. I ended up using 800 for overcast days and 200-400 on sunny days. these settings let me us a faster shutter speed than lower ISOs.

Riding around Yellowstone at 30mph and a camera in my lap, looking for wildlife, is a major challenge. You never know what is going to jump out from the trees. I've seen almost everything except a cougar and a lynx. ya gotta be quick!!

post #86 of 112
Thread Starter 
 Can't wait to see what you get with your new camera/lens combination Rick

So, to practice with my camera/lens I went birding with my sister today and practiced in the great outdoors.  The good news is, we saw a ton of great stuff.  The bad news is, it rained most of the day.
A shot of Jester playing with a pillow we gave him to "give the business"
And some wood ducks minding their own business.....

post #87 of 112
 jester and dakota look like they'd get along pretty well,

at least good ski buddies...

I know you got tahoe in your bones, this place has had some decent tahoe stoke between philpug and sugaree recently...
post #88 of 112
Originally Posted by splitter View Post

 jester and dakota look like they'd get along pretty well,

at least good ski buddies...

I know you got tahoe in your bones, this place has had some decent tahoe stoke between philpug and sugaree recently...

 Some serious good stoke. I know she would love it out there too. 
post #89 of 112
Thread Starter 
 Splitter, you keep tempting me, I may just surprise you and land on my feet in Tahoe.
Warning for Dakota - Jester is allll puppy and wears other dogs out.
post #90 of 112
I haven't got any gear suggestions, but I would recommend the following as an excellent introduction to dSLR photography, by which I mean an understanding of using the different functions your Canon dSLR will have beyond the auto setting. Great example photos, and covers a lot very quickly (in a good way) in a very accessible manner.
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