1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Photo noob with a new camera

Discussion in 'Through the Lens' started by Paiige, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. Paiige

    Paiige Arachnobaron

    Advertisement
    Alright, so I'm finally going to be acquiring my first DSLR - a Canon EOS Rebel SL1 for my little hands (Canon is offering wonderful refurbish specials right now if anyone is interested)!

    So with that comes the issue of lenses. I know very little about photography but thanks to the internet I now have a pretty basic grasp on the concepts I should be aware of. The lens coming with the camera is a 18-55mm f3.5-5.6, which (based on said basic grasp of concepts) is not going to give me a very broad aperture range, which obviously affects the lighting and picture quality. The goal of getting this camera is to eventually work my way towards taking nice detailed pictures of my Ts for painting references, as I am a painter at heart.

    That being said, the macro lens I've been looking at is upwards of $600 (refurbished) and my fiance and I are in the process of building a home and money is a little tight.

    So, those of you with a more concrete grasp on photography...is the lens that comes 'stock' with this camera going to at least give me better quality zoom photos than my mediocre phone camera (Galaxy s5)?

    And secondly, I've seen macro lenses for next to nothing that are NOT made by Canon. Provided the dimensions are correct and they fit, is there such thing as a lens that is complete garbage and not worth purchasing (i.e. if it costs $40 new on ebay, is it too good to be true, much like with car parts?)
     
    • Like Like x 4
  2. KezyGLA

    KezyGLA Arachnoprince Active Member

    Yes the stock lens will be fine. I own the same camera and it does just fine. It takes fantastic pictures close up. I also use a Canon 1000D with a cheap macro lens for really detailed shots.

    I believe @Flexzone uses the rebel too. He takes some mean shots with his too.

    I wouldnt worry about the macro yet. Just make sure the lighting is right and you should be good to go.

    @VanessaS also takes some great snaps and she may be able to give you some pointers

    I hope this helps.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  3. VanessaS

    VanessaS Arachnobaron Active Member

    Lenses are far more important than the camera itself, in my opinion. I think that people should buy less expensive bodies and more expensive lenses. That is always what I have done. My camera body cost about $1,000 and I have ten times that in lenses.
    1. What you gain with the convenience of a zoom lens - you lose in photo quality. While they make it easier for you to get the shot, because you don't have to move your body around and work harder for it, you lose in quality. Zoom lenses will never be as crisp as a prime lens. The stock lens that came with your camera is going to give you much better quality than any point and shoot camera.
    2. Your first priority should be to get a good prime lens. Either a 50mm or 35mm with as big an aperture as you can find. My favourite lens always has been, and always will be, my 50mm f/1.4. That lens has given me the very best photos of all, but it also made me work for them. That has put me in danger sometimes, but worth every risk. Unbelievable quality in very low light conditions. My second favourite is my 35mm f/1.8. Slightly less used because of the smaller aperture. I use it for times when I am outside, amongst crowds where I need a wider range.
    If you only ever buy one lens in your entire life - your best money will be spent on a high end prime lens with a large aperture.
    3. There are fantastic lens manufacturers out there. No, the best lens is not always the one manufactured by the company who made your camera. Once you decide on a lens, find out all the manufacturers you can get it from that are compatible with your camera, and read the reviews on each lens and decide from there. Canon is the top brand of camera because it is a good camera for the money and they are very affordable, but they might not make the best version of the lens that you want.
    4. Invest in a good editing software. I use Adobe Lightroom and I will never use anything but. It is far more expensive than it's more popular cousin Photoshop, but far superior. Lightroom is the best software I have ever used.
    5. Macro lenses are always going to be very expensive. There is a lot to them and they are considered a specialty lens and will be more just because of that. I have two - a 50mm and a 100mm. I take a lot of macro photography of insects, native insects and not just the tarantulas, so it was worth the investment. They can also be used for other purposes too and not just for macro shots, although that is what they are designed to be best at.
    6. You don't need a macro lens to take photos of the tarantulas. I have taken some of the photos that I have posted here with my 50mm f/1.4. The only problem is that you will need to be at least a foot away from the subject and that only works well for the adults. I use the macro on the small spiders and that lens is literally an inch or two away from them when I take the shot. That is how the macro lens is designed - you can get far closer to your subject. I have had jumping spiders jumping on and off my macro lens while I am trying to take their photo... I am that close to them. You need to be closer with the 50mm than the 90mm to get the same results.
    7. Look for used lenses online. Camera equipment is often the first thing that people sell when they need money. There is going to be nothing wrong with most of what you find. Just ensure that you have your camera with you if you purchase a lens and test it out before you hand the money over. Go for a cheaper lens if you want for now. As long as it works, it will give you the experience you want to have all the same. I have bought four of my lenses used off Kijiji (Canadian version of Craigslist), including the 100mm macro, and never had a problem with any of them.
    My advice to you is to get used to the way that your camera works by using the lens that it came with. There is nothing wrong with that lens and it will do what you need it to do for now, except for the specialty shots that you need a telephoto or macro lens for. Get used to all the workings of it and build your relationship with your camera. Make sure that this is absolutely the camera you want before you spend thousands on lenses that you can't fit on a different camera. I have used the same camera body for years. When my original broke, I spent a fortune on a replacement because my model has been discontinued. I will repair it before I replace it with another model. My camera and I are BFF's. Be BFF's with your camera before spending a lot of money on the extras.
    Oh, and one of my favourite lenses of all time is actually my 10-20mm ultra wide angle lens. That thing takes spectacular photos. That is a really fun lens that you can do very creative things with.
    For what it's worth, I have a Sony A57. It is also a smaller sized camera perfect for my smaller hands. And that makes a huge difference, because a big and heavy camera will not be a pleasure to use if you use yours as much as I use mine. Sony bought Minolta, so some of my old film camera lenses work on this one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Paiige

    Paiige Arachnobaron

    Yes, it does! Thank you! The camera is an early Christmas gift and I'd feel awful if it was useless right out of the box because I don't have fancy lenses :D

    Hmmmm. Alright. That's interesting to think about - usually when photographing my Ts I get right up in their faces (thank god they're tolerant of my shenanigans) - it's going to be an interesting adjustment having to back off and have some distance between us. It will work well for my more skittish ones. My rosie, however, will let me get right up to her, like in this shot - so I guess another question would be, will I still be able to get shots of this quality from a foot away? I know it's not exactly good quality by any means but will I need to wait it out until I have a different lens for shots like this (taken with my cell phone)?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. VanessaS

    VanessaS Arachnobaron Active Member

    Yes, just crop it down in post. The quality will be higher, so when you crop it down it won't distort like it would on a phone.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Paiige

    Paiige Arachnobaron

    Oh good. Thank you :D
     
  7. The Snark

    The Snark Extremely jaded cynical yet optomistic Old Timer

    @Paiige My big gripe right now. Being camera clueless after a fashion, it is extremely difficult for me to know quality from crap when it comes to lenses. Our camera had a flaw and I never knew it. Along comes a pro photographer who held the lens a certain way in certain light and this very ugly scratch showed up.
    This is stuff that comes from experience and where an expert should be consulted. No doubt people take advantage of Ebay and similar to sell damaged crap to the unsuspecting.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. VanessaS

    VanessaS Arachnobaron Active Member

    I dug out my 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 tonight to show you the type of photos that you can expect from that lens. I took these closer than a foot, more like eight inches. All of these are taken at 55mm, f/16, ISO 100 with the flash. None are cropped. We see at 50mm, so that will give you a good idea of how close I was.
    I had to top up everyone's water anyway, so I thought I would experiment with that lens.
    DSC00394-2.jpg DSC00417-2.jpg DSC00423-2.jpg DSC00440-2.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Love Love x 1
  9. VanessaS

    VanessaS Arachnobaron Active Member

    The second photo cropped down to show detail.
    DSC00417-2-2.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Love Love x 1
  10. Ghost56

    Ghost56 Arachnobaron Active Member

    Photos look good, but why f16? Kit lens is alot sharper around f8 at 55mm.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. VanessaS

    VanessaS Arachnobaron Active Member

    Because I am using the flash. Even with the flash set to the low end, they are still blown out at that close range. I would not have it closed that much if they were further away, but I took these at less than a foot.
    I wasn't going to spend too much time fooling around with the settings. This was designed to give her a quick look at the quality of the stock lens she has because she seems to be concerned.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Ghost56

    Ghost56 Arachnobaron Active Member

    Wouldn't raising the shutter speed be better though? All your photos look great regardless though so you clearly know what you're doing lol.
     
  13. VanessaS

    VanessaS Arachnobaron Active Member

    Because there is a maximum shutter speed when you're in manual mode using the flash, and it was at the maximum. It is different if you are not using the flash, then it can be set to higher speeds. Your shutter won't go to the maximum speed using the flash.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Ghost56

    Ghost56 Arachnobaron Active Member

    Ahh ok, gotcha.
     
  15. The Snark

    The Snark Extremely jaded cynical yet optomistic Old Timer

    This has been a huge gripe in all the auto and semi auto camera reviews I have read. One setting locks others out and you end up with a series of unhappy compromises.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  16. VanessaS

    VanessaS Arachnobaron Active Member

    Content and composition are far higher priority for me than having all the technical settings set perfectly. If I were to prioritize the settings on my camera higher than composition and subject matter - I wouldn't be taking photos anymore.
    Sure, everyone wants to have their photos vibrant and in focus, but constantly worrying about technical perfection makes photography a chore in my books. I would rather spend more time taking photos than fiddling with the settings. I take a lot more photos than just the ones people see here of the tarantulas and very few of them allow me the luxury of fiddling with the settings before every shot. I set my settings for the overall conditions and then I concentrate on the subject.
    That seems to work for what I want to accomplish.

    "Photography is about capturing souls, not smiles." Dragan Tapshanov
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. The Snark

    The Snark Extremely jaded cynical yet optomistic Old Timer

    Content and composition may also send you round the beedin poip some day.

    A friend has a small meadow surrounded by forest out his back door. One morning he went out and saw a deer standing at the end of the meadow. He grabbed his camera but too late. Deer gone.
    The sunlight was filtering through the trees just perfectly. He wanted that shot. That meant every year for about one month, October, he set his camera up at his back door the night before and waited for a deer at dawn. He started his vigil in 1979. He got the shot in 2009 and a follow up in 2013.
     
  18. VanessaS

    VanessaS Arachnobaron Active Member

    I have always viewed photography as a means of artistic expression. Your photograph speaks just as much about you as the subject of the photograph. Unfortunately, I was born without those fabulous traditional artistic talents and so I gravitated towards photography as a means of expression. Perfecting the technical settings doesn't speak to me the same way as the content of the photograph does. Photography is an individual form of expression that I don't believe that you can do incorrectly. It is all about what speaks to the photographer.
    If people get enjoyment from perfecting the technical aspect - all the power to them. I would prefer to approach photography the way that it provides me with enjoyment. So, I don't sweat the technical aspect because that does nothing for my need for artistic expression.
    I'm sorry that it took 30 years for your friend to capture that photo, but I'm glad that he did. That is an Ahab themed story of photography if I ever heard one.
     
  19. The Snark

    The Snark Extremely jaded cynical yet optomistic Old Timer

    30 years of excuse to kick it back on his back porch supping a cup and delay starting his day. He didn't complain too much. :)

    But there are a few rules of photography I learned from my right brained ex. The 1/3rd 2/3rd or 10% horizon, don't take shots where the horizon is cattywampus and gives the viewer vertigo and the floating/falling in mid air thing. And shoot the dark from the light-light at your back and take several shots instead of hesitating until the right moment. Simple stuff it can take amateurs ages to figure out on their own.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
  20. VanessaS

    VanessaS Arachnobaron Active Member

    Photography is like anything else - including keeping tarantulas. The information is out there if you just make the effort to find it. There are hundreds of free resources on the internet alone. Every tip and trick is at your fingertips.
    But, just like with the tarantulas, nothing replaces experience. If people want to take better photos - go out there and take photos. I can't tell you how many times someone asked me how to take better photos and my answer was 'Where's your camera?'.
    I understand that those Dummies books are written for the Canon models and they're very helpful. Get online and read a few blogs of tips. Invest in a couple of good books of photographs and look through them for inspiration.
    All the information is going to be very overwhelming, so people shouldn't just read about it. They need to combine taking their own photos and reading up on how to make them better.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1