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Old Feb 8, 2008, 8:47 AM   #11
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There are 3 things that can affect the quality ofa photograph:
  1. The Camera -Your Nikon D50 is quite a good camera. 6MP is typically good enough for 8x10 prints if you don't crop a lot.[/*]
  2. The Lens - Neither your Nikon 18-55 nor your Tamron 70-300 are particularly good lenses, but neither are they particularly bad.[/*]
  3. The Photographer.
Your equipment probably isn't the weak link.

The first step toward taking better photos is recognizing that the photos you've taken aren't as good as you'd like. The second step is identifying why. The third step is learning how to fix them. The fourth step is applying what you've learned.

It seems to me that you've completed step one. Perhaps you could post some samples of the photos you're dissatisfied with, either as part of this topic or in any of the Post Your Photosforums.
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Old Feb 8, 2008, 2:06 PM   #12
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I'm not sure I totally agree with everyone else. I think getting one or two nice primes would be a good idea - maybe a really wide angle prime for buildings. I know that I often get frustrated with my own personal limitations, and occasionally getting a new lens, or trying something new goes a long way for me to get over that stale plateau. My most recent aquisition was a wide angle zoom (12-24) and it's been great fun learning all about it's characteristics (I'm normally a macro/telephoto person), and my overall skills have improved (or at least I'm much more satisfied with them).

As far as primes over zooms - it's a case-by-case basis. Primes tend to have higher quality because they are simpler to make. However, I have an older prime that's very sharp but is low contrast/color and suffers severly from flare (it's an uncoated lens) - it doesn't come close to matching the quality ofone zoom I have. So if you decide to upgrade your lenses, make sure you do your homework first. I can't give you specifics, since I shoot Pentax, not Nikon.
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Old Feb 9, 2008, 1:48 AM   #13
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once again, thanks for the contributions. it's nice to see such a prolific thread, as I'm sure it helps people figure things out (besides myself)

TCav, I'm certainly up for your call. I'm gonna do some sorting on my stuff and find some nice examples of when better gear could have made a difference. might be a while, though, as I'm a real lazy bum. but I'll certainly do it.

mtngal, I think we're in tune here. we probably agree on the way to go. I'm gonna do some research on what's available out there, check my savings account balance and pick where to go next... I'll keep you guys posted


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Old Feb 9, 2008, 4:23 AM   #14
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Suggestion 1:
The best thing you can do to improve your images is to learn more about photography. No disrespect intended - I try to take this advice myself. Practice practice practice. Take some good courses if you can. Not "how to use your camera" but rather things that are artistically oriented. Go to lots of exhibitions. Buy some books of the great photographers and study and absorb them. Learn to critique you own pictures and find someone who can give you reasonable feedback. The internet forums including those on this site are useful up to a certain point.

I am frequently amazed that the more I practice the better my equipment seems to get.

Suggestion 2:
This is not to say however that better equipment doesn't help. And the lenses are generally more important than the body. One of the reasons you think the images coming out of the Leica M8 are so fantastic is because they have Leica lenses in front of the camera too. A single Leica prime (not zoom) lens probably costs more than all your equipment combined. An M8 plus 3 lenses costs quite a lot more than my car. Those lenses are the best you can buy they are made and tested by craftsmen and you never ever get a "bad copy".

Suggestion 3:
So after looking at lenses you might well consider a new camera body too. If you fancy spending a bit of cash there is no shortage of options. The Canon 5D is amazing value for money if image quality (rather than a long list of features) is your top priority; it has been a fantastic camera, and the fact that it is now 2.5 years old and being sold for about half of what it originally was listed for makes it an amazing deal. But it is very unforgiving of low-quality lenses.

The best thing that happened to my photography was getting a 5D and the Canon 50mm f1.4 prime lens. Very good value. Extraordinary IQ, not too heavy. IQ broadly speaking on par with the M8 (better in some ways and perhaps slightly worse in others). At probably about 1/4 of the price. Stick with the 5D and a 50mm fixed focal length lens for 6 months and if your photography doesn't improve beyond all recognition I'll eat my hat.
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