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Old Feb 15, 2008, 1:50 PM   #1
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Hi, first time poster here! I bought my first DSLR about a month ago – a Canon Xti - and have been a crazed person trying to learn all I can, reading books and websites and practicing for a trip next week to SF to visit my daughters. :?



I have the Canon 50mm 1.4, Canon 28-135 3.5-5.6 IS and Sigma 10-20mm 4-5.6 and Canon 100mm 2.8 macro. Yep, went way overboard for a new user.Of those, which two would you bring?We're taking a night time Alcatraz tour aranoid:.Besides the tour itself, I'll haveshots of the sunseton the water, and later shots of the SF nightscape. Some would be while we're on the ferry, others on land. I think the 28-135 would be the best general lens but is there one lens that will do better than the others to capture the fabulous sunset and theSF lights on water?



The other major event, on another night, will be the annual Chinatown New Year's Parade. Up close, colorful and bright. The 50mm is amazing in low light butit's beenhard to take some pics because of close proximity. The 10-20 is also great and very versatile. The 28-135 yet just arrived & I haven't used it yet. I will have a small tripod (gorillapod) with and can also take a monopod. I'm maxed out on $ but would also buy a lightweight tripod if it would make the difference on the nightscapes. I have a small build – 5'1 and use a Kata sling that holds the XTi with any one of those lenses on it, and the gorillapod on the back. That's about the max weight I can handle comfortably on one side, with a second lens on my belt or in another bag if needed. I also don't want to be a flashing target,"female with nice camera".



My other question is on settings. Prior to this camera, I knew very little about basic camera functions. Now I knowa little more but not enough to trust myself to manual settings.I finally understand fstops and shutter speed and the different effects they can create, but it's still hit and miss on manually figuring out the ratios or ISO, depth of field, etc. I plan to use eitherAperture Priority Av or Shutter Priority Tv and let the camera pick the other one (or I can use the night mode or full auto mode). Which settings would you try for the nightscapes? Which for the sunset? Which for Chinatown?

THANK YOU! :love:
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Old Feb 15, 2008, 3:30 PM   #2
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Carry a tripod for the sunset and night shots u mentioned. U can NEVER handhold and get a GOOD shot.

Regarding the lens's, i would really say carry the 10-20, 50mm and the 28-135. I dont see a point just carrying one lens alone. The 10-20 will be very useful for ur wideangle nightscapes and sunset.

Regarding settings, use the AV mode so u can have a control over the aperture.

Even ebtter is the Manual mode. There will be a hit and miss with the Manual mode first time. But u will learn faster and can take pictures of ur likings

Keep the ISO low for landscapes and nightscapes since it will show ugly when u see it in the computer later. Hence carry a tripod
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Old Feb 15, 2008, 3:54 PM   #3
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nymphetamine wrote:
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Carry a tripod for the sunset and night shots u mentioned. U can NEVER handhold and get a GOOD shot.

Regarding the lens's, i would really say carry the 10-20, 50mm and the 28-135. I dont see a point just carrying one lens alone. The 10-20 will be very useful for ur wideangle nightscapes and sunset. Yes, that makes sense because I'll be in some unique settings where one or the other would be best.I have acamera bag from my P&S and my daughter could carry one of the lenses in that

Regarding settings, use the AV mode so u can have a control over the aperture. The nightscapes of SF on the water will be from a long distance.In terms ofasharp picturedoes it matter which lens I use? Do Ineed to let in as much light as possible witha fast shutter?If I stop it down more will it give more definition to the lights?? Also I've heard people say to use infinity focusing onshots like that. Don't know what that is or whereto set it on my camera yet but thought I'd mention it. Thank you nymphetamine!

Even ebtter is the Manual mode. There will be a hit and miss with the Manual mode first time. But u will learn faster and can take pictures of ur likings

Keep the ISO low for landscapes and nightscapes since it will show ugly when u see it in the computer later. Hence carry a tripod
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Old Feb 15, 2008, 5:00 PM   #4
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Hi Sketchpad, and welcome to the forums.

You ask some good questions.

I have a Canon 350D (XT) - and 2 of the same lenses as you (Sigma 10-20mm and Canon 28-135mm). I also have the 50mm f1.8 (similar to your 50mm f1.4, but yours is the better quality version).

My advice would be similar to nymphetamine's except that as you are still learning your camera, I would not take the 50mm. As you develop your DSLR skills later, that lens will probably be used more. It also teaches you more... but maybe not useful to take this time. Also as a new beginner, I wouldn't experiment using manual mode on a trip to your daughter's. I'd defintely not bother taking the 100mm.

Your 28-135mm covers both 50mm and 100mm lengths, just at slower apertures respectively. You definitely want to take a good tripod (not sure if a gorillapod is large enough?) or your monopod for night photos. Stop down to f8 or f11 using AV mode at ISO 100 or 200 on either Sigma or Canon lens for night photos, using a steady tripod (note wind can blur such photos if the tripod moves even a small amount!) Have your Canon lens's IS turned ON (switch on lens), to aid with some image stabilisation.

Here are some examples of night shots I made with the Sigma 10-20mm http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...amp;forum_id=8

and some of the setting sun, (2 of the 3 photos with my 28-135mm). http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...amp;forum_id=8

I like the 28-135mm between 50mm and 135mm for portraits, my copy is especially good even wide open between 50mm and 100mm, and 1 stop down from 100-135mm.

So with that combination of 2 lenses (should be fairly portable) you should get some great photos. Please do share them with us after the trip! We're a friendly bunch here.

edit... By the way, how does your 50mm f1.4 focus on your camera? My 50mm f1.8 isn't always reliable. When it's sharp, it's sharp! But it's not the best focussing lens on my camera, and only about half are really in focus. Maybe a later camera with more powerful focus capabilities will tame it!

Paul
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Old Feb 15, 2008, 5:40 PM   #5
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pj1974 wrote:
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Hi Sketchpad, and welcome to the forums. Thank you Paul

You ask some good questions.

I have a Canon 350D (XT) - and 2 of the same lenses as you (Sigma 10-20mm and Canon 28-135mm). I also have the 50mm f1.8 (similar to your 50mm f1.4, but yours is the better quality version).

My advice would be similar to nymphetamine's except that as you are still learning your camera, I would not take the 50mm. As you develop your DSLR skills later, that lens will probably be used more.It also teaches you more... but maybe not useful to take this time. Also as a new beginner, I wouldn't experiment using manual mode on a trip to your daughter's.Agreed - at this point manualis such a crap shoot (no pun intended) and gettingan average picis better thanmissingit because I couldn't get it perfect.Plus there won't be much time to think about it and nothing is automatic for me yet- I have to review in my head what each thing means when I'm setting itI'd defintely not bother taking the 100mm.

Your 28-135mm covers both 50mm and 100mm lengths, just at slower apertures respectively. You definitely want to take a good tripod (not sure if a gorillapod is large enough?) It won't be. In fact I'm not sure how much use I'm going to get out of it, generally speaking. I've decided to take a tripod.or your monopod for night photos. Stop down to f8 or f11 using AV mode at ISO 100 or 200 on either Sigma or Canon lens for night photos, using a steady tripod (note wind can blur such photos if the tripod moves even a small amount!) Have your Canon lens's IS turned ON (switch on lens), to aid with some image stabilisation.

Here are some examples of night shots I made with the Sigma 10-20mm http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...amp;forum_id=8 Awesome! and it's so helpful that you have the settings.I assumed that a person would need a very long shutter time - 30 seconds or more - to get a good night shot but that doesn't appear to be the case.

and some of the setting sun, (2 of the 3 photos with my 28-135mm). http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...amp;forum_id=8 These are amazing. I've nevertried shooting a sunset. I hope they come out! I'm still not real clear on what settings to use

I like the 28-135mm between 50mm and 135mm for portraits, my copy is especially good even wide open between 50mm and 100mm, and 1 stop down from 100-135mm.

So with that combination of 2 lenses (should be fairly portable) Yes, there's so much walking in SF, the lighter the better you should get some great photos. Please do share them with us after the trip! I WILL!! We're a friendly bunch here.

edit... By the way, how does your 50mm f1.4 focus on your camera? The focus has been super sharp so far.My 50mm f1.8 isn't always reliable. When it's sharp, it's sharp! But it's not the best focussing lens on my camera, and only about half are really in focus. Maybe a later camera with more powerful focus capabilities will tame it!

Paul
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 4:51 AM   #6
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sketchpad wrote (in orange): (and Paul's replies in bold below)
Quote:
Quote:
........

Here are some examples of night shots I made with the Sigma 10-20mm http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...amp;forum_id=8
Quote:
Awesome! and it's so helpful that you have the settings.I assumed that a person would need a very long shutter time - 30 seconds or more - to get a good night shot but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Actually Sketchpad, the photos WERE long exposure. The first photo from that series was 30 seconds (at ISO 200, f8) and the other two photos were 10 seconds. the sky was almost pitch black (certainly darker to the eye than the photos look - but I like the effect of the dark blue sky). So yes, they were long exposures!

and some of the setting sun, (2 of the 3 photos with my 28-135mm). http://forums.steves-digicams.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=585225&forum_id=8
These are amazing. I've nevertried shooting a sunset. I hope they come out! I'm still not real clear on what settings to use
Just a word of warning, sketchpad, do NOT look at the sunset directly with a DSLR. You can permanently damage your eyes. I quickly glance (sideways) through the viewfinder to get a quick idea and guess that I've composed as I want, and then take the shot. I often shoot sunsets UNDERexposed, 1 or 2 stops, as I find that gives the sky around the sun / sunset a better look.


So with that combination of 2 lenses (should be fairly portable) Yes, there's so much walking in SF, the lighter the better you should get some great photos. Please do share them with us after the trip! I WILL!! We're a friendly bunch here.
Looking forward to your posts, then sometime in the future!


edit... By the way, how does your 50mm f1.4 focus on your camera? The focus has been super sharp so far.My 50mm f1.8 isn't always reliable. When it's sharp, it's sharp! But it's not the best focussing lens on my camera, and only about half are really in focus. Maybe a later camera with more powerful focus capabilities will tame it!
Good to hear your lens focuses well and accurately. Mine is not so good... but I have a work around by usually taking 3 photos of the same composition (forcing focus to move, e.g. moving focus to infinity by focusing on the sky then refocusing). So when it's in focus it's sharp... but it's annoying the ones which are out of focus. It's not a "thin depth of field" issue, but really a focus issue - but this has been documented by several other people with the 50mm f1.8 on similar cameras. I think the stronger focus of the newer Digital Rebels / XTi and now XSi and of course the 20D, 30D and 40D, etc - worked better with this lens than with the XT's autofocus. Though my XT does focus well with all my other lenses!

Paul
Thanks....

Paul
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Old Feb 17, 2008, 6:06 PM   #7
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Thank's for the update Paul! I'm going to print out all the tips,memorize them like a history test, practice in my sleep,slip out atmidnight, quit my job to travel the world... Just kidding.But the tips are definitely coming with me. Wish I had a photographic memory...tee hee...untilit becomes more ingrained. I'm so excited, feels like I've been asleep and now I've got a whole a new world to explore. Janet
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Old Feb 18, 2008, 3:55 AM   #8
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Hi Janet!

Last of my answers for you for today! Phew! I can home from work and I thought I could relax... but you had my work cut out for me.

Yes, good idea to print out these tips. Most important one, don't look at the sun through your DSLR camera (and I wouldn't even do the same with any camera!)

I'm glad to see you have a good sense of humour. Be patient with yourself. Even if you will try to memorise everything (like cramming for a history exam) you're BOUND to forget something. Enjoy your time with your daughter in San Fransico. Even if the photos do NOT turn out 100% right or perfect. Capture special moments when you can, but as my wife teaches me... also make time WITHOUT the camera! :? Horror, I'm saying this on a photography forum!

Seriously, most folks here realise that balance and importance too!

Please post some images (maybe in some of the appropriate "post your Photos" sections, here: http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...egory.php?id=4 ) after your return.

Best wishes

Paul


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Old Feb 18, 2008, 3:24 PM   #9
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pj1974 wrote:
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Hi Janet!

Last of my answers for you for today! Phew! I can home from work and I thought I could relax... but you had my work cut out for me. Gosh, and I'm just beginning [just kidding!! sort of] Thank you for your time and patience

Yes, good idea to print out these tips. Most important one, don't look at the sun through your DSLR camera (and I wouldn't even do the same with any camera!)

I'm glad to see you have a good sense of humour. Be patient with yourself. Even if you will try to memorise everything (like cramming for a history exam) you're BOUND to forget something. Enjoy your time with your daughter in San Fransico. Yes, that's the most important thing of all Even if the photos do NOT turn out 100% right or perfect. Capture special moments when you can, but as my wife teaches me... also make time WITHOUT the camera! :? Horror, I'm saying this on a photography forum! Yes, whatever I capture will only be a tiny slice of the most IMPORTANT picture, time with my loved ones. Hubby tells me the same thing...all will be well...forget about the camera...of course,I thinkthat'sbecause I haven't taken my hands off it yet and it's HIS turn

Seriously, most folks here realise that balance and importance too!

Please post some images (maybe in some of the appropriate "post your Photos" sections, here: http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...egory.php?id=4 ) after your return. Will do. I've enjoyed theopportunity to help build your character...

Best wishes

Paul

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