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Old Jun 29, 2008, 3:47 PM   #11
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What you're looking for is a large aperture lens to capture as much light as possible since the subject is not well lit. There are zoom lenses that have maximum apertures as large as f/2.8, which is good, but for larger apertures, you'll need to forgo the convenience and versatility of a zoom lens for the larger aperture of a prime (fixed focal length) lens.
Not necessarily... if you're taking landscape photos, you will want to use a smaller aperture (higher f/stop number) for greater depth of field. ;-)

In the Canon lineup, the newest model within your price range is the XSi. The XTi is also another option I'd look at. I'd also take a look at the EOS-40D. It's got some benefits over the entry level cameras (faster frame rate, ISO 3200, better build quality, etc.). But, you probably don't need that for the types of photos you want to take more often (primarily outdoor photos of still subjects is what it sounds like).

As for the photos when the sun is going down... a tripod is a good bet if you mean landscapes versus people. That way, you can use lower ISO speeds for higher quality while stopping down your aperture for better depth of field and sharpness. Stabilization (either lens based or camera body based) would be another option. But, it will only help so much if you want to take photos in very low light.

Personally, I'm shooting with a Sony A700 right now. One of it's benefits is body based stabilization, which can come in handy in lower light outdoors, since you would probably want to use smaller apertures (higher f/stop numbers) for greater depth of field for landscapes, which means your shutter speeds will be slower (so, you could get away with shooting without a tripod in more lighting, as long as your subjects are stationary).

But, Canon and Nikon offer stabilized lenses at reasonable prices (and the newest models have stablized lenses available in their camera kits). I'd probably look at the A200 and A300 (smaller viewfinder but it has live view) in the Sony lineup, and the XTi and XSi in the Canon lineup. I'd also visit the Pentax offerings. Olympus models are another option (although they have less Dynamic Range compared to most competitors, especially in their highlight range). Nikon's entry level models are well liked, too (provided you don't need brighter primes). Just keep in mind that many lenses won't Autofocus on the D40, D40x, or D60 (for example, that Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro wouldn't AF on these). Nikon does offer some options in that area though (at a higher price).

A body based system is nice, because any lens you use on one benefits (for example, that Tamron 90mm Macro lens would enjoy the benefits of stabilization so that you could use slower shutter speeds without a flash if you wanted to stop down the aperture for more depth of field).

I'd try them out in a store and see which models you like better before narrowing down your choices.

I haven't heard anything that would really make one model a better fit over another yet. Chances are, any of the popular dSLR models would be fine for most of your photos.

Also, if you're not going to be buying a camera until September, the available options may change by then. Cameras are sort of like computers... newer models appear on a regular basis.

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Old Jun 29, 2008, 4:00 PM   #12
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Scoobydooby11wrote: This was shot using a Canon 5Dwith ashutter speed of 1/2 second, at an aperture of f/22 and an ISO of 100, at a focal length of 17mm.

The small aperture gave a large depth of field, so the foreground as well as the distant horizon were in focus. The low ISO setting reduced the potential for noise. To get a proper exposure with the low ISO and small aperture required a long shutter speed. Though stabilization might be at work here, I suspect it was more likely a tripod.

Scoobydooby11wrote: This was shot using a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with ashutter speed of25 seconds (!), at an aperture of f/22 and an ISO of 50, at a focal length of 24mm.

Probably not handheld. [suB]:-)[/suB]

The longer shutter speed would smooth out the waves in the water, leaving a nice reflection.

Scoobydooby11wrote: This was shot using a Canon EOS Rebel XSi with ashutter speed of1/40 second, at an aperture of f/4.0 and an ISO of 100, at a focal length of 23mm.

Scoobydooby11wrote: This was shot using a Canon EOS Rebel XT with ashutter speed of1/4000 second, at an aperture of f/5.0 and an ISO of 200, at a focal length of 214mm.

I'm seeing a trend here. (Canon) (... though, certainly, any camera could take these shots.)

The first three were taken with a wide angle lens, maybe even the kit lens. Certainly the kit lens on the XSi would be capable of these types of shots, and that could also handle your landscape shots as well.
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Old Jun 29, 2008, 4:11 PM   #13
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^ wow.. well there you have it.

I guess I will be taking some canons for a test drive and see which one fits the best. Good to know that I will be able to take these kinds of shots with these cameras.

All this info is invaluable to me and I will be referencing this post from now on quite a bit.



Thanks a bunch to you guys. If there are any other tips that you can offer me I'm al ears!
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Old Jun 29, 2008, 6:06 PM   #14
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Any of the dSLR cameras could take those types of pictures, with very good results. I shoot Pentax, and am not half as good a photographeras the person who took the pictures you linked to,but the Pentax canstill take respectable landscape and macro pictures.

Wide angle shot (no lovely sunset in mine):



I don't have access to water and lovely reflections, but I do occasionally have an opportunity to shoot in early morning light (hand held):



Another early morning light (also hand-held):



I don't have much for trains, couldn't think of an equivalent. Thought this might suffice - I like architecture.



You mentioned wildlife - not sure if you'd call this raven exactly "wild" when he's such a good thief!



I'm another one who likes having in-camera stabilization because I don't have to buy more expensive stabilized lenses, and I rarely shoot with more than a monopod (there's a limit to how much stuff I'm able to carry around). All of the above pictures were taken hand-held.

As far as macro goes - I've seen some awesome pictures taken with the Tamron 90mm macro lens. Since I find auto focus a bit of a liability for flowers (my first macro lens was AF and I quickly found out that fine tuning the focus by leaning a bit in or out was the way to go), I upgraded to a better macro lens that happened to be manual focus. Its an older lens that's not made any more (think it was produced in the late 1980s/1990s)and cost about half of what a new Tamron would - Pentax can use any Pentax lens ever made (though old, M42 screw mount lenses require an adaptor). The lenses retain whatever capability they had new.

A macro (raindrops on a spider web). I held on to a walking stick for added stabilization):



I don't claim to be a particularly good photographer, just someone who has fun playing around with cameras. But I hope that these show that all of the entry dSLR cameras can take the kinds of pictures you want to take.
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Old Jun 29, 2008, 11:27 PM   #15
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! ^^ those shots are amazing.. the last one especially. Quite inspiring actually. I realized that I completely forget mentioning Architecture in my above posts..

Thank you for posting those!

And thank you all for your ideas and opinions :-D
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Old Jun 30, 2008, 6:20 AM   #16
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ScoobyDooby wrote:
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... I realized that I completely forget mentioning Architecture in my above posts. ...
Architectural Photography often requires a wide angle lens, much like Landscape Photography, andoften, akit lens is sufficient. But with Architectural Photography you need to pay more attention to any geometric distortion that often comes with wide angle lenses. While geometric distortion can often be corrected duringpost processing, because the process involves playing with the pixels, the result is often a significant loss of detail in the corners. The best solution is to have a very good lens. Again, you can peruse the Architectural PhotosForum and see what others are using.
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Old Jun 30, 2008, 8:22 AM   #17
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Most of the links you provided were taken with something quite wide, not the kit lens- as were most of the pictures I posted. None of them were taken with Pentax's kit lens (though I do use it quite often). In my particular case I used Pentax's 12-24mm lens, but could have used Sigma's 10-20. Neither lens is a fish-eye lens, like Pentax's DA10-20, which means they have significantly less distortion, but not as much creative fun as the extreme fish-eye (but a whole lot more work if you don't want the extreme curved lines).

The raven was shot with an older Pentax300mm prime lens. While it's easier to shoot birds with a modern lens and there are a couple of choices in Pentax mount at 300mm, my budget is limited. The lens I used is a manual focus/auto exposure lens that's got a great reputation and only cost $500 used. The new DA*300, the modern equivalent, is over $1,000.
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Old Jun 30, 2008, 2:09 PM   #18
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Some good points above
Scoobydooby11 wrote:
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...
Also, I want to be able to take some really nice panorama ...
A wide lens is good for that, but the widest lens will sometimes not be enough so you will have to stitch. There are automagical stitching programs which will often do a good job, but like just about everything else, there will be situations where manual tweaking will produce better results.

Don't try manual tweaking until you have learned how to use your photo editor's layer and layer mask features. And you will most likely want to use Panorama Tools for stitching with one of the GUI front ends: PTGui, PTAssembler, PTMac, Hugin are examples.

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Old Jun 30, 2008, 2:28 PM   #19
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TCav wrote:
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ScoobyDooby wrote:
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... I realized that I completely forget mentioning Architecture in my above posts. ...
Architectural Photography often requires a wide angle lens, much like Landscape Photography, andoften, akit lens is sufficient. But with Architectural Photography you need to pay more attention to any geometric distortion that often comes with wide angle lenses. ...
Uh, that link goes to lens distortion, not perspective distortion. A Wiki article on that is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perspective_control_lens Unless you are going to do a lot of achitectural photograhy with large prints, don't worry about getting a shift lens - the adjustments possible with Panorama Tools and other software should be good enough. If you are going to do a lot of that, you should look at a view camera with a digital back (way over your budget).
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