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Old Apr 17, 2009, 2:54 PM   #11
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If the ultimate output is a computer screen or a projector, your 10MP 40D is plenty.

If the ultimate output is an 8X10 print, or even a printed PowerPoint silde, your 10MP 40D is up to the task.

I would go with the lens suggestions that JohnG made.
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Old Apr 18, 2009, 4:07 PM   #12
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Many thanks for all the responses.

Clearly the 5D or 5D MkII is going to be a waste of money.

I take the point entirely about operator improvement. Until just recently the photography part of the website has been a bit of a sideline, but this is rapidly becoming more centre stage. Even so I don't think the 17-85mm is the best lens.

For the next few months most of my work will be out of doors and I am tempted to look at the 70-200mm that JohnG suggested Even if I go for the f2.8L IS USM that will still cost me far less than I would have paid even for the body of a 5D MkII.

One of the dealers I use is happy for me to purchase a lens and to return or exchange it within 16days, so I think what I will do is to work my way through your suggestions!

Robin
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Old Apr 18, 2009, 5:09 PM   #13
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I think JohnG was referring to pairing a lens like a 70-200mm f/2.8 or 70-200mm f/4 with a higher quality wider zoom, not using a 70-200mm as your only lens.

In many conditions (even outdoors), you may not be able to back up far enough to get what you want to in the frame with a lens starting out at 70mm (and when used on your 40D, a 70mm lens would give you roughly the same angle of view you'd have using a 112mm lens on a 35mm camera). You're mentioning things like large gatherings of people, etc., and you're probably going to want something wider than a 70-200mm for those types of shots, depending on your distance.

No one lens is going to be perfect for all conditions. ;-)

Do you have any shots you're not happy with taken with your 17-85mm that you can share? That way, members can see what you're referring to and help you decide if it's technique or optics limiting you when you need a lens starting out that wide.


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Old Apr 19, 2009, 4:53 PM   #14
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Jim thanks for your message.

I think the early trial shots were very disappointing. To a certain extent I was expecting more from the lens even on auto. This will give you a brief taste of what I mean. I think since then I have started to use more in creative mode, but I hadn't bargained on having to work quite so hard for decent quality shots.

The detail on this picture reads as follows

File name
IMG_0886.jpg
Camera Model Name
Canon EOS 40D
Firmware
Firmware Version 1.0.8
Shooting Date/Time
25/06/2008 14:16:57
Tv(Shutter Speed)
1/320Sec.
Av(Aperture Value)
F16
Metering Modes
Evaluative metering
Exposure Compensation
0
ISO Speed
400
Lens
EF-S17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Focal Length
35.0 mm
Image size
3888 x 2592
Image Quality
Fine
Flash
Off
White Balance
Auto
AF mode
AI focus AF
Picture Style
Standard
Parameters
Tone Curve : Standard
Sharpness level : -
Pattern Sharpness : -
Contrast : 0
Sharpness : 3
Color saturation : 0
Color tone : 0
Long exposure noise reduction : Disable
High ISO speed noise reduction : Disable
Highlight tone priority : Disable

Cheers Robin
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Old Apr 19, 2009, 5:59 PM   #15
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It's hard to see problems in reduced images like the one you posted. The good stuff gets washed out and the bad stuff gets diluted. It's hard to tell what's in focus and what's not.

Perhaps you could upload the full size original to your website and post a link to it here.
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Old Apr 19, 2009, 7:32 PM   #16
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Robin,

I'm guessing from the picture you posted that you were expecting your DSLR to behave like a better point and shoot. It doesn't. What you'll run into in a shot like that one is a DLSR does not have as much depth-of-field as a digicam does. Were you disapointed every person and object wasn't sharp? If so, I've got some bad news - at that distance, f16 I wouldn't really expect it to be. A different lens won't get you better results. Digicams have a greater depth of field (DOF) - where more of an image is in focus. This again goes toward the concept of technique. You have to realize with a shallower depth of field on a DSLR you don't take snapshots the same way. You have to understand not as much will be in focus. It's a bit of a struggle for some people making the jump from digicam to DSLR. In time, most photographers realize the benefit of the shallow DOF. Some never appreciate it. And it's a reason why DSLRs aren't for everyone. This is not intended as a knock on you at all.

In a way it's like a stick shift vs. auto. A stick shift gives you much more control and better performance. But it can suck trying to start your car on an incline. This DOF situation is one of the drawbacks of a DSLR. I just got back from vacation and took some shots with my 1dmkIII and 24-105L. My brother-in-law took shots with his 6 year old kodak digicam. You look at the background in his shots and there is much more in focus than my shots. It's just a fact. Doesn't mean I need a new camera or new lens. It's just the laws of physics.
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Old Apr 21, 2009, 11:41 PM   #17
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Many thanks for your comments. To a certain extent I would agree about using the camera in fully automatic mode. This was one of my earliest attempts at a test shot as you can see from the date. Nevertheless I find it quite difficult to see where on the shot actually is in focus. Agreed there are people a little nearer the camera than the background on the stall but I can't see any point on the image that is razor sharp and surely with f16 there ought to be some depth of field.

More recent efforts using creative mode and altering the sharpness to maximum have been more successful, but I still feel the lens is soft. I'll try again tonight to upload a full sized image, but the system wasn't happy last time which is why I reduced the image drastically.

Robin
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Old Apr 22, 2009, 6:28 AM   #18
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That lens is actually not bad at 35mm and f/16 (better than I would have expected it to be, based on tests I see of in reviews, since you'll often see a bit softer image from diffraction when you stop down the aperture that much with many lenses)

It looks like the "sweet spot" would be around f/11 for it at that focal length. Click on the blur index chart from this review and move the sliders to see what I'm referring to:

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/136/cat/11

Also, keep in mind that lighting plays a role. From what I can see from shadows in the image, you're shooting towards the brighter side of the sky. So, the subjects looking at merchandise are going to look a bit "murky" because they're in shadows.

Run your mouse over the first image in this article to get an idea of the difference lighting can make:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...0seconds.shtml

In addition, the background subjects don't have many pixels representing them (they don't fill enough of the frame to expect a lot of detail).

But, perhaps even more important, the shot really doesn't really convey anything to the viewer. You're not capturing any faces, emotions, etc. IOW, it's a bit boring. ;-)
Even if you use the best equipment around, and the technical details are flawless, you can still end up with photos that don't capture the viewers' interest. Likewise, you can have a photo with soft corners, distortion, less than perfect focus and more, and still have a powerful image if the subject and composition are interesting.

Frankly, I don't see anything that suggests a new camera or lens is the answer. I'd work on composition instead. For example, moving closer and filling the frame more with a few of the subjects, capturing facial expressions conveying interest in the merchandise, interaction between family members, etc.. That would do a lot more than any gear upgrade.

Also keep in mind that a dSLR will tend to use more conservative image processing (tone curve, saturation, sharpness, etc.) compared to a typical point and shoot model. So, you may need to experiment with camera settings if you don't want to post process your images using an editor later.

Here's your image:

[img]attachment.php?id=136221[/img]



Here it is lightly sharpened (just a one click sharpening algorithm in a editor I use under Linux). If you work with the full size image, you could do a lot better with it, while minimizing any artifacts.
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Old Apr 26, 2009, 5:18 PM   #19
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Hi Jim thanks for your suggestions. I amworking hard on images with Photoshop elements these days. The test photograph was intended only to be a test shot to see what sort of detail the lens was picking up. The big mistake was using auto mode. Now that I am working withdreative mode images are getting better. This one happens to be the first on my list for this morning in Birmingham. With a bit of imagination to lens produces better images.
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Old Apr 26, 2009, 9:03 PM   #20
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the 40D is an excellent camera, capable of producing superb image quality. you don't need to get a new camera, but you may need a better lens. most kit lenses are paperweights, and do not offer the contrast, sharpness and clarity of higher-grade optics. remember, a camera body is just a computer with some controls and a sensor... the lens is the most important part of any camera system. a Rebel XT with "L" glass will yield better pictures than a 40D with a kit lens most of the time, even though the 40D is arguably a far superior body.

the 24-105L is an excellent all around lens, equivalent to about a 36-160 on the 40D. for your needs, unless you have a lot of money to throw around, you'd be much better served spending $1000 or so on that than spending $2500 or more for a 5D2. for that matter, if cash is a concern (and these days, when isn't it?), consider the top-shelf offerings from 3rd party lens makers like Sigma or Tamron. they often produce outstanding images, but cost far less than a comparable Canon "L" lens. the main thing is to get the best lens you can afford, preferably one made for FF cameras, so that you're using the "sweet spot" in the center of the lens. and you also get the advantage of not having to immediately buy a new lens should you decide to upgrade to a FF body like the 5D in the future.
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