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Old Aug 12, 2010, 5:24 AM   #21
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To be more precise, what I said was:



By that, I mean that when shooting 1:1 or possibly even 1:2, the lens barrel will block the light from an external flash. In situations like that, you need an additional flash or other light source more appropriate for the close focusing distances.
Speaking from experience, as magnification increases, getting proper amounts of light becomes more difficult. That's just part of the game.

Natural light macro is tough. Its really almost impossible to be consistant.

Take this picture. Looking through the viewfinder, I wanted that look with the shadows. I turned off the flash and proceeded to take, perhaps, 30 frames. This is the only one I was happy with. Less than 5% success ratio is something I was willing to do because I wanted that pic. Flash would have not given me the "lurking in the shadows" look, but the results would have been easy. This is 3/4 life size and f10 at 1/60s.



A couple more I used natural lighting because it had a look I liked, but it was full, harsh sunlight that allowed enough shutter speed at f11. These are 1 to 1 and would have been impossible in many lighting conditions.





Something about all these subjects is they were dead still. No movement at all. That isn't always the case, and flash is strongly recommended for macro photography.

This guy was crawling under a leaf and there is no way this would have happened without flash. (pic rotated 180 degrees)



Another active insect which needed flash. Without it would be a "no go".



Just a pop-up flash here.



and here.



Just my thoughts here, but I use flash for macros 90+ percent of the time. Going without and needing to stop down for decent DOF causes failures to skyrocket. Movement from wind or the subject itself (common by the way) won't be helped by any stabilization feature. I consider stabilization, more or less, a moot feature for macro. I certainly wouldn't spend a nickle for the feature in a macro lens, but a few bucks for a flash unit will be money well spent.
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Old Aug 12, 2010, 10:05 AM   #22
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This has turned into the classic combination of the 'Stabilization: Pro & Con' and 'Flash vs. Available Light' positions that occur here ocassionally.

What no one here will tell you is that you shouldn't buy a stabilized system, or that you shouldn't buy a large aperture lens. And the combination of a stabilized system and a large aperture lens will often allow you to choose between using a flash and not using a flash. And the advantage of not using a flash is that your photo will look exactly like what you saw in the viewfinder, whereas, when using a flash, you won't know how the shot turned out until after you've taken it.
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Old Aug 12, 2010, 10:13 AM   #23
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Actually TCAV - the problem with stabilized vs. non-stabilized is the notion that "all else is equal" - all else is never equal. If all else were always equal, no one would own Canon or Nikon gear because those bodies aren't stabilized. The idea to making good purchase decisions with DSLR equipment is to match requirements to functionality - i.e. what camera functions are best able to help a photographer meet his/her requirements. Case in point - Greg and I have both demonstrated how flash is much more beneficial for this user's requirements than stabilization. Pentax doesn't have a great flash system. So, concentrating on features that will have a greater impact to the OPs stated needs, we can steer the OP towards gear that will have greater benefit. This is why it's important that the OP get advice from people that shoot what they want to shoot. Greg and I have provided some photos from personal experience that try to drive home why anti-shake won't really benefit the OPs shooting needs and why flash will. Given that - it stands to reason that going towards a solution with a system with strong flash performance and availability of macro lenses makes more sense than concentrating on a feature that wont help much
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Old Aug 12, 2010, 11:22 AM   #24
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I never made this a Canon & Nikon vs. the world thing. I was talking about stabilized vs. unstabilized, not optical IS vs. sensor shift IS.
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Old Aug 12, 2010, 11:54 AM   #25
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I never made this a Canon & Nikon vs. the world thing. I was talking about stabilized vs. unstabilized, not optical IS vs. sensor shift IS.
yes, you did do exactly that:
Quote:
Yes, macro may be a problem. Canon only has one stabilized macro lens and it's expensive. Nikon only has two stabilized macro lenses, and similiarly, they're both expensive. Pentax and Sony use sensor shift image stabilization in the camera body, so all lenses are stabilized, including third party lenses from Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and others.
Again you're overselling a feature with little benefit for what the OP wants to shoot. And by bringing in the cost of stabilized macro lenses suggesting the system choice towards in-body stabilization would be more cost effective. It's like me steering somebody away from Oly because their focus tracking isn't as good as say Nikon's when said user isn't going to be shooting action. It's irrelevent. Image stabilization as a whole isn't very relevant to the OPs needs. So whether lenses with it are expensive or one system has it in body vs. in lens is a complete red herring. Just like talking about focus tracking would be.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 11:02 AM   #26
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What I said was that the selection of stabilized macro lenses for Canon and Nikon is smaller than for Pentax and Sony. I also said that the selection of stabilized, fast, standard zoom lenses (especially good ones) was smaller for Canon and Nikon that for Pentax and Sony.

That's true, isn't it?

There are reasons to buy one brand over another. That's how you construct a selection criteria, and narrow down the products to consider. In this instance, Saif S said he "would like to shoot Macro i.e. Flowers & Insects along with Indoors of my family with that blurry effect of background." So, he needs a macro lens and a large aperture standard zoom lens.

In general, having image stabilization is better than not having it. Under no set of circumstances is not having image stabilization better than having it. That's because, if you have it, you can turn it off. If you don't have it, you can't turn it on.

The selection of stabilized macro lenses and large aperture standard zoom lenses is larger and less expensive for Pentax and Sony, than it is for Canon and Nikon. That's the application of a predefined selection criteria, the result of which happens to put Canon and Nikon at a disadvantage. That's not Canikon bashing!

Oh, I also mentioned that large aperture lenses, especially paired with image stabilization, lessen the need for flash.

That's also true, isn't it?
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 11:20 AM   #27
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TCAV - here's the problem with your argument. Your argument assumes that the only important criteria are: macro lens, wide aperture, stabilization. Thus the choice should be made on those things. As Greg and I have discussed and demonstrated, stabilization is not important. But flash is. The key to making a good decision is to determine what features in the gear will have the most impact on what you want to photograph. Flash has a greater impact on the OPs photographic needs than image stabilization. So it needs to be part of the equation. The idea of stabilization is unnecessary. Just like the idea of focus tracking. Focus tracking ability does not apply here. I could make the same silly argument you are: well you don't have to use it, but it doesn't hurt. Yes it does hurt - because by making that feature "important" you bias the decision towards systems with good focus tracking. That could move the OP away from something that WILL help them.

It also gives them a false impression of the equipment they want to buy. If they follow that poor advice and ignore flash and instead try to rely on image stabilization for their macro and indoor family photos - they'll get poor results. Which is why it's so important for them to see photos. That's why it's great that Greg posted his macro photos and I posted my flash photos. Now, if you have macro photos and non-flash photos for the same situations (insects moving, kids playing indoors at night or away from windows) please share them here. That way the Op can judge for themselves whether your advice has merit. At the heart of it you are arguing anti-shake is beneficial or at least not harmful. I'm arguing that it is harmful because it might shy the OP away from perfectly good choices in Canon / Nikon because the OP will not need IS for what they want to do. It would be just as bad as if I argued the OP must have great focus trackinig or must have full frame - neither one hurts the op - accept it might keep them from buying the equipment that will actually be best suited for what they want. As an example - assume the OP follows your advice and ends up buying a Nikon camera - instead of buying a less expensive fabulous Sigma lens and a good flash they instead put all their money into a VR macro lens - they then realize the VR doesn't give them the results they need. They spent the money in the wrong place.

I realize you don't like flash TCAV. But from the few photos youve posted over the years trying to demonstrate how non-flash without windows is better I'm just not seeing a compelling case. So - let's see your available light shots:
1) moving insects
2) kids at play at night indoors
3) multiple people in photo without window
4) backlit window behind subject
5) group family shots indoors

The types of photos the OP says he wants to take and the types of photos Gregg and I have shared. You believe you have a better approach - I think the OP should see the photos you've taken in those situations so they can judge whether your approach is better. In the end, the anti-shake argument is flawed because you give up other things to gain it. And when you give up things that have a greater impact on your success you made a bad decision. The op shouldn't factor in focus tracking and for the same reason they shouldn't factor in image stabilization. Neither feature will be overly helpful and paying too much attention to that feature keeps them from looking at the features that ARE important.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 11:57 AM   #28
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IS is nice but severely over hyped. It is a nice to have. But you can really live without it.

The only times it may play a bigger deal is when you use the wrong lens for very low light shooting. Like at f4 at 6400iso, when you really need to be down at F1.8. But you really do not want to use a F4 lens in very low light saturation. Or the other saturation that IS plays a big advantage is shooting at 250-300mm, but all the canon long telephotos come with IS now, so that is a moot point.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 12:46 PM   #29
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The criteria I suggested are: macro lens, and large aperture standard zoom lens. On the presumption that image stabilization never hurts and can sometimes help for all types of photography, I included it (especially considering the difference in the cost of getting it for Canon and Nikon when compared to Pentax and Sony.)

You stipulate that IS isn't important for indoor group shots, because flash does a better job. I understand and conceed your argument up to a point. Greg stipulates that IS isn't important for macrophotography, because flash does a better job. I understand and conceed his argument up to a point.

I'm simply pointing out that, because Saif S wants large aperture lenses at the outset, he'll be in a position to do things without flash that others can not. And since IS will help somethimes, perhaps hot very much for the things he specifically mentioned, but perhaps for some others he didn't, IS could make flash even less necessary. I'm not, however, suggesting that he abandon the idea of using flash altogether. I'm just pointing out that he has options where others might not.

Personally, I don't like flash. But in the past I have suggested that others use flash for what they want to do. In this instance, I'm not suggesting that Saif S not use flash. I'm simply suggesting that he has lattitude where others do not.

All other things being equal, are you suggesting that Saif S buy a system that doesn't have IS available for what he wants to do? ... or that he buy a system where IS is available, but at a much greater cost?

I know that all things are not equal, but for a moment, let's make them as equal as can be.

Saif S wants to shoot indoors, so it's reasonable to suggest high ISO performance (as has been done multiple times int he past.) The Canon T1i (15MP, US$585), Pentax K-x (12MP, US$510), and Sony A550 (14MP, US$750) bodies can all go to ISO 12,800, and are similar in all other respects for what Saif S wants to do.

For each of them, the Tamron 17-50/2.8 and the Sigma 105/2.8 1:1 Macro lenses cost the same (US$469 and US$479, respectively.) As I don't know much about flash, I look forward to you telling me if the Metz 48 AF-1 (US$225) would be inappropriate for one or all of these camera bodies.

So, with all things being as equal as we can make them, the system prices for the Canon would be US$1758, for the Pentax would be US$1683, and for the Sony would be US$1923.

Is it your position that Saif S should buy the only unstabilized system, because for two purposes he explicitly mentioned, flash works better than IS?
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 12:59 PM   #30
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TCAV - each system has their own implementation of TTL. The camera does the calculations. Pentax's implementation is not as good as Nikon or Canon or Sony. So, given the fact IS won't help the types of photos the OP is considering, Canon, Nikon and Sony become the favorites. We then consider the other attributes that will benefit the OP:
1) shallow dof indoors - which on a 1.5 or 1.6 crop body requires wide to normal primes. So the solution should consider availability of said primes and their prices. Here's where Nikon takes a real hit - without a focus motor, the low end bodies only have a couple primes that will AF - so you're limited unless you move up to a D90. There's nothing about the OPs stated needs that would benefit from the other features of a D90/50D/A700 type of purchase - so Nikon really isn't a great fit because of that restriction and how it affects the OPs STATED needs.
3. So now we're down to Nikon and Sony - good flash systems and both will AF with all the lenses. NOw it's a case of which macro lenses are available and which wide primes.

4. If, based on the lens selections there is no clear cut winner then a matter of hand-holding the cameras will help the OP determine if ergonomics of one are preferable to the other.
In my opinion looking at those lens options that should drive the decision between Sony and Canon. By considering the features that are actually important to the shooting needs and not cluttering the equation with other features we come up with a couple camera options that have the best chance to optimize success for the OP for the stated needs.

Again - matching features to requirements. Confusion comes in when you start looking at features that don't map to the requirements. In my experience if the requirement doesn't exist, don't worry about that feature.
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