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  1. Kell

    Kell

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    Hi all,

    Just joined as I'm hoping that someone could give me advice on my next move in terms of photography.

    I studied photography at college, but am old enough for a lot of the lessons to be about processing film and making prints in a darkroom. As the years went on, I used my old SLR more and more infrequently.

    Then, for my 40th birthday five years ago I got a Canon 600d with the 18-135mm lens. And then in the intervening five years, I also bought the Canon 50mm 1.8. And then a Canon 430 Speedlite and then the Sigma 18-250mm lens and a Sigma 30mm.

    And I'm now at a bit of an impasse with what to do next.

    I'd say that my favourite lens/camera combo is with the Sigma 30mm lens and flash attached for parties and holidays and the like. But (sa I've seen numerous other people wondering) I always felt like the next logical step would be full frame.

    However, as most of my lenses (with the exception of the 50mm and a very cheap Tamron I bought for my daughter's 300d) are not compatible with Canon FF, I'm at a strange place in that I could sell everything I have and completely start again and not really be much worse off.

    But even doing this, I couldn't afford a 5d MKIV. So then I started looking at a 6d MKII. And then I started thinking, well, the Nikon d750 is less than the Canon 6d, so I could put the difference towards a good lens.

    And then I started questioning the need for full frame at all. Do I just upgrade the glass first and then decide to upgrade the camera later (would mean sticking with Canon).

    And then I read that even a modern entry-level camera would be considered an upgrade over mine which, at six years' old in terms of technology, is wa-a-a-a-y behind modern kit.

    So then I started thinking about a 7d as a significant upgrade to the camera and got all confused again.

    And then I read about the Light L16 and thought do I need a system, lenses, flashes, bags for the type of 'work' I do?

    I'm sure I'm not unique in coming to the realisation that my next move is confusing the hell out of me.

    I doubt there will be a 'right' answer, just opinions, but I'd be interested to hear some of yours.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Kell

    Kell

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    Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention, because I can't afford a new 5d, maybe a second hand 5d II or III would be 'better'.

    And then I realised that the can of worms I've opened is huge...
     
  3. troutfisher

    troutfisher

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    1,270
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    Chris
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    Ask yourself what do you want to do that your current kit stops you doing?
     
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  4. realspeed

    realspeed

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    Bazza
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    if you are used to Canon and its layout then stay with Canon, if you want to start from scratch then go to Nikon. In truth there is not that amount of difference in the photo result between either make, it is the photographer that makes the difference. Should you go to FF against a crop frame camera? I would say yes, others may disagree, but don't forget a crop frame camera is X1.5 magnification or there abouts, but with FF camera 50mm is 50mm, not 70 or 80mm roughly as with a crop camera.

    Which camera to buy? that depends on budget and buying new or used.

    Forget about getting anything else apart from a decent lens, other kit can be add to at a later date
    No one can say get this or must get that, it is what you are comfortable using that matters.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  5. Kell

    Kell

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    37
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    Despite saying I like my flash, I love taking shots without external light and I don't think my current camera is good enough to handle those situations.

    The autofocus is slow and often wildly inaccurate.

    And latterly, everything seems to be getting a bit soft. (That might just be my age!)

    I've used my camera a lot in those five years and it's probably somewhere about the 50-60,000 actuation mark - I'm beginning to think it might just need replacing as it's getting worn.
     
  6. realspeed

    realspeed

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    5,102
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    Bazza
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    When i was looking for a new camera ,first I set a budget and looked at only 2/3 either Canon or Nikon, looking at all will only confuse. Next I did research on youtube on ones i was interested in. The problem is new models of cameras are frequently coming onto the market and you can forever be chasing the latests model. After deciding on a couple then off to a shop selling cameras to get a hands on feel, something I think is essential. An awkward camera in the hand is going to be something always fighting against. So do you go for a "grey"import (often cheaper) than the same model from an authorised retailer. I personally can't see anything wrong getting a "Grey" import although some may say what about warranty. To my mind if a camera repair company want the business they will fix it.
    Most "grey " importers can get a camera repaired via their own contacts and often under warranty anyway
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
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  7. Orangecroc

    Orangecroc

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    2,178
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    Ben
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    Full frame will definitely help with low light without a flash, but then lots of modern crop sensor cameras will also handle low light very well, especially sony and nikons.
     
  8. Eloise

    Eloise

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    Eloise
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    No problem with getting a grey import here (though the buyer must make sure they understand what they are getting), but BIG problem with people using the facilities of a camera shop then buying online. If everyone does that then next time you want to try a camera there will be no camera stores.
     
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  9. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    Terry
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    Why do you think you need a new camera.
    What do you use your existing camera for.
    what do you need to do, that you can not do now.
    When you can answer these questions. It will give you the frame work that you need to match your options.
     
  10. sirch

    sirch Official Forum Numpty 2015

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    Chris
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    Frankly, if you are anything like me, once you have had the thought no amount of rationalising is ultimately going to deter you. A couple of mid-way options come to mind, a second hand 6D; now the mark ii is out there will probably be some mark 1's around at a fair price OR hire some kit for a weekend or two and see if that satisfies the need, if not at least you could hire Nikon and see how you like it against the Canon before committing.
     
  11. chris malcolm

    chris malcolm

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    1,002
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    Chris
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    You seem to have a vague idea that your photos aren't quite as good as you hoped they would be, and the camera sometimes has difficulty taking the shots you want. Of course it might be the case that a bigger better more expensive camera might take better photos, and have less difficulties with the difficult shots, but it equally well might be the case that it would make hardly any difference, and cost far more than a much cheaper purchase (such as a lens) which would make a much bigger difference.

    For example, I decided by checking through my photographs that in my particular case that upgrading to full frame would improve less than 0.3% of my photographs, whereas a better lens would improve at least 5% at less cost. That cost/benefit comparison has held up for me now for several new lenses, and I'm beginning to wonder whether the benefits of full frame will ever be worth it -- in my particular case of course.
     
  12. antonroland

    antonroland Inspector Gadget

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    Anton
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    I would personally recommend you not to worry too much about your "old" camera body.

    If it is viable for you to build a second system or complete brand change, by all means do so but if I were you I would stick with a brand you are heavily invested in...whatever brand will always have something that appears nicer at first but at what cost?

    Research your future lenses carefully and consider buying EF ( full frame) compatible lenses so that you have a good and workable selection when the FF body comes along...
     
  13. antonroland

    antonroland Inspector Gadget

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    4,047
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    Anton
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    Your current camera IS good enough if you nail the exposure within reasonable limits.

    Always use the centre AF point, lock focus with the shutter button while recomposing and take the shot.

    I shoot my 1Ds II as often as possible. She is running just fine on her 3rd shutter
     
  14. realspeed

    realspeed

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    5,102
    Name:
    Bazza
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    [Q On camera price puster it isUOTE="Eloise, post: 7970442, member: 84500"]No problem with getting a grey import here (though the buyer must make sure they understand what they are getting), but BIG problem with people using the facilities of a camera shop then buying online. If everyone does that then next time you want to try a camera there will be no camera stores.[/QUOTE]

    Strangely enough I agree with you, but this happens with any commodity not just photographic equipment. Try going into one of the well know stores for an item and what happens ? "yes sir/madam we can get it in by tomorrow for you if you care to come back"
    That puts buyers off straight away, who wants to keep going back to see if an item is now in? so these stores are doing it to themselves, driving customers to go on line..

    PC world and Curry's now use the same premises so cutting down even more of any stock they may hold. Not only that but if by chance they do have it you get pestered by the staff to take out either by pushing Hire Purchase or selling extended warranties.

    No wonder on line sales have rocketed and purchased are delivered to the door


    One of these grey sellers are offering = Nikon D750 Digital SLR Body for £1,159.00

    On camera price buster cheapest quote is £1590 that is a hell of a difference. Just as an example
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  15. Kell

    Kell

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    37
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    I guess part of the problem is that I work with a number of professional photographers and when I see the sharpness of their images, I’m jealous.

    Of course they’re using hasselblad medium format backs and producing images of unbelievable clarity.

    I just feel like my camera/lenses produce a lot of noise across a huge variety of my shots.

    Just as an FYI I normally shoot on aperture priority and have my camera set up with centre point focus only.

    When taking portraits, I focus on the eyes but still they seem a little soft when viewed full size.

    It may be that I’m making unreasonable demands on the camera in low light in some instances, but sometimes even during the day the shots aren’t as sharp as I’d hoped.
     
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  16. realspeed

    realspeed

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    5,102
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    Bazza
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    When I outgrew my first DSLR a Nikon D70s I made the mistake of getting the next one up in the lineup the D200. I could have saved a bundle if i had gone for a camera higher in the lineup in the first place. from the D200 to the D300 and now the D800.
    Don't make the same mistake, go for as close to top of the line as possible , ok you may not want all the features at the outset, but they are there without doing another upgrade
     
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  17. TLR-330

    TLR-330

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    Charles
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    Saving money on stock or warehousing space in multiple locations is now a fecking excuse for justifying tax evasion. Just say you are happy evading tax and stop the cr@p waffle for why you are right to break the law. Next you should write to the editor and complain about the NHS and other services not giving you value for money.
     
  18. Orangecroc

    Orangecroc

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    2,178
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    Ben
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    How often do you look at photos with you face touching it?
     
  19. ABTog

    ABTog

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    618
    Name:
    Alistair
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    No
    Well, there's part of your problem. You're comparing a £400 DSLR with a very expensive medium format camera.

    You also need to look at the kit you have and work out it's weaknesses and see if you are optimising your techniques for the kit you have.

    Your kit:
    Canon 600d with the 18-135mm lens.
    Canon 50mm 1.8 - Mk2 or STM? Decent enough, though the STM is better built and has fast AF.
    Sigma 18-250mm lens - Why? Half this range is covered by your 18-135mm which is sharper
    Sigma 30mm. - the f1.4 older version or the Art?
    Canon 430 Speedlite

    Neither of your zooms are going to be particularly sharp till you get to f8 or something (which is no good in low light). The 50mm and 30mm will be sharp, so long as you nail focus, which can be tricky with a shallow depth of field.
    The other problem is that the Sigma 30mm in particular might need calibrating to your body. Any lens can suffer from manufacturing tolerances, which means that a lens on one body might be tack-sharp, but the same lens on another body, it might be a little soft. Calibrating the lens to the body will make sure they provide sharp images. The more expensive camera bodies have "lens micro adjustment" built in which can improve matters without having to get the lens and camera calibrated.
    You also should think about technique. Are you standing steady? Is your shutter speed high enough for the focal length and subject matter? For people, you should be at 1/200th or more to freeze their movement even if they are just standing. If they are moving, then you need to get higher still. Don't forget that shutter speed needs to be a reciprocal of the focal length to combat camera shake. IE at 100mm, you need to be at 1/100th/s or faster.
    Are you using "focus and recompose"? If so, just the movement of recomposing can mean you've moved the camera enough to get the subject slightly out of focus, which is even more likely at f1.8 or 1.4.
    Also in low light, when you push up the ISO, the noise will reduce the sharpness even if the camera was perfectly focused.
    If you're using aperture priority, it might be that the camera is picking too slow a shutter speed, so it's not freezing any movement. This is where you have 3 options: either switch to full manual, so you are controlling everything including the shutter speed too; switch to manual with auto-iso, so you fix the aperture and shutter speed, letting the camera pick the ISO needed or you set a minimum shutter speed in the camera's menu (but I'm not sure the 600D has that option.)

    As for your kit, if you can't get your shutter speed high enough without going to ISOs that give you crazy amounts of noise, then maybe a camera upgrade might be helpful. But you don't *need* to go to full frame.
    An upgrade to a 70D or an 80D might give you the increased ISO performance you want without going full frame. The 70D and 80D also have massively improved AF compared to your current camera.
    For your lenses, I would keep the 50mm if it's the STM, if not, then I would consider changing to the STM because the AF is so much faster and quieter. I'd also keep the Sigma 30mm f1.4 if you are staying with a crop sensor body.
    The Canon 18-135mm, whilst a decent kit lens, isn't going to help you when you have low light situations. I would consider trading that for a Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS or Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 VC (or the Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS if you can afford it). All of these will give you a much wider aperture to use in low light situations and the image stabilisation (IS/VC/OS) will help keep the image sharp even if you have to drop the shutter speed. These also have much better optics than the kit lenses.
    And the Sigma 18-250mm.......... superzooms are not exactly known for their sharpness or high image quality. If you still need the length, I'd swap it for either the Canon 55-250mm IS STM, Canon 70-300mm IS or the Tamron 70-300mm VC.

    IF you decided that full frame was the only way to go... selling your crop-sensor kit would maybe give you £600-700, which would just about get you a second hand 6D. But that will only leave you the 50mm to use with it.
    I did something similar, but I had already invested in the 24-105L lens, so I already had a good general purpose full frame lens ready to go.
    The 6D is a great camera, the low light performance in particular is brilliant, I'm happy going to ISO6400 or even 8000. It's a better investment than a secondhand 5D2 which is even older than your 600D.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  20. Kell

    Kell

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    All very helpful stuff.

    I think that the 50mm canon is the II, but that the lens that’s giving me the most problems. It seemed sharp when I first got it, but now I cannot get it to focus properly. I’ve not dropped it, but it’s possible it’s been banged while in my bag for travelling.

    Yes it was cheap, but I was really pleased when I got it. I ‘replaced’ that with the 30 mm Sigma because I wanted the classic 50mm prime and that’s equated to about that with the crop factor.

    I also bought the dock for the Sigma and have calibrated this lens to the body.

    I try, where possible, to keep the shutter speed greater than the focal length to stop the blurriness. Other than experimenting to dial some in for creative reasons. And I always shoot with my right elbow locked in to my body and my left hand supporting the lens.

    I’ve even tried with a tripod and a remote, but to no avail. And I had the camera professionally cleaned a couple of years ago in case it was that.

    I bought the 18-250 Sigma as it got great reviews and I went on Safari a couple of years’ ago. It promised to be a perfect lens for my needs, but my daughter managed (with a second hand 300d and my old Canon 18-135) to shoot a couple of shots that outshone anything I took.

    Every review I ever read says Nikons have better processors and whenever I see the accompanying comparative pictures I prefer the ‘feel’ from them.

    That said, I recently went on holiday with a mate of mine and he’s just upgraded his 6/7 year old Nikon for a newer one, and his shots looked even worse than mine indoors.

    Thanks for all the comments so far.
     
  21. Phil V

    Phil V

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    Phil
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    Both of which prove what photographers say continually, but which is largely ignored, the 'quality' of the image owes more to the 12" of soft stuff behind the camera than to the camera or lens.

    Back to your question, if you really want 'better gear', and to stick with Canon, look at both the 6d or 5dIII s/h and a couple of quality primes (my favourites are the Sigma 35 Art and the Canon 135L

    But if you're prepared to swap systems, the 'best' camera /price choice is the Nikon D750.
     
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  22. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    Stewart (duh)
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    It's not clear what you mean here. Does "slow" refer to the time taken to acquire focus, or the ability to track moving subjects? If the former, then I would be looking at upgrading my lenses first - none of them are particularly high quality. If the latter, then it's probably a combination of the lens, the camera and the user, and changing one of those three components may not provide an immediate solution.

    Wildly inaccurate focus is usually caused by user error, unless your equipment has been subjected to serious physical abuse.

    If you were able to post some sample photos illustrating these issues, that might help us understand.

    It might be your technique, or your expectations, or your analysis. (Do you pixel-peep more than you used to?) It's unlikely to be the camera unless it has been physically damaged (eg mount bent due to impact).

    Sorry, but no. At some point the shutter will probably fail, but it has an average life expectancy of 100,000 so it's certainly not particularly old. But short of failure, there's nothing in the internals of a camera that can degrade gradually and affect your images. Buttons may get sticky, dials may get stiff or loose, individual segments of displays may fail; but the camera's core electronics basically work properly or not at all, and the mirror/shutter assembly basically works properly or not at all. The age of the camera doesn't cause your photos to gradually get worse.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  23. LCPete

    LCPete

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    6,625
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    Good advice
    your 600 D should produce sharp shots
    I still use my 550 D (as well as 7D mk 1 and 2) the 550D gives very sharp and clear noise free shots when I use it on my Canon 70-200F4L at ISO up to 800 you have to nail the exposure though
    The advantage for me with the 7D is that the controls and autofocus are much better and you can do focus micro adjustments on each lens
    I needed to do this for my 300mm lens the focus is slightly out if I use this lens on my 550D
     
  24. LCPete

    LCPete

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    6,625
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    Agree with Stuart on the high shutter count my Canon bodies including my 550D are on excess of 60K shots and still work perfectly
     
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  25. Orangecroc

    Orangecroc

    Messages:
    2,178
    Name:
    Ben
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    You mentioned that it was low light shots you wish to improve. The low light conditions will make it harder for your camera to focus particularly with slower lenses as the focus is acquired with the aperture wide open and then the aperture returns to the shooting setting when the shutter is fired.
     
  26. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    10,240
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    Stewart (duh)
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    This is good advice if you have an itch that needs to be scratched, but (as @Phil V knows) it's not necessarily guaranteed to deliver much by way of improvements to photos.

    It's also quite a big step in terms of investment. Three of the OP's four lenses won't work on a full frame body, and none of them will work on a Nikon, and the flash won't work on a Nikon either.

    Plus, whilst some people find switching systems easy, some don't. Personally I find the positions of the two main control dials on Nikon DSLRs just don't fit my hand as well as they do on Canons, and that's before we talk about how bafflingly illogical the Nikon menu structure is to me. Other people will have experiences which are 100% opposite to mine, and others still will get on equally well with either system. My point is that these issues can be very individual, and I don't think it's a good idea to switch systems unless you've actually handled the 'other' make of equipment to see whether you get on with it.

    If I were the OP I think I would be looking at a more incremental approach:
    • upgrade the camera to something like a 70D, still crop sensor but with better low light capability, better AF, better ergonomics, etc;
    • sort out the lens strategy, get rid of the duplicates, and only buy quality;
    • upgrade the body to full frame if the itch is still there after the other things have been addressed.
     
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  27. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

    Messages:
    21,204
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    Richard
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    If you do nothing else, swap the 50/1.8 Mk2 for the much newer and infinitely better 50/1.8 STM version - only £100 and a real star. That old 50 Mk2 (I've had two) is bluddy useless and can't focus on the same spot for two shots in succession. If you're trying to nail the eyes in a portrait at low f/number, then all bets are off until that's sorted.

    As for your next step, and if you'll excuse me reading between the lines a bit, it sounds like you've become more critical, probably viewing at 100% too much, and have got a bit of GAS. Going full-frame is expensive (among other downsides) and often hard to justify in terms of results, but you need to think about that one carefully as it's fundamental to building a really good outfit. You need to sort out your lenses but if you do that and still want FF, then you'll have wasted more money (and BTW, buying FF lenses 'just in case' you go FF is not the best of both worlds, but the worst).

    Flash. Are you using that to best effect, or just sticking it on the camera and firing direct? Using flash well is a whole new skill but can totally transform results in ways that no camera/lens can compete with. Clue - it's not just those Hasselblads ;) See you later in the Lighting section (y)
     
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  28. seaodyssey

    seaodyssey

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    346
    Name:
    Pete
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    No
    Coming from a completely different angle. How do you view your photos, as prints, on a laptop, Tablet or Desktop PC, or a variety of these.

    If you just view your images on a laptop using generic software, the scaling to fit the picture to the display maybe making it soft.
    Do you do any processing, are the images processed from Raw, have you applied Sharpening to match the output medium. If you are viewing jpegs from the camera, do you save as high quality.

    There are so many parameters to consider, not just the camera and lenses.

    Pete
     
  29. Kell

    Kell

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    37
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    Yes
    I shoot RAW. And process (now) in Lightroom. Previously I didn't do any processing and shot directly to JPEG.

    (ETA: Actually I tried usingthe Canon processing software for a bit.)

    When I save them out from LR, I save the 5* images as higher res than the 'also rans'. Probably at about 6,000k as opposed to to 3,000.

    I tend to use a bit of Clarity rather than Sharpening as it seems like the sharpening tools make the images look a little 'painted.

    I'll try and upload some shots to view.
     
  30. Kell

    Kell

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    37
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    Yes
    Am I sure I'm using it to best effect? Absolutely not... but I never fire the flash at what I'm trying to light.

    I'll normally bounce it off a wall, or a ceiling to try and get light from a source that isn't in line with the lens.

    I'm aware that anyone that thinks the only limiting factor in what they do is their equipment is either going to sorely disappointed, or very poor (probably both) so I'm also an avid reader and try to improve where I can. Obviously an off camera flash is better than on, but that's hardly practical for the type of stuff I do. And it's more expense.
     
  31. Kell

    Kell

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    37
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    Yes
    So here's a question...

    How do I upload the files as I get an error message saying they're too big?
     
  32. Kell

    Kell

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    37
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    Yes
    I would say it proves the exact opposite...

    Two cameras, side by side under the same lighting conditions and one produces an image that has much more feel to it.
     
  33. ecoleman

    ecoleman

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    3,572
    Name:
    Elliott
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    Have a look at pre-loved 6D. The 6Dmkii has recently been released so you should find a few 6D's available second hand.

    It's a very capable full frame camera and fantastic low light capabilities, but you will need to invest in some good glass to get the best out of any camera.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  34. GreenNinja67

    GreenNinja67

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    2,364
    Name:
    Terry
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    Yes
    I've got the 6D and it's an amazing camera, if you put the right glass in front of it.

    Coupled with the 24-105 F4 L lens it's a great combination, I've had some cracking shots from it.

    Time will tell whether I continue with the FX kit as my back's not the best. I may look into what M43 can give me.
     
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  35. Kell

    Kell

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    37
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    Yes
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  36. Phil V

    Phil V

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    Phil
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    No
    There's no camera ever been built that can produce 'feel'. :)
     
  37. TLR-330

    TLR-330

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    Charles
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    Naughty Phil.
     
  38. StewartR

    StewartR Efrem Zimbalist Jr Advertiser

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    Stewart (duh)
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    What he said. Two cameras, side by side under the same lighting conditions, and used in the same way, will produce images which are essentially identical.
    The difference is caused by the users, not the equipment.
     
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  39. Kell

    Kell

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    37
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    Yes
    Unless we're talking at crossed purposes here, I'm sorry, but I don't believe any of that.

    Otherwise those group tests where they match focal length, ISO, shutter speed etc would never show up any differences in equipment. That's exactly how they test for things like contrast, image sharpness, the way they process light - the overall feel of an image when everything else is the same.

    The way you test how the photographer makes the difference is to give them identical cameras and lenses, and ask them to choose how to shoot the image.

    All that aside, I am genuinely here to learn rather than argue, so I thank you for the comments so far.
     
  40. Kell

    Kell

    Messages:
    37
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Also - I've uploaded some example images to Flckr but can't seem to link to them.
     

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