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Anden

A guide to Digital Photography and Cameras

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Posted (edited) · Original PosterOP

Disclaimer: (i don’t consider myself as a master of photography or the technology behind it please do your own research in advance of buying a new camera or other types of gear, it’s impossible for me to cover everything and i'm not taking any responsibility for any choices based on this article. The examples are as of may 2020) 

A guide to Digital Photography and Cameras

I have owned a few cameras over the years. Canon 1Dx, 5D mark ii and now own Canon 5Ds, M50, gopro and lots of dji film drones (i will make a separate thread with those if people want it), all that with a nice supply of lenses (i can also make separate guide to those). So it's quite obvious that i have very little experience with other camera brands like Nikon or Sony. I base my recommendations in this topic on my own research and experience with cameras. I will from the start recommend one very simple and quick step, and that is to do your own research in advance of buying cameras and a lot of it. This post is for people to make their own informed decisions, i’m not taking any responsibility for any choices made by others. I would also like to come with a classic saying which is “it’s not the camera that’s important, but the person behind it” I think this is very true and gear isn’t everything. This video by Peter Mckinnon an absolutely great youtuber really shows it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8LOoQxSi8M&t=318s

 

Mirrorless vs DSLR

Pros:

Right now mirror less cameras are very tempting, and for good reason, they are generally speaking lighter. They also have electronic viewfinders which i see as a major plus especially as a beginner, since you can see the exposure. The flange distance (the distance between lens and sensor) is smaller since there is no mirror between lens and sensor, this means you can adapt older lenses to the mirror less camera like the canon ef to rf adapter or ef to Sony-e. So now you have several series of lenses you can use on your cameras. (Nikon is a bit special since auto focus won’t work on all of their old lenses with their Nikon-f to ftz adapter because some of them requires an internal AF motor) you can’t adapt the other way round so you can’t adapt a canon rf lens to a canon ef mounted camera because of the flange distance it was designed to use. This means that you have the best of both worlds, there are also other pros to shorter flange distance that are very technical and that i won’t dive into in this post.

 

Cons:

But the downsides are also major, like awful battery performance in some cases 1/5 of a dslr equivalent and slow (but more precise so better for very low aperture lenses) auto focus, that's just how contrast auto focus is right now, this can be a pro or a con, but generally considered a con since phase detect auto focus on dslr’s has become very precise over the past years. While that is said some older dslr’s also use contrast auto focus so a good amount of research is recommended in advance.

 

Conclusion:

I would only buy mirror less personally if i had the funds or didn’t need the fast auto focus or long lasting battery, and also because of the electronic viewfinder which is a fantastic tool as a beginner.

 

ISO:

Very simply explained ISO is essentially a setting that can brighten up your photo. The higher the value the more sensitive your sensor becomes to light. Therefore it gets more bright. But this comes with a catch the higher the ISO value the more noise there is in the picture (the less quality there is), so you should always have the lowest iso possible with reasonable shutter speeds. If you have you'r ISO set at 100 your picture will get double as bright if you set your ISO to 200 and 4 times as bright if you set it too 400 ISO. I would generally try to have my iso as low as possible while getting the sharpest pictures, it’s hard sometimes getting 1/250s shutter speeds at 100 ISO, and that’s the point where i crank it up. So ISO performance is a crucial part of getting a new camera, generally newer cameras have good ISO performance.

 

Auto focus:

Auto focus is a really important part of a camera and can mean the difference between you getting a photo or not. There are many types of auto focus, but a good rule of thumb is that older mirror less cameras have very slow auto focus, older DSLRs are a bit more forgiving in this topic, but auto focus in general is essential since it can even mess up photos that are still. Mirror less cameras use contrast auto focus which moves the focus point back and forth until it finds the right focus point with the most contrast, thus it's more accurate but slower. The main advantage to phase detect is that it's generally considered to be faster than contrast auto focus, but less accurate, so that's the trade off between the two. I would say though that modern phase detect auto focus is very accurate and i have no problem relying on it.

 

Sensor sizes:

There is a lot of sensor sizes out there and this is an essential part of choosing your camera. Sensor size determines a lot in your camera and the sensor size also effectively determines the crop factor (How much of the image you can see). There is a lot of disadvantages and advantages to different sensor sizes and i will go through some of them now. If we have two cameras with the same amount of megapixels in the let's say 20. The bigger the sensor is the bigger the pixels on the sensor are. This essentially means that the individual pixels on the big sensor can absorb more light and therefore improve low light performance. The larger pixels also create less noise which boils down to less noise at higher ISO's which means that you can turn your ISO higher up and shoot pictures in darker situations (This is extremely dependent on the camera you buy, but this is just in general). The next part is purely subjective and depends heavily on your use case, the smaller the sensor is, the bigger the crop factor is. You essentially see less of the image, you can compare it to zooming with a lens. so if you have an Canon aps-c sized sensor you can multiply your lens’s focal length by 1.6x (nikon 1.5x) and a micro 4/3 you can multiply it by 2x.

 

Most common sensor sizes:

2/3" (not to be confused with 1/2.3" or 1/3.2")

The 2/3" form factor is one typically found in go pro's and in some mobile phones. This is rarely used in camera bodies and generally not a sensor size i would recommend for still shooting, but for video work i will say it's decent and i like the video quality of my gopro hero 6.

 

Micro 4/3"

Is a very popular sensor size for video work. I have heard many good things about this sensor size and i will recommend it for video capturing. Like the GH5 from panasonic. I will on the other hand not recommend it for still shooting it is definitely possible, but i would recommend bigger sensor sizes. This sensor type has a 2x crop factor so a 100mm lens will become a 200mm on a 4/3" sensor sized camera.

 

APS-C

This sensor size is extremely popular and if you go down to a camera store chance is that the camera body you are looking at, probably has an aps-c sensor. This sensor size is very versatile, but generally aimed towards beginners or people who wants a little more range with their cameras for example if you are a wildlife photographer you can get away with using cheaper telescopic lenses because the crop factor here is on a canon sized sensor 1.6x (nikon 1.5x)so a 100mm lens becomes a 160mm (nikon 150mm) lens.

 

Fullframe/35mm film

This is the sensor type is for the enthusiast and pro. It's been the go to choice for professionals for many years. These sensors are used in high end camera bodies and are not beginner sensors. What i mean by that is that full frame amplifies your small mistakes like pictures that are not in focus and sharpness. I will only recommend a somewhat experienced photographer, you can get them as a beginner, i would just recommend going with an aps-c body unless you find a great deal then you are good to go. Full frame sensors has a 1x crop factor so a 100mm lens is a 100mm lens on a full frame camera.


 

Medium Format

 While this format differentiates in size a person who would buy a digital camera with a medium format sensor, should know more about photography than me (don’t know if that says much). These are only used in cameras that are made for the professionals, that both need the insane amount of megapixels they are capable of, but also the color depth. These are only for professionals and not anything i would ever recommend for a beginner. It's like an amplified full frame sensor it has all the benefits, but also all the cons, and are specialized equipment. It’s crop factor varies because of the varying sizes of medium format sensors.

 

Recommended cameras:

I want to preface this by saying no camera is perfect. They all have their pros and cons. It’s also very subjective which camera is good for you. This is my recommendations, and cameras i would personally buy from new at these budget’s, now this is not including lenses or other accessories and i am recommending using a good amount of your budget on lenses and other gear as you will need it, lenses also lose less value over time and you can keep them most of the time when upgrading, they age much slower than camera bodies. I’m recommending cameras for still photography and not video so please keep that in mind. And last but not least as I stated in the start. It's not the camera that's important it's the person behind it. All cameras on this list are able to produce great images the more expensive ones just tend to have that tad extra of everything and features that pros like. These are also recommendations for you to research further on to make your own informed decision.

 

500 dollar:

Canon M50 

This is a very entry level mirror less camera, but this camera is mirror less which means that you get tack sharp focus and you can see the exposure in the viewfinder, two major plusses for a beginning photographer. This camera has its downsides too though, it uses the ef-m lens mount so the native lens selection is very limited, but you can always adapt it. Autofocus is also slow, so if you like taking pictures of fast moving objects dslr or high end mirror less is the way to go. Upgrade ability is also limited on this camera while you can adapt canon's ef lenses to it you can’t keep your old ef-m lenses when upgrading to lets sat an 80D. I recommend getting it with the 15-45 kit lens since it costs a very tiny amount more than without a lens. It’s very small and light and a camera i own myself. And great value for money.

 

600 dollar:

Nikon D5600

The Nikon D5600 is a great value for money camera, and produce great images, just like all the cameras on this list. It has great iso performance for this amount of money and is really light and small which is a good thing. It also doesn't have an anti aliasing filter which is great for sharp images, but can cause the moire effect (search it up on google). It's a beginners camera, but you can still take great pictures with it. I think this is more than what canon has to offer at this exact price point.

 

750 dollar:

Canon T8i/850D 

This is a consumer camera that’s brand new as of may 2020. You will get great value out of this camera and great auto focus, with 45-point cross-type AF points and canon's dual pixel AF system. So this camera is great for both live view and normal photography. It also comes with a flip out screen which i have missed many times on my pro bodies when shooting very low. This is your “average” camera it has the relevant features you need and not a camera you need to sell again if you get hooked on the hobby, great choice in my opinion. 

 

850 dollar:

Nikon Z50

I have heard a lot of good stuff about this camera and the specs tell me that it is for good reason. this is an aps-c mirror less camera that can take up to 11 pictures a second but that's not the only part. It has a pro body and is made of magnesium alloy like the other pro bodies have been for years. It's like a mirrorless D500 which was one of Nikons most popular professional dslr's before hand.  And the nikon D500 was compared to the D850 in many ways which all traces back to this being a great camera. It's also weather sealed which is a plus if you don't like dust in your gear, i generally don't recommend shooting pictures in rain since your equipment will get wet and damp, which can lead to haze and fungi in lenses and a lot of other bad things. I would consider this a really good beginner choice since it has an aps-c sensor and that it's mirrorless so light weight and the fact that you can see the exposure in the viewfinder.

 

900 dollar:

Sony A7 II

If you really like full frame camera and really want one right now the Sony A7 II is an absolute bargain. At 900 Dollars it's hard to go wrong. Can easily adapt canon lenses to it while they work great. It also has in body image stabilization which is a major plus. This can mean the difference between sharp and not sharp pictures. This is such a great feature to have and it usually works better than the image stabilization inside of lenses. And not only that it takes great pictures. Though some don't like the colors that Sony cameras produce, i do. The pictures that come out of an A7 II look a bit warm, but i like it. And it has great ISO performance as most sony A7's and is generally a fantastic camera. You can't go wrong with 900 dollars at least. I would also recommend to get a canon adapter to it since Sony lenses tend to be quite expensive and the used market has only just opened up, so prices are quite tough.

 

1000 dollar:

EOS RP

Now we are getting into the semi pro bodies. This camera is essentially a mirror less canon 6D mark II, it is cheaper though and comes with all the pros of a mirror less camera. I would buy this camera instead since it can use both rf and ef lenses so best of both worlds. It has a full frame sensor and 26 megapixels not a camera that is going to disappoint you and for 1000 dollars it’s a great camera. This is not a camera i would pick up as a total beginner, but it is possible to do.

 

1200 dollar:

EOS 90D

I'm going to preface this and say, this camera is for the person who would like to photograph moving subjects, like a flying bird or a sports event. It can do landscape and all the other things, but it has an aps-c sensor so the 1.6x crop make it hard to take everything into the motive which you sometimes want as a landscape photographer. But other than that, this is an absolutely great camera it has 33 megapixels, brand new sensor, 10 fps shooting with auto focus and lots of other features. This camera is also great at sports shooting since you can come so much closer because of the crop factor. It’s also great for everyday use. So if you need to photograph fast moving subjects or just want to get a little closer at your subject then get the 90D if not the eos rp would be my recommendation. 

 

There are many other great cameras from other manufactures, but i recommend these cameras because i know them to some extend and have done a lot of research. There are many other things to discuss and i invite you to write a recommendation in the thread below.

 

Lenses:

Lenses are hard to choose and i will also make my recommendations very shortm on modern lenses, but don’t look at the overall score though that says very little about the lens look at the individual scores instead. I’m recommending lenses that and to the point. There are many things to look out for in a lens and that’s for good reason. I recommend visiting dxomark.com and look at their benchmarks. The things i usually look for the most is sharpness and vignetting, if you buy older lenses, watch out for distortion and chromatic aberration which are less of a problei would personally have interest in keeping for the future.

 

F/#:

 is the amount of light coming into the lens, the lower the better for example a F/2.8 lens has double the amount of light coming into it that a F/4 so the lower the value the better.

 

IS:

stands for image stabilization and is an optical stabilizer within the lens that stabilizes your pictures so you have a higher chance of getting a sharp photo.

 

USM/STM

Is the motor type within the lens, the USM stands for Ultrasonic motor, and stm stands for stepper motor. Stepper motors are generally considered quieter while USM motors are considered faster.

 

Canon EF 16-35mm F/4 L IS USM

This is an absolutely great wide angle lens, extremely sharp, not to heavy and it has built in image stabilization for low light photography. It’s a very solid lens and is even being compared to it’s bigger brother the 16-35mm F/2.8 in many ways in terms of sharpness. And for half the price. Not a lens that will disappoint you, this lens is very stable for wide angle photography. 

 

Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM

Also called the nifty fifty this 100 dollar lens is an absolute bargain and with that big aperture it can take great pictures in some low light situations, though it doesn’t have any image stabilization. I recommend stopping this lens up to F/2.8 so it gets a bit sharper and rid of all the vignetting and chromatic aberrations. Great lens and absolutely nothing beats it at that price level. The older Mark I and Mark II are also great, but both have some quality issues and the stm is in general the go to choice. I recommend this over the older 50mm f/1.4 which is less sharp than this even stopped down to F/1.8.

 

Canon EF 24-70 F/4 L IS USM

Im recommending this lens because it’s a very useful focal range that goes from kinda wide to kinda telephoto and everything in between. It’s also sharp and a great allround lens. The image stabilization is also very useful and makes up for the F/4 aperture. While the F/2.8 version is leap ahead in sharpness and cost 2.5x as much. This is a great lens, but i would personally get a 16-35mm or 70-200mm first since i don’t use this focal range that much and i personally use a 50mm F/1.8 STM as a bridge between my 16-35mm and 70-200mm.

 

Canon EF 70-300mm F/4-F5.6 IS II USM 

This is one of canons newer lenses and it is cheap for the amount of value you get. It is also fairly sharp and autofocus should be about as fast as it can get. This lens also has a very useful focal range because of the extra reach compared to the 70-200mm that has become a standard zoom range today.

 

Canon EF 70-200mm F/4 IS II USM

Extremely sharp and useful lens. This is one of canons classics just in a mark II version. It has a classic focal range and very good image stabilization so you can get sharp photos even in mild low light situations. This is a very good lens and definitely recommended. I plan on getting it soon, but the price is a bit steep at 1300 dollar, but i’ve heard it’s worth every penny. Otherwise alternatives could be the tamron 70-210mm F/4 with image stabilization and an ultrasonic motor at a fraction of the cost. This is a lens for the serious hobbyist or the pro who like lightweight gear.

 

Tamron 70-210mm F/4 VC USD

Very useful focal range and fairly sharp. Unlike the canon the price on this lens is a fraction of the cost. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad lens it’s sharp and has very effective image stabilization or vibration compensation as tamron calls it. The extra 10 mm also gets you a bit closer to the subject, but nothing major. It’s also fairly lightweight and a great value lens. And both available for nikon and canon.

 

Nikon 50mm F/1.8 AF-S

The nifty fifty just for nikon. Great lens, but performs like the canon for double the price. though it has some great features like the see through focus distance meter it's very similar to canons offering. But it's worth the 200 dollars and is a must have in a nikon FX kit.

 

Nikon 200-500mm F/5.6 ED VR AF-S

This lens is great for wildlife and sports photography with a focal range that goes up to 500mm and 750mm on an aps-c camera this lens is no joke. It's max aperture of F/5.6 is a bit dark so you will need to shoot in daylight. But otherwise than that this is a great lens. I wish i had this lens for my canon cameras, i was nearly about to shift to Nikon when i saw this lens. You do have to watch out for the weight though it's a very heavy lens. And this lens has nearly zero vignetting which is a huge plus since you won't need to fix it in photoshop or stop the lens down to a lower aperture.

 

Sigma 85mm F/1.4 DG HSM ART

This is a lens that i consider buying soon. It is extremely sharp and has a very low aperture. It has little to no distortion and very little vignetting. This makes it an absolutely great lens and if you like shooting portraits this is a dream lens. And you can get it for both Nikon and canon Which is great.

 

 

Now i could go on and recommend a lot of lenses, but then this post would get very long. I recommend ken rockwell’s website or the digital picture. Both write very useful reviews Ken Rockwell does also make recommendations on his website, all of the lenses listed above is actually recommended on his website except for the Tamron 70-210mm, Sigma 85mm and Nikon 50mm. He also writes his reviews in a way that is easy to understand by a foreigner like me which probably will make it even simpler for you to understand. The digital picture also makes great reviews and i like that you can see sample images from each lens really helps sometimes when choosing a lens to look at the same subject taken with different lenses.

 

If i need to make any additions please write a comment in the thread below. I’m open for critique this is after all my first major post in this forum. And also please make your own informed decisions and not entirely based on this post i'm as stated in the top not taking any responsibility for any choices made based on this post. I’ve also only chosen canon related gear since it’s the brand i'm mostly familiar with, I know that Nikon and Sony makes great cameras too and they might be better for you. My information is also based on a lot of stuff I've read over the years and general experience so i'm not a master at photography, at all!

Edited by Blade of Grass
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On 5/13/2020 at 8:17 AM, Anden said:

Nikon D5600

Heresy.

The interface of the "beginner" Nikons are nothing short of complete and utter shit.

You will spend more time fiddling with the terrible UI than you will taking pics.

I'd rather suggest a properly sorted used prosumer Nikon than their beginner garbage, something like a D7500, it's superior in every way shape and most importantly, form.

(yes, opinion. I am also a professional photographer)

 

 


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for the 600$ price tag I'd put an SL3

I'd drop most of the gear rec as there is a separate thread being made for it.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
14 hours ago, Radium_Angel said:

Heresy.

The interface of the "beginner" Nikons are nothing short of complete and utter shit.

You will spend more time fiddling with the terrible UI than you will taking pics.

I'd rather suggest a properly sorted used prosumer Nikon than their beginner garbage, something like a D7500, it's superior in every way shape and most importantly, form.

(yes, opinion. I am also a professional photographer)

 

 

I just can't justify putting something like A D500 on the list since the z50 is basically a D500 in a mirrorless version. I can however add the d7500 which i shortly thought off, but my list got to big.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
12 hours ago, GDRRiley said:

for the 600$ price tag I'd put an SL3

I'd drop most of the gear rec as there is a separate thread being made for it.

I'll add it to the list amazing camera for the price.

 

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1 hour ago, Anden said:

I just can't justify putting something like A D500 on the list since the z50 is basically a D500 in a mirrorless version.

I wouldn't say that with complete confidence, the D500 has some features that the Z50 doesn't have and some that it simply is better at. For example:

  • 2.4 million dot back screen (Z50 has 1 million)
  • 1/8000s max shutter speed (Z50 only goes to 1/4000)
  • Headphone port (Z50 doesn't have one)
  • Flash sync port (Z50 doesn't have one)
  • NFC (Z50 doesn't have it)
  • Top LCD panel (Z50 doesn't have one)
  • 15 autofocus points at f/8 mean you can use teleconverters and keep AF (Z50 has none IIRC)
  • Two card slots (1 XQD, 1 UHS2) (Z50 only has 1 UHS2) means that you have an essentially endless frame buffer on the D500 even at 10 FPS), and you don't lose all your pictures if one card dies.
  • Illuminated buttons can be a life-saver in the dark, very underrated feature IMO
  • The battery life is much better

Things that are better about the Z50:

The Z50 can obviously use the optically superior Z-mount lenses in addition to adapted F lenses, and it also has more focus points (209 instead of 153). It's also cheaper, so there's that too.

 

The electronic viewfinder gives you WYSIWYG exposure controls which is, IMO, the biggest reason to get a mirrorless camera (no need to do finder-shots while dialling in manual exposure settings, and it also helps you remember you're still in "dark environment exposure" settings after moving outside which has never happened to me 😉).

 

The Z50 also weighs quite a bit less. The D500 weighs nearly twice as much as the Z50 which will be noticeable, in particular on long hikes or longer photography sessions. This does, however, move the centre of gravity towards you which helps position the camera correctly while hand-holding or when you have the camera on a free-moving tripod/monopod head, especially when using a super-telephoto lens like the 200-500 f/5.6 or the upcoming 200-600 (probably also f/5.6) S lens for the Z mount, so I'm not going to give either camera points for that.


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I don't think you should really consider an a7ii unless you absolute need a relatively cheap full-frame.

 

For a similar price, the Sony a6400 or Fuji X-T30 are better all-rounders and have identical-or-better overall image quality plus much better autofocus.


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no mention of sigma 18-35 and 50-100 :(


Good luck, Have fun, Build PC, and have a last gen console for use once a year. I should answer most of the time between 9 to 3 PST

NightHawk 2.0: R7 2700 @4.0ghz, B450m Steel Legends, H105, 4x8gb Gell EVO 2866, XFX RX 580 8GB, Corsair RM750X, 500 gb 850 evo, 500gb 850 pro and 5tb Toshiba x300

Skunkworks: R5 3500U, 16gb, 250 intel 730, 500gb Adata XPG 6000 lite, Vega 8. HP probook G455R G6

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Rappter(unfinished compute server) HP DL380G6 2xE5520 24GB ram with 4x146gb 10k drives and 4x300gb 10K drives, running NOTHING can't get anything to work

Spirt  (unfinished NAS) Cisco Security Multiservices Platform server e5420 12gb ram, 1x6 1tb raid 6 for plex + Need funding 16+1 2tb raid 6 for mass storage.

PSU Tier List      Motherboard Tier List      How to get PC parts cheap    HP probook 445R G6 review

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 7/2/2020 at 2:24 AM, D13H4RD said:

I don't think you should really consider an a7ii unless you absolute need a relatively cheap full-frame.

 

For a similar price, the Sony a6400 or Fuji X-T30 are better all-rounders and have identical-or-better overall image quality plus much better autofocus.

I can agree on the a6400, but the ibis is really nice to have better iso performance and better color depth, i would go with the a7 II but that's from my point of view. I do not agree on the xt-30 though.

 

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26 minutes ago, Anden said:

I can agree on the a6400, but the ibis is really nice to have better iso performance and better color depth, i would go with the a7 II but that's from my point of view. I do not agree on the xt-30 though.

 

I like Fuji but the downside is lenses. Fujinon are good but they're the only ones you can use without a smart adapter. 


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