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libertyranger10
Aug 22, 2011, 09:06 PM
Hello Everyone,

I am a long time mac fan and a soon to be owner of a new 2011 13" Macbook Air. When I was a teenager I used to love taking pictures of wildlife. Being a little older now and having a little more money, I find myself wanting to get back into my old hobby. So I have a couple of questions.

1. I've used iPhoto a lot for my photo collection and minor edits on photos. However, I want a program that will be easy to learn and that has some good editing tools. I have a 100 iTunes gift card and am considering Aperature. Is this a good program for your amature photographer?

2. What would be a good camera for HIGH quality pictures. Since I want to do wildlife photos, I would want something with a good range. My budget is roughly 500 for a camera, give or take a 100 if need be.

3. Any other advice?

Thanks :)



tmagman
Aug 22, 2011, 09:15 PM
I'm personally a bigger fan of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I find it has a better flow and a little more freedom for organizing and keeping track of your files the way you want to, as well as the obvious photoshop integration if you get that down the road.

For that sort of price range I would have a look at the Canon G12 (or whatever is next in the G series that could come out in the next couple months)- gonna give you a lot of features you'll find on a SLR without breaking the bank, as well as a relatively compact size. Canon G series cameras have awesome picture quality. You're not gonna get a ton of zoom range at that sort of price range, but its a start. You may find you grow out of something like a Canon Rebel too quickly and would be wanting/needing a 60D/7D/5D, but a G series is going to give you lots of features but also be able to last as a compact carry around camera as well. They also make a teleconverter for the G12 to extend the range a bit which could be a good add-on as well... Don't get me wrong, if your budget was higher I would definitely be recommending go full DSLR but at 500ish you'll get as much bang for your buck with a G series.

libertyranger10
Aug 22, 2011, 09:34 PM
I'm personally a bigger fan of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I find it has a better flow and a little more freedom for organizing and keeping track of your files the way you want to, as well as the obvious photoshop integration if you get that down the road.

For that sort of price range I would have a look at the Canon G12 (or whatever is next in the G series that could come out in the next couple months)- gonna give you a lot of features you'll find on a SLR without breaking the bank, as well as a relatively compact size. Canon G series cameras have awesome picture quality. You're not gonna get a ton of zoom range at that sort of price range, but its a start. You may find you grow out of something like a Canon Rebel too quickly and would be wanting/needing a 60D/7D/5D, but a G series is going to give you lots of features but also be able to last as a compact carry around camera as well. They also make a teleconverter for the G12 to extend the range a bit which could be a good add-on as well... Don't get me wrong, if your budget was higher I would definitely be recommending go full DSLR but at 500ish you'll get as much bang for your buck with a G series.

What would be a good camera with some better range? You said the 60D/7D/5D. Would these be it? I know they are out of my range, but perhaps I could wait. Since my primary interest would be taking pics of wildlife, I think I would need something with good range so I don't have to be so close :)

----------

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-XS-Digital-18-55mm-Black/dp/B001CBKJGG/ref=bxgy_cc_p_text_a

Any thoughts on this camera? I could get it plus a 300x zoom lense for 800. A little higher than I wanted, but it has good range on the lense.

Designer Dale
Aug 22, 2011, 10:43 PM
One of the golden rules for non pro wildlife photography's to stick to crop frame dslr cameras. This would be everything on the canon side up to the 7d. These cameras use a smaller sensor and that makes the lenses effectively longer. A 400mm lens acts like a 600mm on these cameras, and believe me, you need that kind of reach to go birding and the like. I have a canon XSi and a Sigma 120-400 lens for my bird rig. The camera was around 450 USD used and the lens ran me 900. The xs in your link is a good starter. I'm pretty sure it's still in producttion. My XSi isn't.

Dale

libertyranger10
Aug 22, 2011, 10:55 PM
One of the golden rules for non pro wildlife photography's to stick to crop frame dslr cameras. This would be everything on the canon side up to the 7d. These cameras use a smaller sensor and that makes the lenses effectively longer. A 400mm lens acts like a 600mm on these cameras, and believe me, you need that kind of reach to go birding and the like. I have a canon XSi and a Sigma 120-400 lens for my bird rig. The camera was around 450 USD used and the lens ran me 900. The xs in your link is a good starter. I'm pretty sure it's still in producttion. My XSi isn't.

Dale

Thanks! This is good info. I actually found a cannon lens with 250 range for180, which is more in line with my budget. Is the XS similar to the XSi?

Laird Knox
Aug 23, 2011, 02:31 AM
One of the golden rules for non pro wildlife photography's to stick to crop frame dslr cameras. This would be everything on the canon side up to the 7d. These cameras use a smaller sensor and that makes the lenses effectively longer. A 400mm lens acts like a 600mm on these cameras, and believe me, you need that kind of reach to go birding and the like. I have a canon XSi and a Sigma 120-400 lens for my bird rig. The camera was around 450 USD used and the lens ran me 900. The xs in your link is a good starter. I'm pretty sure it's still in producttion. My XSi isn't.

Dale

Thanks! This is good info.

Eh, not really. All the APS-C sensor is doing is effectively cropping the image. It isn't really giving you better zoom. Depending on the sensor resolution you might get more useful pixels but you can't really compare them 1:1.

joemod
Aug 23, 2011, 02:37 AM
I'm personally a bigger fan of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. I find it has a better flow and a little more freedom for organizing and keeping track of your files the way you want to, as well as the obvious photoshop integration if you get that down the road.

For that sort of price range I would have a look at the Canon G12 (or whatever is next in the G series that could come out in the next couple months)- gonna give you a lot of features you'll find on a SLR without breaking the bank, as well as a relatively compact size. Canon G series cameras have awesome picture quality. You're not gonna get a ton of zoom range at that sort of price range, but its a start. You may find you grow out of something like a Canon Rebel too quickly and would be wanting/needing a 60D/7D/5D, but a G series is going to give you lots of features but also be able to last as a compact carry around camera as well. They also make a teleconverter for the G12 to extend the range a bit which could be a good add-on as well... Don't get me wrong, if your budget was higher I would definitely be recommending go full DSLR but at 500ish you'll get as much bang for your buck with a G series.
I haven't used G12 but being a compact I guess it is slower than an SLR. I also guess that wildlife demands a fast camera, both in focus and shutter lag. I have to admit though that budget restricts choices to lower end slrs. An alternate path maybe is a used one.

TheDrift-
Aug 23, 2011, 03:18 AM
I think you mentioned a cheap lens that went to 250?

I am assuming you mean the 55 250, its a great lens for a beginner, and good value for the price, a Rebel/500/550/ is a great starter camera...Here is a picture I took with that set up



I'm sure once you get into it you'll want a better camera and longer lenses...you'll be drooling over some of the big cannon L telephotos is no time, but I think your along the right track with that set up, I'm sure the Nikon guys could recommend you a good/similar set up if you went for nikon over canon.

As for aperture over lightroom, yeah Lightroom may have a slight edge, but its a steeper learning curve, and aperture is way cheaper and will do you just fine as a starter. The auto enhance feature is great for animals & landscapes.

The best bit of advice I can give is to sign up at a local college and get some lessons in, learning to use your gear, will improve your photos far more then expensive gear.

TheReef
Aug 23, 2011, 05:42 AM
Maybe a used 30D/40D for the higher fps (5 and 6.5 respectively) for fast moving subjects.

You could pair this with a 55-250mm IS as TheDrift- mentioned if your budget allowed for it, which has an image stabiliser.

libertyranger10
Aug 23, 2011, 09:26 AM
I think you mentioned a cheap lens that went to 250?

I am assuming you mean the 55 250, its a great lens for a beginner, and good value for the price, a Rebel/500/550/ is a great starter camera...Here is a picture I took with that set up

Image (http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm41/shaunwilko/JacobsParty30082010.jpg)

I'm sure once you get into it you want better camera and longer lenses...you'll be drooling over some of the big cannon L telephotos is no time, but I think you along the right track with that set up, I'm sure the Nikon guys could recommend you a good/similar set up if you went for nikon over canon.

As for aperture over lightroom, yeah Lightroom may have a slight edge, but its a steeper learning curve, and aperture is way cheaper and will do you just fine as a starter. The auto enhance feature is great for animals landscapes.

The best bit of advice I can give is to sign up at a local college and get some lessons in, learning to use your gear, will improve your photos far more then expensive gear.

That's a great picture. Turns out Amazon has a sale right now where I can get a Cannon T3 camera with a cannon 55-250 lense for about 570. I think I am going to go this route.

Liquinn
Aug 23, 2011, 09:50 AM
True, but a professional photographer could take an amazing photograph on a $50 camera where someone who doesn't do photography could take a crap photo on a $2000 camera ;P

tinman0
Aug 23, 2011, 10:50 AM
That's a great picture. Turns out Amazon has a sale right now where I can get a Cannon T3 camera with a cannon 55-250 lense for about 570. I think I am going to go this route.

Sounds perfect for what you want. I wouldn't get too hung up about the xxDs though that others have been recommending.

Hell, I'm selling photographs to magazines and I'm still using an XTi!

Designer Dale
Aug 23, 2011, 03:36 PM
Thanks! This is good info. I actually found a cannon lens with 250 range for180, which is more in line with my budget. Is the XS similar to the XSi?
My camera is also called the 450D, I'm pretty sure the XS is the 500D.

Eh, not really. All the APS-C sensor is doing is effectively cropping the image. It isn't really giving you better zoom. Depending on the sensor resolution you might get more useful pixels but you can't really compare them 1:1.
I know this, but that's the effect that the lens has with a crop sensor camera. I was referring to the cost advantage with out giving up too much in sharpness.

Canon 400mm L is $1299 and works like a 600 on a crop frame camera.
Canon 600mm L is $9500 and gives true 600 on a full frame camera. Not to mention the $2499 for the 5D Mk II camera that you would need.

Shot with my bird rig.
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5214/5426378734_a7c1f65d44_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/43162691@N04/)
EXIF Summary: 1/320s f/5.6 ISO100 Sigma 120-400@400mm Hand Held

Dale

Laird Knox
Aug 23, 2011, 04:37 PM
I know this, but that's the effect that the lens has with a crop sensor camera. I was referring to the cost advantage with out giving up too much in sharpness.

OK that makes more sense if you were talking about value. I reread your original post and it still reads to me like you were talking about zoom. ;) Just wanted to make sure the OP didn't get the wrong impression.

In any case there is some good info for the OP in this thread.

libertyranger10
Aug 23, 2011, 09:58 PM
:DJust read over all the posts again. Thanks to everyone for their input. As of now, I am gonna do more research into different cameras. However, I really like the Cannon T3 model. I got to check one out hands on at Best Buy today and it sure is a nice camera. My Macbook Air arrives tomorrow and now all I have to do is convince my wife to get the camera

avro707
Aug 24, 2011, 12:23 AM
Aside from recommendations of various camera bodies, do look at the used-equipment sections of places like B&H and Adorama. You might find some decent pre-loved telephotos on there that will be perfect for this kind of stuff, but they'll still probably be in the four-figure price range.

Some of the typical 300mm F/4.0 primes might be a good choice, used with a TC. They'll give you really long range with quite good quality while not costing the earth, versus some of the bigger telephotos. You may need to manual focus, but that shouldn't be too big a problem.

I admit, I'm rusty when it comes to Canon, having only just dabbled in them recently again at work. :o (I'm a Nikon devotee these days).

Captpegleg
Aug 27, 2011, 08:59 AM
The camera and lens are not all that critical at this stage of the game. What is truly important is your ability to convince your wife that she will be happier and feel more complete if you continuously buy new and replace old camera equipment. It should be easy at this time but if you hit a snag with her and can't easily overcome her objections now don't waste your time with photography and choose a more practical hobby like flying or mountain climbing.

stradale33
Aug 27, 2011, 10:02 AM
The camera and lens are not all that critical at this stage of the game. What is truly important is your ability to convince your wife that she will be happier and feel more complete if you continuously buy new and replace old camera equipment. It should be easy at this time but if you hit a snag with her and can't easily overcome her objections now don't waste your time with photography and choose a more practical hobby like flying or mountain climbing.

It's true :):D

HBOC
Aug 30, 2011, 12:33 PM
My camera is also called the 450D, I'm pretty sure the XS is the 500D.


I know this, but that's the effect that the lens has with a crop sensor camera. I was referring to the cost advantage with out giving up too much in sharpness.

Canon 400mm L is $1299 and works like a 600 on a crop frame camera.
Canon 600mm L is $9500 and gives true 600 on a full frame camera. Not to mention the $2499 for the 5D Mk II camera that you would need.

Dale

Why would he need a 5D2? The 1Ds2 is cheaper. The 1D2N is probably the best choice for a birding kit, as the AF is amazing and they are still reasonably priced. The XS is the 1000D, I had to look it up, lol. I think the T3 replaced the XS

I would NOT get a point and shoot, no matter if it shoots RAW or not. I took a few years off from photography and picked up a G9 I think, and coming from an SLR it sucked! I mean it is great camera, but the sensor overheats when doing long exposures. Plus ISO doesn't go down to 50 (most bodies don't, I am just spoiled)

classicaliberal
Sep 9, 2011, 10:36 AM
I'd also suggest looking into micro four thirds cameras like the Panasonic G3 or GF3 (depending on how large you want your camera to be). Small bodies, interchangeable lenses, and lenses much smaller at extreme focal lengths. (you can also use canon lenses with these - just add an adaptor)


A 14-140 lens on micro four thirds is equivalent to a 28-280 on a full frame Canon.
Also, your camera, lenses, etc. will all be significantly smaller.
If you're also really into wildlife videography, you might look into the Panasonic GH2 (top of the line photo/video) for the Panasonic lineup. The GH2 has a feature called "1:1 extra tele conversion" which effectively doubles your focal length (actually 2.6x) with no loss to the 1080p video quality. If you're using a 300mm lens, that would be an equivalent of 600 on Canon, but with the extra tele conversion mode turned on while taking a video it would be effectively more than doubled again to 1560mm. Pretty amazing stuff!


http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/panasonic_gh2_11_mode_revealed.shtml


When shooting in 1920X1080 HD (including 24P Cinema mode) and when ETC mode is engaged, the GH2's 4608 x 3456 sensor is "cropped" to 1920X1080. In other words, only the central 2 Megapixels of the sensor's overall 18 Megapixels is recorded.

This has significant implications, almost all of them positive. Firstly, no line skipping, binning, or digital interpolation are needed. It's as if the sensor was only 2MP rather than 18MP. As a consequence the image recorded has a crop factor of 2.6X over the full Micro Four Thirds format. The best way to think of this is being akin to the crop factor of APS-C over full frame 35mm; which in that case is either 1.5X or 1.6X.

As a consequence, any lens put on the GH2 when shot in ETC video mode has an effective focal length of 2.6X of what's marked on the barrel. The new 100–300mm zoom therefore becomes a 260–780mm, with no loss of light! It's like shooting with a 2.6X teleconverter but without the image quality loss and without the light loss. There is essentially no IQ loss because the original sensor output is used; just a cropped portion of it. There is no light loss, because though it acts like a teleconverter, it isn't. There are no optical elements involved and no upressing or downressing.

SIDEBAR. Since a Four Thirds sensor already produces a 2X field of view as compared to full frame 35mm, this means that in ETC video mode the focal length marked on the lens is actually 5.2X what it would be in full-frame 35mm terms. So the long end of the new 100-300mm zoom is equivalent to 1,560mm in Extra Tele Conv video mode. Wildlife cinematography anyone?

Please also note that this review only applies to when shooting video in ETC mode. In stills mode there is degradation due to a smaller area of the sensor being used.


Lots of video samples here:
http://www.eoshd.com/content/460/canon-60d-versus-panasonic-gh2-full-review-part-1

1:1 crop mode on the GH2 is like cropping 2K from a 5K 35mm sensor. 1080p is the output of course, but the GH2′s hardware can also do 40fps at 4 megapixels (close to 3K) for short bursts in stills mode, so it is possible that if heat isn’t an issue, a hack can do something more with that and increase video resolution further. That is some serious hardware for $1000.

1:1 crop mode enables you to change between a portrait field of view and extreme telephoto at the press of a button, and the telephoto view comes without sacrificing detail (quite the opposite!) and maintains the aperture of the lens, so a Zeiss 85mm F1.4 for example becomes a Zeiss 400mm F1.4 yet for $500 and the size of a beer can.

So to say the least, 1:1 crop mode in 1080p has added a whole new dimension to shooting with a DSLR. I find myself flicking back and forth between the two modes so much I’ve assigned it to the programmable function button.

On the GH2 a 85mm F1.4 is already 170mm effective compared to a full frame 5D Mark II and 400mm in crop mode – so here to give you an idea of how powerful this feature is macro and telephoto, are some frame grabs direct from the 1080p footage.

hansolo669
Sep 9, 2011, 11:43 AM
seems like im late to the party
you seem to have gotten a good idea of what you want, now go for it!
one thing to mention if you can try playing with a canon t2i or t3i, if you think this could be a serious hobby for you the t2i or t3i will far outlast the t3 as your skills develop.
if you want to be really cheep play with a canon 60d then go a buy a 20d or 30d online, however you then have to buy a lens (not to many used "kits").

now once you have the camera be sure to play with all the features and take at least a cursuoury glance at the manual. if you want to use the camera to the best of its abilitys try useing manual (M) and aperature priority (AV) modes these give you the most control over your cameras settings. try to stay away from auto and scene modes, they dont get the best out of your camera and limit your control to that of a (fairly cheep) point and shoot.