How important is a tripod for full frame D-SLRs?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by qveda, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. qveda macrumors regular

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    #1
    I used to use a tripod often when shooting film back in the day. After many years, I getting back into photography and saving up for a full frame DSLR.

    Recently read Thom's great article on tripods (great article)
    http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

    With the ability to raise the ISO a lot, and still get excellent results on the new FX cameras with lenses up to 300mm, is the tripod/head less important?

    Or, putting it another way, have owners of FX cameras found that they can get excellent shots with less need of a high quality tripod/head?
     
  2. joelypolly macrumors 6502

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    #2
    It depends....

    First I would say it depends on what you are shooting. For me it would be very impractical to carry a tripod when I am shooting candid people shots, the tripod just gets in the way most of the time. But doing something like landscape I might consider it. Macro i would definitely use one.

    Second it depends on how heavy the lens you are using, the focal length and does it have Image Stabilization. I have the 28-300mm Canon L and I can hand hold it at 300mm*1.6 at about 1/15 and get good results. This is around 2.5kg with the body.

    Also a tripod is useful when you need to do bracketing or HDR or something similar that requires you to take exactly the same photo again and again.
     
  3. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Higher ISO means less quality--still--so pros are still using tripods for shots that need tripods.

    As already mentioned, it depends. But I don't know of anyone who dumped their tripod on eBay because they got a D3.
     
  4. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #4
    Put me firmly in the 'it depends' camp.

    Strong high ISO performance (D700 in my case) mainly lets me get decent photos that I couldn't get in the past with other bodies. It doesn't change the techniques I would use to get those shots. Generally speaking, a photo taken with the use of a tripod will always be sharper than one taken hand-held. If circumstances let me use the tripod (or monopod), I will.
     
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #5
    Depends on the lighting situation for me. Low light = tripod, better light you won't need one as much.
     
  6. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Tripods will always have a place. They are essential tools for two reasons:

    1. Every shot will be sharper with a tripod, especially when used in combination with a remote shutter release and, if possible, mirror lockup. This is not always feasible, of course, but even with modern IS/VR lenses, having the camera completely motionless during shooting is still preferable.

    2. Using a tripod slows you down and makes you really think about the shots. Again, this isn't feasible for every style of photography, especially those that require action shots (journalism, sports, wedding). But for those who primarily shoot architecture/landscape/cityscape, a tripod can really help slow you down and make you consider each shot carefully.

    Put 1. and 2. together, and you have the recipe (or at least part of it) for sharper photographs and well-thought out compositions. Not saying that IS/VR lenses haven't been a positive development; they have. But they can't replace a tripod if you want the absolute best sharpness your lens can give you.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #7
    The same rule applies, nothing has changed. You are still going to want a tripod any time using one is practical and you are going to need it if the shutter starts to go below 1/(focal length).

    Yes you can get decent results at higher ISO settings but you will always want to use the lowest ISO you can. Just like film the slower ISO always gives the better result if lighting allows it's use. Even with an FX body you will want to shoot at 200 as much as you can and some times even wishing there was a 50 or 25 setting (so you could shoot at f/1.4 in snow)
     
  8. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #8
    Neutral density filters are an easier way to solve that particular problem.
     
  9. JWH2 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 11, 2008
    #9
    Not really. I had always assumed that to be true, but in some classes I've taken recently it's been stated that the best results are achieved using the native ISO for your camera. For example, when possible use ISO 200 with a D300. You should be able to find the native ISO for your camera in the doc or online. The differences can be subtle, but that can make the difference between a good shot and a great one.
     
  10. qveda thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    thanks for the advice and perspectives! very helpful
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #11
    There is no "native" ISO on a CCD sensor. The only reason we even see an ISO setting on a consumer digital camera is for historic reasons, to make the camera familiar to someone who used to shoot film. If we had started with CCDs rather then film we be talking about "Quantum efficiency", "Full Well depth" and "Amplifier Gain, measured in electrons per ADU" ISO is an encapsulation of many things including the rendering of counts to tone when raw is converted to jpg. ISO is simply a way to present a simple to understand control to the user, it is far from "native" and in fact quite removed from the way engineers thing about CCD sensors

    Yes I understand that photographers do talk about ISO. And I also notice that DSLRS are still built with the left and right sides of the body parallel to each other and square with the bottom plate. There is zero reason for this now that the film transport mechanism is gone except to make the camera seem familiar to photographers
     
  12. JWH2 macrumors newbie

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    #12
    Hmmmmm. That seems like a fairly good reason. While your post is, I assume, correct. The concept of "ISO" is useful to many of us, and if you Google "native ISO" you'll get about 4,760,000 results. Yes, I know that doesn't make something true (there are 1,850,000 results for "alien abduction").

    The convention may be technically incorrect, but this isn't a physics class. A lot of photographers (and the camera manufacturers) apparently feel that helping us to know that going below what is referred to as the "native ISO" won't give optimum results.

    Here's another scientific explanation, and why it matters. I assume that the technical part is correct, but apparently you'd know that better than I.

    http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4503
     
  13. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #13
    That is a really interesting link. It's worth noting that dpreview's camera specs always include an "ISO Rating." For example, the Nikon D90 is listed as "200-3200," whereas the Canon 450D is "100, 200, 400, 800, 1600." (One is a range, while the other is a list.)
     
  14. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #14
    They don't appear to be too consistent with that, for example: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos50d/page2.asp

    My guess is they're using whatever information Canon puts on the datasheet that accompanies the camera being reviewed.

    I understand what you're saying and it's a valid notion. FWIW I've always used the term base ISO rather than native. Assuming the exposure can be made to work, then shooting at the sensor's base ISO is going to produce the best image possible for that camera. Most people aren't too interested in reducing light sensitivity, so that quality curve is obviously going to tail off to the right towards higher ISO values. If you do need to reduce the light reaching the sensor, then neutral density filters are a straightforward solution to that problem.
     
  15. AxisOfBeagles macrumors 6502

    AxisOfBeagles

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    #15
    Funniest thing I've read all day ... in Google, veritas
     

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