Photo phrenzy

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 4:10 PM | comments: 0

Gonch upgraded his camera and is buying a big lens (hopefully he'll cap the damn thing in his bag from now on!). He said he can't justify my more expensive stuff, and Tyler says I'm over-compensating.

I'll always say firmly that people take great photos, not cameras, but dammit if having better gear doesn't make it a whole lot easier. I've been slowly migrating my photos over to Aperture (love it!) while backing them all up to S3. In the process, I've looked very hard at stuff from the 5D and before. Here are some random observations...

First off, I know there have been countless debates on dpReview regarding the image sensor size, full-frame vs. cropped, but I don't get that at all. I mean, there are some cropped sensor owners who swear by it with statements like, "I can get even closer because of the field crop!" Yeah, you can with a full-frame too... it's called cropping in Photoshop. I hate to think that I'm not getting everything the glass can see. The lenses made specifically for those cameras is an obvious solution, but because it's considered "prosumer" they don't have the really high quality lenses.

I don't care about that debate, but I'd never want to go back either. Being able to go a full 24mm and see it all is breathtaking, as I discovered in Washington. It also makes my long zoom, which starts at 70mm, more practical. I don't have to rip it off in situations where on my old camera 70mm became 112mm, and I was "too close" to what I wanted to shoot.

Noise is better handled on a big sensor as you'd expect, just as a function of surface area. Shooting at 1600 ISO is now something that's perfectly acceptable to me, and even 800 is pretty amazing. I like a little noise though, because it reminds me of using black and white T-MAX 400.

I've got a tendency to shoot aperture priority, wide open, because I like short depth of field. The reality is that it's a pain in the ass with people who are moving. The joy of shooting with the 50mm f/1.4 is the curse of moving people. Sometimes it's just not practical, or you need to snap off a half-dozen shots to get eyes in focus. But wow, when you nail it, it's amazing. Even shooting someone standing five to ten feet from you, that depth can be remarkably narrow.

The IS on my 24-105mm f/4 L is like magic. You can freehand shoot at 1/10 a second when the zoom is wide open, and easily 1/30 when zoomed in. That's pretty cool as long as what you're shooting isn't moving.

Even the 5D isn't great at white balance. I find you have to tweak the color temperature quite a bit when you're in goofy low light situations. That's not a huge deal when you can apply tweaks to ranges of images in Aperture, but you'd think that it'd be a solved problem by now.

Overall though, I find myself looking for excuses to shoot. I'm really into it again.

And the 5D is paid-off, by the way. :)


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