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First of all, let me explain that I'm not a professional photographer, nor am I an expert in the digital aspect of photography. But I'm willing to share what little knowledge I have on the subject and if I don't have an answer to a question, I might know where to find it and post a link to it.

I've been interested in photography most of my life and I got my first camera (a Roy Rogers box camera) from Santa when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I used that camera until after I was married. I was developing B&W film and doing some darkroom work by the time I was 11. The Roy Rogers nameplate, on the front of the camera, was made of metal and held on with two small screws. I reversed that nameplate, when I started going to motorcycle events, like hill climbs and scrambles (before motocross days), in order to save embarrassment. The flash attachment used the Blue Dot flash bulbs, which many of you probably have never seen or heard of. I wish I had a dollar for every time I burned my fingers on those bulbs!...:lol:

I finally purchased my first 35mm camera (Minolta SRT101) when I was working on the construction of the World Trade Center in NYC in 1973. It didn't take me long to be disappointed and discouraged with the results I was getting, so I took some night courses at a photography school that was a few blocks from work. It's amazing what learning the basics can do. Film photography can get expensive, so to save money and have more control, I bought film in bulk, loaded my own cassettes, developed the film, and did my own prints, in my own darkroom.

I shied away from digital at first, because the equipment was expensive and the quality sucked. Around 2000, I finally bought my first digital, a Sony Mavica 1.3 megapixel, which cost $575 at WalMart. It recorded pics on a 3.5" floppy disc, which only held around dozen shots. After a couple years of that frustration, I got a refurbished Minolta DiMage 7, which was on the high end of point and shoots. Then I discovered the digital darkroom known as Photoshop and how much better quality can be gotten by shooting in RAW format, which the D-7 was capable of. The fixed lens then became a limiting factor and I started shopping for a DSLR. I ended up with the Canon MK IIN, which was the favorite tool of sports photogs, because it will shoot 8.5 frames per second at highest resolution and bursts around 40. It also has the capability of shooting RAW and JPEG simultaneously and can record on two different memory cards simultaneously. It won't keep up with today's models, but it still does a pretty good job...:)

All the shots on this thread were taken with the Canon ~~~> http://www.sidexsideworld.com/viewtopic.php?p=218269#218269

So, if you have any questions about cameras, lenses, composition, lighting, etc., ask away and I'll try to find the answer...:)
 

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Interesting Ken, because started out with similar equipment. My first 35mm camera was an Olympus-Trip, I believe. It was a 1/2 frame camera so I could get 72 exposures from a 36 roll. Then I went to a Minolta like yours..I think a 101 and later a 202. My first digital, which I still own, was a Mavica, just like yours. I now have a Canon Rebel XT, so I stopped far short of your equipment.

In some ways I still miss the 35mm and working with film. I have owned a couple of B&W dark rooms and I LOVED develping photos. I have processed crime scene photos, but that got a little tedius.

I spent a few years taking wedding photos and stayed very busy at it. That is HARD work and I eventually burned out and got away from photography for a few years.

This is going to be a fun section and I am looking forward to learning from you.
 

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Question one....do you use a tripod for most of your photos, or hand held?

Question two...explain what you mean by the RAW photos. I'm assuming that is only a capability of the high end digitals.
 

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Gary Lenon said:
Question one....do you use a tripod for most of your photos, or hand held?

Question two...explain what you mean by the RAW photos. I'm assuming that is only a capability of the high end digitals.
For most of my scenic shots, I use a tripod whenever possible. It doesn't take much camera shake to make a photo a little fuzzy. Of course, an IS (image stabilizing) lens will give you about a 3 stop advantage, but I'll still use a tripod when possible. The IS feature will add quite a price tag to the lens also, some around $500 additional. The IS is invaluable for action shots though, like my eagles and seagulls in flight.

RAW files are what the camera has the capability of recording, but they need to be converted before they can be viewed. JPEGs are compressed and a lot of information is discarded in the process. A lot more can be done with RAW files, if you're into editing. Your camera has the ability to shoot in RAW format, which Canon calls "CR2". Canon ships a converter with their cameras and you should have a copy on a CD. I haven't used Canon's software to convert RAW files, because I do all my editing in Photoshop, which includes "Camera Raw" software. When I double-click on a CR2 file, it automatically launches Photoshop and opens in Camera Raw.

Here's a link, to better understand RAW files. ~~~> http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/u-raw-files.shtml

If you want to learn more about shooting RAW with your Rebel, check these links ~~~> http://www.google.com/search?q=Shooting+in+RAW+format+with+Canon+XT&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a

If you do a search for "Shooting in RAW format", you'll find arguments for and against, depending on what you want to achieve. I'll post a good example of why I like to shoot RAW, as soon as I can upload them to Photobucket...:)
 

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Since my camera can shoot in RAW & JPEG simultaneously (yours can too), I use the JPEG as a preview for making corrections. Having two monitors on my computer really helps also...:lol:

The following examples show what the camera interpreted (first pic) and what can be done by combining two exposures of the same image using RAW files.

Notice how the highlights are a little blown out and the shadows are blocked up...This is how my high end camera shoots a JPEG.


Now look at the details in the foreground and hotel and the highlights are sharper...
 

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Wow, quite a difference. I would like to learn photoshop so I could shoot photos in the raw, er, uh, well you know what I mean! :shock:
 

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Wow, that is a big difference.

I have always liked cameras but have never really done anything to learn more about photography. My first 35mm SLR was a Ricoh that was all manual. I never really did take the time to get the hang of using that. I then updated to a 35 mm Minolta SLR. It had more automatic modes, which I thought was okay, but defnitely not great by any means. I migrated from that to a Sony Mavica FD91, which cost me $1000 when it first came out. I thought that digital camera was great for creating images to share. I migrated to a couple of different Canon Point and shoot digitals which worked pretty well. However, I picked up a Nikon D50 Digital SLR 4 or 5 years ago, shortly after they first came out. I like the camera, but would really like to learn more about the manual settings on the cameras. I have a buddy with the same camera and shoots everything in manual mode and his pictures were all awesome.

This is gonna be a fun thread. I am looking forward to learning.
 

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RZRRich said:
Ken, what lenses do you have in your arsenal?
EF 100mm 1:2.8 Macro + Sigma ring flash

EF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 IS

EF 16-35mm 1:2.8 L II

EF 24-70mm 1:2.8 L (most used)

EF 100-400mm 1:4-5.6 L IS

580EX Speedlight

The "L" stands for LOTSA money!...:lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I see you have a 580EX Speedlight. What flash would you recommend for the more average photographer? I currently just use the built in flash on my Canon Rebel XT/
 

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Kaveman said:
RZRRich said:
Ken, what lenses do you have in your arsenal?
EF 100mm 1:2.8 Macro + Sigma ring flash

EF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 IS

EF 16-35mm 1:2.8 L II

EF 24-70mm 1:2.8 L (most used)

EF 100-400mm 1:4-5.6 L IS

580EX Speedlight

The "L" stands for LOTSA money!...:lol:
Yeap :shock: - that whole package of lenses should have a "WL" designation on it ( WHOLE LOTSA MONEY !! ) .... VERY nice !! 8) :wink:
Which Photoshop are you using?
 

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Ken can you even see any difference in RAW format when using your basic picture viewer that comes with Windows or free download? When I got my Minolta Maxxum 7D I took some shots in RAW and couldn't see any difference between that & the highest resolution JPEG.
I never tried to view them with Photoshop, though. I have it--but don't know a lot about how to use it.
 

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Gary Lenon said:
I see you have a 580EX Speedlight. What flash would you recommend for the more average photographer? I currently just use the built in flash on my Canon Rebel XT/
First of all, what's an average photographer? There's so many areas of photography, that I don't think there's such a thing as average. Some focus on landscape and never use a flash. Others focus on people shooting, where flash is a lot more critical.

In my opinion, built-in flash is only good to light a subject in an emergency, or low light conditions, when you just want to record the moment and the quality of the photo is unimportant. The common problem of red-eye is a result of the flash being too close to the lens. Some cameras have a red-eye reduction feature, which only partially works. It's mainly a pre-flash, which causes the pupil to reduce it's dilation, just before the shutter is released.

I don't get red-eye with the 580EX, mounted on the flash shoe, but it's still not the ideal location for the flash. A bracket to mount it higher and off center would produce better single flash shots. The nice thing about the 580EX is it communicates with the camera and adjusts automatically with the focal length of the lens, up to 105mm. It can also function as a wireless slave unit. I bought a flash extender, to use with telephoto lenses, but haven't played with it much.

It's hard for me to recommend any particular flash unit, since I only have experience with the 580EX. It just happened to be the latest generation, at the time I was shopping for a flash unit. There's plenty of off-brand flash units that will work on Canon cameras also. Sigma and Vivitar make flash units for Canon, but I don't know anything about them. It's kinda like trying to recommend a tire for a Ranger, a lot depends on how you're going to use it...:)

There's a lot of forums that discuss this issue. I just did a Google search for "flash units for Canon Rebel" and here's what I got. ~~~> http://www.google.com/search?q=flash+units+for+Canon+Rebel&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a
 

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RZRRich said:
Kaveman said:
RZRRich said:
Ken, what lenses do you have in your arsenal?
EF 100mm 1:2.8 Macro + Sigma ring flash

EF 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 IS

EF 16-35mm 1:2.8 L II

EF 24-70mm 1:2.8 L (most used)

EF 100-400mm 1:4-5.6 L IS

580EX Speedlight

The "L" stands for LOTSA money!...:lol:
Yeap :shock: - that whole package of lenses should have a "WL" designation on it ( WHOLE LOTSA MONEY !! ) .... VERY nice !! 8) :wink:
Which Photoshop are you using?
At the moment, I'm using CS3. I still have a copy of CS2, which I upgraded from, on this computer.

I wouldn't recommend anyone starting out with the full version of Photoshop, unless you're familiar with digital editing software. Of course, Photoshop is the epitome of digital editing software, but most people will never come close to using all it's features, and that includes me...:lol:

I would recommend that beginners start with Photoshop Elements V(?). I started out with an Adobe program that was packaged with an external CD burner I purchased. It was pretty limited, so I bought Elements V2.0. That worked great for most of the editing I was doing, but it didn't support RAW files, so I graduated to CS. It was a pirate version, that was sent by a friend. Of course, it couldn't be updated or upgraded, so after learning the program I purchase the retail version of CS2. CS3 was one of the biggest changes in Photoshop's history and I waited for about a year to upgrade to it. I always like to wait for all the bugs to be exterminated!...:)

Although Photoshop's main function is a digital darkroom and graphics editor for professionals, it can be a fun program to play with and I've been known to bug a few ladies with it... ;)

 

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guy48065 said:
Ken can you even see any difference in RAW format when using your basic picture viewer that comes with Windows or free download? When I got my Minolta Maxxum 7D I took some shots in RAW and couldn't see any difference between that & the highest resolution JPEG.
I never tried to view them with Photoshop, though. I have it--but don't know a lot about how to use it.
Any viewer that can view RAW files will be only showing a thumbnail version of the file for viewing purposes only. RAW files by themselves can't be viewed, they must be converted to a different format. When a RAW file is viewed in one of the various viewers, it probably will look worse than a JPEG, because it contains too much info, which is why it has to go through the editing process.

For some sort of an analogy.... A JPEG is like a modular home, kinda looks good on the surface, but built to marginal standards. RAW files is like having a pile of building materials, capable of building the most extravagant house and you have the choice of what to use and what to exclude. The JPEG gives you very little choice, because you're letting the camera make those choices. Hey, don't get me wrong, some folks love their double-wides...:)

Looks like I'm going to have to start posting in the Photoshop thread...:)

I just did a Google search for "Understanding RAW files" and got over 1.4 million hits ~~~> http://www.google.com/search?q=Understanding+RAW+files&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a

When you get done with that info and still have questions, let me know...:lol:
 

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This is really going to be a fun thread indeed!! I have not gotten into any editing yet but it looks like I need to learn!!

Like you Ken, I definitely remember the burned fingers on those flashcubes!!! My first camera purchase on my own was a Pentax K1000, pure manual and built like a tank. I soon went with the Pro level, at the time, Pentax LX and started to add some lenses. Then, like Gary, I got into wedding photography. Never again will I do that!! For that work, I was using medium format, a Pentax 645 with a Metz 45 handle flash and Quantum battery pack. When digital first came out, I too thought it sucked!! I then acquired a Canon A2E 35mm and loved it. We used it as a backup at weddings. I then added an awesome Tamron 300 f2.8 lens that to this day takes wonderful shots. When digital finally got good enough, I finally broke down and got a Canon 40D, mainly because of the 35 mm Canon I had. All the lenses worked, so that saved me some expense. I would love to have that 580 flash now and I have my eye on a couple of those L series lenses. Since my 40D is not a full frame camera, it multiplies the focal length by 1.6X so I have to get a little shorter focal length than normal. I am loving this thread already!!!
 

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Gary Lenon said:
I see you have a 580EX Speedlight. What flash would you recommend for the more average photographer? I currently just use the built in flash on my Canon Rebel XT/
Gary, for a smaller and less expensive unit, you could go with the 270EX Speedlite for less than $150. It will fit in a pocket and has a tilt function. Not nearly as powerful or versatile as the 580EX but much nicer than what the in camera unit is.

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=141&modelid=18386
 
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