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For photos, do you use your phone or bring a camera?

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1 hour ago, peety3 said:

The great thing about any semi-recent camera (probably dating back to around the days of the Canon AE-1) is that they have a built-in metering system that will make the (relevant parts of) the decision for you. If the camera is in P or A or S, the camera is choosing one if not two (when in Auto ISO) of the variables for you.

Thanks for reminding me the AE-1, my first SLR camera in the 70s.

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10 hours ago, peety3 said:

The great thing about any semi-recent camera (probably dating back to around the days of the Canon AE-1) is that they have a built-in metering system that will make the (relevant parts of) the decision for you. If the camera is in P or A or S, the camera is choosing one if not two (when in Auto ISO) of the variables for you. There's also an adjustment called "exposure compensation" where you can essentially say to the camera, "thanks for trying to be automatic for me, but you're either slightly wrong and/or I want to be a little artistic here, so for whatever your meter comes up with, how about you give me some results that are 1/3 stop brighter, or 2/3 stops darker, etc.".  The key here is to understand enough of the basics, and/or to review a few early shots, and decide if the 1-2 variables (of the three magic ones that make up the exposure triangle) you're controlling are working out OK.

 

And, if you choose to take full manual control, the metering system is most likely still active, and is going to show you how it thinks you're doing via a bar graph, often at the bottom or right side of the viewfinder.

 

In general, it's all a tradeoff or compromise. You always want the ISO to be as low as possible - better image quality with less noise. You almost always want the shutter fast enough to stop action and/or camera shake - too much blur and the picture is disappointing on many levels (though conversely you may sometimes want the shutter slow enough to show the blur, as mentioned above for propellers, waterfalls, etc.). Aperture can be very artistic, but you presumably want enough things in focus so that the key elements aren't blurry (this can become a risk with a group photo that's too many rows deep, if you're in dark conditions and end up with too open of an aperture), BUT you also may not want too many things in focus such that the viewer's eye doesn't know where to go. I would highly recommend the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson - there are essentially three chapters that solely go into these three variables, and then several chapters that go into various situations.

 

As far as settings go, here's a few examples, and I'm borrowing a bit of the key concepts from that book:

"Singular theme", which can be portraits, sports/wildlife, macro, etc. - for this type of shot, I generally want the aperture as big as possible, which is accomplished by getting the aperture to as low of a number as possible. This would be an aperture of  f/1.2 or f/1.4 if possible, or generally either "wide open" (lowest number that the lens can go) or nearly so (there can be some optical benefit for not always being "wide open". ISO is always as low as I can get it, so outdoors it might be 100, 200, or 400 on a darker day or if I'm shooting with a lens that might have a maximum aperture of f/4 or f/5.6. Indoors this can be as high as 12,800 in bad light. Shutter speed just has to be managed.

 

"Storytelling", which can be a landscape shot, cityscape, or some sort of wide-angle foundational shot - for this type of shot, I generally want the aperture around f/11 or f/16, as this usually gives me a lot of area that's in focus, both near and far. ISO still says as low as possible, but odds are higher that I'm using a wider lens (maybe 14mm, 24mm, or 35mm) and as a result I'm not as concerned about shutter speed (wide lenses don't show camera shake as easily as long lenses).

 

"Don't care" shots, which can be something in the middle, or often times is the right answer when I'm working in-studio and I'm using light to control what is apparent to the viewer rather than focus. These are generally f/8, ISO still as low as possible, and shutter speed enough to get what I want.

 

If I'm in varying light and/or some sort of "run and gun" situation, I tend to be in aperture priority. I abhor Auto ISO, but mostly because I grew up without it, so I'm usually controlling the ISO as well as the aperture, and that means the camera is controlling the shutter speed for me all the time. However, I know that if I manipulate the aperture and/or ISO, I'll get a correspondingly opposite reaction from that shutter speed (in other words, if the shutter speed is too slow, I can raise the ISO or the sensitivity to light "one stop" (example: ISO 400 to ISO 800) and get a corresponding "one stop" change in shutter speed (example: 1/125th to 1/250th). I can do the same with aperture, except that "one stop" is not a doubling/halving of the value but either 1.4x or 0.7x (example: f/4 to f/5.6 is one stop, and f/5.6 to f/8 is another stop). "One stop" is essentially a doubling or halving of the light or setting, so you'll normally hear some sort of reference to the intended direction (example: "open up your aperture one stop" tells you to perhaps go from f/4 to f/2.8).

 

On the rare occasion that the blur is the artistic element that I seek for a particular shot, then it's the rare occasion that I'm in shutter priority, so I'm controlling the shutter and ISO, and letting the camera set the aperture for me. Aperture settings usually have less range than shutter speeds, so this does take a little more thinking at times to get the shot into something that'll work. As an example, to get a blurry bike wheel for one shot years ago, I had to go to ISO 50 and f/22 to get the shutter speed down to 1/30th for the conditions I was in.

 

I do more and more studio work these days, though I also find that my out-of-studio work is often in consistent light. Take HS football for example, under the Friday Night Lights. Once DST goes away and the kids are getting to the end of the season, the stadium lights are on and the sun is down long before kickoff, so they're under constant light all game long. I'll usually go to manual exposure here and sacrifice minor variability if the field is not 100% evenly lit in order to avoid the risk of the camera meter making my camera slow down a bit, or the risk of the camera meter unexpectedly keying too much off the other team's white jerseys, etc.

 

You won't ever find my camera in P or full-auto unless it's fresh out of the box. 🙂

 

There's also a whole 'nother world when using flash. I'm happy to talk about that when you're ready, but I know this is a lot to digest.

Yes, it is a lot to digest. I appreciate your help so much! 

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11 hours ago, Tourist1292 said:

Thanks for reminding me the AE-1, my first SLR camera in the 70s.

 

I used one of those in the 70s, too. I took a junior college photography class for fun, and most of our time was spent learning how to develop our pictures. On weekends, I would turn our small bathroom into a darkroom, and no one was allowed to use that bathroom. Thankfully we had another.

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You should be honest and ask the right question. Do you take snapshots or photographs? There is a difference. I'm not a professional, but I've taken over 30,000 photos over the years. That small optical lens on your cell phone simply can't measure up to a mid range large format SLR camera. Want to take a shot of that lunch plate, take out that cell phone. A mile wide glacier, I'll grab my camera. 

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Something else worth considering is photo storage capacity. It didn't seem like it while on our Alaska cruise last summer, but when we got home and looked at the photo's, my wife and I shot 2,348 photos with an 8-year old DSLR, 1,737 using a new cannon pocket point + shoot with a good optical zoom, and 850 using a new i-phone. All the photo's are fantastic. 

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Posted (edited)

I went out yesterday and played with my new 18-200 lens for my Sony a6000.  Since I am new with DSLR cameras I stayed with automatic settings for now.  On my next venture I will play with Manual settings.  However, when I went to Europe with this camera last summer I did find that I did not have time to set Manual settings on tours.  I had tried to learn how to use them before we left and ended up using Intelligent Auto for the most part.  but now, I will very seldom have to switch lenses.  Here is a sample of the pictures I took yesterday with 18mm & then again with 200 mm (all done on intelligent auto).

18mm:

Fountain Hills - Golf Course Viewpoint 18mm

 

200mm:

Fountain Hills - Golf Course Viewpoint 200mm

 

 

18mm:

Bush Highway Saguaro Lake to Mesa 18mm

 

200mm:

Bush Highway Saguaro Lake to Mesa 200 mm

 

Here is the album I made of shots around my home and on a "mini road trip" around our area yesterday on a beautiful spring day.  The last few shots are my experiments with the Sony Flash Bounce Card.  I have found that I could not use my flash with this camera because it is too strong and washes everything out.   Another problem with the flash is that with my longer 18-200 and also with the shorter kit lens I get a semi-circle shadow at the bottom of the pictures.  Very annoying.  With the bounce cards I can eliminate that shadow on the 16-50 kit lens, but not on the longer 18-200.  Using the flash bounce cards I can now take pictures of subjects against a bright backlight that were always black before on any automatic settings. I could use the flash, but had to hold the flash tilted all the way up and let it bounce of the ceiling.  It worked with my 9 foot ceilings at home, but was awkward. It would not work with the high ceilings in the ship when trying to take pictures of people in the dining room against a window. I do not want to purchase an external flash.

https://sunnyazgirl.smugmug.com/ArizonaDesert/Local-Arizona-with-18-200-Lens

 

I know this post is very amateur for some of the professional photographers on this thread, so it is really intended for the super amateurs like me, and those interested in an easy carry around solution and still get decent pictures on vacation.

 

Edited by Sunny AZ Girl

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That lens has some really nice Bokeh. I noticed two things that caught my attention. Well, 3. First the sharpness and contrast are super nice. I hope the web shots on your page are right out of the camera. 2nd. I saw that a couple of the shots showed possible sensor dirt on clear blue sky images. I'll bet that's easy to clean up. 3rd. Two shots looked like the camera did not like to focus on the center subject. Not sure what that is all about. -- a setting? to close to subject? Thank  you for sharing your pix with that lens. I so much prefer bounce flash that I got a Nikon SB-400 that turns up to send the majority of flash up but a small amount direct to subject. I take it everywhere since it is small and uses 2 AA alkaline batteries with a super fast recycle rate - even faster using NiMH batteries. It sits high enough on the hot shoe to not be obstructed by my 18-200.

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53 minutes ago, masterdrago said:

That lens has some really nice Bokeh. I noticed two things that caught my attention. Well, 3. First the sharpness and contrast are super nice. I hope the web shots on your page are right out of the camera. 2nd. I saw that a couple of the shots showed possible sensor dirt on clear blue sky images. I'll bet that's easy to clean up. 3rd. Two shots looked like the camera did not like to focus on the center subject. Not sure what that is all about. -- a setting? to close to subject? Thank  you for sharing your pix with that lens. I so much prefer bounce flash that I got a Nikon SB-400 that turns up to send the majority of flash up but a small amount direct to subject. I take it everywhere since it is small and uses 2 AA alkaline batteries with a super fast recycle rate - even faster using NiMH batteries. It sits high enough on the hot shoe to not be obstructed by my 18-200.

Thank you. 

Because this was an experimental album I did not post process them. I did clean the lens first, but I was taking some shots through a car window. I hope that was it. The other problem was probably operator error. Learning curve. 

 

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44 minutes ago, Sunny AZ Girl said:

Thank you. 

Because this was an experimental album I did not post process them. I did clean the lens first, but I was taking some shots through a car window. I hope that was it. The other problem was probably operator error. Learning curve. 

 

Look at pix#81. There are indications of dust on the sensor visible in the clear blue sky. I'm sure they can be removed in post but there is most likely a "sensor clean" function in the camera. That would be much easier.

dust.jpg

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, masterdrago said:

Look at pix#81. There are indications of dust on the sensor visible in the clear blue sky. I'm sure they can be removed in post but there is most likely a "sensor clean" function in the camera. That would be much easier.

dust.jpg

This is a really stupid question, but how should I clean it? I have a cleaning kit but I guess I don't know for sure how to use it. Sorry for the stupid question. 

 

OK. Found a video on YouTube on how to do it on my camera. I will try it as soon as I get home! 

Edited by Sunny AZ Girl

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Right now pollen is a big problem for us. Knowing what it is like near Tuscon, your issues are static and sand dust.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, masterdrago said:

Menu > Setup > Cleaning Mode > Enter  or check at

http://jamesjohnston.info/how-to-clean-your-sony-a6000-aps-c-sensor/

OK, I am frustrated.  I have done the cleaning, also using the little squeeze bulb air blower on the sensor 3X now and I still have a spot of dust on the lower right corner of the pictures.  Here is my clear blue sky.  Not sure what to do with it.  The other dust particles were cleared off with the first try.

DSC02539-600x400.jpg

Edit: Now I see some in the center, too!

Do I get the cleaning kit in this video, also?

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+manually+clean+sensor+on+a6000&oq=how+to+manually+clean+sensor+on+a6000&aqs=chrome..69i57.14385j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#kpvalbx=1

 

While I was out this little female road runner came racing by on by fence.  I didn't think fast enough to zoom the camera, so I had to crop the picture.  I obviously need practice before going to Alaska to get fast moving animals!

DSC02491-600x428.jpg

 

Edited by Sunny AZ Girl

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Quick question....tripod or no tripod on an Alaskan cruise?  The youngest is trying to convince me to let him take his even though he will have his Canon 628 SXHS and Go Pro with him.

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I sure considered a monopod but left it at home. It would have been of no use on the jeep, van, ATV, plane, or boat excursions. That Canon looks like a really nice rig. I seriously doubt he will have any use for a tripod with it and surely not the GoPro. My GP7 takes really nice 12MP images and video hand held. I'm not familiar with the Canon but I set my Nikon DSLR for a minimum shutter speed of 1/500 and auto ISO. That worked great with a 300 and 600mm on the DX format cameras that I used last month in Alaska. My recommendation is leave the tripod at home.

3 hours ago, hospsafe said:

Quick question....tripod or no tripod on an Alaskan cruise?  The youngest is trying to convince me to let him take his even though he will have his Canon 628 SXHS and Go Pro with him.

 

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We took an action camera, a camera, and used our phones as well.  Between my granddaughter and I we had over 1200 pictures and videos.  I have an very inexpensive action camera, and it is reviewed on my YT channel and a little tripod that has adjustable legs, and for long stretches, I let it film as we were sailing, just hooked the mini tripod to the rail.  I also used it to film our Kenai Fjords trip since it rained the whole time.  

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I took a tripod and ended up using it only for family group photos on the ship.

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I've done all three. I found the DSLR lens switching to be cumbersome at times. Now I mostly use a Panasonic Lumix point/shoot with a super zoom and video. You need to consider what you plan to do with your photos. Social media posting - iPhone probably a safe contender...enlarge and print for display in your home...more likely to need higher pixel count so a "real" camera is maybe a better choice.  Either way - happy travels!

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I’m bring a few different types of cameras with me for my first trip to Alaska the last week of august on the Joy.     

I have a balcony Mini Suite.    

 

Im bring a nikon D80 with a new lens I’ll be getting for this trip which is 18-400mm.

This way I’ll just need one lens on that camera. Very versatile lens.  

I’ll use the lens a lot after our trip so it will get use.   

 

Then i I also have a point and shoot. Canon powershot Elph180. That I got for Europe 2 years ago so I didn’t have to lug a big camera with me around Europe. And I got great pics with it.    

 

Then I’m bring the new GoPro Hero Black7.   I plan on taking a lot of Time lapse videos with the Gopro.   

The camera has some great new features for timelapse and hyper flash I’ll be using.  

 

I have a few different tripods to use. And different mounts for the Gopro.  

 

Need a few new filters and think that’s about it.   Maybe a backpack for everything.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for those that gave awesome tips in response to my question! My Alaskan cruise was one month ago and the only time I wished I had a camera other than my iPhone was when I did a whale watching excursion. I would have loved to get a closer shot of the whales’ flukes. Also, I used my iPhone to video the ZipRider excursion in ISP and it came out great! I did buy a product on amazon to wrap my iPhone around my wrist to ensure it wouldn’t fall. Here are some photos I took on my iPhone to show it really can act as your sole camera if you wish to not bring an actual camera...

A6CFF56D-4CFE-423B-B979-A5EA5305DB09.jpeg

D653B3CA-6CA7-4850-95BA-EDAD86357CC5.jpeg

6DA0DD06-79B1-4A54-8BA6-BB0822D5D275.jpeg

E1D5B8CB-3DDE-4B7F-B59A-B6485AE9F55E.jpeg

85C9800C-686B-47D0-91CE-666BF4016370.jpeg

B741DCC8-58B7-43C1-BEF3-157D8722F05A.jpeg

746ACD25-477D-4B94-875F-E82867D54BB4.jpeg

6CCEFD95-4FD9-42B9-9386-F70CDF33C7EC.jpeg

8B9A0399-E40E-4367-B2C4-FF90F882D019.jpeg

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23 hours ago, PittsburghNative said:

Thanks for those that gave awesome tips in response to my question! My Alaskan cruise was one month ago and the only time I wished I had a camera other than my iPhone was when I did a whale watching excursion. I would have loved to get a closer shot of the whales’ flukes. Also, I used my iPhone to video the ZipRider excursion in ISP and it came out great! I did buy a product on amazon to wrap my iPhone around my wrist to ensure it wouldn’t fall. Here are some photos I took on my iPhone to show it really can act as your sole camera if you wish to not bring an actual camera...

A6CFF56D-4CFE-423B-B979-A5EA5305DB09.jpeg

D653B3CA-6CA7-4850-95BA-EDAD86357CC5.jpeg

6DA0DD06-79B1-4A54-8BA6-BB0822D5D275.jpeg

E1D5B8CB-3DDE-4B7F-B59A-B6485AE9F55E.jpeg

85C9800C-686B-47D0-91CE-666BF4016370.jpeg

B741DCC8-58B7-43C1-BEF3-157D8722F05A.jpeg

746ACD25-477D-4B94-875F-E82867D54BB4.jpeg

6CCEFD95-4FD9-42B9-9386-F70CDF33C7EC.jpeg

8B9A0399-E40E-4367-B2C4-FF90F882D019.jpeg

Great pictures! What iPhone do you have? Did you just point and shoot or did you do some sort of editing?

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30 minutes ago, cruises42 said:

Great pictures! What iPhone do you have? Did you just point and shoot or did you do some sort of editing?

 

Thank you! I have the iPhone XR. The only editing I did is I used an app to make the photos more vibrant in color. I’m pasting the app I used...I highly recommend it! Also, you can upgrade to “Pro Editor” in the app, or use “Classic Editor” for free, which is what I used for these photos.

4A644C08-ACED-49E2-AEC8-1E69CB938242.jpeg

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23 hours ago, PittsburghNative said:

 

Thank you! I have the iPhone XR. The only editing I did is I used an app to make the photos more vibrant in color. I’m pasting the app I used...I highly recommend it! Also, you can upgrade to “Pro Editor” in the app, or use “Classic Editor” for free, which is what I used for these photos.

4A644C08-ACED-49E2-AEC8-1E69CB938242.jpeg

Thanks for the information. I have an XS and haven't really used it much for pictures. I guess I should give it a try. 

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