Ask SLR Lounge Anything!

Ask SLR Lounge July 25th 2014 3:07 PM 68 Comments

ask-slrlounge

Intro to Ask SLR Lounge

Hello Everyone!  We’re starting a new format for our “Ask SLR Lounge” series.  This is an open forum for our community to ask questions.  You can literally ask anything you want! Maybe you’re a new photographer in need of some advice handling a specific client issue. Maybe you’re not sure whether to buy a 50mm f/1.4 lens or the much more expensive f/1.2L. Whatever it is, our writers are here to help!

Suggested Questions

Common questions might include:

  • Business Advice
  • Gear Buying Advice
  • Shooting Technique Questions
  • Post Production Questions
  • Lighting Questions

Our writers will sort through the questions and write articles around these questions on a weekly basis.  Post Production Pye and Michelle Ford will even answer some of these question in their videos. In fact, we’ve already answered a lot of user questions on our Youtube Channel. Be sure to subscribe for updates.

So ask away!  What do you want to know?

Note: Our writers are given full freedom to choose which questions they would like to answer. As such, not all questions will be answered.

Here are a few of the videos we’ve done in this series already:

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Pye

About

Pye (AKA Post Production Pye) is a founder and the Managing Editor for SLR Lounge. Pye is also a Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography, an Orange County based wedding, engagement and portrait photography studio. Connect with him on Google Plus

68 Comments

  1. Dan Aleksadryants

    Hi I got RRS 3 series tripod and I am thinking of buying a lighter one what would you recommend, my budget is 2000$

    3
    • Christopher

      http://www.slrlounge.com/favorite-tripods-gear-talk-episode-1/

      4
    • Matthew Saville

      Dan, I don’t know which ballhead you currently have on your RRS 3-series, but when backpacking, there is no greater ballhead than the ultralight BH25. It is shockingly strong, and as you’ll know about any RRS product, built flawlessly and robustly.

      As for legs, you could of course go with the TQC-14 from RRS, and get down to ~2.6 lbs, if you’re really abusive of your tripods and need the incredible build quality. However you could save even more weight by buying a REAL lightweight backpacking tripod, like a Slik Sprint Pro tripod. They’re a little plastic-y for my taste, but I have a couple of friends that have abused theirs for years and they’re still going strong. Their larger model is only 1.9 lbs, and pretty tall! You just can’t beat it for $79, even considering the usual Thom Hogan argument about investing a ton of money “the first time”.

      There’s a handful of other options of course, including the likes of the Induro CT014, which weighs 2.1 lbs and is probably a little sexier looking than the Slik. If you care about that kind of stuff.

      Good luck!

      1
  2. Dick Raymond

    I have quite a few Signature Watermarks in my Adobe Lightroom 5 that are no longer in use or wanted. How do I go about Deleting them?

    5
    • Dan Aleksadryants

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILFVhjG3cp8 this is a great video explaining how

      3
  3. Joe Plumber

    Why is the Sigma 1.4 Art not available? I can understand that demand is higher than expected, but surely not that much. There must be a problem somewhere. What is it and when will it be fixed?

    2
    • Cha

      it’s a combination of demand and the different mounts they come in. Sigma will have to make almost three times as many 50mm 1.4 Arts compared to canon, nikon, or sony because they’re making the lens in canon, nikon, and sony mounts. As for when it will be in stock, no one knows, you just have to keep a keen eye out and snatch one up as soon as you can.

      3
    • Joe Plumber

      Cha, with all due respect, this doesn’t convince me. It sounds a bit like Sigma PR spin. I don’t know how many lenses a manufacturer would typically build during a day, but I would hope it’s more than just a hand full. Building for three different OEMs is not new for Sigma, that’s their business. And it’s not the first lens they’ve launched either. And if B&H getting 20 of these lenses in makes it into a media story, that doesn’t sound like a normal situation. I can only assume that they must have a quality problem. Otherwise I don’t understand why they can’t ramp up production.

      2
    • Stan Rogers

      What is reasonable to believe, Joe, is that the lens is much more popular than Sigma had anticipated. Yes, it is an incredibly competent lens, and there would likely be more than a few folks who want a lens of that calibre. At the same time, while it may not be sitting at a Zeiss or Leitz price level, it is commanding a 150-200% premium over the garden-variety camera makers’ 50mm/1.4s, which is a heck of a price jump no matter how you look at it. ($900 for a normal lens ain’t normal, except in the Leica world.) Apart from the 35mm Art (and, arguably, the “missing” 30mm normal for Canon APS-C shooters) and the cost-no-object 200-500mm/2.8 artillery piece, Sigma’s experience has not been with high-demand premium lenses that photographers would select on their own merits OVER the maker’s own lenses, but on “close enough for jazz” lenses that people select mostly for budgetary reasons. Ordinary photographers are not supposed to want to ACTUALLY pay that much for a nifty fifty; they’re supposed to wish it was cheaper and envy the people who can afford them.

      3
    • Matthew Saville

      Sigma has to make lenses in multiple mounts, which costs resources.

      Honestly, hot new items that are acclaimed to be flawless are ALWAYS out of stock when they first come out, especially when they’re affordable. Maybe that’s just me as a Nikon shooter LOL…

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  4. Greg M

    OK… I’ll bite….Equipment Question:

    I have a Fuji X-T1 that I absolutely love…. but tonight at my daughter’s Tae Kwon Do test it really let me down. The Continuous Autofocus cannot keep up and the responsiveness of the camera is just too slow. So…. I’ve come home opened up one of the online camera stores and have started looking at options. I’m ready to add the right tool to shoot indoor, low light, fast action. To make it easy…. I have no budget constraints and really want to focus on getting the right camera/lens for the job. Thanks!

    3
    • Anthony Thurston

      I’ll take this one, Greg. If you are looking to stay mirrorless, the GH4 would be a great option, its AF is one of the best in the mirrorless realm and it has pretty good low light performance as well. If you are set on staying mirrorless, than the Canon 7D (in combination with a fast lens) is decent/good with indoor fast action. If that is still not your cup of tea, something like the Canon 1DX can do what you want, but to be honest I feel like that is overkill.

      1
    • Matthew Saville

      Greg, allegedly the Sony A6000 has one of the best AF systems around, with it’s new hybrid AF tech. (I know a lot of cameras are getting into hybrid AF, but the story is that the A6000′s AF is the latest and greatest?)

      Anyways, I haven’t tested the X-T1 yet but I will say that all the other mirrorless cameras I’ve ever tested failed in exactly the way you described- they just totally drop the ball when the light gets too low. Even the Olympus OM-D EM-1! The A6000, while not perfect, felt like a huge leap and a bound for me in the right direction, when I tested it. I was quite astonished. Yes, it did drop the ball every now and then in near-pitch-black light, but no more frequently than even my D700 / D800 / 5D mk3 experience has to offer.

      You could also check out the GH4, but IMO the Sony A6000, and the E system in general, shows much more promise. Partly because it is 1.5x crop instead of 2x, and offers access to the incredible sensors that Sony has been cranking out lately. The A6000 in particular has a fantastic sensor that I’d be happy to own.

      =Matt=

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  5. Dick Raymond

    Thank you Dan! That was what I was looking for! I appreciate the help!

    2
  6. Peter Nord

    How do I change my email address for SLRLounge? I’ve looked and looked but if there’s a way to do it on the site somewhere it is well hidden.

    2
  7. David De Fotograaf

    Here’s a different kind of question involving models. And something I have had some trouble with lately. (to the extend I just wanted to give up on it all.)

    What are some of the best precautions one can take to make sure the model you booked actually shows up?
    I’m not talking about commercial photography either. I’m talking your plain “Oh, I want some nice pictures because you took some nice pictures of my friends to.” kinda model.

    Often, this bothers me a lot. They ask what, when and how and about a third of the time, they either give a last minute reason not to come or just don’t show up without warning at all.
    And lately, I’m getting tired of it…

    So, I know a model contract is a good start to make sure they feel “secure” about the shoot, but what other, more in advance stuff can I do?
    Some people suggested asking an advance in money (which I hate, I’m doing this as a hobby aka TFCD base… but maybe I should start making this into a part time profession out of necessity?)

    Who of you guys has any tips and tricks to minimize the chance of them not showing up? (hard question, I know…)

    PS
    And things can always happen: an accident involving family member or a car that breaks down… but I’m talking about those silly things like feeling a bit ill (hangover) or a mother that is giving trouble on the last minute (aka: I had to help out…)

    2
    • Stan Rogers

      What you’ve described isn’t a “model”, it’s a “client”. A model is somebody you are engaging as a contractor to provide a service to you for consideration. In this case, you’re the one being engaged to provide a service. Ordinarily you’d be charging a non-refundable deposit for the session to cover the no-show scenario (although you can be flexible about allowing the defaulted deposit to be applied to a future session in full or in part). If you’re working for free (or TFP, which amounts to the same thing — remember, these people are clients you are working for, not models), then your actual damages are nil. When people are coming to you for photography because they like your work, it’s time to put on your pro hat.

      6
    • David De Fotograaf

      Stan, thanks for your time to explain!! You helped me more then you know! :)

      3
    • Hanssie

      Hi David,

      I’ve had this issue come up a good number of times and what finally what worked for me is time and network. When I found a good model, I always asked her if she had reliable friends willing to model as well. And for the next shoots, I would ask both to come. As I built my network with stylists and makeup artists and hair stylists, they ended up becoming my casting people as well and eventually took over grabbing the models for me. Did we still have people backing out? Not often, it still happened but it was rare and we always had a list of back ups ready to go.

      2
  8. Rambo Estrada

    Is there a good app for scheduling wedding shoots? Keeping track of deposits, venues etc. Cheers!

    2
    • Christopher

      we haven’t had any experience for apps, but we use shootq for studio management. It’s pretty comprehensive and useful

      1
  9. Rafael Steffen

    I a have a question about White Balance prefereces. What would be the correct White Balance setting If I am shooting in a sunny day and I am using Off Camera flash to balance my portraits with the ambient light? Should I set my White Balance settings to Sunny, flash or just leave it in Auto? What is the best settings to get a natural skin color?

    Thank you.

    3
    • Matthew Saville

      Rafael, usually the best thing you can do is to start memorizing different Kelvin temperatures. In broad daylight, using flashes to balance daylight, all you gotta do is set ~5,000 Kelvin and your’e good to go.

      By the way, though, just in case you’re wondering: “Sunny” and “flash” white balances are in fact nearly identical. I forget which one it is, but one of them is just stlightly warmer and more tinted against magenta cast, while the other is more neutral. Either way, if you’re not ready to delve into Kelvin just yet, you can safely set either sunny or flash as your WB. If your flash is just a faint fill light or catchlight creator, then stick with sunny because that’s what most of the light is. However if you’re using a larger light source to produce more serious illumination, like a softbox or umbrella diffuser, then you might want to go with flash WB.

      =Matt=

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    • David Salahi

      Hmm, I wonder whether memorizing scenes is really the “best” approach. It seems like shooting a color card or some similar approach would actually be better. I have a ColorRight filter that works well. I just shoot a test shot while holding it to the lens and it helps me to automatically set the proper color temperature. That removes the guesswork and generally even avoids the need for any correction in post.

      0
  10. Kevin DeLorey

    Do you have any recommendations on shooting very large products? For example, I need to shoot a flight simulator on a motion base. It’s probably 20′ feet tall when it’s at its lowest point, and 30′ feet tall at it’s highest point. It’s probably about 10′ wide as well. Also the product is bolted to the ground and cannot move. It’s been a huge challenge to capture something so large and still make it look interesting.

    2
    • Matthew Saville

      Kevin, I’d love a chance to tackle your question, but how exactly are you hoping to PRESENT the product? Is this a client who wants to promote the product? Sell the product? Are they expecting you to “cut it out” onto a pure white / black background or something? Or just capture both wide angle and close-up details of the product?

      I think if you answer these questions, the method will become more obvious as well.

      Oh, and one more thing. Often times i find that when photographing extremely large objects, a ~10 ft ladder can often be a huge help to get a better angle! Consider renting one for sure…

      =Matt=

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  11. edward james

    Hello everyone,
    I have taken my camera to a couple of friend’s weddings with their permission. I shoot with a Nikon d7100 and I love the photos I am getting but I am having a lot of trouble with the auto focus during the reception. It’s too dark. How do you get your focus right every time in low light with your subjects moving around so much? I have used the kit lenses and 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8. I tried wide open at 1600 iso but I didn’t want to go higher than that. How do you do it???

    1
    • Matthew Saville

      Edward, in my experience you will always rexperience a slight drop in your AF reliability in extremely low light, no matter what. Even my D700 and D800 aren’t flawless in low light, and they’re probably only marginally better than the D7100.

      Much of the time, really, it’s actually much more about lens choice, AF mode choice, and AF calibration. I find that many times in extremely low light one lens will start to consistently front/back-focus even though it works flawlessly in broad daylight. So, I just dial in a little bit of calibration, and un-dial it later when I’m in a different lighting scene.

      Which lenses do you have, the 50 1.4 G or D? The 85 1.8 G or D?

      Also, have you tried any Nikon 2.8 zooms in the same situations?

      I’ve used the Nikon 50 1.4 G and 85 1.8 G in low light a whole ton, and they definitely aren’t as reliable as the 24-70 2.8. I dunno what it is about that 24-70 and 70-200, but they’re just oh-so-snappy and reliable, no matter how dark it gets.

      As a last resort, I don’t hesitate to swap to single shot focus mode, so that my AF assist lamp will fire from my on-camera flash, and that helps out a TON even for moving subjects.

      =Matt=

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  12. David De Fotograaf

    Hanssie, that might work to. Today’s shoot was with someone who was a friend of a good friend and model who I occasionally shoot with. Still, I never thought of asking it directly. It might work. :)

    3
  13. Tam Nguyen

    Why are you so sexy?

    3
  14. Fahim Chowdhury

    How should I configure canon speedlights for a wedding reception?

    3
    • Matthew Saville

      Which Speedlights, Famim? The 600EX is extremely different than the 580EX and 430EX, etc. etc.

      Simply put, as a wedding photographer I prefer radio transmitted wireless setups, not the built-in infrared systems. So if you’re hoping to get away with shooting weddings with just a bunch of 580 / 430 EX flashes, you’re going to be in for a bit of a bummer because that system may not always work reliably.

      Generally speaking you’ll want to invest in at least one or two solid, reliable on-camera flashes such as a 580 EX mk2, or a 600EX. Then, for off-camera flash, you can go any number of ways using super-cheap wireless flashes that only cost you $90-$150 or so, depending on what works for you. Personally, I use RadioPopper JRX triggers with old Nikon SB80DX flashes, instead of Canon flashes. But if you already own a handful of 430′s or 580′s, like I said, you can of course just buy radio triggers for those flashes, like the Radiopopper setups.

      Good luck!

      =Matt=

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    • Fahim Chowdhury

      Thanks Matt! I actually use 600ex with canon 5d mkiii. Should i place 4 600ex to each corner of the room? or are their any other techniques?

      0
    • Matthew Saville

      Yep, when I roll with those types of flashes to a wedding, I just put them in each corner of the room, zoom them in a little bit, and point them towards the dance floor or the head table or wherever the toasts will be given from, etc.

      Sometimes during the first dance, I’ll have my assistant bring one of the flashes a little closer, and snoot it, so that I can create something more dramatic with a more dimly lit room. Otherwise, most of the time I just leave the flashes in the same spot all night and dial the power up / down remotely based on who is where, etc. (cake cutting, bouquet toss, toasts, table greeting, etc.)

      Do you already own five 600EX’s? Cuz if you do, then you’re set. If you don’t yet have that many, (since that’s a pretty penny!) …then you can also try out the other radio systems that have built-in radio and are a little cheaper. I believe the Yongnuo 560 III maybe? I dunno I’m a Nikon guy who uses Radiopoppers lol…

      1
  15. Kurk Rouse

    I’m having trouble dealing with a challenges of lighting plus being creative when you don’t have much time to play around with in wedding photography . How much time do you usually take with the bridal party ? Is there a set amount of shots/poses you take for the entire group, brides maids, grooms men and finally the bride and groom ? Do you guys use light meters, studio strobes or speedlights ? If speedlights, TTL or manual ?

    2
    • Matthew Saville

      Hey Kurk! If this were a “lightning round” for questions, it’d go like this:

      Usually 30-60 mins are mandatory for bridal party, not including family or the couple’s portraits themselves.

      No set amount of shots, just the usual “one formal, one more relaxed / fun” as a bare minimum, and then from there we just gauge how much the couple want to achieve, such as going to a different location, or getting more elaborate poses, etc.

      Yes, come to think of it, if we can get enough time then we’ll do every arrangement of people possible. All the bridal party together, then just the guys and just the girls, then each groomsment and bridesmaid individually with the groom / bride, or separately if they just want a headshot or something. And then yes, “finally” the bride and groom. Except usually, we INSIST on doing portraits of the couple FIRST, at least a few, so that we can get that safely.

      Mostly speedlights, manual. Usually just metering using guesswork and our rear camera LCD’s. It sounds un-professional, but indeed we can get perfect results within just a few seconds and a couple tweaks.

      Hope this helps!

      Of course, we’ll probably feature this question in an actual episode of “Ask SLR Lounge” if we get a chance to start a live broadcast, so stay tuned!

      =Matt=

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  16. Mark Iuzzolino

    I have an online industrial machine auction company and am looking for the best small camera for photographing these machines for online images. Most of these machines are large, about 10 to 20 feet wide and 5 to 20 or 30 feet high. Often the lighting in the shops we do the photography is not great, low light or mixed light. We also prepare box lots. The boxes are filled with tooling and are photographed while on tables and close enough to fill the frame. I need ability for raw files to allow maximum post processing leeway. The person using the camera is not an experienced photographer. He is our site supervisor. So the camera needs to be easy to use and have a very good auto focus system. It also needs to have a rear LCD screen for difficult low, high or tight spots. It needs to have a pretty powerful flash or ability for an external flash. Any recommendations?

    1
    • Mark Iuzzolino

      Anyone have some advice? I know this may not be the most glamorous question, but some may have experience with many different cameras and could give me some guidance. Thanks.

      0
    • Matthew Saville

      GREAT question, Mark! This one obviously could use a little more than a one-paragraph reply, so we might include it in a live broadcast sometime.

      In the meantime, I will say that you’re *almost* asking the impossible. The more performance and control you want out of a camera, the harder it is going to be for a “non-photographer” to operate it effortlessly. However, I do think I might be able to make a few recommendations, if you’re willing to bend your overall workflow a little bit, and maybe have this site manager put a few hours into mastering photography.

      Good luck!

      =Matt=

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    • Mark Iuzzolino

      Matthew,

      Thanks. I realize the difficulty here. I’m just looking for a camera that can do some of the things I talked about. I have a good understanding of cameras and taking photographs. If this camera requires me to set it up for him before he uses it and some tutoring, I’ll be providing it to him. So if you can only recommend a few, I can review the ones you recommend and make a choice. Thanks.

      Mark

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    • Matthew Saville

      Hi Mark,

      Yep, still got a dozen or more other articles on my plate at the moment, so I’ll jump the gun on this one a little bit to see if I can be of more help.

      Simply put, if you’re prioritizing that one request you mentioned, about an LCD screen that was suitable for high/low angles, you’re going to be limited to just a few options from Canon, and only 1-2 options from Nikon.

      Personally, I’d recommend the Nikon D5300. It’s the best Nikon available with an articulated LCD screen, and has by far the best image quality of any crop sensor DSLR, let alone in that price range. The 24 MP sensor is just amazing; I use it all the time for high-res work. If you can hit your base ISO of 100, that is. Which you surely ought to, with static subjects like this. Depending on your space constraints, you could probably get everything you need done with a D5300, whatever kit lens comes with it, and a Tokina 11-16 or Sigma 10-20 for those times when you need a wider angle.

      Yes, it’s a beginner DSLR, but all you really need is manual exposure, manual focus, and a good tripod with good lighting. (I’d use external flash, indeed, not a pop-up flash. Flash triggers and wireless flashes are getting cheap these days, I’m sure you can search our archives for plenty of recommendations!)

      The D5300 also has built-in wifi, for using your cell phone / tablet to get those extremely high or hard-to-reach angles like this: http://www.slrlounge.com/getting-a-creative-angle-on-wedding-ceremony-venue-photos-how-we-shot-it/ (Although you can’t wifi your RAW file to a computer, unfortunately. That’s what a pro Eye-Fi card is for!)

      Other than that, you could try one of the Canon Rebels that has an articulated LCD screen, or the Canon 60D / 70D, however none of those bodies have nearly the same image quality as the Nikon D5300, especially if bright shiny objects cause challenges to your dynamic range.

      I hope this helps, and please feel free to follow up with further questions! I’m cut-and-pasting all this to a Word Doc so I can create a more complete article later when I have time..

      =Matt=

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    • Mark Iuzzolino

      Matthew, thanks for hanging in here with me. I really appreciate it.

      I checked out the Nikon D5300 and it’s probably more than I anticipated spending. If I can find one used for about 300 to 400, the price may work out. However, let me know if the following comment changes your recommendation. Even though the subjects are static, speed is very important since there are usually hundreds of boxes full of tools and many machines that need to be photographed in a day. So all images are taken handheld and radio or wired triggers would never be used. Most of the time the lighting is poor and so then the flash will be used almost always. Also manual focus would never be used because of the need for speed. AF would always be needed. And manual exposure would never be used. Although I’ll be giving my site supervisor some lessons, the best I think I can get him to do would be either automatic, aperture priority or program mode. Not sure if Nikon has program mode. I’m a Canon shooter myself. The wifi might be useful but not sure how yet.

      As I said above, let me know if that changes your recommendation. My assumption would be that if this camera is as good as you say, it should also be good with AF and one of the non-manual modes. But let me know just the same.

      Thanks again.
      Mark

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  17. Talwin Davis

    I have a question about your NLC workshop. In your videos especially during the Whimsical Walk all the way thru the Scenic Gaze, did you always expose for Jackie’s skin are did you expose for Ryan or the background any?

    2
  18. Sudhanshu Singh

    I am planning to do a series of self portraits. How do I get focus on me while shooting alone?

    2
    • Hannes Nitzsche

      hi sudanshu, you might wanna tether the camera to your pc/laptop via cable or wifi (depending on your camera) or use a smart phone combination like trigger trap(http://triggertrap.com/) or camranger (which is quite expensive). this way you can use your phone/laptop to check the focus :)

      1
    • Matt Owen

      The simplest way is put something where your head would be (a stuffed animal, a mop, etc.), focus on that, then switch to manual focus. You’ll be restricted in how much you can move without getting up to readjust but it will get you started.

      1
  19. Brandon Vermeersch

    I would like to start using an online proofing/sales site for my clients. Can anyone here recommend a site and please make sure you give me the reasons why you would use them?

    1
  20. Nowell Gusi

    I want to ask a something basic.. Based on your shooting techniques.. Are you using the focus and recompose technique wherein your focus point is at the center? at what aperture range that the focus and recompose technique is essential? when you are at 1.8 do you still use this method? I also want to know your focus mode that you are using most of the time. I’m a canon user.. thanks

    1
  21. Kyle phillips

    Hello I’m currently a student and working on building my photo portfolio and shooting some weddings and portraits. I am currently shooting with a canon 60d and a 24-105 lens and a 50mm 1.4 lens. I am noticing that I’m not getting the best results from my canon 60d, and my freedom of shooting is hindered with this camera. I am considering buying a new camera and have been looking at the 5d Mark iii. However being young in my career would you recommend waiting until newer camera models come out? or is the 5d mark III a camera that will last and keep its price value and picture quality compared to other models that will come out in the future. And will also be able to continue to compete against the newer cameras? Cant decide what would be the smarter decision. please let me know your input! thanks!

    1
    • Stan Rogers

      Wow — that’s a huge and expensive question, Kyle. And you’ll need to ask yourself some more questions before you can come up with the right answer for yourself. While the 60D is not exactly a top-of-the-line camera, what *exactly* are the problems you have with it that moving to a different body would be solving? Detail resolution? Colour depth? Low-light capabilities? Ergonomics? Autofocus?

      You are currently working with what is effectively a 40-170mm zoom lens and a fast-ish 80mm prime lens, and stepping up to full-frame means that the lenses you have now become completely different lenses. Do you currently spend much time at or near the 105mm end of the zoom’s range? That means that you’ll also need to pick up a 70-200 to make up the deficit. And if the 50 is being used for head shots and that sort of thing rather than just for its low-light capabilities, you may need to pick up an 85 as well to fill the gap. (The f/1.8 will have sufficiently low depth of field to be a “better replacement”, and there are decent 3rd-party f/1.4s too; there’s no need to go all the way to the scary-expensive f/1.2 right away, but it’s still an additional expense to consider.) Are you prepared for the additional lens cost? Or for a shift in your photography to accommodate your suddenly-much-shorter lenses if you’re not?

      Forget about future-proof; we’re not quite there yet (although we’re closer than we’ve ever been before in the digital world; next year’s camera may be better, but it won’t obsolete everything that went before — something that was almost guaranteed ten years ago). You will be buying a camera to use *today*, not something for five or ten years down the road. A studio camera may have a long and happy life span, but the life of a wedding/event camera is, as they say, nasty, brutish and short. And that’s if you baby it. There will be LOTS of shutter actuations, and there will be knocks and bumps and bruises. These aren’t the solid brass behemoths of yesteryear with their can’t-kill-it-with-a-bazooka slow cloth focal plane shutters and a couple of solid mechanical linkage controls; the concrete can damage the camera rather than the other way around these days. Whichever body you decide upon is going to be a consumable with a limited practical lifespan as a primary camera in the wedding world. Don’t count on more than 3-5 years of heavy use, but don’t expect that it will become a quaint antique in that time span either.

      4
  22. Joe Plumber

    I’m shooting a lot with the Canon 24-105 mm lens, simply because it’s quite practical. It covers a lot of the situations I’m in and hence it’s quite comfortable to take just the camera and this lens and not bring a multitude of other lenses. Lately, I’m not so happy with the sharpness of the lens anymore. Are there better alternatives from either third parties or moving to a slightly different focal length?

    1
    • Stan Rogers

      Honestly, the 24-105 is a great studio lens. Forget about the current vogue for razor-thin depth of field and all of that nonsense; most of what happens in a studio happens at optimal apertures (and while it isn’t Canon’s sharpest lens, theere’s really not a lot to complain about between f/5.6 and f/8) and the focal length range is suitable for enough photography that you can almost leave the lens glued on (especially on APS-C). And it’s not a half-bad walkin’-around lens.

      If you can afford to lose the long end, a 24-70/2.8 might suit. All of the big names are pretty reasonable, and all are sharper than the 24-105 across the aperture range. Canon’s is arguably the best performer all-around, but the stabilized Tamron is nothing to sneeze at either (it’s been reviewed here among other places), and it runs just a hair over half the price of the unstabilized Canon (and cheaper, even, than the Canon f/4). But you do lose the long end. Unfortunately, there is no single lens that covers the whole range of the 24-105 that isn’t markedly worse (and APS-C only); the closest would be the behemoth 28-300L push-pull, which would set you back nearly 3 grand and would require about a year’s prep time at the gym before it becomes a reasonable all-day carrier.

      A combination of a good 24-70 and a 100-ish f/2.8 macro will cover most of the bases (ALL macros are better than just good, if sometimes a little slow to focus) might get you where you want to go without breaking the bank. It depends on how much of your shooting happens in the gap between 70mm and 100-105mm. And there’s always the 24-70 + 70-200 pairing as well, but at a considerable price jump.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Why aren’t you happy with the sharpness? Do you shoot with it wide open all the time? Honestly, as a walk-around lens this one is hard to beat. The Sigma 24-105 is massive and barely sharper, allegedly. You’re probably better off just fine-tuning the AF of this lens so that you’re absolutely sure it’s perfect, and shooting at the proper aperture for the shot you want and/or carrying around your pick of 35, 50, or 85mm prime for specific shots where you need incredible sharpness or shallower DOF. Honestly if I were looking for a great walk-around combo, it’d be the 24-105 plus the Canon 28 1.8 and 85 1.8 as needed depending on the day… Can’t beat that kit!

      =Matt=

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  23. Tobias Heyl

    Dear Pye and Michelle,

    one thing that really interests me is how exactly movie conversations are filmed.
    This question includes the camera angles and how the audio is recorded.

    For example I know that if two people stand in front of each other you film over Person A’s shoulder and record person B’s face. This goes the other way round when the person speaking changes. So in these situations do you always film this with two cameras simultaneously?

    I can imagine this is only possible in certain scenes and situations.

    Other material I have seen is for example in a car.
    Person A is driving, person B is on the other seat. If you film from the side you can’t possibly have two cameras on both sides as they would be – of course – visible throughout the conversation. So you need to film those sequences separately, one scene with the driver in focus from the passengers side and one where the passenger is visible from the driver’s side. But how is it done when the audio is one single track that doesn’t show any sign of interruptions? Do the actors speak the same line and the lips are moving the same way or how the heck do they do this? What does Hollywood say?

    Making a movie must be awful hard work I can imagine, but cutting it and putting things together can’t be easy either … any feedback is welcome.

    Thank you in advance!
    Tobias

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  24. Talwin Davis

    What type or types of cameras would you guys recommend to take on a vacation that would possibly give me great shots as my D800 would. I just don’t want to carry that beast around on vacation.

    1
    • Matthew Saville

      Talwin, hands-down if you like the D800 and you’re planning on shooting mainly at ISO 100-800, then get yourself a D5300 for sure. It’s ultralight, has an articulated LCD which is great for random travel pics, and has AMAZING image quality with dynamic range that is highly comparable to the D800.

      Simply put: Despite owning a D800e myself, and a 24-70 and 70-200 plus a handful of other full-frame lenses, when I travel I opt for my D5300, Tokina 11-16, and Sigma 50-150. That small lightweight body plus those two lenses is really all I need for anything under the sun, with maybe a 28mm or 35mm f/1.8 thrown in for good measure in the mid-range.

      The only drawback is if you’re “addicted” to full-frame and the DOF / ISO that it provides. If this is the case, then give up on resolution just a little bit more, and get a Df. That thing has insane image quality even at absurdly high ISO’s, and it’s even lighter than a D600. It takes a bit of getting used to operationally compared to a D800, but I find that most avid Nikon shooters are the types of people who can adapt to a different control layout pretty quickly.

      Good luck!

      =Matt=

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  25. Tyler Levey

    I have a few quick lighting questions.

    1 – I have only one light. Can you tell me a few ways that I can make amazing images with only one light source and possibly a reflector/bounce board?

    2 – What is the proper way to go about lighting a subject with flash and NOT darkening the background?

    Thanks!

    1
  26. Torrie Nagem

    Are there any workshops for family portraits or maternity in the works? Would LOVE to learn more about these!

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  27. Gene Gregory

    Hello,

    I think this is a best place to start. i got a quick question regarding the YN 560 triggers and 602 radio transceivers. Will the 602 radio transceivers work with Profoto B1kit?

    reason i asked is B1 Kit is a little bit expensive as well as the optional air remote trigger for B1, i am looking at the YN 560 Triggers and 602 transceivers if they are compatible, i have checked the Profoto website and can’t find anything that relates compatibility with third party equipments.

    Cheers!
    Gene

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  28. Stephanie Kendall

    HI, new here (level 2), why can’t I add a profile pic or cover photo? Or upload pics at all?

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  29. Wendell Fernandes

    One question I received from a bride recently… do you shoot dark skin couples? MANY if not the major part of the photography industry have the SAME or vey similar photography style, and this bride I had the chance to talk to, she asked me about dark skin couples/weddings. I had recently shot this couple: http://wendellfernandes.com/garet-rahama-wedding-photos/ and I was able to present the work – waiting for booking confirmation but this could be a great series on tips to shoot them also!

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  30. Fahim Chowdhury

    Concern/Question about destination wedding. I have a wedding in Cancun coming up this November. I’ve heard some horror stories about customs at the airport and hassling you with your equipments. What is the proper way to make it hassle free and easier for me to shoot pictures in Cancun? What equipments should I take? I am thinking about taking 2 camera bodies, couple of lenses and 6 flashes with light stands. Any kind of advice will be really appreciated.

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    • Stan Rogers

      The best thing you can do for yourself is to have an ATA Carnet, which is essentially a passport for your equipment, listing both the equipment and the serial numbers, etc., where appropriate. And present the documents when it seems like they might be needed *before* they’re demanded — if you make the officials’ lives hard, they’re going to make yours hard as well (and it takes just a little longer to carefully compare every number on every body, battery, lens, card, etc., than it does to do a quick visual and spot-check a couple of numbers). Oh, and try to pack so that verification is easy.

      1
    • Matthew Saville

      What Stan said. Don’t just talk to the couple, or the wedding venue, or the airline. Do the legal footwork to get all the proper paperwork in order, well before you travel. Otherwise, yes, you could find yourself stranded in a foreign country with zero gear.

      http://www.atacarnet.com/what-carnet

      =Matt=

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