You know you live in Southern California when you think more about how good an umbrella will look in pictures rather than how well it will function in the rain. Because it seems to rain so little here that we have to do a little puddle splashing shoot every time it does.
*** Canon 5D Mark II, 50 1.2
F 2.8, 1/1600, ISO 800
*** I definitely could have lowered my ISO here and then, in turn, lowered my shutter speed. Sometimes when you are capturing a moment you forget about your settings to make sure you get the shot!
Love these umbrellas I picked up at Target. I actually bought one in Indiana when I was there for the Mpix shoot, but couldn’t get it home. So, I had to go to Target and buy two more for my kids. Love them for shoots because they don’t cast any weird shadows or color casts since they are clear. The look good and they actually function well
Hope you are enjoying the weather wherever you are!
I’m sure many of you will be asking Santa for a new lens this Christmas. But, before you send in your wish list to you will want to think about if you want a fixed aperture lens or if you would be okay with a variable aperture lens.
Variable aperture lenses are going to be your cheaper lenses. And you will know because you will see two aperture numbers on the lens. For instance, the Tamron 18-270mm, F 3.5 – 6.3 is a variable aperture lens.
You can tell because there are 2 different apertures listed in the description (and on the box and the lens itself), F 3.5 – 6.3. When you are zoomed out at the widest (70mm for this lens) you can shoot with an aperture of 3.5. However, when you are zoomed at the tightest you will only be able to shoot with an aperture of 6.3. When you are shooting at focal lengths in between your largest aperture will also be somewhere in between. The focal length and aperture are dependent on one another. The longer the focal length, the smaller the aperture. Why does that matter? Because you are letting less light into the lens when zoomed in all the way. On paper it looks like a great lens. It’s priced right at only $449, it has a wide range, and it is small and compact. But, if you want to shoot indoors with a lens like that and only want to use available light you will not be able to. Especially when zooming.
Compare that lens to the Tamrom 70-200mm F 2.8 lens at $1499.
What are you getting for $1000 more? We know we are getting a fixed aperture because there is only one aperture listed. The fixed aperture means at 70mm you can shoot at an aperture of 2.8 and at 200mm you can shoot at an aperture of 2.8. The aperture and focal length operate independently. Besides the fixed aperture you are also getting a better lens with more precise focusing and image quality, which is why the lens is $1000 more.
You have to ask yourself what you will be shooting mostly. If you will be shooting sports, for instance, and will be outdoors most of the time, than a variable aperture lens is fine for you. If you will be shooting indoors where you need a wide aperture to allow a lot of light in then you will most likely be very disappointed with a variable aperture lens.
Maybe this is already common knowledge, but it’s new to me so I thought I would share it with you!
Growing up we had a hate jar. Each time someone would say the word hate we had to put a quarter in the jar. I won’t say that I hate iPhoto (because I don’t want to be out $.25), but I will say I strongly dislike it. Granted, I have an older version of it so maybe newer versions have gotten better. But, I very much dislike how I can’t view the images I load into iPhoto outside of it. They go into some mystery folder that I can’t view. It makes backing up images hard. And I can never seem to view them in chronological order no matter how I sort them. Because I thought the only way I could get the images off of my iPhone was through iPhoto, I rarely uploaded my images. Which led to thousands of images being left on my phone and no room to take new pictures. And that made me sad.
And then I found out about Image Capture. It came with my Mac so I’m assuming it comes on all Mac computers. When I plug my iPhone in I simply launch Image Capture and select my phone. I can then save my images wherever I’d like… without having to deal with iPhoto! Now I can easily see what images I’ve downloaded and easily archive them with the images from my big camera. It has been life changing! And I actually have room to take pictures with my iPhone again! Yeah!
The question I get asked most often has to be which camera is the best for a Mom*tog. And my answer has always been buy the best you can afford. There’s no need to feel like you have to buy the best and most expensive camera. A DSLR can be a huge investment. And the entry level DSLR cameras are relatively inexpensive nowadays. But, after getting my hands on lots of different cameras during Camp Mom*tog and talking to many Mom*togs about their needs I’ve come up with a few reasons why you should skip the entry level DSLR and go with a more expensive camera if you are in the position to do so.
1) Growing Pains – My first DSLR way back in 2005 was the Canon Rebel. It was a great little camera and still is (I gave it to my Dad when I no longer needed it), but I outgrew it fast. Within a year I had upgraded to the 30D. If I would have just bought the 30D to begin with I would have saved the $1200 I spent on the Rebel (yes, Rebels were $1200 in 2005!!!). If you have intentions of going pro or if you have a great interest in photography and plan on working hard to be the best Mom*tog you can be, the entry level cameras might not be your best bet.
2) Limited ISO Capabilities – with the entry level cameras you will have extremely limited ISO capabilities. This is the number one complaint I hear from Mom*togs. You can be a great photographer, but if your images are grainy because your camera can’t handle an ISO of 600 or 800 that’s frustrating.
Plus, the entry level cameras have less choices for your ISO speed as well. For example, on some entry level cameras you will only have the choices of 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 3200. On higher end cameras like the 5D Mark II, which I shoot with, you have many more ISO speed options – 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1000, 1250, 1600, 2000, 2500, 3200, and even more options above 3200 (although I never shoot above 1600).
3) Shooting Manual – With several of the entry level DSLR cameras it’s relatively hard to shoot manual. On many of those cameras there is no dial dedicated to controlling aperture. When shooting kids you have to be fast. With no dial dedicated to aperture and having to go through an extensive menu to change the ISO it’s hard to be fast! Cameras like the Canon 60D have separate dials to control the aperture and shutter speed, which makes shooting manual that much easier.
4) Bigger Sensor = Better Images – I’ve never been one who cares too much about megapixels. The majority of DSLR cameras now all have more than enough megapixels. Once you get over a certain number of megapixels (some say 16) it really doesn’t matter. But, I do care about the size of the sensor.
Sensors are essentially the equivalent to film. They are made up of millions of light sensitive spots that record information. So, it can be inferred that a bigger sensor will produce better images since it will be able to record much more information. This is why full frame cameras cost significantly more than those with cropped frame sensors. Most of your entry level cameras come with cropped sensors. The sensors are going to be smaller, which allows for less information to be recorded.
If your budget only allows for an entry level camera, no problem. If you are upgrading from a point and shoot you will love it! But, if you can stretch your budget a bit go for the next step up. You get what you pay for and you won’t regret it!
My recommendation – the Canon 6D. It has a full frame sensor and gets good marks on ISO performance. The price tag for just the camera body is around $1900. It’s not cheap, but it will grow with you as you learn.
And remember, lenses are just as important, if not more, than the camera itself. So, leave room in your budget for a great piece of glass as well!
October kills me. Every single year. And every year I tell myself I won’t overcommit myself. But, I always do. One more month of craziness. I like to pretend I am Dory. I just have to keep swimming.
So, please me patient with me. I have lots of awesome things to share with you. However, when I’m not shooting and editing I am hanging out with these two crazy kids. Enjoying our Indian Summer. Going to soccer games. Hanging out at the library. Being field trip mom. You know, enjoying life. I hope you are too.
Canon 5D Mark II, 50 1.2
F 2.8, 1/200, ISO 250
*** Mom*tog Memo
When shooting kids in motion be sure your shutter speed is high enough to freeze the action. I never shoot kids with a shutter speed below 125
PS I’m blogging a bunch over on my professional photography blog so hop on over to see some happy families!