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More Thoughts On Cameras

| August 11, 2017 More

More Thoughts On CamerasOver the summer I’ve been looking at some new cameras, trying to justify (that’s a red flag right there!) the purchase of a new DSLR. There’s nothing at all wrong with my current camera, a Canon T5i (700D), and as I do most of my shooting tethered on a tripod, it’s in nearly new condition. That being said, the equipment envy bug bit me a bit when Canon introduced their model 80D last year and I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy one.

My photos will look more vibrant and alive, scenery photos will jump off the screen, etc. Sounds great, except I don’t think it’s true, at least for what I’m doing right now. All of my photo work is done in very controlled lighting conditions in my shop; I don’t need to capture fleeting glimpses of wildlife at dusk or fast paced sports action under harsh lights. Right now all of my images appear either onscreen at low resolution or for magazine ads I shoot. My current camera produces beautiful 20+ megabyte images in raw format, so there’s lots of information to work with and process.

There’s a very cool camera image comparison tool on a photography website, DP Review, and what they try to do is to compare apples to apples under controlled lighting conditions. These shots are not wholly unlike the way I shoot, under very controlled lighting, so for me this visual tool generally quells the equipment envy bug when it bites me. The photos below show the results from 4 cameras ranging in price from $800 to $6,500. In this online context, once an image has been reduced in sized and saved as a jpg, can you easily spot the differences?

Just for the heck of it I compared my camera against three newer and very expensive cameras to see just how my Canon stacks up. Now this test page gets all kinds of praise as well as criticism online. Some say it’s a fair test, others say it minimizes each camera’s unique abilities and features. I tend to think both points of view have merit. I grabbed some screen shots from my Canon 700D and put it up against the Canon 5DMK IV, the Sony Alpha A9 and the Nikon D810, some pretty heavy hitters in the camera world. Remember this is done for a bit of fun, not as a real benchmark.

One thing these shots do illustrate is that once an image is reduced in size and saved in a web friendly format, such as a jpg, the differences in the quality of the images seems to narrow greatly.

These tree trunk shots are actually much more important to me over static comparisons as they show the process I use when shooting, that is I do a lot of lighting and camera adjustments to get the shots I’m after. I think as long as the equipment meets a reasonably high standard (and most newer DSLRs do), it’s more about what goes in to getting a good picture and not just about buying a new camera.

This last shot of the Micro-Trains SW1500 loco was just a bit of fun for me as I tried my hand at photo stacking. This is the process of taking multiple shots at different focal distances, then combing them in to a single image to produce a greater depth of field.

Again this article isn’t a serious comparison of course; please no hate mail :) This was just a little camera therapy for me to quiet down that new equipment envy I was feeling.

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