In this challenging time for all of us, I have made some videos to share my experience of post processing and photography for birding, wildlife and macros. I hope some find it useful.
Category Archives: Gear
Well, as mentioned in an earlier post, nothing is really “required” as such, but, let us look at some gear that will help and will remain useful for quite some time to come.
The pop-up flash on the DSLRs today is probably “the” example of stagnation in technology. This is the worst location a flash could be on any camera…Right on the centre of the lens and low on top of the camera. Quite a few of the high-end DSLRs do not have a built-in flash for the same reason. Keep in mind that we are capturing light and photography is basically all about light!
There is already a ton of information on the net and I will not get into any specific details on this part. If you are really interested in learning more about the flash, it’s working, modifiers and more, here are a couple of sites that I would recommend that you go through.
- Strobist – This is considered to be “the” place to learn about lighting.
- ScanTips – This one has a variety of related information.
Both Nikon and Canon have their own speedlites for their camera bodies. Both use TTL metering to figure out the amount of flash (light) to add to a given scene. Almost all of these branded speedlites are expensive when compared to a variety of third-party hardware. I would recommend that you purchase one that suits your budget and supports i-TLL for Nikon and e-TTL/e-TTL II for Canon. Although manual speedlites from third-party vendors are a lot cheaper, you can always add those as and when needed for a multi-light setup. Most of us would probably start with one speedlite and stay there. TTL speedlites make it a lot simpler to start understanding their purpose and utility.
In my experience, so far, speedlites generally be a lot brighter than ideal by default. You might want to set your flash exposure compensation to around -1 (lower by 1 stop) for most scenarios.
A speedlite TTL cable or a wireless setup is good to have in order to take the flash completely off the camera. Although you can use the pop-up flash on the camera to trigger a stand-alone flash in manual mode, it also implies that your pop-up flash will fire and add to the available light. A cheap light stand might also be a good idea for experimenting with the direction and intensity of light.
After a lot of research, I decided to go with a Yongnuo speedlite for Nikon. They also build the equivalent models for Canon. The online links are under the “Good Deals!” page. After I was comfortable with the flash, I also got the wireless commander and transceiver for the same.
Having listed out the pros and cons of a P&S (Point & Shoot) vs a DSLR in the earlier post, if you still want to go for a DSLR, here are some points to consider while purchasing a DSLR. I will be using some basic terminology here which can be looked up on the net for now and we will discuss most of these in some more detail later. Since I am primarily from an IT background, I find a lot of parallels and will try to illustrate those as we go along.
I use OS X on an iMac and a Macbook Pro for all my current work and most of the comments I have about software would be on the OS X platform and not on Windows.
Double your Budget
Let’s talk about the cost first. Almost all DSLRs come with one standard kit lens. This is generally a 18-55mm and you will soon outgrow it. You will need more reach and will probably need to purchase a better “zoom” lens like a standard 55-200mm/55-300mm/70-200mm/70-300mm. For extreme close-up shots, often called macro, you would land up purchasing a true macro lens. For most indoor or low light photography, you might feel the need for a faster, prime lens (faster means a larger aperture, “prime” means fixed focal length). If you are interested in low-light, night and/or landscape photography, you might land up purchasing a decent tripod and/or a monopod. As you progress, the cost of the gear will continue to grow.
With the festival of Holi right around the corner, there might be some people looking to buy a new camera. Even without the “season” or “reason”, sometimes, we get a new one anyway…
There is always the hope that a more modern camera might deliver better results. Quite a few of us buy an expensive DSLR hoping that this would increase the quality of the photographs. After all, a DSLR is way more expensive than a Point & Shoot and has to be better.
Well, the answer is a “yes” and “no”. The only point that is completely correct is that a DSLR is expensive and will continue to add to the expense to get anywhere close to the range of even a mid-range P&S camera.
A better understanding of the use, pros and cons of both will go a long way in making a better informed purchase decision. This is what we will look at first.