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Help and advice for beginners If you don't classify yourself as being particularly expert or experienced and you have a question or problem that you need help with in the area of improving images, this is the board to get the assistance you seek.

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Old 05-10-06
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Newbie Diving In

After years of using various Prosumer's I took the plunge a few days ago and bought myself the new Canon 400D.
From the word go I was gobsmacked. Everything happens instantly, all controls are clear and simple. I am in love with it.
It came with the usual 55mm lens and I also purchased the Tamron 70-300mm with Macro. Now to the point....
I notice that using the Macro switch at anything over 60/70mm focus length the images are not to sharp at all, even with tripod and cable release. Below that they are fine.
My main query is..would it be better to have 2 different lens, 1 for telephoto and 1 dedicated Macro or, seek out a better quality telephoto with macro combined.

info: I don't take many landscapes due to a restriction on travelling. I do however photograph lots of birds, insects, flowers etc
Being totally new to the SLR I am starting here with nil to compare and will certainly be listening to and reading advice/suggestions etc.
I am currently finding the Tamron 300mm reach barely enough for my needs and do have to carry out severe cropping of some pics. How does a 400mm sound and should I stick with Tamron.
Budget = around 500 (could stretch that a little by investing in a bunch of flowers )

Heck of a post for a newbie with lots of questions but ... I got a new toy and want to know stuff.
Thanks for reading
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Old 05-10-06
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Re: Newbie Diving In

Hi Pops and let me first welcome you to the DPNow forums, I'm sure you will like it in here. I'm really pleased you have taken the plunge so to speak and gone for a dSLR. This 400D was an exciting new release this year and I'll be interested to know how you get on with it. Apart from the fact that its a Canon and I'm a Canon man, it looks like a belter of a camera to me.

I'm not familiar with the lenses or indeed the macro function on them. All I can say is that you should get sharp focus at any focal length with a conventional lens at any given camera to subject distance. So if you go for the closest focus point, you should be able to zoom in and have the lens stay in focus. However it is possible that Macro lenses work slightly differently in that they have a macro zone within the lens and this may restrict zooming. I'll bow to someone elses superior knowledge on that one.

Tamron is a respected name in the lens world, but Sigma is another brand you should consider as they too have a reputation for quality at a reasonable price. I know Pol has some for her Pentax and may be able to help there.

I'm sorry I can't be of any more help atm, but feel free to post some examples of what you are getting from the camera when you have some. I doknow that one of our other members has also bought a 400D and he was chuffed to bits with it too.
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Old 05-10-06
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Re: Newbie Diving In

With a budget around 500 and the fact that reach is imperative for bird/wildlife photography (though stealth is more important), I'd suggest looking at something like a Tamron 200-500mm (fairly lightweight, sharp) or a Sigma 50-500mm (heavier but capable). Don't rule out the used lens market, there's some great lenses at good prices out there.

I often find that people can get a bit disillusioned with bird photography with a 400mm... 500mm will give you a larger image in the frame, which makes for more accurate focusing and you (and the camera) are better able to judge exposure.

The minimum focus distance of longer lenses doesn't make them ideal for macro... though extension tubes may help.

It may be a case of you prioritising and having one lens to do one job well, and another to do another job well... instead of compromising.

cheers
Andy
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Re: Newbie Diving In

Well there you go Pops, good advice methinks. If you are interested there is a review of Sigma, sometimes referred to as Bigma HERE . and the Tamron HERE
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Re: Newbie Diving In

Thanks for the imput Andy.
Strangely enough I have just found a Sigma 170-500 and a Sigma 28-135 Macro on Ebay. I'm watching them both with interest.
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Re: Newbie Diving In

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy View Post
With a budget around 500 and the fact that reach is imperative for bird/wildlife photography (though stealth is more important), I'd suggest looking at something like a Tamron 200-500mm (fairly lightweight, sharp) or a Sigma 50-500mm (heavier but capable). Don't rule out the used lens market, there's some great lenses at good prices out there.

I often find that people can get a bit disillusioned with bird photography with a 400mm... 500mm will give you a larger image in the frame, which makes for more accurate focusing and you (and the camera) are better able to judge exposure.

The minimum focus distance of longer lenses doesn't make them ideal for macro... though extension tubes may help.

It may be a case of you prioritising and having one lens to do one job well, and another to do another job well... instead of compromising.

cheers
Andy
Hi Andy - I should also add that Pops should have a look at your Digiscoped site for some inspiration, though on second thoughts there ought to be a warning that your shots could seriously affect one's ambition!

I do have one point of clarification to ask - do you mean 500mm in the '135' full frame sense or 500mm with the APS-C sensor size crop calculated in? On the EOS-400D that makes a 500mm lens see like an 800mm lens on a full frame DSLR.

If you mean 500mm as in full frame, then Pops would only need a 300mm focal length or thereabout.

Ian
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Old 05-10-06
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Re: Newbie Diving In

Hello Pops - nice to see you and welcome to the forum.

I'm definitely with Andy on this one when he says "It may be a case of you prioritising and having one lens to do one job well, and another to do another job well... instead of compromising."

If you're after clear, sharp 1:1 (life-size) macro shots with everything, or most of the frame, in focus as you'd get with smaller apertures, a dedicated macro lens would be the best choice imho.

Equally - 500mm is definitely ideal for bird shots and having a zoom, as Andy suggests, gives you more option for framing your shots.

Stephen mentioned I have Sigmas - I only have one Sigma in fact and that's the 170-500mm. It produces some great shots, sharp right across the zoom range. The 50-500mm (aka the 'Bigma') is probably more popular though as it has an even wider zoom range. I went for the 170-500 as a) it was cheaper b) I was already well covered up to 170mm with other lenses and I couldn't see myself needing the lower end of the 50-500mm.

It's long and quite heavy but I'm just a little lass so I mainly use it on a tripod. I also use it with an ErgoRest 'multi-tripod' clamped onto the passenger side window of the car or camper and that's been an ideal setup for all kinds of shots, especially when it's been clamped to the camper door, which is much higher than a car. If you look in my gallery - 'Bikers' and 'On holiday with his bucket and spade' came off the 170-500mm when it was clamped to a vehicle. I don't usually do the 'paparazzi' type of thing with it but the opportunities presented themselves that day so .....

For macros - I use either a Pentax 100mm f/2.8 or I also have a Pentax 50mm f/2.8.

My one and only Tamron is the 28-300mm (with macro). Note - the 'with macro' means it has close focusing. That means I can focus at close distances ......... but it's by no means a true macro lens that can produce shots anywhere near as good as the ones I can get off the dedicated 100mm or 50mm. However - I've found it to be a fantastic walkabout lens that'll cover just about everything I've ever asked of it.. and very good value at the price. It's probably my most frequently used lens, also used for bird shots but mainly for larger birds that aren't too far distant such as Seagulls when we're at the coast or garden birds or squirrels when they're near enough to fill most of the frame, eg at a nearby feeder.

One last point - my 50mm f/2.8 is also good when used as a walkabout prime lens when I'm grabbing, or trying to grab candid shots. It means I'm concentrating on getting the shots quickly and unobtrusively instead of fiddling about zooming/framing and checking to be sure there's enough light getting through.

So --- if I were in your position I'd probably start smiling sweetly, making cups of tea etc and offering occasional bunches of flowers.

Pol
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Re: Newbie Diving In

Ian....i aint half pleased you were replying to Andy cus I hadn't a clue what you meant. Hopefully it will make sense later.

Stephen thanks for the links

Pol Kettles on and I visited an online florist
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Re: Newbie Diving In

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Originally Posted by Pops View Post
Ian....i aint half pleased you were replying to Andy cus I hadn't a clue what you meant. Hopefully it will make sense later.

Stephen thanks for the links

Pol Kettles on and I visited an online florist
Oh and here is a pic from yesterday, taken in between the showers, using the Tamron 70-300
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Re: Newbie Diving In

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post

I do have one point of clarification to ask - do you mean 500mm in the '135' full frame sense or 500mm with the APS-C sensor size crop calculated in? On the EOS-400D that makes a 500mm lens see like an 800mm lens on a full frame DSLR.

If you mean 500mm as in full frame, then Pops would only need a 300mm focal length or thereabout.

Ian
Unfortunately, I was taking into account the APS crop factor of most cameras.

cheers,
Andy
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Re: Newbie Diving In

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pops View Post
Oh and here is a pic from yesterday, taken in between the showers, using the Tamron 70-300
Nice natural looking shot with good accurate colour, Pops.

cheers,
Andy
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Re: Newbie Diving In

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pops View Post
Oh and here is a pic from yesterday, taken in between the showers, using the Tamron 70-300
I can see you'll be investing in new tripods and building your own hide soon too
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Re: Newbie Diving In

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I can see you'll be investing in new tripods and building your own hide soon too
Aye well - it's a good way to spend a Winter day, especially if you have the hide near to a heat source and cuppa tea. I have a portable hide that sits nicely near a patio or kitchen door and an outdoor extension cable for a greenhouse heater. failing that a hotwater bottle and willing teaboy, aka husband are good accessories.

Pops - that's nice shot. If that's in your own garden it'll be even more fun, and easier to get shots, once the leaves have fallen for the Winter. I sometimes set up the Tripod and Sigma 170-500 on the the patio, or even just inside the patio door - pre-focus on a branch near a feeder and use an extended cable release. Then I watch from indoors and fire the shutter in comfort. I got the long cable release off ebay - it's about 30ft long and cost about 10. It was new - came from some place in China iirc. I'll see if I can find the link.

Pol
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Re: Newbie Diving In

That's what I thought

Makes my new (100-400 equiv) tele zoom seem decidedly under-powered!

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Re: Newbie Diving In

Quote:
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I got the long cable release off ebay - it's about 30ft long and cost about 10. It was new - came from some place in China iirc. I'll see if I can find the link.

Pol
'Nova Photo and Electronics' - that's the name of the ebay shop where David got my long cable switch.

It arrived very quickly, just a few days. it's very similar to the 18" Pentax cable switch but with a much longer cable attached - bulb mode included on the switch. The Pentax switch is smoother to use in but the 'Nova' switch is nevertheless very good too.

Pol
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