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Question: Which is more important for the final image?
1. Camera - 5 (6.7%)
2. Lens - 70 (93.3%)
Total Voters: 74

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Author Topic: Camera vs Lens  (Read 11447 times)
dlashier
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« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2006, 04:02:48 AM »
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Didn't MR write about this and put tripod before either? I agree with him as well!
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IMO all a matter of style - tripod cramps my style so I rarely use one (and hence my urge to return to RF for even less need), but I can see the need for MF with that big mirror slapping. If I had to fiddle/wait for my tripod I'd miss half of my best shots.

- DL
« Last Edit: September 19, 2006, 04:04:07 AM by dlashier » Logged

TimothyHughes
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« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2006, 10:51:00 PM »
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In light of the upcoming photokina and corresponding announcements I thought it would be interesting to poll the relative merit of equipment in Photography. Although in reality it is not a binary choice, if you had to choose between a high-end camera with a low-end lens, vs a low-end camera with a high-end lens, which would you rather have?

Let's assume that in either case the camera+lens combination has equal AF behavior. They both have similar output resolution.
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I'm sorry but an image is only going to be as good as the "system". Now, if you were talking about a 35mm camera body, than I'll take damn near any body. With digital however, the body makes a HUGE difference. Think about how far Canon's D-SLRs have come since the advent of the Rebel 300D.  

That being said, good glass is necessary to capture quality shots. A lot can be done in post to increase color saturation and sharpness but it can't add details that the glass didn't capture in the first place.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2006, 10:51:43 PM by TimothyHughes » Logged

opgr
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« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2006, 03:13:09 AM »
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I disagre, subject is more important that camera or lens.  You can give me the best gear on earth and I can have the world's best vision, but if you put me if a 6x6x6 concrete room with all grey walls and no shadows i have nothing.

Which implies that lighting is everything. In this case I can already think up many different abstracts I would love to explore of lines dividing space... or a good old 15mm fe on FF?
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Oscar Rysdyk
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opgr
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« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2006, 03:15:42 AM »
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IMO all a matter of style -
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Perhaps true for all of this discussion. Different types of Photography have different requirements, changing the relative importance of all elements. As an example in landscape Photography there is little one can do about light, but in a studio environment the possibilities are obviously greater.

I'm not sure which situation requires more creativity: a situation that requires you to overcome limitations, or a situation with an abundunce of possibilities?
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Oscar Rysdyk
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2006, 04:18:42 AM »
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Don, I think that quote was landscape specific, given that when shooting closed down at sunrise/sunset you are almost always shooting in tripod territory shutter speeds, the best  setup will always give a better image.

I used to shoot with an manfrotto 055. It was a good tripod. Then I bought a Velbon CF tripod that was half the weight. It's a great tripod, but due to the weight I had to weigh it down in the field with a stone bag and I'm still noticing that it isn't as steady as the older and more simple aluminium Manfrotto.

I'm investing in a Manfrotto MF3 (CF) which from playing with in the shops is far more steady than the lighter velbon. I would buy Gitzo even if it meant saving up for a while, but I HATE twist leg locks!
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Yakim Peled
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« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2006, 05:00:22 AM »
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>> Although in reality it is not a binary choice

Very true.

>>  if you had to choose between a high-end camera with a low-end lens, vs a low-end camera with a high-end lens, which would you rather have?

The latter.

>> I think Subject is the least important, because with the right lighting and creative vision, any subject can be made to shine...

I disagree.

>> Umm, I think that the photographer is usually the weakest link

I agree.
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Happy shooting,
Yakim.
dlashier
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« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2006, 05:22:53 PM »
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Don, I think that quote was landscape specific, given that when shooting closed down at sunrise/sunset you are almost always shooting in tripod territory shutter speeds, the best setup will always give a better image.
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Indeed Ben, sunset is about the only time I run into problems, but otoh this is a prime example of when a tripod cramps my style. I'm typically running around the beach, squatting down, shifting slightly, looking for reflections in the wet sand, and occasionally running from oncoming waves. Here's a shot that was somewhat compromised with no tripod because I didn't want to go below 1/50 which meant f4. Theoretically at 17mm f4 should have been adequate but I generally fudge a bit to guarantee distance sharpness so the close foreground is not optimal. But in any case I was standing (or squatting) in running water on sand - not exactly the best base for a tripod. In addition, the scene is changing very rapidly at this time of day and I can't afford to fiddle with a tripod for even a minute - I would have missed the shot.
[attachment=963:attachment]
- DL
« Last Edit: September 20, 2006, 05:25:43 PM by dlashier » Logged

Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2006, 10:38:33 AM »
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Gorgeous image, Don.  I also only occasionally use a tripod, because I usually don't want to take the time to mess around with one when I can take an image hand-held (in good lighting conditions only, of course) and then get going sooner to the next good photo spot.  Having a hyperactive spouse who can't stay in one place for long, and who is often with me when I'm photographing, has pushed me towards that style of photography, of course.  

And put me in the camp that believes that subject matter is one of the most important things to a photo, not the equipment.  A more precise description of my view is that, like in equipment, what makes a good photo also follows a "weakest link" rule - a great photo of a boring subject and a poor photo of a great subject are both poor.

Lisa
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Fred Ragland
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« Reply #28 on: September 21, 2006, 01:37:36 PM »
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...what makes a good photo also follows a "weakest link" rule - a great photo of a boring subject and a poor photo of a great subject are both poor...
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Yes, but what makes a great photo depends on the use of the image.
 
Speaking only for myself, I've been able to get by with images for the web or small-to-medium prints with hand-held shooting.  But I've been sorely disappointed when I return from shoots with strong images not sharp enough for large prints or critical review.  Invariably, the problem was hand-held shooting in order to meet some time constraint or to stay up with a group.  Too often these have been images that will not come my way again.

So I discipline myself to use a tripod.  Its a hard discipline to learn and I'm years into the process, but my images are better, especially when the prints are large.  Technology has helped.  My heavy, clumsy tripods and heads of yesteryear have been replaced with a light weight, quickly set up Gitzo 1258 sporting an RRS quick disconnect head.  Altogether, my percentage of great photos of great subjects has increased...even though it was often made more painful by having to drag the tripod along.  With recent changes to airtravel, tripod shooting has required an even greater commitment.
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dlashier
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« Reply #29 on: September 21, 2006, 02:01:29 PM »
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But I've been sorely disappointed when I return from shoots with strong images not sharp enough for large prints or critical review.
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What sort of shutter speeds and focal length have you been shooting at that this is a problem? My typical landscape (daytime) shot is in the vicinity of 1/500 to 1/1000 at 17mm to 35mm - tripod or no tripod makes no difference whatsoever. Evening tele shots (or even WA at times) are an entirely different matter.

- DL
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Fred Ragland
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« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2006, 08:50:43 PM »
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...What sort of shutter speeds and focal length have you been shooting at that this is a problem?...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=77172\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Hi Don.  I've long appreciated your concise answers.  Your image above is beautiful.

Soft images can be a problem when I shoot hand-held at 1/125 or slower with a 19mm lens!

"The rest of the story" is that in addition to shutter speed and focal length, aperature and ISO needs also affect how good the hand-held shot will be.  Of course, I'm not telling you anything new, just trying to pull together in one place some of the causes of soft images.

I shoot landscape and architecture with a 1Ds2 and a 4x5".  The 1Ds2 gets the most use.  For wide angle shooting with the 1Ds2, a Zeiss 19mm f2.8 lens is adapted for the camera.  The conditions I give myself (which is not to say I'll pass up other great shots!) are to minimize noise and to use the lens at its best aperature.  I prefer ISO 100 or 200 and rarely shoot above  ISO 400.  To get the best performance from the lens, I shoot at f8 (occasionally f11) which is the best compromise for depth of field vs. diffraction losses.

So that sets the stage.  On a full frame 35mm camera a 19mm lens at f8 appears to be focused from between 2 or 3 feet to infinity.  If that depth of field meets my needs, shutter speed with an ISO of 200 on a "normal" day is perhaps 1/125.  Minimizing noise with ISO 100 drops shutter speed to 1/50.

Yes there are things I can do to get away from the tripod...but they may cause unwanted noise (increase ISO) and narrower depth of field (open the aperature).  

All of the above is with a fast wide-angle lens.  The need for a tripod is greater with longer, slower lenses.  

Just to close, Don I don't want to become the spokesman for tripods in the great tripod vs. no tripod shoot off.  This is just what I do and why I do it.
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dlashier
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« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2006, 02:57:17 AM »
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"The rest of the story" is that in addition to shutter speed and focal length, aperature and ISO needs also affect how good the hand-held shot will be.  Of course, I'm not telling you anything new, just trying to pull together in one place some of the causes of soft images.
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Hi Fred,

Your absolutely right, but you need to add a couple of factors that affect DOF: sensor size and desired print size.

> The conditions I give myself (which is not to say I'll pass up other great shots!) are to minimize noise and to use the lens at its best aperature.  I prefer ISO 100 or 200 and rarely shoot above  ISO 400.  To get the best performance from the lens, I shoot at f8 (occasionally f11) which is the best compromise for depth of field vs. diffraction losses.

I still shoot a 1D so ISO 200 is optimal, and I'm reluctant to go above ISO 400, and even rarely there. I also shoot (conditions permitting) f8 to f11.

> On a full frame 35mm camera a 19mm lens at f8 appears to be focused from between 2 or 3 feet to infinity.  If that depth of field meets my needs, shutter speed with an ISO of 200 on a "normal" day is perhaps 1/125.

Hmm, during daylight at ISO 200 and f8 I'm usually shooting at around 1/500 or faster, sometimes even 1/1000 or greater?

> Yes there are things I can do to get away from the tripod...but they may cause unwanted noise (increase ISO) and narrower depth of field (open the aperature).  

I agree that with 35mm near or after sunset a tripod is desirable, but it still cramps my style. Although at times I wish I had one with me, I'm generally a fair hike from the car and already lugging nearly 20lbs of gear so generally (not always) do without. With MF I suspect I'd nearly always carry a tripod as the equation changes.

>Just to close, Don I don't want to become the spokesman for tripods in the great tripod vs. no tripod shoot off.  This is just what I do and why I do it.

Nor do I wish to become the absolute advocate for no tripod. But it irks me a bit when someone (not you) flatly declares "you've got to use a tripod for best landscape". This simply is not true (like most blanket statements). You need to intelligently consider the factors and tradeoffs for the situation at hand. In decent light IMO it's rather foolish to always use a tripod except perhaps for MF/LF. Conditions change very fast (around here anyway) and you'll miss the optimal moment if futzing with a tripod for every shot.

- DL
« Last Edit: September 22, 2006, 03:11:41 AM by dlashier » Logged

Hutch
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« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2006, 10:54:23 PM »
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To me there is nothing more sad then someone using a $3000+ pro body with a POS $300 Sigma or Tamron lens.  Bodies come and go however good optics are here to stay and will live through lots of bodies in their lifetime.  

My 2cents,
Hutch
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #33 on: October 17, 2006, 09:25:40 AM »
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To me there is nothing more sad then someone using a $3000+ pro body with a POS $300 Sigma or Tamron lens.  Bodies come and go however good optics are here to stay and will live through lots of bodies in their lifetime. 

My 2cents,
Hutch
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Well said.  

I'd only add that while a good piece of glass on an entry level body -- like a digital Rebel -- can indeed create an excellent image, if the photographer is expecting their favorite 24mm lens to behave 'normally' on the 1.6 crop body, they will be sorely disappointed.  Even using an 'old' 1Ds body, the favored 24 is capable of creating excellent images.  Hence my original comment body first, lens next, but perhaps I should clarify that and change it to sensor size first, lens second...

Cheers,
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mahleu
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« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2006, 01:13:07 PM »
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Manufacturers need to get over the fact that consumers see Mp as quality and start improving kit lenses. My soft 18-55mm isn't solid enough to hurt the person who designed it, even if i throw it hard.
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sanvandur
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« Reply #35 on: October 22, 2006, 08:07:21 PM »
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Quote from: macgyver,Sep 18 2006, 01:59 PM
"I disagre, subject is more important that camera or lens.  You can give me the best gear on earth and I can have the world's best vision, but if you put me if a 6x6x6 concrete room with all grey walls and no shadows i have nothing."

I disagree with you, and agree with Oscar. Your concrete "empty" room is not empty. For starters, you have lines, concrete texture. You have yourself. You can do self portraits. If you've got vision, you can make it happen with *anything*.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2006, 08:14:22 PM by sanvandur » Logged

dobson
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« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2006, 11:37:38 PM »
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Manufacturers need to get over the fact that consumers see Mp as quality and start improving kit lenses.
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I'm not sure if manufacturers will ever do away with megapixel marketing. It's just too easy for advertisers to say, "Ten megapixels are better than 8.", than to describe the nuances that make one lens better than another. Serious consumers are the only ones willing to research lenses and they rarely settle for kit lenses anyway. I'm sure the ad department is fueling the megapixel race, not the engineering department.
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macgyver
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« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2006, 12:01:07 AM »
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Quote from: sanvandur,Oct 23 2006, 01:07 AM
Quote from: macgyver,Sep 18 2006, 01:59 PM
"I disagre, subject is more important that camera or lens.  You can give me the best gear on earth and I can have the world's best vision, but if you put me if a 6x6x6 concrete room with all grey walls and no shadows i have nothing."

I disagree with you, and agree with Oscar. Your concrete "empty" room is not empty. For starters, you have lines, concrete texture. You have yourself. You can do self portraits. If you've got vision, you can make it happen with *anything*.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=81674\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Well, you see more of a subject there than I do, so that just goes to show how important subject is.

(yes, it was a poor example, im playing CYA now   )

However, I was operating on the assumption that the lighting being even enough nulls shadows.  And lets say its smooth concrete.
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Ray
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« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2006, 10:25:16 PM »
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Let's assume that in either case the camera+lens combination has equal AF behavior. They both have similar output resolution.
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This condition to the question seems to have got lost in the replies so far. It sort of narrows the options a great deal. How many camera+lens combinations are there that have similar output resolution? By similar, I take it you are referring to DSLR camera bodies that vary by a pixel count of no more than 30% or so. Until recently we haven't had these options. The D60 had double the pixel count of the D30, the 1D Mkll double the pixel count of the 1D, the 1Ds double the pixel count of the 10D, the 1Ds2 double the pixel count of the 20D and more than double the pixel count of the D60.

In my view, all the above options should be excluded from consideration. A doubling of pixel count represents a far greater resolution advantage than a good quality prime versus a medium quality zoom.

A sensible answer can not be provided in this poll since the poll has not addressed any specific camera + lens combinations. The sorts of combinations that would be applicable are; the new 10mp 400D+85/1.2 versus the 5D+85/1.8; the 5D+85/1.2 versus the 1Ds2+85/1.8; the 20D & 30D+85/1.2 versus the 1DMkll+85/1.8. That's about it, although you can vary the choice of lenses. The 5D compared with the 1DMkll doesn't really fit the bill because here we have a low end camera outperforming a high end camera whatever the lens.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2006, 10:39:08 PM by Ray » Logged
pcg
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« Reply #39 on: October 24, 2006, 08:44:27 PM »
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I voted "lens," but agree with Jack's last comment. The camera is solely a tool, & one that we should not be aware of while shooting. Ditto the lens. The closest I've ever come to Jack's ideal is with Leica Ms. I sold all my precious Leica gear a few years ago to go digital (Canon) & have been wandering since in search of anything similar to the old Ms. I think Leica is now too far behind, even w/ the new M, but that simple body remains an ideal.

And all of that being said, the lens matters only if we are seeking the sharpest damn image possible. Let's remember that most of the 20th century's best images were popped off on 35mm bodies with crummy film & questionable lens. Which steers us right back to the IMAGE as being paramount.

My last comment: Artistic vision is often in conflict with the search for sharpness. But we all forget this.
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