Making the most of the camera gear you HAVE

Started Jan 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
MAC Forum Pro • Posts: 13,825
Re: Making the most of the camera gear you HAVE

heatherc wrote:

I have the 500D/T1i with the EFS 18-55 and 55-250 kit lenses and an older EF 50mm 1.8.

Recently I was thinking about getting more lenses as I was disappointed with the quality of some of my shots (especially macros and wildlife stuff), having upgraded from a Minolta A1. I was thinking about a better zoom and a prime macro. Then I did some reading on here and realised - it's not the camera or the lenses - it's ME.

I was simply expecting too much straight from the camera without making any effort. Following some great advice on this forum given in various posts and the unofficial rebel FAQ (which is awesome BTW) I have made some significant changes to the way I have the camera set up and the post-processing I am doing and now I have no thoughts of getting any more lenses for some time. Others have said much of this already elsewhere, but my main things were:

  • Take the UV filters off
  • Get the camera out of P and never put it back again (after all if you just want to point and shoot why don't you have a P&S camera...)
  • Macro - MF, manual mode, focus by moving back and forth, use flash, use extension tubes with 50mm, etc, etc
  • Better wildlife shots - I know it's obvious to most of YOU that if you have enough Megapixels it doesn't matter if the subject doesn't fill the frame, you can always crop it. But - well yeah it's obvious to me now I've tried it!
  • Shoot RAW and use DPP properly instead of just downloading Jpeg straight to the PC
  • Get Photoshop Elements and use it
  • Canon picture styles. Clearly I had not RTFM as I had not realised these existed.
  • RTFM. Yes really. I have also read a lot of posts on here and some great tutorials elsewhere on the web which have explained in small words exactly how to overcome the issues I had without spending a fortune on new glass
  • Take more pictures. Yes I know this is not rocket science, but I wasn't doing it.

So the point of posting this is to say thank you to those who have posted on here before giving great advice to people like me. I have read and I hope I may have even understood. I may even post some pictures for C&C later if that's OK!

all good stuff.

I highly recommend you only shoot manual mode indoors and use manual outdoors, but occasionally use AV outdoors.  Cameras are dumb.  You control the ss, AV, iso.

When you get into situations where you need to shoot iso1600 and above -- try ETTR in manual - in other words expose a bit right of center in RAW and bring the exposure back to center in DPP -- it will reduce your noise.  That is another reason to shoot in manual mode

Your lenses are good.  Your three would be the ones I recommend to get started.

But -- if more is in your future, here is what I'd recommend:

1) I found a used 60 f2.8 macro for $275 -- amazing macro and portrait lens!

2) Though the 50 f1.8 will do for photographing children indoors, it is a bit long.  The survey says most indoor users prefer the 35mm focal length on crop.  I got a 35 f2 lens for $289 and photograph children at F2.2

not to spend more of your money -- but just these two budget  lenses rock -- the 60 f2.8 and 35 f2.

And then one more thing if you keep spending to upgrade.  Selling the 500d and buying a $600 T4i would give you 1 extra stop in high iso and a touch screen and LV that is amazing.  But I wouldn't do it before the lenses I mentioned.

I know I'm mentioning upgrades when your thread is not about upgrades.  You are right to stay in a budget.  The advice I give is only for some that eventually want to increase tools and still remain on a budget without spending a fortune

good luck

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