In search of image quality

Started Feb 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
Chris Malcolm Senior Member • Posts: 1,973
Re: In search of image quality

WaltKnapp wrote:

doctorxring wrote:

Which of these options will give the best image quality over what I have already ? Would this be a small increment of image quality or a significant increase over my current combo ?

Take a really hard look at you as a photographer. You may very well find that learning more about photography will give you far more gain in image quality. The photographer has the greatest influence of image quality. You cannot buy being a expert photographer, you have to learn.

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I'm Only Responsible For What I Say, Not For What You Understand.

I've ended up with an A77 & the 16-50mm. I started several years ago with an A350 and the 18-250mm lens. I also now have the 35mm f/1.8 prime and a number of other excellent primes. There are several favourite standard photographs I always get round to redoing with every improved camera and lens. So I can review the improvements in image quality over the years.

My conclusion is that by far the largest improvement has been due to improving my own skills in taking the shot. The second largest source of improvement has been the improvement in my post processing skills. And if I hadn't started out already pretty good at post processing that would have been by far the biggest contributor to image quality.

In fact I started out with decades of film SLR and darkroom experience behind me when I converted to digital DSLR. Without those background skills the contribution of my own developing photographic and image editing skills to image quality would have been even larger.

What has been the single most important contributor to my developing image quality over the years? Moving away from handheld shots. That has involved two things. The first has been acquiring more and better camera support devices, such as tripods and monopods. The second has been using them more often. I should also mention the second most important factor in my improving image quality: getting sharper focus by learning when AF didn't get the sharpest focus, and shifting to manual focus. For example very few DSLRs get AF right at focal lengths less than around 20mm, even at f/8 , if you're being really fussy about image sharpness.

What has been my most surprising discovery about the contribution of lens quality to image quality? That at f/8 it's very hard to see the difference between a merely good zoom and a really top quality prime.

Do you ever go out on photo expeditions with a gang of other photographers? A really educational experience is meeting the photographer who very often takes much better shots than you managed, despite the fact that you were using a better camera and lens.

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Chris Malcolm

 Chris Malcolm's gear list:Chris Malcolm's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A550 Sony SLT-A77 Sony 50mm F1.4 Sony DT 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 Sony 500mm F8 Reflex +7 more
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