Which Camera to Choose

Photography Basics

 

Which Camera to choose.

 

This is probably the question I have been asked the most over the 25

years I have worked as a professional photographer. I think the answer depends on your budget and

how much control you want to have with your camera. If you want the camera to just take the pictures for you there are a lot of very good point and shoot cameras you can choose from. I have experience with very few of them so I would look for one that is easy to learn with simple functions. You can purchase these point and shoot cameras with up to 16 mega pixels quite inexpensively. The good thing about these cameras is in the title, point and shot. The camera pretty much does everything for you. The bad thing of course is you have very little control of the results. Another problem with these point and shoot cameras is the short delay between the time you press the button to take the picture and the time the camera actually takes the picture. This doesn’t matter much when you are taking a picture of a beautiful lake but it is a big deal when you are trying to take pictures of children. The perfect moment is almost always gone before your point and shoot camera shutter takes the picture. This can be very frustrating. The point and shoot cameras of today have less of a problem with this delay than in the past but it is still there. If you would like to do a little research and review some of these cameras I recommend www.dpreview.com. This web site is the best reference I have found. .

Now, if you want to have more control over your camera and your photographs I would recommend you look into a SLR type camera. SLR means the camera has a mirror which enables you to view threw the same lens that takes the pictures. This is great because you can see what the pictures will actually look like including focus, depth of field , perspective and more. It also enables you to have interchangeable lenses for your camera. This gives you endless capabilities. I would recommend that you look a Cannon or Nikon brand cameras. These two are the biggest sellers, have the most lenses to choose from and other companies make lenses that work on their cameras.

I was all Nikon but switched to Cannon about four years ago. I have a couple of Tokina lenses for my Cannon 5D MarkII that I truly love. Again there are many choices for SLR Cameras so I would check out www.dpreview.com for some help with camera reviews and news about the latest cameras out.

Many and probably most of the SLR’s that you invest $600 to $1000 to purchase are very good. The problem is the lenses that come with these camera bodies are often not very good. A bad lens on a great camera is not going to take great pictures. I therefore recommend that you spend as much or more on a good lens or lenses than you do on your camera. A good lens will also still be a good lens on the next camera that you own. I will talk with you much more about lenses later. You may be better off purchasing you camera body separate from your lens instead of as a package. This will allow you to purchase the lens that will fit your specific needs the best.

Thanks for visiting Barrus photography in Utah web site.  We are the wedding photographers to choose for the best wedding portraits.  You will not be sorry when you choose Barrus for your wedding photos.  Your wedding portraits will be the best wedding portraits you have ever had.   Once you have come to Barrus photography portrait studio in Utah you will return time and time again for all of your wedding picture needs.   Absolutely the number one choice for your wedding photographer

About pixels By Wally Barrus

About Pixels

All digital images are composed of minute blocks known as “pixels”, or picture elements. The number of pixels that an image has dictates the image’s resolution.  The more pixels, the higher the resolution.  The number of pixels also determines the maximum print size, as more pixels mean you can achieve a larger print size.  It is for this reason that resolution is one of the key factors governing the quality of digital images. The more pixels that are used to make up an image, the more detail is visible and the smoother the image appears. The resolution of a digital image is measured in pixels per inch (ppi), and the standard resolution to achieve photo-quality prints is 300 ppi. It’s important to remember, however, that 300 ppi is considered to be the optimum industry-standard resolution.  Depending on the image, the camera, the printer, and the intended size of the print (larger prints tend to be viewed from farther away, you may find that a resolution of 200 ppi (or lower) can produce perfectly acceptable results.

Many years ago when I first started shooting digital pictures the camera I was using had only 3 megapixels. I was told that the maximum size of quality prints I could make from any of my 3 megapixel picture files would be no larger then 5×7 inches. (Refer to the following chart) I do not remember any pixel police officers telling me I could not make larger pictures. I made many pictures that were for publication and framing that were much larger than 5×7 inches. To me they were beautiful.It is amazing to me how many digital rules can be overcome with Photoshop, or one of the many image processing programs.  Rules, really?  I love Photoshop. Now you know all about pixels.

Megapixels  Related to Print Size

 Camera            Approximate Print Size Limit at 300 ppi

3MP                7 x 5 in

4MP                7 1/2 x 51/2 in

5MP                8 ½ x 6 ½ in

6MP                9 ½ x 7 in

7MP                10 x 7 ½ in

8MP                11 x 8 in

10MP              13 x 8 ½ in

12MP              13 ½ x 9 ½ in

Visit Wally Barrus web site former professor of photography at Brigham Young University and Steve’s Father www.wallybarrusphotography.com

Thanks for visiting Barrus photography in Utah web site.  We are the bridal photographers to choose for the most amazing bridal portraits.  You will not be sorry when you choose Barrus for your bridal photos.  Your family portraits will be the best bridal portraits you have ever had.   Once you have come to Barrus photography portrait studio in Utah you will return time and time again for all of your bridal picture needs.   Absolutely the number one choice for your bridal photographers.

 

Understanding ambient light and flash light balance for family portraits

Aperture

 

Aperture is also called the f-stop of the lens. Every lens has an aperture which can change from a small opening to a large opening. The size of the opening affects how much light is let in to expose the digital sensor. Large holes F2, f4, let more light in and small holes f16, f22 let in less light. Small holes also result in long depth of fields and large holes result in short depth of fields. We will talk in detail about depth of field in another lesson.

 

Shutter speed

 

Shutter speed means the amount of time a hole (large or small) is open. ½ second is a long shutter speed and 1/500 second is a fast shutter speed.

 

The relationship between aperture and shutter speed is how the photographer controls the balance between ambient light and artificial flash light.

 

Often the ambient light inside or outside is not fantastic so artificial light needs to be used. The trick is to add artifical light (flash light) to a scene without making it look like you added light. The way to accomplish this goal is to balance the ambient light with flash. If the ambient light is affecting the photo too much the flash will have no effect. If the flash is too strong the picture will look like it was taken only with a flash and will have that blown out look. So how do we make them balance perfectly?

 

The Answer

 

Shutter speed affects ambient light only

 

Aperture affects both ambient and flash light.

 

If your flash output is overpowering the ambient light you need to use a slower shutter speed and or decrease the power of your flash. Changing the aperture will change nothing because aperture affects both ambient and flash light.

 

If your flash is not having enough effect on your photograph you can increase the flash output and or increase your shutter speed. Again changing the aperture will change nothing.

 

The best answer

Hire Steve Barrus at www.barrusphoto.com to take your portraits because he has been perfectly balancing ambient and flash light for 25+ years.

Thanks for visiting Barrus photography in Utah web site.  We are the family photographers to choose for the best family  portraits.  You will not be sorry when you choose Barrus for your portrait photos.  Your family portraits will be the best family portraits you have ever had.   Once you have come to Barrus photography portrait studio in Utah you will return time and time again for all of your family picture needs.   Absolutely the number one choice for your family photographer

Choose barrus for the best family portraits in Utah

Barrus family portraits rock

Indoor and outdoor family portraits

flash

Should I have an off camera flash or is the built in flash OK?

 

This is a easy question to answer. You should definitely not use a built in flash on your camera. . The reason is Red-eye. Red-eye appears in pictures because the source of the light  is too close to the lens. Light reflects off the back of the eye ball and results in red-eye in the photograph. I know it’s possible to eliminate red-eye post production with photoshop or many other editing programs but why give yourself more work than you have to when you can solve the problem simply by increasing the distance between your lens and the flash. By using and separate flash unit mounted on the hot shoe on top of your camera will eliminate most of you red-eye problems.

 

Now that we know you should have separate light  which on should you buy? The quality of the light you get from different light units is the same for an expensive or inexpensive flash unit. There are ways you can change the quality of light from your flash but the original light quality is the same. You will pay more if you buy name brand flash units like Nikon or Cannon but I honestly do not believe this is necessary. A Vivitar or Sunpak flash can have the same features as a camera name brand flash for much less money. Both can have auto and manual settings. Auto means the flash has a thyristor which measures the amount of light the flash is putting out at a certain distance and automatically adjusts the flash output to match you desired output. This setting is great when are moving quickly from shot to shot at a wedding or a sports event. It also can be nice when photographing children as they quickly move closer and farther away. I personally do not use the auto setting on my flash because even though it is pretty good I like to have 100 percent control of my flash out put in order to achieve the results and effects I am looking for. We will talk later about balancing flash and ambient light. I will teach you how to precisely balance the light out put with the ambient light. Because I do like to have complete control of the flash output I would recommend a flash that is easily controlled manually.

Thanks for visiting Barrus photography in Utah web site.  We are the portrait photographers to choose for the most amazing family portraits.  You will not be sorry when you choose Barrus for your family photos.  Your family portraits will be the best family portraits you have ever had.   Once you have come to Barrus photography portrait studio in Utah you will return time and time again for all of your family picture needs.   Absolutely the number one choice for your portrait photographers.

 

What lenses should I buy?

Another question I get asked a lot is, ‘what lenses should I buy.’

Let’s learn a little about lenses. Lenses have different focal lengths. Normal
focal length lenses mean we see the world through the lens the same way we
see the world with our normal vision. Long focal length lenses bring the subject
closer than we normally see and wide-angle lenses show the world wider that we
normally see the world. A fixed focal length lens is fixed to whatever focal length
it is. A variable focal length lens or zoom lens means it can go from one focal
length lens to another. For example, my favorite lens in the bag is a 70mm to
200mm zoom lens. Over the years I have found the fixed focal length lenses are
sharper than variable focal length lenses. I still believe this is true, however, I do
feel the high-end zoom lenses can be very good.

The second thing we need to understand about lenses is they each have f-
number or speed. This means how much light the lens lets into the camera.
Fast lenses let in more light than slow lenses. They also let you shoot at lower
apertures. We will talk much more about apertures later when we talk about
depth of field. For now we can learn that fast lenses are better and yes, more
expensive than slow lenses.

One of the great advantages of a fast lens is that because it lets in more
light you are able to take pictures in low light situations. This means that when
you are trying to take pictures of your children and babies in your house, where
there is not a lot of light, you can be more successful. It also helps when the sun
goes down and the light is soft and pretty. When I’m taking bridal photos with
window light in my studio I want the lens to be as fast as possible. Another huge
advantage is when you are trying to get a short depth of field in your photograph.
The lower the f-number of your lens the more depth you will be able to achieve in
your photographs. This will be discussed in detail later.

So, what lens should I buy? First, as I mentioned earlier I would recommend
that you spend as much or more on your lens/lenses than you do on your
camera. It will make the most difference.

Second, I love long lenses. Did I mention that I love long lenses? Long
lenses let you take pictures of those cute little children from a distance, many
times with out them even knowing you are taking their picture. You get those
fabulous spontaneous expressions and capture the decisive moment when your
son or daughter makes the winning basket. Also the longer the lens the greater
the depth of field, which I also love.

Third, I also like wide lenses and extreme wide lenses or fish eye lenses.
These are interesting because they give you a view of the world that the eye
does not normally see. Any time you can show the viewer something that he
does not normally see your photograph is more interesting.

Finally Macro lenses are also nice. Macro lenses allow you to photograph
small things very close up. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get a close
up shot of a newborn baby’s cute little feet and finding that your lens will not
focus that close. My 100mm to kina macro lens is a gem for getting those close
up baby photographs.

If I can only purchase one lens it would be a zoom lens, quite long and as fast
as I can afford, F2-8 to F4 speed and around 50mm to possible 200mm.

Thanks for visiting Barrus photography in Utah web site.  We are the wedding photographers to choose for the best wedding portraits.  You will not be sorry when you choose Barrus for your wedding photos.  Your wedding portraits will be the best wedding portraits you have ever had.   Once you have come to Barrus photography portrait studio in Utah you will return time and time again for all of your wedding picture needs.   Absolutely the number one choice for your wedding photographer