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Rubbish pictures, should I carry on, or give up?

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by Louise, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. surf_digby

    surf_digby Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't put too much stock into image stabilisation. It's a useful extra, but it's not a miracle cure that takes away the need for you to keep your eye on shutter speed. And there's lots of photographers out there getting great pictures without IS.

    Sony SLRs are in general pretty good. Some will say that 2009 is a long time ago in digital technology terms, but unless I'm pushing the limits in nasty conditions, nobody can tell the difference between shots taken on my 2006 camera, and my 2011 camera.
  2. Scphoto

    Scphoto Well-Known Member

    Most of us probably have days like this, don't worry - it's all part of learning.

    It's worth looking at similar image you both took and comparing EXIF data (speed, aperture, iso etc), to see where it went wrong. No point spending money a new camera system if your going to make the same mistakes. Were all here to help if you need pointers. :)
  3. festcu

    festcu New Member

    Canon often do cashback offers too.

    A friend of mine has the Sony and says lenses are a bit difficult (in comparison) to find, but loves the camera. He does a lot of wildlife and macro, and is contemplating a jump to nikon/canon due to lens choice though

    If you are looking at secondhand have a quick look at MPB photographic - have bought a couple of lenses and a battery grip from them, all absolutely brilliant condition
  4. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Does your friend know enough about the Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens? Knowing whether or not he's going to want one of those might make the decision easy.
  5. festcu

    festcu New Member

    I shall point him in that direction, thanks :)
  6. Louise

    Louise Well-Known Member

    My friend at the carnival stayed in auto focus, think i might do the same for a while.
  7. Bob Maddison

    Bob Maddison Well-Known Member


    That sounds a good idea. At the moment I suspect that you are trying just a little too hard to improve your photography. I suggest that you stay in auto everything and explore just what your camera can do without too much intervention from you. You have an excellent camera and you need to learn to use it and to get the best out of it. When you look back at your "auto everything" photos, then, and not before, you can ask yourself what can I do that is just a little bit better.

    The EXIF file has already been mentioned. Although there are many ways that you can view this file and even edit it, many of the programs are quite complex to use, there is also simple free program called Exifer:
    that is very easy to use and will tell you most things you need to know about any photo. This will help you to understand exactly what is going on inside your camera. You should try to understand why it selected a particular shutter speed, lens aperture and ISO value, then you ask yourself "would I have done anything differently?". In most cases the answer is "probably not".
  8. Louise

    Louise Well-Known Member

    I probably am trying too hard. did you say the X90 bridge is good? I have started to keep a photographic journal with notes in which should help.
  9. Mat

    Mat Well-Known Member

    Hi Louise,

    As some contributors have said, image stabilisation isn't everything. Something to consider is the weight of the camera. My friend bought a Canon eos 600D (i think) and I couldn't believe just how light it was and how compact the body was. The equivalent Nikon (D80) at the time was a larger and heavier camera. If you find a camera that fits well in your hand and isn't too heavy you will have less of an issue with camera shake.

    Also old isn't necessarily bad, I bought a Nikon D90 from a friend (having advised them to buy it just over a year ago). At the time it would have been my camera of choice and it still is! I had been offered the use of my Dads Nikon D40 previously but had poo poo'd it a little as a basic camera. Having used the D90 and learnt the controls I persuaded my Dad to dig out his D40 and set about teaching him the controls of his camera (he'd only ever used auto). Surprisingly I found the D40 to be quite capable, offering many of the features that I had lusted after in the D90 and producing surprisingly nice quality pictures for a 'basic' camera. The moral being that if I'd taken the time to learn the controls of the D40 I could have been happily snapping away before I got the opportunity to buy the D90.

    My own opinion is that an SLR is worth the expense for the optical (rather than electronic) viewfinder.
  10. Snorri

    Snorri Well-Known Member

    What ever you do, don't give up ;)
    From a person point of view then I have never been happy with anything else than a SLR camera. And in this digital age I am even more convinced, I like the quality of the bigger sensors, the non existing shutter lag, the optical viewfinder and the reassuring "clunk" of the mirror.
    I am not saying that bridges and compacts can't be good cameras, I am just saying they are not for me.
    But do I take better pictures with them, I think I do. But the people in the Appraisal gallery might feel differently :rolleyes:
  11. Louise

    Louise Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Have been experimenting tonight with Salisbury cathedral. You know they still have the medieval scaffolding in the bell tower?

    Depression comes and it goes like the weather. Winston Churchill called his 'the black dog', I call mine 'the bitch'. I had a small relapse this afternoon at the spiritualist church. It doesn't help I have been put on new meds.

    I love photography and my depression goes because I am concentrating on something else. Anyone else here have it?
  12. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    I've had depression Louise - lots of photographers have, photography being a cathartic and absorbing kind of pastime. I found reading quite useful as well, as it's difficult to read and conjure up destructive thoughts at the same time.

    If you're prone to depression you're probably also prone to the 'glass-half-empty' approach to photography, which is actually useful providing you always keep a flint of optimism by your side. It's always possible to improve, but it doesn't happen by merely accepting that things could be better.

    It's a useful trick at that point to engage in a project - specialise in one subject, look for that subject, find ways of getting better at that subject. Take a C&G exam if necessary to give yourself a target, or a deadline. Photography is a large umbrella—dauntingly large—but if you move towards the centre of it it gets smaller, and by the time you move back out to the edge you're a better photographer. You have to shoot a lot of pictures, which of course is eminently possible in the digital age.
  13. wave

    wave Well-Known Member

    hi lets look at the second part getting a DSLR it you have IS in the lens (canon and nikon) or in the body (sony etc), it makes little difference to the price of lenses.
    When buying a DSLR you are buying into a system so make sure that system fits your needs. Get a short list and go and try them out, if it feels right then thats a long way to being right. Dont settle for I will get used to it.
  14. Bob Maddison

    Bob Maddison Well-Known Member

    Don't forget that "good" photographs are a combination of the photographer, chance, and equipment: in that order. My "best" photographs (in more than 50 years) were all taken with a camera you wouldn't give a second glance. f3.5 lens, no meter, no rangefinder / ground glass, but an 8 speed shutter. Looking back at them, chance played a bigger part than photographic skills or the 'quality' of my equipment.

    Like many contributors to this thread, my main interest in photography is to record life as I experienced it. At time those photographs have been less than perfect - but no matter, they have recorded life as I know it; the fact that I have sometimes taken. a masterpiece is down to chance. Some of them were even taken in weather conditions when most would have abandoned any idea of taking a photo! Even today although I use a good DSLR (Sony A700), I also use a tiny Canon Ixus and am seldom out and about without it. Technically it just doesn't compare with the Sony, but it just slips into a pocket and I can use it where I wouldn't carry my DSLR.

    You have a good quality camera that is capable of outperforming almost any photographer, although it might not cope as well as some with extreme conditions, but those photographs are few and far between. Go out and use it. Buying a new, supposedly better camera won't improve your photography, but could make you depressed simply because it hasn't!!! The great thing about digital photography is that taking photos costs nothing, and its is easy to experiment or to just shoot away. That is what you need to do. Where you live there are almost limitless opportunities for stunning photographs. I regularly visit Salisbury and have taken far more photos with that little Ixus than I have with the DSLR. The worst feature of any DSLR is that you will continually be tempted to buy a new or better lens. Being unable to afford will guarantee a return to depression!

    Whenever you feel 'down' just pick up your camera and go out and use it. Just by concentrating on that simple task will soon banish the 'blues'.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  15. Louise

    Louise Well-Known Member

    I wandered round the Close last night. The spire was shrouded in mist and I took a few experimental shots, I don't normally get the night time scene I want. the lens makes it too bright like it was daylight, how could I tone it down please?
  16. surf_digby

    surf_digby Well-Known Member

    Is there an exposure compensation button on your camera? Sometimes the symbol for it is a box with half black and half white (split diagonally), and with a plus and minus in it.
  17. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    In general terms, decent cameras will always try to give the "perfect" exposure, as if a scene is in daylight. You will need to adjust exposure compensation if you want to capture a true dusk scene. Your Pentax is a very good bridge camera and must have this feature somewhere amongst its controls.
  18. BikerMike

    BikerMike Well-Known Member

    Louise, I am sorry to read your predicament, though I'm a bit surprised that no-one else seems to have pointed out that photography is a skill which you practise and get better at. Like any other skill, driving, playing an instrument, etc. It isn't something you are born with, it is learned behaviour.

    "Good" or "bad" photographer is not the point - it's practising and improving which matters - if you want it to.

    Buying a new camera will do no more for your photographic skills than buying a new car will do for my driving skills.

    You need to learn what mistakes you are making (mistakes are important - we need to make them in order to progress). Then learn how to avoid them in future.

    You need to learn how to use the camera you have. A Pentax X-90 is more than good enough to produce excellent photos. If you spend money on a new camera it will NOT suddenly improve your photography. Sorry to be blunt, but it would be a crying shame to see you buy a new camera, then still be back at square one.

    Regards, Mike

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