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Does spending more mean getting less?


Unlike a lot of my colleagues in the field, I stayed with my T3i until I proved myself worthy of an upgrade.  But now that I decided to get a "better" camera, I am finding that spending more money means I am getting less performance.  Why is that?   I decided to buy a Pentax K-3, but eventually returned it because it did not give me the flexibilty I wanted.  I decided to put off buying another crop sensor camera for now, so I bought a 6D with a 100mm Macro L-glass lens.  My old T3i with a Tamron 28-300 zoom still produces much better images under the same conditions. What gives?



104 REPLIES 104

What Tim used is called a parable or analogy.  It expresses his point, and mine I might add.  It is a technique commonly employed to make a point in discussions.

And what we are trying, albeit somewhat unsuccessfully, is the OP's belief that, she bought “better” equipment and is getting worse results because of it.  Sometimes it is just how the equipment is used!

The three of us cicopo, Tcampbell and myself represent over a 100 years of photographic experience. This is offered free but in this case has been mostly rejected by the OP. Not trying to say we know all and I guess it is worth whatever you think it is.


EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

When I showed my husband how much clearer the images are with the new lens, because it is able to pick up the fine details of every hair, he said:  "but why do you need to see that?"  I don't believe the new equipment will make my images better, just sharper.  If sharper means better, then I guess that is a matter of opinion.  For me, sharper images are important.  But after all is said and done.  I am VERY grateful that I had enough money to invest in such good equipment.  Many people cannot.  I will continue with my photography and when this equipment wears out, I hope I can afford to move up to medium format someday.  

In the beginning I was feeling frustrated and perhaps I did not choose my words wisely.  But alls well that ends well, and I am happy to be out there shooting again.  The conversations have been elightening.  Thank You!

I'm not sure which comments in the thread you are replying to in your last two responses Cindy.


If you are referring to the bleeding heart image, that's fairly close.  1:1 scale means the size of the subject rednered on the sensor is the same size as the subject in real life.   The bleeding heart is about 30mm in real life but occupies about 20mm worth of length on the sensor.  The sensor is 36mm (the wide direction).   That means this was taken at roughly 1:1-1/2 scale.


BUT... when you get REALLY close, the depth of field gets very shallow.


Closest focusing distance with this lens is about 1 foot per the Canon spec (regardless of which camera you are using).   However... AT that closest focusing distance, the depth of field at f/2.8 is paper thin (I'm not being figurative here... I'm being literal).  If we stop all the way down to f/9 at closest focus distance, the depth of field increases to a whopping 3mm!  No kidding!


To get shots like that, you take multiple shots while nudging the focus just a fraction at a time.  I focus to the front edge of the subject I care about and mark the focus point, then focus to the back of the subject and mark that focus point.  Then I nudge the focus along from front to back just a hair each time.  Those resulting shots are then "stacked" using focus-stacking algorithms.  Photographers who do this routinely not only use a tripod, they also use a device called a focus-rail.


I'll give you some examples and these are all just quickly thrown together focus tests:


This was taken with that same lens at f/2.8



This was taken at f/32



This is just one of 10 frames of a focus stack.  Notice that only a tiny area in the mid-section is in focus.



This is the result of bringing those 10 images (in which I nudged focus along between each frame) into Photoshop and performing a photo-merge to stack the focus.  This is not processed... I only showed the image just after stacking and if you look carefully you'll see artifacts along the top and bottom (close and far ends of the field) that look a bit wonky because of the way focus stacking works.  But I'm showing this so you can get an idea that those macro shots which are tack-sharp from front to back don't just fall out of the back of the camera after you push the shutter button.  There's a bit of work involved.

Focus Stack Test.jpg

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Makes me wonder why I spent the extra money to get the IS then.


@Cindy-Clicks wrote:

Makes me wonder why I spent the extra money to get the IS then.


Image Stabilization buys you a bit of "wiggle room".  It is not a guarantee of good results.  It means you can cheat the shutter speed down slightly and will have a higher probability of getting a good shot.  But I am very careful to use precise grammer here... probability does not mean guarantee.  Also this assumes you actually use good techniques for body posture and camera holding which would normally result in the most stable stance possible (becauase the rules of minimum exposure speeds to avoid camera shake PRESUME a good solid stance.)


Each stop slower than the recommended stop has decreasing probability of success.  The EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro can buy you about 4 stops... but these are not all equal.  1 stop less is highly likely... but 4 stops less is only mildly likely.  It's a safety mechanism to tilt the odds more in your favor than they would otherwise be.   If you want a guarantee that camera movement wont be the problem, then use a setup in which the camera cannot possible move... such as a solid tripod and a remote shutter release.


It's up to you to learn about the product features, what they do, how they work, and when and where they might prove to be beneficial to you.  The lens can't tell you that... you have to read to learn.


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

You can check the DOF for any given aperture / distance here.


I've chosen the full frame 1 series bodies, 100 mm as the lens & f11.0 at 1 and 2 feet. These are the results.


Online Depth of Field Calculator - Mozilla Firefox 13052014 70801 PM.jpgOnline Depth of Field Calculator - Mozilla Firefox 13052014 70741 PM.jpg


The .07 feet total in focus area from a 2 foot distance = .84 inch which basically means that if you laid a spool of thread on the floor & locked focus on the floor the top of the roll would be out of focus or at least very soft.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

"I like the term "advanced compact camera" 


It just so happens you may call it whatever you please.  But the rest of the world is going to call it a 'point and shoot'.

If you google 'point & shoot' you will eventually stumble upon the Canon Powershot G15.


EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

If I trusted everything I read to be true, I'd believe a lot of nonsense.

The G15 is considered an "advanced point & shoot".  It's high-end as point & shoots go.  It's popular as a 2nd camera among DSLR photographers who need a camera to bring to places where either a DSLR is impractical or if the DSLR is simply not-permitted (lots of venues will not allow, for example, any camera that has a "removeable lens").  I have a G1 X and that's primarly why I use that camera.



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

@ebiggs1 wrote:

I think I am understanding where she is coming from.  If you won a Pulitzer Prize with a G15  (P&S) and than didn't win one with the insanely expensive ESO 1Dx you just bought, was it a good buy?  Her answer is obiviously, no.


I think she should sell the 6D and put that money towards some more glass.

What does a camera model have to do with winning a Pulitzer Prize?  Just because you won one with a G15 you'd expect to win another if you used it again?  What she's missing is the understanding of using a camera as a tool, not a means to winning contests.

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