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Digital photography thoughts

As you may have noticed, from the photos I’ve been splattering around this blog recently, I have become the proud owner of a digital SLR.

I made some posts about my intention to get a better digital camera on a couple of occasions and finally got round to making a decision and going for a full blown SLR instead of a more sophisticated point and shoot model or one of the so-called bridge digital cameras.  Am I happy with my choice?  The answer is yes, very.

If you really want to get into photography, then an SLR is the only way to go. At least I think so. Digital SLRs provide you with much more control than the majority of point’n shooties and they allow you to exploit the RAW format much more fully than most bridge cameras. This is not to mention the advantage of being able to change lenses, add flashes and play with filters.  Then we have RAW converters for the PC, such as the very able Capture One LE, which I have got hold of.  Now, finally, I can ‘develop’ my own pictures in my digital darkroom, which is not much bigger than a page of A4.  Next there is the speed of the things. My Canon EOS 400d switches on in a flash and is ready to take the next shot in the blink of an eyelid. That’s not to mention the burst shooting mode (using RAW) which, combined with constant auto-focus, allows you to exploit the professional photogs ‘fire off as many shots as you can in the hope that one or two will be usable’ technique. This is very useful when you are dealing with moving subjects, such as kids and cars.

So far, I have yet to get used to dealing with fastish moving subjects and the photos I shot at my child’s birthday party today were not as good as I hoped they would be.  This partially down to my not knowing my new camera well enough yet and partially due to my not really being used to shooting ‘fast-moving’ children.  The auto-focus seemed to be locking on to things which were not the main subject, but I won’t blame my 400d, I will blame me.  More experience is needed.  I shall take my little one down to the park and experiment with taking shots of him while he is dashing hither and thither.

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Disadvantages of dSLR’s?  Some.  They are quite big and heavy, especially if you hang a long zoom on the things.   They are expensive.  And then there is the ‘processing’ which can eat up quite a lot of time.  It is also very easy to take poor pictures, because you have so many variables to consider, I guess.  However, the results are worth all the hassle, I reckon.  10 megapixels produce quite stunning detail and my Canon captures colours well too.

I have to admit that I would quite like to have a fully tinkerable compact digital camera to play with, although it would have to be able to shoot in RAW quickly and would need a good long zoom range and more than 8 megapixels.  These cameras do exist, but the best ones, Leica, cost a bundle, so I’ll have to try and sell a quite few images before I get round to affording one.  Of course, before I can sell my efforts, I’ll have to get better at creating good photos.  I will, but this will take time.  Whatever happens, I’m going to enjoy getting over the learning curve and the immediacy of digital cameras means you can see whether you are on the right track almost instantaneously, which is fantastic.  No more hanging around waiting for that mixed bag of snaps to come back from the developers, which you had to put up with back in the old days of film.

As for the dSLR v point and shoot choice, well, if you want to take good pics and have plenty of control, dSLR is the way to go.  If, on the other hand, you just want to be able to capture a few moments from time to time, then there are lots of highly capable point and shoot models out there.  All you need to do is to try to see the things working before you buy.  If you can take pictures almost as fast as you can press the shutter button, then the machine is probably worthwhile and image stabilisation is worth having too because the things can be ever so light and this means you end up with lots of wobbly pictures.

It’s late, I’m off to bed. Bye.

PS It’s darn hot here in May, but feels like August Milan.

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