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      07-19-2011, 07:38 AM   #1
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How did you start?

dont know if there is a thread out there with the same theme so i´ll start one.

how did you guys start photography? share your story..

i´m just getting started as a hobby, and although i dont plan on going pro i really like it as a hobby and i´m planning on getting good at it.
It would be interesting to hear your story on how you got started, either as a hobby or as a pro..
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      07-19-2011, 10:44 AM   #2
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Just a hobby for me.

Went to the St. Pete Grand Prix and my dad gave me his old Nikon SLR from early 1960's. Had a nice prime and a great zoom lens. Bought some film and never using a SLR camera before proceeded to capture some really great images. got some nice panning shots with wheels and background blurry with the car tack sharp. Was even able to capture some panning shots where the cars were getting airborne.

About 5 years later i bought my first DSLR which was a minolta. Quickly realized i bought the wrong camera and switched to a 30D as it just replaced the 20D. Someone told me that you can come up with excellent images with a mediocre body and excellent glass. And get mediocre images with an excellent body and mediocre glass. So i jumped in with both feet and got 3 L lenses from 16mm - 200mm all 2.8. Haven't regretted it yet.

You learn so much so quickly, yet still learn something just about every time you shoot. And for me, the more i shoot the more i realize what a crappy photog i am. haha

I still remember the shoot where i actually captured the images i wanted to. Glorious day!! Prior to that day i would take hundreds of pics and find only 3-7 keepers, even with my less than discerning eyes i had back then.

Aside from some of my equipment, i am still very much a hobby photog. Tons of fun though!!
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      07-20-2011, 10:29 AM   #3
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hobby for me as well.....saw some cool night shots on Flickr and decided i want to capture that myself. So I did some research and then checked my local craigslist and got myself my very first DSLR (Nikon D60 with 18-55mm kit lens). I started to read and shoot and the rest is history.
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      07-20-2011, 11:26 AM   #4
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traveled abroad in college for a year and wanted to capture my time there. came back to the US didn't do much til I got a bmw then meet some people who knew some people who knew other people and just exploded from there. the end.
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      07-20-2011, 12:05 PM   #5
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I started in 7th grade "Graphic Arts" class. We did things like drafting, setting type and for two six-week periods we studied photography. We made a penhole camera, loaded it in the darkroom, took pictures of each other, processed the film and made enlargements. During that period I saved 30-bucks from mowing lawns and bought myself a Yasica 44, which was a twin-lens reflex camera that took a 44x44 negative or positive (slide) image.

In college I bought a Pentax Spotmatic with a 50mm f/1.8 lens and a 200mm f/3.5 "preset" telephoto and a 2x TC. I ran hot and cold shooting races and nature, but religiously took pix of vacation and kids when they came along.

The Spotmatic was stolen in the late 1970s and I switched to film P&S cameras and only used them for travel and kids. I never had my own lab, so I got frustrated with trying to do such simple things as getting an image cropped. Processing was inconsistant and film was costly.

In 2006 I decided to get a digital P&S, mainly to document my grandkids for my mother. I bought a Canon G7 and quickly realized that I could do all the things I'd wanted to do, but couldn't get the labs to do with my work in the 1970s. I realized that bits and bites were FREE after I'd made the initial purchase.

When the G9 came out I moved up to that and then the slr bug came back, so I jumped right to the 5D MkII with the 24-105mm and the 70-200mm f/4L IS.

On one vacation in South Florida I noticed pelicans and osprey soaring on the updraft from my hotel and took some close ups as they flew by. That re-hooked me into nature photography. I bought the 400mm f/5.6L and soon after the 7D came out and I had to have that. A few months later, the 500mm f/4L IS joined the family.

You guys might find this interesting. When I bought the 400mm f/5.6L, I thought that was a really expensive piece. I decided that I'd test myself and if I wasn't taking at least a couple of hundred pix per month with it, I'd sell it. Well, three months later, I found myself taking 2000 to 3000 pix per month (my 7D is approaching 50,000-clicks). That took some of the sting out of the decision to move up to the 500mm. The first time I used the 500mm I literally felt guilty, like I was "cheating", because it was so much better. I'm still out of pocket over $6,000, but it seems like a very good investment.

I devote around 8 to 12-hours per week to photography, mostly chasing wildlife and processing the resultant images. Whenever we travel, I take the 5D2 and do a little street shooting, archetectural shooting and night shooting, as well as document our trip for my friends that travel with us. (They've all stopped carrying P&S cameras when I'm there).

Dave
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      07-24-2011, 01:48 PM   #6
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as well as document our trip for my friends that travel with us. (They've all stopped carrying P&S cameras when I'm there).

Dave
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Originally Posted by dcstep View Post
You guys might find this interesting. When I bought the 400mm f/5.6L, I thought that was a really expensive piece. I decided that I'd test myself and if I wasn't taking at least a couple of hundred pix per month with it, I'd sell it. Well, three months later, I found myself taking 2000 to 3000 pix per month (my 7D is approaching 50,000-clicks). That took some of the sting out of the decision to move up to the 500mm. The first time I used the 500mm I literally felt guilty, like I was "cheating", because it was so much better. I'm still out of pocket over $6,000, but it seems like a very good investment.
Dave,
I would like to get the 400 5.6 to go along with my 300 4 so I don't have to throw on the 1.4x to get there but
I didn't need to know how truly great the 500 is.
All I have to do is look at the MTF charts for the 500 + and wish. Then again after I retire, there will be some disposable income.


Took photography in HS with Cannon equipment then occasional photos with the same stuff for the next 25 years. Needed a waterproof camera and went digital with a Pentax. After a few years of that went to the Canon 40 and accumulated glass. So now I'm up to ~15K in pictures within the past 3 years, most are junk but a few are nice.
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      07-24-2011, 02:00 PM   #7
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I would like to get the 400 5.6 to go along with my 300 4 so I don't have to throw on the 1.4x to get there but
I didn't need to know how truly great the 500 is.
All I have to do is look at the MTF charts for the 500 + and wish. Then again after I retire, there will be some disposable income.
Unless you need really fast AF for BIF photography I've found the 300/4IS + 1.4x to be plenty sharp and pretty much eliminates the need for the 400/5.6. Actually I cheated a bit as my order of bird lenses was: 400/5.6 -> 300/4IS -> 500/4.5 (sell 400/5.6) -> 500/4 (sell 500/4.5). But even though the 500 is another class of lens I rarely want to walk more than a couple of (level) miles carrying it, and as a result find that the humble 300/4 gets more use.
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      07-24-2011, 02:25 PM   #8
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I'd been taking pictures for fun ever since I was a little kid. I tried taking pics of an air show with this absurdly old SLR with short lenses when I was around 12. When I got the pics back from being developed it was nothing but a bunch of black dots on blue backgrounds. I got my first digital camera in 2000, a point 3mp. At the time DSLRs will still new tech (the high end units were made by Kodak). I shot some pics at the 12 Hours of Sebring and I got some pretty OK results considering how totally inappropriate the camera I had was for the job. Over the next few years I started shooting more cars (I'd go to exotic dealerships and shoot pics of their inventories, go to track days, etc) and stepping up my equipment as I improved my skills. I took a long break, from photography from 2006 through late 2010. I started back up again in November and now I'm shooting events or whatever every single week. Really enjoying it, too.
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      07-24-2011, 03:33 PM   #9
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Unless you need really fast AF for BIF photography I've found the 300/4IS + 1.4x to be plenty sharp and pretty much eliminates the need for the 400/5.6.
I find myself cropping the 300/1.4 combo more than I want and a 400+1.4 might do it for me vs the 500.

Fstop7, I enjoy your Mulholland dr. pics. Glad you started again.
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      07-24-2011, 03:53 PM   #10
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I find myself cropping the 300/1.4 combo more than I want and a 400+1.4 might do it for me vs the 500.
I played the game of trying various 1.4x extenders with the 400/5.6. Though I used a Tamron AF non-reporting extender to maintain autofocus it was always kinda slow and unreliable. Eventually I gave up on AF and just used a Canon EF 1.4xII that was a little bit sharper.

Short summary is that 400 + 1.4x gives you a decently sharp manual focus 560/8 with no IS. That proved to be an unworkable combination for me unless I was on a firm tripod support - and even then I had to be very careful to get decent results. Ultimately I was never satisfies with my results longer than 400mm until I got an image stabilized 500. I realize that's an expensive solution, but that's really the only thing that worked for me when the 300+1.4x wasn't long enough.
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      07-24-2011, 09:12 PM   #11
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They are the designated drivers and you are the designated drinker and photographer.


Dave,
I would like to get the 400 5.6 to go along with my 300 4 so I don't have to throw on the 1.4x to get there but
I didn't need to know how truly great the 500 is.
....
Yeah, that's true about me being the drinker. Several of my regular travel partners are teetotalers.

I think the 400/5.6 would be a mistake vs. the 300/4 plus 1.4x TC UNLESS you're going to really focus on birds in flight. The 400mm is supperior in AF speed, but then it doesn't have IS The 300mm has great IQ and the 1.4x is not bad at all. You'll only notice a plus from the 400mm if you're going after BIF.

Look at the IQ of this shot with the 70-200mm f/4L IS with the 1.4x TC and the 25mm extension tube. The 300mm can do this kind of stuff with one hand tied behind its back:


Grasshopper in the lavender by dcstep, on Flickr

Because of the extremely shallow DOF and flowers and twigs in the way, I had to manual focus this time, but the AF would have been fine if this guy had been sitting more in the open. This is handheld macro.

If you get really serious about birds and wildlife and don't want to spring for the 500mm, then look hard at the 300/2.8 for use with the 1.4x and the 2.0x TC on almost any of the bodies. Look for used or refurbished if you don't want to spring for new.

Dave
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      07-24-2011, 09:19 PM   #12
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I played the game of trying various 1.4x extenders with the 400/5.6. Though I used a Tamron AF non-reporting extender to maintain autofocus it was always kinda slow and unreliable. Eventually I gave up on AF and just used a Canon EF 1.4xII that was a little bit sharper.

Short summary is that 400 + 1.4x gives you a decently sharp manual focus 560/8 with no IS. That proved to be an unworkable combination for me unless I was on a firm tripod support - and even then I had to be very careful to get decent results. Ultimately I was never satisfies with my results longer than 400mm until I got an image stabilized 500. I realize that's an expensive solution, but that's really the only thing that worked for me when the 300+1.4x wasn't long enough.
My experience is very similar, but the f/5.6 is just too slow focusing to use with a TC of any type. People claim that they do it, but they must miss a ton of shots.

The 300mm plus 1.4x TC is longer than 400mm.

I use the 1.4x TC on my 500mm around half the time, but I've given up trying to use it for birds in flight and take it off for those situations. Now I'm eyeing the Series II and the new series III TCs.

Dave
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      07-24-2011, 10:48 PM   #13
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Dave and Vachss,
I'm happy with what my 300/4 and 1.4xII will do but find myself cropping that combo for magnification. I will do birds/birds fleeing, jets in flight and the occasional surfer.
I can't see why I would need a 2.8 long lens, I only get near that when doing HS orchestra or musical stuff and that will probably end after my sons senior year. I may continue it but it will depend on the people. I prefer more DOF for planes and birds.
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      07-24-2011, 10:59 PM   #14
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Dave and Vachss,
I'm happy with what my 300/4 and 1.4xII will do but find myself cropping that combo for magnification. I will do birds/birds fleeing, jets in flight and the occasional surfer.
I can't see why I would need a 2.8 long lens, I only get near that when doing HS orchestra or musical stuff and that will probably end after my sons senior year. I may continue it but it will depend on the people. I prefer more DOF for planes and birds.
The 2.8 will allow you to use the 2.0x TC with the prosumer bodies, like the 7D. That'll give you some of the reach you're looking for, but you almost never have enough.

They don't give away the f/2.8s, but compared to a 500mm the investment is cut substantially.

The 400/5.6 won't give you the reach you're looking for, I suspect.
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      07-24-2011, 11:19 PM   #15
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The 400 5.6 may not have "enough reach" with the 1.4x but all the "baller" lenses are going to be out of my budget until retirement or longer.
This is how I hope to finish though.
Crop body with great AF
Full frame body
4-500 mm lens
Ultra wide angle zoom lenses that are F2.8
Zoom lens 70-200 IS
one or two L 80-200 range primes.
Flash
some nice cases to carry my junk, assorted filters and CF tripod.

Since I'll never sell photos I'm keeping it realistic.
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      07-25-2011, 10:46 AM   #16
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The 400 5.6 may not have "enough reach" with the 1.4x but all the "baller" lenses are going to be out of my budget until retirement or longer.
This is how I hope to finish though.
Crop body with great AF
Full frame body
4-500 mm lens
Ultra wide angle zoom lenses that are F2.8
Zoom lens 70-200 IS
one or two L 80-200 range primes.
Flash
some nice cases to carry my junk, assorted filters and CF tripod.

Since I'll never sell photos I'm keeping it realistic.
Nice wish list. Having both a full-frame and a crop-sensor is luxurious. I love my 7D/5D2 combo.

Hopefully you understood, the 400/5.6 will not AF in any acceptable way with a 1.4x TC, so you're basically limited to 400mm with it. You CAN use it in MF mode, but you'll need to swap out your focus screen if you plan to do a lot of it and want to focus in a hurry. (Like we used to do decades ago).

Dave
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      07-25-2011, 11:50 AM   #17
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Nice wish list. Having both a full-frame and a crop-sensor is luxurious. I love my 7D/5D2 combo.

Hopefully you understood, the 400/5.6 will not AF in any acceptable way with a 1.4x TC, so you're basically limited to 400mm with it. You CAN use it in MF mode, but you'll need to swap out your focus screen if you plan to do a lot of it and want to focus in a hurry. (Like we used to do decades ago).

Dave
Dave, FYI, AF will work with the 400/5.6 + 1.4x TC if you have a 1D-series body. But, you're out of luck with anything else.
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      07-25-2011, 11:53 AM   #18
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Dave, FYI, AF will work with the 400/5.6 + 1.4x TC if you have a 1D-series body. But, you're out of luck with anything else.
Oh, yeah, I should have said that.

When it's time to replace my 7D, I may move to the 1D series for just that reason, so I can use a 2.0x TC on my 500mm and still have single-point AF.

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      07-25-2011, 02:19 PM   #19
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Well, that nixes that idea. Guess I'll opt for the 2xIII on my list instead of the 400. Unless she lets me splurge and go the 1DIV route. I'd consider the 1DIII but the screen sucks for me, can't see as it is with the 40D and it is the same screen on the 1D.
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      07-25-2011, 02:39 PM   #20
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Well, that nixes that idea. Guess I'll opt for the 2xIII on my list instead of the 400. Unless she lets me splurge and go the 1DIV route. I'd consider the 1DIII but the screen sucks for me, can't see as it is with the 40D and it is the same screen on the 1D.
What are you doing that you care about the screen? I'll sometimes look at the histogram and I turn on the "blinky" warnings for blown out highlights, but almost never look at the LCD while in the field.

BTW, the 2.0x Series III TC isn't going to AF on an f/4 lens on a 40D. That's why I mentioned the 300/2.8 earlier. F/4 with a 1.4x TC works fine on most Canon bodies, but the 2.0x will require a 1D series body.

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      07-25-2011, 03:00 PM   #21
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I am almost sure that the body is front focusing and I use the LCD to check focus and general exposure. I will eventually get it sent to Canon to check it all out. The 240k screens are mostly useless for checking the focus. Not being able to see the screen w/o glasses does not help either. The 60D,5D and 7D screens are marvelous for checking focusing.
I guess I'll just have to be happy with my 300/4 and 1.4x then, there is no way I want to spend more than 2500 for a lens. The glee of having it wouldn't outweigh the cost of ownership for the things that I would do with it.
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      07-25-2011, 03:07 PM   #22
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With the 7D you can adjust the focus for each lens. Dealing with front-focusing constantly will really put a hitch in your get-along, particularly when shooting wildlife. I don't know if your 40D will do this or not, but it needs to be done for each lens, if you've got issues. It's a DIY project, IF your camera provides for it.

You need to get your camera dialed in so that you can depend on it.
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