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The Big Switch

I recently switched from Nikon to Canon. Im not really a Canon guy. but Nikon hasnt been impressing me very much. especially with their two latest models, the Nikon D3000, and the D7000.  and frankly, Im not very impressed with the D300.  (although I Love the D200.)

Im going to stick with the 5D Mark II to for awhile because its just like my Nikon d200, except newer and full frame.

(technically, it has over twice as many megapixals, has video, full frame, higher and lower iso, a much better screen, better iso preformance, a larger view finder better battery life and an hdmi output which I love.)

so, suprisingly, I love a canon camera. although, Im never going to say that Im shooting my cannon. I think thats dumb. hopefully I will go back to an amazing Nikon camera again. unless they keep up their behavior.

if any of you have difficulty picking out a camera, send me an email of what your considering, and I will help you decide. I dont consider cameras based on their brand.


camera reviews

okay. ken rockwell.

Im aware of all of the hating about him. and Im also aware of the praise.   he just… he contradicts himself.  he is a marketer.  he wants you to buy the latest nikon camera.  normally, I would say thats good. buts its not when it goes overboard.  for example, he LOVES the Nikon D7000. (which isnt bad. its a nice camera. but its pretty much the exact same thing as the Nikon D90)  the Nikon D90 is nice, but the D80 is also very nice. and very cheap. infact, the D80, is the same thing as the D7000,  short of some megapixals, and video mode. (and about 900 difference.) and so is the D90. (except, the D90 has the same screen, pretty much the same amount of megapixals, and video mode. just like the D7000 which is twice as much! omg!!!)

I have a tight budget. I need as much as camera as I can get, for the price. (the Nikon D300!)   but another camera that packs a punch for the buck, is the canon T2i. fantastic camera. (for about 700 bucks.)

(heres a camera price index, so that your not jumbled up. [body only.]

Nikon D7000 – 1,300

Nikon D90 – 650

nikon D80 – 450

Nikon D300 – 900

Canon T2i – 700   as of Dec. 2010.)

Ken rockwell is all about small convient cameras. he would rather use a point and shoot, over a full frame camera. (like the nikon D700).

he would rather sacrifice quality for portability.   I would rather have a fast reliable quality camera all the time, then sacrifice everything for portibality.  except for the iphone 4. thats an incredible piece of technology. which has an awesome camera. which, somehow, you can make HDR with. sounds fun. also, with magnet lenses for around 50 bucks. cool!

if you want a good review, read dpreview.  thats it.  ken rockwell, is just full of opinions. which is fine. infact, Ive read most of kens reviews on nikon and canon cameras. and they arent that helpful. whenever Im done reading them, Im just as confused as when I started.

but for camera suggestions, I would highly recommend the Nikon D80.  If you want a bigger screen, and video mode, buy the nikon D90. if you want speed, the nikon D200 is VERY nice, and very cheap. but if you need the updated version of speed, and reliability, then get the Nikon D300.  if you want speed, reliablility, and video, get the D300s. (but that will cost you 1200.)  skip the D7000. you can get just as much with the D90 for half the price.

what’s real, and whats not.

here is a secret that most photographers dont tell you.  they achieve the most natural lighting using their own lights.   To make a photo look as natural as possible, we need to simulate the dynamic range that our eye sees.  including outdoor portraits.  sounds crazy.  but even outside, in daylight, having an extra lightsource, can take your photo from, same old same old, to fantastic.

    Next time you take a photo, consider your light source.  (most people have two options. flash, or light coming in from a window.  Im aware of that. BUT, you have inexpensive options to fix that.)  consider a reflector!  its very simple to make. here is a link.

reflectors are fun and easy to make. you can make them to suit your photographic needs.  (for example, one of the recommend foils was a gold color for a warm white balance in your photos.)

experimenting  is what photography is all about. enjoy yourself, and achieve beautiful photos.

Too Many Things to Juggle.

   Lately, Ive been giving my Girlfriend Lindsay, tips on how to work my camera. (Nikon D300.)  She is very inexperienced when it comes to these sort of things. just like the other 95% of the world. (it seems like that percentage is going down quickly though.) and it seems like the more that I tell her, the more she feels like she is juggling a million things. such as, exposure, ISo, aperture, compensation, focus points, composition, (different then comensation.)  knowing when to manual focus, live view modes, and function commands. and the biggest one. CREATIVITY.

   skip this part if you dont speak camera talk, or dont know any particular models. [=

 These DSLR’s are not toys. they are high precision instruments.  although you “can” set it to auto, there are only four exposure modes, A, S, P and M.  which, luckily do not have a dedicated dyle. what a waste of space! nikon created this fancy little dyle that goes on the (Nikon D200, D300, D2 line, D700 and the D3 line.)   unfortunatly, the Nikon D7000, D90, and D80 do not have this. and Canon doesnt even have the slightest clue when it comes to dyles. (sorry Canon. you may have megapixals down pat, but your ergonomics are terrible. especially on the 5D mark two. )  Im not trying to get all “ken rockwell” on you, but these things are true.

okay. continue reading now.   here is what I have to say about juggling all of the settings. try to tackle one setting at a time. work on ONE THING. like exposure. or ISo. or composition.  and practice. these things take time. and its going to take thousands of sloppy throw away pictures to achieve the level of comfort that you are going for, with your camera.  practice in your house, when you go to the park. when you are riding in the car, or even at birthday parties! bring your camera with you. because, if your a beginner, youve probably got a very portable friendly camera. (unless high end cameras, or cameras with the extra battery grip.)

Another thing that I recommend, would be to buy an intructional BOOK or DVD on how to specifically work the exact camera that you own. (i.e. Canon XS, XST, T1i, T2i, Nikon D40, D3000, D5000, D3100.)  Give it a shot! always give it a shot. take a picture. see how things look. you can always throw away a bad picture. but you cant create the picture that you never took. (unless your an artist I guess.)   Try using your viewfinder. photographers have used their viewfinders as a primary tool for as long as photography has been around.

I am a photographer!

    Why do I call myself a photographer?  is it because I have a Nikon?  NO! absolutly not.  Its because Im dedicated to taking quality photos with the equipment that I have available to me, in the place where I am.   For your information, at the moment, I am in the process of upgrading from a Nikon D200, to a D300.   In my second post, (back to the basics or something like that.)  I made it clear that the camera, is less important than the person using the camera.  obviously, the camera has some importants to the over all quality of the photos, but it has less importants than you think.

Right now, in camera forums, one of the big topics is ISO preformance.  (theres a link at the bottom of the post, to wiki if you dont know what ISO is/means.)  

apparently, cameras like the Nikon D7000, and the Nikon D3100 are surpassing the high end, fx format slr’s.   people are placing wayyy to much importants to things like that.  it would be worse to have amazing ISO preformance, but take bad pictures.  same thing applies with the camera that you own. (let me translate.)   you own, a dinky little 8 megapixal 2.5″ screen, that takes 4 seconds to power up, and 1.5 seconds to take a picture.  thats pretty bad.  but it would be better to be a good photographer, with that, then be a bad photographer with the nikon D3x (or the Canon 5D Mark ii for that matter.) 

   Dont limit yourself by your equipment.  photography is about expressing your self. and people have been successfully doing it for 100 years. and trust me, some of the things that they have used, would be considered a joke to people now. seriously!   you have the ability to express yourself on any camera that you get ahold of.

    Have you ever noticed the popularity of black and white?  its incredible considering that technically speaking, black and white is a set back.

although, if you notice, it often completes a photo. its the icing on the cake.  sometimes we have a tendency to use quite a bit of black and white. but dont completely know why it looks “better”. (so to speak.)   Im going to explain this to you now.

when taking a photo, there are many variables. for example, exposure, (lighting,) contrast, (darks levels/light levels,) and saturation. (color intensity.)   when it comes to black and white, we focus on sateration levels.  when you pull the sateration levels down, you get a black and white photo. if you pull them up, then you get a dramatically colorful photo. (often unflattering to peoples skin tones.)  so if your subject is looking sunburnt, you need to pull the sateration levels down. to do this, there are many different methods. The first method that comes to mind would be Photoshop. (or lightroom.)  but there are many free softwares to do this if you dont have large amounts of money to spend on altering your photos. (like picnic.)

   Black and white can be a good thing.  but something that you have to watch out for, is misusing it. thats right.  sometimes we miss the chance to display a colorful picture, just because we are too lazy to do it. its eeaasier to just apply black and white.  but think about the potential that your viewers are missing out on.  YOU have the ability to create photos, like an artist applies rich color to his canvas. you just need to pursue it.  get to know your camera. learn how to program it to the best of the surroundings. that means reading the manual, (yes. I know. what a draggg.)  and playing with your camera for a good amount of time.  it also means that if your camera has a manual mode, (usually just labelled as M) then learn to use it to better your photography.  try taking photos in black and white, and color. compare them side by side.   Good luck.  But more importantly, have a good time. photography is not meant to be a stressful burden. its meant to be fun and enjoyable.   if you find yourself getting frustrated, or feeling incomplete in your photography, then step back, and go back to the basics.  I believe that every person is capable of making beautiful images.

   Have you ever heard this saying before?  Its true.  This saying, is what makes the world go round, for professional photographers!   why?  well. because if everyone took the same looking pictures, because everyone liked the same thing, then there would be No difference between pros, and n00bs.

   think back to when Apple came out with the first ipod.  It wasnt even 1 gig.  Thats pretty much a joke now.  people are practically using 1 gig memory cards as mulch in their backyards.

   Thats because people are improving technology EVERY SINGLE DAY.  By the time I finish writting this, someone, somewhere, will have improved on something.  That applies your camera.  Even if you just bought it brand new.  Its still old in the digital relm.

Nikon and Canon, are continuously improving upon their work.  Five years ago, Nikon came out with a camera called the D2x. its cost was thousands. like $4.000.   nikon came out with a camera, called the D300s in 2008.  costing about $1.600 it schooled the D2x in EVERY way possible.  that camera is history now. Canon just came out with a camera called the T2i. it costs $700, and schools the d300s in pretty much every way. (although, the further we come in photography gear, the harder it is to improve.  Im sure you are aware of megapixals.   cameras started out with 1 mgp. then two. then three. and four. and five. and six. and eight. and ten. and twelve. and fourteen. and sixteen. and eighteen. and twenty-one. and twenty four. and fourty. and fifty. and now sixty. (made by hasselblad.)

Nikons highest megapixal camera, (the Nikon D3x, soon to be upgraded to the d4.) has 24 megapixals.  Canons highest megapixal camera is Canon 5D Mark ii. (or the 1Ds mark ii I believe.) is 21.

point and shoot cameras usually have inbetween 8 and 18 megapixals.  but when it comes to megapixals, your skill and ability are more important.   heres something your probably dont know.  most photographers dont utalize more then 4 megapixals. and I mean “real” photographers.  including me.  so dont buy your camera based on megapixals. its a waste.  and if you decide that you need 18, its 18 million dots showing all of the little details that you dont always want to show.   heres what I mean by that.  webcam photos usually make people look really good. because they use 1 megapixal! but slr’s can easily make people look bad, based on how much detail it shows. another thing, is photographic errors. the more megapixals, the easier it is to see these!

So next time the guy at Bestbuy tries to sell you something, kick him in the shin for me. haha.  because he just wants a fat paycheck.  (seriously. the guys at bestbuy dont know what they are talking about.)   same thing with EBAY.   later on Im going to write about where to buy cameras and such things.  I have some very interesting things to say about ebay, penny auctions, scam websites, adorama, amazon, and bestbuys. so stay tuned.

by the way, I have not completely figured out how to directly post pictures into my posts yet, so if anyone knows,  let me know. because it would make things much more interesting.

    So to sum this all up,  you need three things to take a nice photo. 1.  a camera that you understand.  including your iphone camera. if you understand how to use it properly, then that counts for number one.   2. CREATIVITY.  PEOPLE. BE CREATIVE!    3. Light!  yep.  thats it.    I know people who have taken better pictures then me, on their iphone.

  and I know people who pitch $3,000 in a camera, that take just plain baddd photos!

    and the last thing to consider is lighting.  straight on flash, is NOT flattering to peoples faces. harsh sunlight should also be avoided.

HI. Im Jonny.  I am making a blog to share my insight on anything having to do with photography. (and possibly more.)

   So, to start off, Im going to make it clear, that I am a Nikon user.  Im giong to make this as interesting as possible, by being as unpartial as I can.  (NIKON IS THE BEST!!! WOO!)

   Now that, that is off my chest, we can press on.   Im a 17 year old, living in the Chicago area. I am in school.  I am persuing photography as a way to make money.  Aside from photography, I am a musician.  I have a facebook account, and a flickr acount.I have four other siblings, I live in a two story brick house.  I will be posting links on this blog, and hopefully pictures too.