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    #16


    I love my 18-200mm, too. Its great for vacations or anywhere you want to carry just one lens. I end up bringing everything when I travel, but most of it stays in the hotel safe. I use the 50mm almost exclusively in controlled environments.


    Of course... not a lot of traveling going on now that I'm in grad school.

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      #17


      Place I always recommend people start: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-3rd-Photographs-Camera/dp/0817439390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329927768&sr=8-1


      That book is amazing. Really simple language anyone can understand along with photos to describe what they're talking about. Have yet to recommend this book to someone who didn't like it.


      Two old saying are "it's not the camera that makes the photographer" and "the best camera is the one you have on you." Both of those are true to an extent. If you don't know if you want to invest money in photography gear, then start simple by learning things like how to compose pictures. You can do that with your P&S or your iPhone. If you want to learn more, but don't want to drop coin on an expensive camera, pick up an advanced point and shoot that has manual controls (like the canon S90/95/100). That way you can learn about exposure, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc. It's ridiculous how many people buy a DSLR, but never use anything but the kit lens. Or invest in one 'catch all' lens like an 18-200 whose image quality is always terrible (soft corners, distortion, poor color/contrast, etc). Those lenses are almost always garbage. Buying a camera body is the cheap part. Investing in good glass (lenses) is the expensive part. You also need to learn how to process images to a certain extent. I'm not saying you have to drop the money on CS5 just yet, but images out of a camera will never be perfect. There will always be some tweaks that will make them look 10x better.


      My advise is to start with the book, learn composition and how cameras work, then get a new camera. That route will save you money in the long run. Don't waste your money on something you don't know if you'll actually enjoy. It's a slippery slope. By now I think my kit is valued around $15k and while I do plenty of paid weddings, portrait sessions, etc, I hardly consider myself a professional. That's a lot of money invested in gear and it'd be a waste if I didn't like it.


      Cheers,

      M

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        #18


        http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html


        This is a great series about lighting


        ... and I started with a Mamiya C330 medium format back in art school

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          #19


          @Jason I have gone to that site before. Great recommendation!

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            #20


            Agreed, JC. I'm going to send my wife there when she gets more comfortable with her camera's controls. It's where I learned most of my lighting, and now at least some of my lighting gear (and sometimes all of my gear) goes with me every time I travel.

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              #21


              Mmmmm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjpWaG6Lnhg

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                #22


                I have a Samsung NX mirrorless that I got as a graduation present a couple years ago. I love it. It's small, light and easy to carry around. I really want a 30mm prime pancake lens so I can fit it in my jacket pocket but, at $300, it'll have to wait a little while. The Samsung NX looks more like a small DSLR vs the NEX flat phone type look. Not as sexy but still a great little camera.

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                  #23


                  @AedanM Heard good things about the Samsung Mirrorless! I want the new-ish NEX-7 which seems to now be the top camera in the whole mirrorless class (and one of the priciest), but I'm gonna have to save up first.

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                    #24


                    My first camera... was a Kodak 110 point-and-shoot. My first pro camera was a Canon A1. Now, my camera equipment is worth more than my car and has its own insurance policy and fireproof cabinet... and I haven't shot photos for money in years.


                    I'm just a little too enthusiastic about my favorite hobby, I know.

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                      #25
                      So a few things. First, the 18-55 lens that came with my t3i is not autofocusing as well as it used to. I typically find myself more often than not using my 55-250 and standing further away...I probably need to give it a thorough cleaning which sorta makes me nervous. How often do you guys clean your lenses? Ive watched this tutorial and have all the tools:

                      http://youtu.be/G7S6VARidHk

                      I know! Stop using auto focus!! I'm working on learning to manual focus but not fully comfortable yet. And even once I am, my wife will always use auto focus...

                      Should I also be using a clear lens filter maybe?

                      Thirdly, anyone use a gorillapod?
                      My cocktail videos >

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                        #26
                        Originally posted by tdig View Post
                        So a few things. First, the 18-55 lens that came with my t3i is not autofocusing as well as it used to. I typically find myself more often than not using my 55-250 and standing further away...I probably need to give it a thorough cleaning which sorta makes me nervous. How often do you guys clean your lenses? Ive watched this tutorial and have all the tools:

                        http://youtu.be/G7S6VARidHk

                        I know! Stop using auto focus!! I'm working on learning to manual focus but not fully comfortable yet. And even once I am, my wife will always use auto focus...

                        Should I also be using a clear lens filter maybe?

                        Thirdly, anyone use a gorillapod?
                        You're not going to do any damage cleaning it if you're careful, and using the right solutions & tools. If your AF is no longer working, it is most likely a bad connection between the contacts and the lens body. Worst case, something has happened inside the lens and will be out of your ability to fix.

                        And there is nothing wrong with auto-focus.

                        I wouldn't bother with a lens filter of any sort unless you're shooting in a sandstorm.

                        I have a gorillapod I use for my small camera, but honestly never found much use for it.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by ncfranklin View Post
                          You're not going to do any damage cleaning it if you're careful, and using the right solutions & tools. If your AF is no longer working, it is most likely a bad connection between the contacts and the lens body. Worst case, something has happened inside the lens and will be out of your ability to fix.
                          The autofocus still works but not nearly as easily as it used to. I am having to adjust the zoom a lot just to get it to find focus in anything but ideal lighting. Prior to the last few weeks it was autofocusing much easier in worse conditions.
                          My cocktail videos >

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Originally posted by tdig View Post
                            So a few things. First, the 18-55 lens that came with my t3i is not autofocusing as well as it used to. I typically find myself more often than not using my 55-250 and standing further away...I probably need to give it a thorough cleaning which sorta makes me nervous. How often do you guys clean your lenses? Ive watched this tutorial and have all the tools:

                            http://youtu.be/G7S6VARidHk

                            I know! Stop using auto focus!! I'm working on learning to manual focus but not fully comfortable yet. And even once I am, my wife will always use auto focus...

                            Should I also be using a clear lens filter maybe?

                            Thirdly, anyone use a gorillapod?
                            There's nothing wrong with autofocus. Everybody uses it unless they're taking picture of bugs.

                            As for the lens, it's a pretty cheap one. I would attempt cleaning. If your lens constantly travels but can't find focus, I'm inclined to say it's an issue with the connection. If your lens fails to travel to find focus, then it sounds like more of a mechanical problem. Either way, it's nearly the cheapest lens that Canon makes. Getting a used one from ebay for under $100 shouldn't be a problem if you can't fix the one you have.

                            This might sound dumb, but check the inside glass for smudges. It'll have a hard time finding focus if you have a smudge, and some people might not think to check there.

                            I'll say this, though... If for some reason you can't fix, it's probably not worth paying someone else to. You could just go get a new one for about the same price.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              I agree with Alan that sometimes its worth buying a new item rather than getting a broken one fixed; cost is about the same sometimes, and you'd rather have new.

                              I've been into photography for about 15 years - started as a hobbyist but now pick up work for editorials/portraits/shows.

                              I started with a D40, moved to a D5100, and now have a D7100.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Originally posted by tdig View Post
                                So a few things. First, the 18-55 lens that came with my t3i is not autofocusing as well as it used to. I typically find myself more often than not using my 55-250 and standing further away...I probably need to give it a thorough cleaning which sorta makes me nervous. How often do you guys clean your lenses? Ive watched this tutorial and have all the tools:

                                http://youtu.be/G7S6VARidHk

                                I know! Stop using auto focus!! I'm working on learning to manual focus but not fully comfortable yet. And even once I am, my wife will always use auto focus...

                                Should I also be using a clear lens filter maybe?

                                Thirdly, anyone use a gorillapod?
                                Seriously, good luck manual focusing with that lens. Our "modern" (entry-level) SLRs and lenses are just not designed to be focused manually. The lack of a split-prism focusing screen and extremely loose/cheap/marker-less focus ring is really only designed to be auto-focused. Unless you always use a tripod, use live-view and zoom in the image all the way to focus, the only thing you have to go on is the little viewfinder blinky lights to tell you if it's properly focused. And that's what it's doing already, when you say the focus is soft. Your problem could be due to many things. In fact, I feel like I'm in the same exact boat as you with my T1i, except its not limited to just the 18-55 kit lens. I feel like all my lenses focus a bit soft now. To the point where I haven't even really used my camera at all in the past year. I feel like I want to send it to Canon to take a look at, but I havent gotten around to it yet. Whatever you do, good luck! Hope it all works out.

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