Guidance on photographic gear reset

BeautifulWorldBeautifulWorld Beginner grinnerChicagoPosts: 39Registered Users Big grins

Hi,

I am trying to revamp my own interest in photography by doing enhancing my own skills and simplifying my gear (thinking x100f, a full-frame dslr, a drone and a 360 camera). After more than 15 years in photography I think I needed to hit sort of a reset button.

Hopefully helpful points to consider.
1. I recently got the Fuji X100f and am in love with it. It is the perfect carry everywhere camera and is just right for capturing portraits and events. I took it on a 4 day Indian wedding and the pictures came out just right.I didn't feel constrained by the fixed 35mm lens format but actually liberated. It is 24 megapixel and f/2 max.

  1. Over the years, I have upgraded by DSLR from the original Canon EOS to the 40d and over the last 5 years with the 7D. They are all APS-C format. The fuji x100f is also like APS-C.
    I am thinking that it is time to clean my closet (I still have all 3 with numerous lenses) and upgrade to a full frame with 1 or 2 good lenses. I will probably take this on my travels, and use the x100f exclusively to shoot at home and neighborhoods. See my gallery beautifulworld.photography/Travel to see my travel interest.

  2. I am not a professional photographer. I do not make my living off it. But I do love it and something I spend a lot of time on passionately. I sell my prints online and in exhibitions when I get a chance. Mostly I do it for myself and to slowly build up collection of places and stories. Someday when life is not a constraint I hope to pursue it as a sole profession.

Based on the above, I would love to hear thoughts, ideas for Full-frames or even feedback to say the cost is not worth it.

Thanks for the time,
Karthik

Comments

  • mercphotomercphoto Bill Jurasz Posts: 4,547Registered Users Major grins

    I noticed you said "upgrade" with respect to the full frame camera over the ASP-C. What, exactly, are you expecting to be better, and how is that going to change your photography or your life? What exactly are you expecting to get "better"?

    I say this as a person who went from a Canon 40D to an Olympus EM-10 micro-four-thirds mirrorless out of necessity. I feared being disappointed by the smaller sensor, the smaller camera. Far from the truth! So this personal experience always makes me question when someone feels some "need" to "upgrade" to full frame.

    Bill Jurasz - Mercury Photography - Cedar Park, TX
    A former sports shooter
    Follow me at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjurasz/
    My Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mercphoto?ref=hdr_shop_menu
  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MAPosts: 11,229Super Moderators moderator

    I'm with Bill on this - have you considered a mirrorless camera?

    I also switched from a Canon 7D to a Fuji mirrorless, love the new system and haven't looked back.

  • BeautifulWorldBeautifulWorld Beginner grinner ChicagoPosts: 39Registered Users Big grins

    When I said upgrade I am under the assumption that "all other things remaining equal - my skill specifically", a full-frame camera WILL HAVE better image quality than an APS-C, given the larger sensor. If I am shooting landscape I expect a full frame camera to have better dynamic range, if i am shooting portraits i am expecting a full frame camera to have more natural skin color range, to react to light better etc. is this not true? Is there truly no difference in image quality between an APS-C and a full frame? What then is the advantage and the explanation for higher cost of a full frame?

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 19,130Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 9, 2017

    @BeautifulWorld said:
    When I said upgrade I am under the assumption that "all other things remaining equal - my skill specifically", a full-frame camera WILL HAVE better image quality than an APS-C, given the larger sensor. If I am shooting landscape I expect a full frame camera to have better dynamic range, if i am shooting portraits i am expecting a full frame camera to have more natural skin color range, to react to light better etc. is this not true? Is there truly no difference in image quality between an APS-C and a full frame? What then is the advantage and the explanation for higher cost of a full frame?

    While there are those who subscribe to your same thoughts, your assumption is largely false if you think that a Full-Frame (FF) sensor alone will make your images more desirable.

    There is a lot of talk about dynamic range, but few really know what that means and how to use the dynamic range that they have. Fewer yet understand the qualities that make for successful photographs.

    My advise is very consistent to everyone; after subject matter, composition and other aesthetic considerations:

    • Poor focus kills images faster than any other single factor. Put particular attention into camera/lens combinations and user techniques which provide a higher ratio of in-focus control.

    • Additional factors you can affect and control from an equipment perspective:

    • Lighting, poor or uncontrolled lighting can make or break an otherwise successful image. (Most landscapes are excluded from this rule, obviously, but some landscapes can be made in almost darkness with the addition of lighting.)

    • Lens, proper lens selection and use obviously factors into good photography, and large-aperture lenses are typically better choices. Large, constant-aperture zooms typically reign over lesser lenses, for a number of reasons. Consumer "Kit" lenses are rarely desirable.

    • FF bodies do generally provide an opportunity for more image control, but used incorrectly they more often provide little or no visible benefit. If your skills have not progressed to the limits of your current equipment, FF may be a frustrating and unsatisfying waste of money. Proper post-processing is often a more deciding factor regarding image quality.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • BeautifulWorldBeautifulWorld Beginner grinner ChicagoPosts: 39Registered Users Big grins

    So I am reading a lot of don't waste your money with full frame cameras. That's helpful given the fact that I've built my extensive portfolio and reputation as a photographer without one. I've always believed in using the tools you have to the best and maximizing its potential before reaching out to the next shiny thing.

    I was hoping that someone might be able to say
    1. Yes, there is a definitely a difference in quality with FF cameras and its worth the cost increase (again, all other things remaining constant)
    2. and guide me with a recommendation for a companion to my X100f (undertstanding the pros and cons of that camera) - The Canon 6D II is not as good the Nikon D750 or better still go for the higher D80 of 5D IV.

    Poor Nikon and Canon would hate to hear that their research on high end cameras is not worth it because anyone now can shoot great pictures with anything including their Iphone X and Google Pixel 2 is the message I am hearing.

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 19,130Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 9, 2017

    @BeautifulWorld said:
    So I am reading a lot of don't waste your money with full frame cameras. ...

    Let's look at the situation another way.

    At your website, under the "Best Of", "Best Of Cities", you have an image of the Bellagio Fountain. This is an image which "would" have benefitted from a modern FF imager, a better lens, and better post-processing. ("Purple Fringing" is visible in the image, for instance.) http://www.beautifulworld.photography/Collections/Best-of-Manmade-Cities/i-grJhr6T/X3

    The image is not sharp, is grainy, the fountain is completely blown white with no detail to the spray itself.

    Compared to another of your images, "Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura, Karnataka, India", which is a wonderful image I very much enjoy, there is just no comparison. (... And you shot the Temple with a cell phone.) http://www.beautifulworld.photography/Collections/Best-of-Manmade-Cities/i-53GTmGh/X3

    Yes, there is a place for a FF body, with a better lens, and the Bellagio Fountain at night is one of those situations.

    If you want to stay with Canon then the Canon 5D Mark IV is capable of better dynamic range at high-ISO than most of the competitor imagers, and high-ISO is exactly where you need the better dynamic range. Will you always get "perfect" results. No, you will not.

    You will get a better opportunity to achieve better end results using the right tools, at the right time.

    By all means, keep showing us your best images!

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,088Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 9, 2017

    @ziggy53 said:

    @BeautifulWorld said:
    When I said upgrade I am under the assumption that "all other things remaining equal - my skill specifically", a full-frame camera WILL HAVE better image quality than an APS-C, given the larger sensor. If I am shooting landscape I expect a full frame camera to have better dynamic range, if i am shooting portraits i am expecting a full frame camera to have more natural skin color range, to react to light better etc. is this not true? Is there truly no difference in image quality between an APS-C and a full frame? What then is the advantage and the explanation for higher cost of a full frame?

    While there are those who subscribe to your same thoughts, your assumption is largely false if you think that a Full-Frame (FF) sensor alone will make your images more desirable.

    There is a lot of talk about dynamic range, but few really know what that means and how to use the dynamic range that they have. Fewer yet understand the qualities that make for successful photographs.

    My advise is very consistent to everyone; after subject matter, composition and other aesthetic considerations:

    • Poor focus kills images faster than any other single factor. Put particular attention into camera/lens combinations and user techniques which provide a higher ratio of in-focus control.

    • Additional factors you can affect and control from an equipment perspective:

    • Lighting, poor or uncontrolled lighting can make or break an otherwise successful image. (Most landscapes are excluded from this rule, obviously, but some landscapes can be made in almost darkness with the addition of lighting.)

    • Lens, proper lens selection and use obviously factors into good photography, and large-aperture lenses are typically better choices. Large, constant-aperture zooms typically reign over lesser lenses, for a number of reasons. Consumer "Kit" lenses are rarely desirable.

    • FF bodies do generally provide an opportunity for more image control, but used incorrectly they more often provide little or no visible benefit. If your skills have not progressed to the limits of your current equipment, FF may be a frustrating and unsatisfying waste of money. Proper post-processing is often a more deciding factor regarding image quality.

    I agree whole heartedly with Ziggy's post here - Subject, lighting, focus, and technical and artistic skills matter far more for a given image, than what camera it was shot with.

    Is a large heavy sledge hammer BETTER than a tiny tack hammer?? The answer depends entirely on what you want to do with it. If you're driving tacks into fine furniture all day long, you really don't want a big heavy sledge. If you're hammering railroad spikes, a tack hammer just won't do. You really may want to have both, and a fine craftsman may feel he or she needs more than one tool to allow them more flexibility with doing their tasks.

    I am an amateur - I do not shoot for revenue, but for my own pleasure, as I have since I was 14. I currently own a iPhone, a m4/3 system with several lenses, a couple Canon APS-C bodies, and a couple Canon FF bodies and find them all useful at different times. These were acquired over the course of about a dozen years. I prefer carrying smaller, lighter cameras and lenses than I do big large heavy lenses and camera bodies - but there is a reason for larger sensors and larger lenses just the same. I like walking around with my APS-C and an 18-300mm Tamron zoom when I am traveling and collecting snapshots. With modern software it produces remarkable images, but for serious landscapes I prefer a FF with a prime lens and a large heavy tripod. A large heavy tripod will make all optical systems much, much better. Always has, and I suspect, it always will, IS and VR not-withstanding.

    Over the last dozen years I have gradually increased my hardware way past what I really need, but camera gear usually is not about need, but desire. Even when was shooting film 20 years ago, I strongly preferred having two SLR bodies. Today I like to have a FF and an APS-C body with me when I am in the woods. I can choose whether I want a longer or wider view through the glass I have with me at the time.

    Generally speaking the noise at higher ISOs is lower for cameras with full frame sensors, or larger pixel wells, and generally I think full frame systems AF systems are better as well ( at least that is my experience within the Canon DSLR bodies ) - especially as the light begins to fall. This makes me always reach for a full frame body for shooting the Milky Way or other star shots, and prefer FF for shooting wildlife before the sun rises or after the sun sets. Fast lenses help also.

    I have a Lumix GX8 with a Panasonic 100-400 that I like for wildlife, but it has not replaced my 1DXmkII and a 500 f4.0 IS L for my wildlife shooting - but during the day with better light I do like its reach and light weight. Sometimes I even use both systems on the same shoot

    Good Post processing is also very important for most of us, we rarely get an image exactly as we want, in the camera, before processing, even if we strive mightily to do so.

    I used to challenge folks to try to guess what style of camera my images were shot with on my website - point and shoot, m4/3, APS-C, FF, and now I also include a Sony RX10 Mk IV. At web sizes it is almost impossible for most folks to tell. I remember an article years ago by Michael Reichman where he displayed prints shot with Point and shoots through FF and on into medium format digital bodies, and many folks could not tell the difference in the print unless it was significantly larger than 8x10/11x14. I have some nice 16x20 prints I shot with a Canon point and shoot years ago.

    Dynamic range is mentioned as Ziggy said, but with Lightroom and modern sensors, the dynamic range is frequently not as big a deal any more, and if it is, one can always shoot multi-frame HDR images. They are easy to process in LR now.

    I choose what tool I am going to use, by what I want to do with it, how large I might want a print with its files, how much it weighs, and how big it is, and how much I can carry or haul with me, and whether I will be shooting in bright light or starlight. Some times I'm carrying or hauling 40-60 pounds of gear with me - usually not very far. Sometimes I just want an iPhone or a small m4/3 body and lens. I recently acquired a Sony RX10 mk IV, hoping it be my main all around carry around camera for snapshots, and I do like its rapid AF and long reach, but I still find myself reaching for my APS-C with an 18-300 at times also. SO many choices, so many decisions.

    If your choice is limited by finances ( a new body means you can't afford a new lens say ) , I would almost always choose to acquire better glass, than a new body, all things being equal.... Just a thought. Bodies come and go, but good sharp pro glass is almost good for lifetime of use with care. Good glass holds its resale value better than most bodies too.

    Do you want/need a sledge hammer, or might a tack hammer fill your wants and needs just fine, and cost less and weigh less.

    When looking at a really great image, most folks do not ponder about what tool was used to capture it ( excepting some photographers ) - they just look at it and admire it!

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • BeautifulWorldBeautifulWorld Beginner grinner ChicagoPosts: 39Registered Users Big grins

    Great advice. Thank you all. As @ziggy53 pointed out, there are instances like the Bellagio fountain at night(taken with the 6 megapixel original Canon Rebel in 2008) that could have benefited by a camera with better technical capabilities while just having a cell phone with me when I visited a temple this year was perfect. The image and the story I am trying to tell matters to me and what was used to create it is secondary as I found out with the X100f as the only camera for a full 4 day wedding shoot and the images came out great.

    I also have been getting advice that for landscape and travel, an APS-C camera might be better than a FF and since I've no complaints about my 7D so far, I am in no hurry to upgrade. Between that, my X100f and my Samsung S7 I usually have what I need. I also agree that sometimes a new camera is more a want, a desire than anything else and I will wait till a new camera really captures me like the X100f before I upgrade.

    Thanks all.

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