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MichaelMelb_AU
5 Jul 2013 - 11:27 AM


Quote: I've opted for a Canon EOS 550D, which I managed to pick up quite cheaply. As for live previews, the main thing I'd be interested in is depth of field. Film cameras often had them (stopping down the aperture) but they were pretty hit and miss, so I rely on the lens markings and experience. The 550D manual says the DoF preview can be 'clearly seen' in Live View mode, but I'll believe that when I see it.

Congratulations on your choice, it is a great camera and I hope you will enjoy it. As for DoF your doubts have some foundation. Live view allows for seeing it, but you will need your camera on a tripod for that. Because of the screen resolution is not as good as human sight to see the subtle detail , you will need to magnify the view (see the manual). That makes the picture very shaky if handheld. Alternatively for a quick check of DoF in OVF you may press a special button , it will close the aperture to the set value without taking a shot. Read the article I put the link to in my post above - it has some neat explanations on the viewfinders and live view screen is actually much better , although very similar in its works, to EVF. You will have a lot to learn with your new camera and you are welcome to send me a PM if any help needed.
Cheers,
Michael

Last Modified By MichaelMelb_AU at 5 Jul 2013 - 11:32 AM
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Steppenwolf
5 Jul 2013 - 2:43 PM


Quote: OVF vs EVF debate is not new. Yet it is important to understand the differences while choosing a camera. There's no universal consensus at the moment on which viewfinder is actually better - it's rather matter of personal choice. Some very good information that may enhance the understanding of the issue may be found here. Sure, the author knew what he was talking about from practical experience and did not invent theories and "types" on the go as some other people do.

That's a reasonable article, Herr melb - maybe you should read it. He's left out quite a lot of course as it's a simplistic overview.

For example, an obvious problem with OVF's is that the smaller your sensor gets the smaller the OVF image gets - which is significant in digital cameras because sensor sizes tend to be smaller than film. An EVF can be made much larger - for example the EVF on the A77 is larger and brighter than that of a full frame OVF camera. On the other hand one disadvantage of the EVF is that it exposes the sensor to light for the whole time the lens cap is removed. This is not so great if you're taking a shot into the sun, for example, where the OVF means the sensor is exposed to the bright light for only the duration of the shot.

He also leaves out the obvious problems that the mechanics of the flappy mirror have on the image. The mirror moves at exactly the point of image exposure, which is basically the worst moment for something in the camera to be moving and shaking the camera. It may not have mattered in film days but with the extremely high resolution capable by cameras such as the D800 or A77 it now does. Nikon recommend using MLU for critical shots on the D800 - so basically you don't have a view finder in these situations.

The OVF is also useless for video. In these days where the video and stills technology is converging it's nice to be able to take a video with one of your interchangeable lenses - I use any of my range of Sony G lenses for this purpose and the EVF functions in the same way as that of a dedicated video camera. If you've got an OVF, then you're stuffed unless you buy an expensive external OVF - and get someone to help you with AF.

But the main thing about the OVF is why? It was a necessary evil when that was the only way of having an interchangeable lens camera and having a TTL viewfinder, but digital has made it completely redundant. It sticks around because so many people are stuck in the past and think that the DSLR is the way to go. Basically anyone buying a system from scratch now needs to have a very good reason to buy a DSLR - like the available lens range or the better tracking focus (soon to be rendered invalid by in-sensor PDAF). If they don't have a good reason - and most don't - they should avoid DSLRs like the proverbial plague. I've had 4 DSLRs and not one of them delivered reliable accurate autofocus because of the inherent problems relating to the mirror and the separate AF sensor. PDAF is fast, of course, but speed without accuracy is not always an advantage.

I think it's a bit disappointing that the OP has bought a DSLR. I'm sure he'll be very happy with it and I wish him the best of luck but there are better options nowadays in most cases.

redhed17
redhed17  8659 forum posts England
5 Jul 2013 - 8:08 PM


Quote: For example, an obvious problem with OVF's is that the smaller your sensor gets the smaller the OVF image gets - which is significant in digital cameras because sensor sizes tend to be smaller than film. An EVF can be made much larger - for example the EVF on the A77 is larger and brighter than that of a full frame OVF camera.

Not all EVFs are as big and bright as the Sony A77. Wink


Quote: The OVF is also useless for video. In these days where the video and stills technology is converging it's nice to be able to take a video with one of your interchangeable lenses - I use any of my range of Sony G lenses for this purpose and the EVF functions in the same way as that of a dedicated video camera. If you've got an OVF, then you're stuffed unless you buy an expensive external OVF - and get someone to help you with AF.

Not everyone wants video. I have it on my DSLR, and have used it less than a handful of times in the 3 or so years I've had my camera.

My friend has bought a DSLR for virtually only video, and he didn't go for CSC or SLT camera with a EVF, and in some cases, smaller sensor, he went for the best quality, and a system with the abundance of accessories for a reasonable price. He bought an optical viewfinder to put on his DSLR LCD screen and so now has a huge 3" EVF. Smile He's not worried about the AF for video though, as he's treating the DSLR as a movie camera, and they don't have AF or EVFs either. Wink


Quote: But the main thing about the OVF is why?

Because some people prefer it. And judging by the levelling off of CSC camera sales, and the abundance of DSLRs I see, a lot of people still like the DSLR concept. Wink


Quote: It was a necessary evil when that was the only way of having an interchangeable lens camera and having a TTL viewfinder, but digital has made it completely redundant. It sticks around because so many people are stuck in the past and think that the DSLR is the way to go. Basically anyone buying a system from scratch now needs to have a very good reason to buy a DSLR - like the available lens range or the better tracking focus (soon to be rendered invalid by in-sensor PDAF).

So CSC cameras don't focus as fast as DSLRs yet! Then why get one for anything other than taking pics of still subjects? Does anyone apart from hardcore Landscape Photographers take all images of still subjects? Wink Yes, you may get a live preview of the changes you are making, but if you can't focus on a moving subject... I can fix slight exposure and colour problems with RAW capture, but if the subject hasn't been focused on, the picture may be ruined. Atm, the phase detection technology is the best AF. CSC and SLT cameras may come up with something just as good, or even better, but they're not there yet.


Quote: If they don't have a good reason - and most don't - they should avoid DSLRs like the proverbial plague.

In your opinion. Wink


Quote: I've had 4 DSLRs and not one of them delivered reliable accurate autofocus because of the inherent problems relating to the mirror and the separate AF sensor. PDAF is fast, of course, but speed without accuracy is not always an advantage.

I don't know what DSLRs you had, or how you were using them, but the AF in DSLR's lighting fast and accurate 99% of the time in my experience.


Quote: I think it's a bit disappointing that the OP has bought a DSLR. I'm sure he'll be very happy with it and I wish him the best of luck but there are better options nowadays in most cases.

One would hope the OP weighed up all his options and chose what he hopes is the right camera for him. There has been enough opinions given in this thread to help him come to the correct decision. Whatever camera he bought, I would wish him well that he is happy with his choice and gets the pictures he expects and leaves it at that, rather than saying I was disappointed he didn't choose what I would have chosen. Wink

Last Modified By redhed17 at 5 Jul 2013 - 8:09 PM
PaulGingell
5 Jul 2013 - 8:26 PM


Quote:
Have you expertise in post processing?


I can manage photoshop reasonably well (I get my 120 film scanned so that I can use inkjet printing), but my knowledge of using raw files is zero. I don't even understand why I get presented with a set of proprietary adjustment sliders when opening in photoshop (many of which seem to duplicate what I would want to do inside photoshop, but with less control).

Any suggested reading or websites would be very helpful.

PaulGingell
5 Jul 2013 - 8:59 PM


Quote: I think it's a bit disappointing that the OP has bought a DSLR. I'm sure he'll be very happy with it and I wish him the best of luck but there are better options nowadays in most cases.

I have some reservations myself, but at the moment I took the opinion that the having a good range of choice in the CSC market required a larger budget. I mostly shoot landscapes and I could see myself getting on with either the Leica M (very expensive) or the Fuji X (quite expensive) cameras. They also seem to offer lenses which would work well with filters (but again, that might simply be trying to fit my analogue workflow into a digital system - perhaps I'll change my view on that in future).

My biggest concern is auto-focus. I simply can't see why I would want a computer system sticking its oar in on what - to date - has been a simple exercise. Other people, shooting in other ways, may find it useful, but all of the systems I've seen (dSLR or otherwise) seem to offer manual focus as an after thought. I think I need to resolve that problem before I commit any further.

StrayCat
StrayCat e2 Member 1014859 forum postsStrayCat vcard Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jul 2013 - 9:23 PM

One of the main advantages of digital over film is a histogram, imo. Learn to use and read the histogram, and it takes most of the guesswork out of your photography. There are lots of tutorials on here, and on other sites. As far as determining a workflow for RAW, there are lots of video tutorials on Adobe's website. When it comes to autofocus today, it is very good; but your experience with manual will serve you well as a backup, and in those special cases where autofocus is not suitable.

Last Modified By StrayCat at 5 Jul 2013 - 9:26 PM
redhed17
redhed17  8659 forum posts England
5 Jul 2013 - 9:34 PM

Photoshop is an excellent program that can do almost anything you would want to an image, but people use a fraction of the features because they don't need to. The Adobe Camera Raw plugin included in Photshop (CS onwards) is an excellent image editor for both RAW and Jpeg files. It simplifies the editing process compared to Photoshop, and is a much shallower learning curve. No need to use layers and adjustment layers, though the option is there if you want to.

The easiest way to start to get to know RAW processing is to have a go. The editing is a non destructive process, so you can play about as much as you want and see what it can do. Initially the RAW file may look a bit dull and flat, because non of the in camera settings have been applied. There is so much more information in a RAW file to manipulate though, and worth the work imho. Smile

Hopefully you have a reasonably new version of Photoshop with an ACR plugin version updated to read your RAW files. You need CS5, and updated to read the Canon 550D RAW files. There is a way around that, but you need at least Photoshop CS to have the ACR plugin, though the older the version, the less features ACR has.

PaulGingell
5 Jul 2013 - 10:03 PM


Quote: Hopefully you have a reasonably new version of Photoshop with an ACR plugin version updated to read your RAW files. You need CS5, and updated to read the Canon 550D RAW files. There is a way around that, but you need at least Photoshop CS to have the ACR plugin, though the older the version, the less features ACR has.

My computer / photoshop is closer, historically speaking, to the Romans than it is to CS5! That said I managed to use DNG converter to get things working. In photoshop, I typically work with some luminosity actions designed by Tony Kuyper. If I carried on do that, I presume the ARC objective would simply be to establish a decent histogram and good tonal balance, as well tweaking the overall colours?

redhed17
redhed17  8659 forum posts England
5 Jul 2013 - 10:55 PM


Quote: My computer / photoshop is closer, historically speaking, to the Romans than it is to CS5! That said I managed to use DNG converter to get things working.

I had a feeling that may have been the case. Wink

I'm not sure what the luminosity actions designed by Tony Kuyper are designed to do. You can correct any exposure and colour problems, but you can do so much more. I'd see how close you can get to what you want, because you have the maximum amount of data to work with, and if need be, you can continue to edit in Photoshop. I very rarely go into Photoshop much anymore.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315487 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jul 2013 - 11:02 PM


Quote: In your standard every day conditions it works fine, out in bright sunlight its not quite so easy to see the changes.

It is not 100% accurate either, I just use it as a guide line.

So basically the EVF is set up to reflect the exposure that you select - e.g. if you're in Manual mode the EVF gets darker when the aperture is made smaller. If so that's the standard way that EVFs work - in my experience anyway. Can you confirm that the EVF brightness does NOT change when you half press the shutter?

In manual mode if you under exposing you will see it, by half pressing the shutter the screen brightens for a split second then goes dark again, if your exposer is spot on there will not be much in the way of a difference when you half press the shutter, but with my camera I think you have to have auto gain switched off.


Quote: One of the main advantages of digital over film is a histogram

I never ever use it, or the blinkies.

Last Modified By Paul Morgan at 5 Jul 2013 - 11:04 PM
PaulGingell
5 Jul 2013 - 11:38 PM


Quote: I'm not sure what the luminosity actions designed by Tony Kuyper are designed to do. You can correct any exposure and colour problems, but you can do so much more. I'd see how close you can get to what you want, because you have the maximum amount of data to work with, and if need be, you can continue to edit in Photoshop. I very rarely go into Photoshop much anymore.

Thanks, I'll give it a whirl and see what works best.

The luminosity actions (http://goodlight.us/writing/tutorials.html) allow you to target adjustment layers by feathering through luminosity or saturation masks. For example, you could add a curves layer but mask it only through the mid-tones of the image. Or you could go further and create a curves layer, but rather than mask all the mid-tones, simply load the mid-tone mask as selection and paint only a part of the image. The effect of the paint brush is completely hidden by the feathering effect of the selection.

All of which is a bit off-topic, so I'll stop there.

MichaelMelb_AU
5 Jul 2013 - 11:50 PM

I find Cambridgeincolour site quite helpful in all things digital. Here they explain RAW. There will be plenty of new concepts to you, but it is important to grab the essence. In my view JPG and RAW relate as paper print to negative. One can retouch paper print - but what can be done is rather limited. Negative allows a lot of action, and resulting print may look very different to what you get by retouching the print itself. So, taking JPG is alike taking Polaroids, taking RAWs closer to film photography. Our educated friend will possibly find something here to limpet to, but that's only a rough analogy of my own. I would not bother with RAW at the moment - try to get on with the camera first, anyway your comp may be a bit too slow to work with RAW effectively, and plenty of amazing things may be done straight in JPG. As for your camera choice - I find your position on modern compact systems very reasonable. It is an interesting new class of cameras, but the Fuji's top line models are far superior to shelf-fillers from other brands, pity they are so expensiveSmile Anyway, I would respect your choice whatever it might be.

Last Modified By MichaelMelb_AU at 5 Jul 2013 - 11:59 PM
strawman
strawman  1022010 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
6 Jul 2013 - 12:23 AM

I am not convinced about mirror shake being a significant issue in modern small SLRs when hand holding as the mechanisms are quite balanced these days and in my experience user movement involved with pressing the shutter etc is far more significant. Where I have seen mirror shake being significant is on tripod based work, but then live view and mirror lock come into play then. From memory the advice for ultimate high resolution photography is to tripod mount with mirror lock on and IS off.

Like everything the choice of viewfinder depends on your end use, and like most things "best" varies on the users needs and the machines compromises. One advantage of the OVF is it does not give you what the sensor will capture sometimes. For HDR photography it can be an advantage in terms of framing and composition to use the human eyes superior dynamic range to have an idea of what is in the shade and highlight areas, something the EVF could not do. And to some users the flashing or blinking finder is annoying, which is a surprise as the mirror itself flips up and down, but user perception is important.

But if video is your bag the EVF has many advantages. What is certain is the mirror is under threat, with SLT cameras almost certainly going first. The need for the EVF and advances in sensor design brings the holly grail of excellent fast off-sensor AF even closer. Plus if sensos like the new canon one delivers on its promise then we have AF with stopped down lenses and the need for the separate AF sensor illuminated by the mirror is removed, certainly for video use if that is your desire.

But SLRs have their place, sometimes even just for people that "just like it better". There is an ergonomic/emotional reaction to looking through the OVF that the EVF has yet to achieve. It is one of the user enjoyment areas. Its like auto gearboxes yes the dual clutch unit can swap cogs faster than humans and with better selection of ratios than most drivers, but for some it also kills enjoyment. Others view it as the best improvement yet. Sometimes the emotional reaction is important.

Also sales data surprised me. I saw some market data a few months back and the results shocked me. If you read photography sites you would sometimes gain the impression the DSLR sales were down and mirror less up, but in fact the data I saw indicated that DSLR sales were still rising while mirror less had plateaued and dipped in some markets.

MichaelMelb_AU


Quote: ... For HDR photography it can be an advantage in terms of framing and composition to use the human eyes superior dynamic range to have an idea of what is in the shade and highlight areas, something the EVF could not do. ...

Not only with HDR .It's worth noting that not just EVFs, but LCDs as well suffer from this lack of on-screen dynamic range, with blocked-up shadow areas. For this reason I don't expect pros and some serious amateurs to relinquish their optical viewfinder equipped DSLRs in the foreseeable future. I expect that in the years ahead we'll see increasingly usable EVFs, but these may not satisfy all photographers, and especially those who are cognizant of their limitations.

Quote: ... What is certain is the mirror is under threat, with SLT cameras almost certainly going first. The need for the EVF and advances in sensor design brings the holly grail of excellent fast off-sensor AF even closer. Plus if sensos like the new canon one delivers on its promise then we have AF with stopped down lenses and the need for the separate AF sensor illuminated by the mirror is removed, certainly for video use if that is your desire.
...

SLTs are the SONY's creation and were a happy hybrid of superzoom and DSLR technologies. I reckon it came from SONY's main strength with video hardware, and limits OVF did impose on it. So they were (and possibly are) the step ahead of others, and their next logical step with NEX series cameras abandoning traditional SLR shape brought to arguably the best EVF in industry. But...see the link above. I really do not believe that a display ( no matter with an ocular lens in front of it or not) will ever match human eye dynamic range and resolution. Maybe, the amateurs who see no difference will be happy with EVFs, as well as some professionals who mass-produce wedding series, etc. But rumors of OVF death are strongly exaggerated I think . As for me, at the moment EVFs are perfect match to smaller format cameras - where mirrors get too dim, and final image quality does not get too far from what one sees in the EVF. Well, except the manual mode - the one who tried to use it with EVF will know what I am telling of.Wink But honestly, how many people use Nikon D800 in auto?Sad

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315487 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
6 Jul 2013 - 1:37 AM


Quote: I am not convinced about mirror shake being a significant issue in modern small SLRs when hand holding as the mechanisms are quite balanced these days and in my experience user movement involved with pressing the shutter etc is far more significant

I really hate the word "shutter shock" that gets banded around some sites, some people have some very strange ideas.

But I do like getting out with my little body and three lens package that only weighs 600 grams Smile

Video`s getting very popular now and every one wants to be a film maker me included, its pretty amazing what can be done now.

I picked up a cheap GF2 and 14mm for the sole reason it was cheap, cheaper than buying the 14mm on its own and I could hack the body for better video Smile

http://www.eoshd.com/content/7074/hacked-gf2-the-300-digital-cinema-camera

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