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Well, finally made a decision

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/23/2015 at 14:25
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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With cameras, as many of you have found out, there is always new tech debuting along with techniques to pick up to help aid, assist, and greatly enhance your exposures.
 
Now I like the lens that I have now. It is a nice general purpose walkabout lens to have. However I have been on the hunt for medium range focal length lens, which Ted brought to my attention of the Nikon 70-200 F/4.
First impression made it very appealing, because for one, it happens to be a Nikon lens...so there is some brand loyalty there. Then secondly, all of the positive reviews in regards to it. Now unlike several people who use these reviews to make purchases I took it with a grain of salt. I even went to some lengths as to looking in the technical background of some of the reviewers, warranting merit in their writings, which was echoed by Ted, because he has the same lens.
 
 
It's compact, powerful, great focal lengths and several other additions made it a sure thing for wildlife shots and even discovered it to be useful for portraits. However Brady and I got to talking about Tamron, a third party lens manufacture for Nikon and Cannon bodies.
 
Specifically, I found a Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8, wait a minute...did he write f/2.8, that is a whole stop down below what he's originally looking at, that's usually translates into more money!
 
You're right, it usually does. Again, I read reviews about it, and followed up and the technical background of the one writing to review. Again, everything I found was notably positive.
The only negative comment with any merit was the weight, but since I will be mostly using this in conjunction with a tripod, the weight is a moot point.
 
After all of my investigations, I finally decided to bounce the idea off of Ted, you know...because he's pretty savvy in this department and don't let him tell you any different, he's not just a pretty face.  However I prefaced with I have nearly saved up the cash to pull it off and I came across something brought to my attention by Brady, because this is what he uses, specifically Tamron and I asked him, what are your thoughts on it, performance, sharpness, vignetting ect....he said while he hasn't had much to compare it to, he was pleased with the images it produced.
 
My argument to Ted, was it happened to be the same focal range as the Nikon. It had an additional stop over the Nikon, came with the bayonetted mount, where you have to purchase the Nikon version ($169) for the same cost as the F/4 model, and a little than $1K less that the F/2.8 from Nikon.
I continued to state, by having these components, it would greatly be beneficial for action shots while my son plays T-ball, but would aid me in low light shots for a Wedding shoot, that my wife's friend is having and paying me to do! Wow, who would have thought, a paid gig on the side. Needless to say, Ted was pleased to hear about that.
All in all, Ted agreed that I was rational with my choice and seems like it would preform for me pretty well.
 
But wait...to sum it all up, there was this seminar in Houston, wish I was closer, because I would have been there, but unfortunately it wasn't in the cards for me this go aound. But the guy conducting the lecture uses the lens for a lot of his photography I'm entertaining. That reaffirmed it for me, like it was a sign, this should be my next lens.
Now after a setback I will continue to wait, but guys let me tell you, I have high hopes for this new tool that will be added to my arsenal.  Can't wait to get it and show you guys how it preforms. Here's a sample image.


Edited by Skylar McMahon - June/23/2015 at 14:47
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/23/2015 at 16:43
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I did research on Tamron lenses before my wife and I went on the hunt.  Very highly recommended by some professional photographers I deal with.
Early morning shot with 150-600 Tamron lens…

They make good stuff...


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/23/2015 at 16:44
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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Dan is your wife shooting in RAW?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/23/2015 at 17:11
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NOPE, just plain ole JPEG.  She hasn't wanted to mess with it, yet.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2015 at 10:13
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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Dan, please do not take this the wrong way, but she is missing out on better quality photos opting to shoot in Jpeg. I understand the convenience, being able to load them and start posting or sharing them, but with RAW, she can do so much more!
Reasons being, the RAW file is a negative, like using 35mm film. The sensor picks up all the data in the frame. So nothing is lost. Unlike when using jpeg where all your data is compressed.
 
You can also edit the +/- exposure if you were to miss the mark with the original, it is still salvageable and can be changed in post accordingly.
 
White balance can also be easily altered, especially if she is shooting in Auto-White Balance. Ted will soon refer to this as Auto-Wrong Balance, lol and perhaps he will chime in and better explain that in greater depth.
 
Also, the RAW image will remain the same, providing it is not deleted, you can always go back to it to, make a new creation and then convert to jpeg for sharing. Puts a new spin on every picture because they are all unique.
 
From what I have seen, she takes great pictures, I just feel she's missing out not shooting in a RAW format.
 
 


Edited by Skylar McMahon - June/24/2015 at 13:43
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2015 at 10:56
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...and that, Gents, is how you disagree, make a recommendation or impart knowledge based on your own experiences to someone on a message board without coming across as an A**Hat.  Nice post and explanation, Skylar.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2015 at 12:17
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A couple of points:
-RAW images are still compressed with virtually any camera.  Higher end cameras give you a choice between compressed and uncompressed RAW, but it is extremely uncommon to use uncompressed RAW.  The only time I see photographers using uncompressed RAW is when they shoot large bursts and use extremely fast storage media.  Now with compressed RAW there are both lossy and lossless formats out there depending on the camera manufacturer.
-JPEG is inherently more lossy than even the lossiest RAW format out there.  Since no camera manufacturer to date has managed to come up with a built-in JPEG process that I consider acceptable under a variety of conditions (and I have seen every single one of them), in the age of inexpensive memory cards, there is little justification for shooting JPEG only.  The most common way of doing this is to shoot JPEG+RAW, so that particularly good images could go through raw processing.

-On lens manufacturers: they all make good and bad lenses.  Tamron makes some excellent lenses and some incredibly crappy ones.  Same goes for the rest of them. For example, lower end native Nikon zoom lenses are impressively bad (same for Canon, while their high end lenses are mostly excellent (with some exceptions).

It is also worth keeping in minds that most inexpensive lenses are OEM'ed by someone.  For example, Tamron makes a lot of lenses for Nikon

Skylar is going about the whole lens selection business the right way: pick a specific lens and research it without making too many conclusions about the manufacturer.

With the 70-200mm off brand lenses I had better luck with Sigma than Tamron, but both have gone through updates since I last spent any time with them.

ILya


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2015 at 16:05
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Originally posted by Skylar McMahon Skylar McMahon wrote:

Dan, please do not take this the wrong way, but she is missing out on better quality photos opting to shoot in Jpeg. I understand the convenience, being able to load them and start posting or sharing them, but with RAW, she can do so much more!
Reasons being, the RAW file is a negative, like using 35mm film. The sensor picks up all the data in the frame. So nothing is lost. Unlike when using jpeg where all your data is compressed.
 
You can also edit the +/- exposure if you were to miss the mark with the original, it is still salvageable and can be changed in post accordingly.
 
White balance can also be easily altered, especially if she is shooting in Auto-White Balance. Ted will soon refer to this as Auto-Wrong Balance, lol and perhaps he will chime in and better explain that in greater depth.
 
Also, the RAW image will remain the same, providing it is not deleted, you can always go back to it to, make a new creation and then convert to jpeg for sharing. Puts a new spin on every picture because they are all unique.
 
From what I have seen, she takes great pictures, I just feel she's missing out not shooting in a RAW format.
 
 
we know that… she just hasn't had time to research it all, yet.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2015 at 16:15
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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Oh, that's great. Well, if I can help, granted I'm still in the infancy stages as well, but I'm happy to contribute if you like?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2015 at 22:20
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Hey Sky Mac, I appreciate your confidence in me, but you give me way more credit than I deserve, buddy. I'm still a relative beginner at this stuff and am constantly learning new things myself. But thank you nevertheless.

You shotgunned multiple topics in this thread, so I'll just touch on a couple things.

The 70-200:
I believe you're making a good decision there. 70-200 is a very useful zoom range for medium telephoto shots, portraits, and for moderately long reach. I think all serious DSLR users should seriously consider one. If I could only have 2 lenses for all DSLR photography, I'd choose a good 24-70 f/2.8 and a good 70-200 f/2.8. For what you're wanting to do (portrait, sports, low light, and wildlife with the same lens), I do believe you'll be better off with the f/2.8 than the Nikon 70-200 f/4. I have the latter f/4 lens, and as you know, I love it, but my needs were slightly different than yours when I bought it. First, I don't usually use mine for wildlife since I have a 300mm f/4 already, and I also don't use it for shallow DOF portraits, as I already have a Nikon 85mm f1/4. I don't usually use it for low light since I have a few other lenses that are faster and have f/2.8 or wider aperture already. Whenever I do use my 70-200 f/4 in low light, I can usually compensate for the 1 stop light disadvantage by simply bumping ISO up, or (if I'm using a tripod) use longer shutter duration with little or no significant noise penalty. There are times when I do wish I had f/2.8, but most of the time, I'm shooting at f/5.6 - f/8 anyway, and f/4 still gives me pretty nice subject isolation and bokeh when I need to melt the background away. Therefore, I was willing to sacrifice a stop of light wide open in exchange for a much lighter, more compact lens that also cost $1K less, yet still provides just as good image quality as its f/2.8 brother.

On that last point ($), I wasn't aware of the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 at the time I bought my f/4, and I had never given it any thought since then because I've been very satisfied with my Nikon. Now that I saw first hand the IQ the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 lens is capable of and given the significantly lower price vs the Nikon equivalent, I might have gone that route if I had it to do over again. 

I do think 200mm doesn't have quite enough reach for wildlife, specifically birds and other small animals, unless you're pretty close. But, the fact you'll use it on your crop sensor (APS-C) camera means it will have 300mm equivalent at full zoom, which is o.k. for larger wildlife animal shots at moderate distance, if you accept the fact you'll be doing some cropping in post. However, I do wish I had more reach than my 300mm too, even with the 1.4X teleconverter attached, but I'm not willing to spend the astronomical price tag to get more reach than that.

RAW vs. JPEG:
Yep... if you want the best IQ your camera is capable of delivering, definitely shoot in RAW. You will be able to recover more detail out of over-exposed highlights and underexposed shadows with RAW, and you will get better overall detail, especially if you decide to make a large print. Also, as you stated, with a RAW file, you have more options for how to process the image, without losing any data. With JPEG, you get some data loss and loss of IQ every time you copy and manipulate the image. When you shoot in RAW, you still output the image in TIFF, JPEG, etc., you just use the RAW file during post-processing to create a superior TIFF or JPEG than you'd normally get with those file types straight out of camera. The only advantages I can think of for shooting in JPEG is if you don't want to do much or any post-processing and are fine with letting your camera's firmware apply sharpening, color and contrast adjustments for you, and you'd rather deal with smaller file sizes. Otherwise, you'll get better results making post process adjustments to a digital negative (RAW) file to get exactly what you want rather than letting your camera (which can never know your creative intent or get the light temp exactly right every time) make decisions for you.

On the white balance point you brought up, yes, you do have better finite control over WB when shooting in RAW. Still, it's best to try to nail the WB correctly the first time in-camera if at all possible, as it's much more difficult to get it right in post if white balance is screwed up, especially as it pertains to skin tones. Yes, the Auto White Balance (a.k.a. "Always Wrong Balance") mode on your camera quite often doesn't get WB correct, especially if the scene has many different light sources of different temperatures, such as inside a building with fluorescent lighting and strong light coming in through windows. AWB just makes an approximate "best guess" of the average light temp in the scene and adjusts accordingly. Sometimes it gets it right, and sometimes it doesn't. The best way to set WB correctly is to use custom white balance mode rather than one of the presets, along with a WB calibration tool such as an Expodisk or a gray card. Lightroom and Photoshop have some decent WB adjustment tools, as long as you have some medium gray tones somewhere in the photo you can calibrate off of. Regardless, you have much better control over WB if you shoot in RAW, even if you want to intentionally skew WB to some dominant color for creative reasons.


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/25/2015 at 12:17
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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Thank you Ilya.  I see all too often were hasty decisions are made based on the suggestive reviews people who have no technical background supply how great something is. Only to receive it because its a must have to be disappointed upon use and it not working the way they had thought. Now, granted for me, I now how well the 70-200mm f/4 Nikon works, because Ted was kind enough to allow me to use his while we were out one evening. However my pictures weren't so great do to the fact that my settings were skewed. I had the ISO bumped up to HIGH 2, which equates to ISO 24K, making my exposures appear more like oil paintings after editing them the best I could in post processing.
So I have tried to be ore open minded with my choice and also taking advice from those are have more knowledge on the subject.
 
 
Ted, Excellent I knew you would be able to better explain white balance and thank you for chiming in to do so.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/25/2015 at 13:35
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I don't know that using an image taken at ISO 24000 tells you anything about lens performance, since there's so much digital noise at such a high ISO.

Here are some example photos I took using the Nikon 70-200 f/4 (@ ISO 100 f/5.6 & f/8, 70 & 95mm focal lengths):








On the topic of lens brands...
Ilya is right, brand alone tells you little to nothing about lens quality across the board, as many brands offer both very good and not so good lenses. Much like sports optics, stuff is outsourced all the time and the name on the product isn't necessarily the manufacturer. All products are built to specs, and whether a given product is very good or very bad depends on the specs to meet a specific price and performance target. I've heard that Nikon does outsource at least one of their consumer level lenses to Tamron (I believe the 70-300 f/4.5-5.6), but I do know that they build their own lenses when it comes to the high end "pro level" fixed max aperture stuff with all the bells and whistles.

Third party lenses can and do sometimes exceed the performance of the native brand lenses, even at a lower retail price. So price and brand alone isn't always a good indicator of performance. You have to do a lot of research and homework to "separate the wheat from the chaff."

There is one potential disadvantage to buying a 3rd party lens that may or may not ever become an issue -- autofocus performance across different generations of camera bodies. Nikon and Camera understandably aren't willing to provide their proprietary design and firmware information to 3rd party lens manufacturers since they compete with their own line of lenses. As a result, the 3rd party lens manufacturers then have to reverse-engineer the Nikon and Canon hardware and firmware when designing their lenses for those bodies. If Nikon or Canon makes future firmware updates, it's possible that a 3rd party lens will no longer focus correctly, unless the 3rd party lens manufacturer provides corresponding updates as well, and they aren't going to get any cooperation from Nikon or Canon with that. Nikon sued Sigma years ago and won a huge settlement because they contended that Sigma copied their VR technology.




Edited by RifleDude - June/25/2015 at 13:52
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/25/2015 at 13:36
Skylar McMahon View Drop Down
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No that's what I'm saying. I have seen your pictures from the same lens. The only reason I wasn't able to produce tack sharp images was due to the fact of my ISO being set so high.
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