sulman
Posts: 1963
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:09 am

Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Mon May 17, 2004 9:25 pm

Hello,

After a really enjoyable weekend at SOU (thanks Justin for the Saturday!) I'm toying with spending a little more on some kit. I've got a cheap Sigma 100-300 DL at present, and I'm quite pleased with it, but I learnt three very clear things after a session at the airport:

1) It's alot easier when they're not moving.

1) Pretend the lens stops at 200mm.

2) If I can't go to at least F8, don't bother.

I got some okay results -

http://macdemish.com/sulman/SOU_0079_edit.JPG

But I had to take an enormous amount - probably 1 in 8 were halfway near sharp - and I'd prefer to go for a little more quality over quantity. I've seen lots of shots on the - a few from Justin himself - with similar lenses (also Tamron equipment too) and they've been pretty fantastic. Anybody recommend a Canon AF lens for under £300 that's pretty good?

Cheers,

James

[Edited 2004-05-17 14:31:36]
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
dazultra
Posts: 683
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 6:39 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Mon May 17, 2004 9:58 pm

Hi James,

I think any 'consumer' lens shouldnt really be expected to perform amazingly well, but given the right conditions you should be able to get some good results.
I use the Canon 75-300mm IS USM (priced around £300ish) and this is a good lens between 70-200 and f8-11, but remember post processing can make all the difference between a good shot becoming a great shot, or an average shot. Turn the in-camera sharpening all the way down and this will allow for more scope when u come to edit the picture later on ur pc.

Daz.

 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Mon May 17, 2004 10:37 pm

Firstly, I'm becoming a little concerned about the number of people shooting at SOU. I thought it was understood that SOU was my airport.  Smile

As Daz says, you might find something a little better for the money you want to spend, but since you are being honest and realistic about the limitations of your current lens, I suspect you'll soon come to a similar conclusion about any other consumer lens.

So, you could spend £300 now, and be looking for a replacement in a few months time, or try and find a bit more money and go for the Canon L 70-200 f4 which optically is about as good as you can get. You should be able to find one on eBay for around £400. With this lens there are no issues whatsoever, any focal length, any aperture. If you want a bit more range, you could consider adding a 1.4x convertor, and it will still outperform any consumer 70-300

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
sulman
Posts: 1963
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:09 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Mon May 17, 2004 10:41 pm

Yes Colin, your AF CRJ at 1/60 was discussed with rather more than a little envy  Smile

You're quite right..I will probably hold out longer and invest in something really decent when I can afford it. You know how you get that "must have now" feeling once in a while!
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Mon May 17, 2004 10:47 pm

You know how you get that "must have now" feeling once in a while!

ME?! Never! All my purchases are carefully researched and deliberated over a period of many months  Smile

But seriously, there is a world of difference in shooting with a lens which you don't have to make any allowances for. There is a certain irony in that the better the equipment, the closer you get to true point 'n' shoot. By that I mean when you can totally trust your gear, you can spend more time thinking about the picture and less about the camera and lens.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
dazultra
Posts: 683
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 6:39 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Mon May 17, 2004 11:26 pm

ME?! Never! All my purchases are carefully researched and deliberated over a period of many months

Hehe thats not what i heard when u bought your 1D MK2  Wink/being sarcastic

Daz.  Big thumbs up
 
Tin67
Posts: 268
Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 3:49 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Mon May 17, 2004 11:40 pm

Hi James,

I think the lens in front of the camera is really important as ultimately the better quality optics will improve your results. I agree with Colin's advice above on the 70-200 f4 L. I recently sold mine as I upgraded to the f2.8 version, but for the money it's a great value lens and the L series optics are excellent. You can combine this with the 1.4x extender and with mine I never noticed any deterioration of quality.

I used to own a Canon 70-300 USM III and I thought this was very poor and soon sold it on. You get what you pay for at the end of the day, so if you can edge to the L lens I would highly recommend it.

Martin
 
andrewmorrell
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2002 3:46 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 12:20 am

When I bought my Canon 300D body, I was hoping that my two consumer-grade Tamron lenses would start flexing their muscles and reward me with some very nice photos.

I have been fairly disappointed - as a developing amateur hobbyist photographer - with the out-of-focus performance at the higher focal lengths. Furthermore, my inability to keep steady with objects in motion does NOT help!

However, I have discovered that the best friend of my Tamron is a liberal dose of PS USM! Here are some examples of what my 150 dollar lens can do with motionless close-up:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Morrell
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Morrell



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andrew Morrell



Andrew
Go Blue!!!
 
Tin67
Posts: 268
Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 3:49 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 12:59 am

Andrew

Have you tried using a monopod?

I am pretty hopeless at handholding especially with larger lenses, as the more I try to hold it steady the more I shake. I use a Manfrotto monopod with a 2 way head. I do find that this helps.

Nice shots above

Martin
 
andrewmorrell
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2002 3:46 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 1:10 am

Martin...

No I haven't tried a monopod... I DO have a tripod, but haven't made use of it lately.

The thing that I REALLY need is a set or immovable, iron arms attached to my body...

Andrew
Go Blue!!!
 
Skymonster
Posts: 3428
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 7:53 pm

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 1:26 am

I think that there's a lot of non-sense spoken on this forum about consumer lenses. Non of the major lens producers (camera manufacturers or independents) have produced any total duffers recently, and most newish stuff is going to be capable of producing results worthy of airliners.net (albeit maybe not worthy of super sharp A3+ sized prints). It seems increasingly that the solution is to throw money at a problem, rather than look at the real root cause.

I doubt whether a consumer lens from Canon in the sub-£300 range is going to do anything for you much more than your current Sigma will do. Further, if only 1 in 8 pictures are worth anything, I suspect that something other than the lens is going wrong. I don't know whether its your panning, your settings, whatever, but you should be getting more than 12% even if you've got a milk bottle stuck on the front of the camera unless you're doing something way outside of the norm (like trying to shoot in way dark conditions, and judging by your sample it was a sunny so that doesn't apply).

All of us who've been in this game for some time produced far more rubbish when we started than we do now. My recommendation - go out and practice more with what you've already got. Sure it'll be painful for a while, but it'll come. And I really doubt that your lens is as big an impediment as you think.

ANdy
There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots
 
sulman
Posts: 1963
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:09 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 2:00 am

Andy,

I think your comments are reasonable. I started out really struggling on the Saturday (it was warm but really quite hazy, and I shouldn't really have expected much) but the Sunday saw a vast improvement. Most of which came from me not getting so excited when something roared down the runway.

I've looked at some of the output again, and they're not actually that bad, with a bit of work. It is possible to wind one's self up into an overcritical state, and 24hrs later I feel a bit more positive about my results. I'm going to be out a few more times with this lens, so we'll see.

Cheers


james
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
Jkw777
Posts: 4427
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2003 11:15 pm

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 2:52 am

Firstly, I'm becoming a little concerned about the number of people shooting at SOU. I thought it was understood that SOU was my airport.

Hell no Colin  Laugh out loud

Is there room for your Previa on the car park or mound?!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

SOU is also my Airport  Big grin But you shoot it best I feel!

James mate, no problem for the lilttle tour. Shall have to go again!

Justin  Big thumbs up
jkw6210@btopenworld.com or +447751242989
 
User avatar
JeffM
Posts: 7569
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 3:32 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 2:59 am

While it most likely is not your lens that is causing your problems, you can always rent a good lens and remove all doubt as to the cause.
 
sulman
Posts: 1963
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:09 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 4:47 pm

Justin,

We'll definitely have to go again, and I'll do my best to make LHR this weekend. I never imagined it would be such a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. I'm going weak at the knees at the mere prospect of uploading 200 BA A319's Big grin. Thanks for all your help with the settings and processing tips.

It's an interesting learning process, and it's quite the challenge when you first try it. It's such a shame being locked up at work when it's so bright out - makes the mind drift!

Cheers

James
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
Skymonster
Posts: 3428
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 7:53 pm

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 7:08 pm

James,

Heat haze (especially) is the enemy of us all - the images may look terrible, and they are, but no amount of money will sort it out and those of who have 400mm lenses are even worse off. You won't notice much difference with expensive lenses with general air haze either, but that's often fixable by messing with curves, levels and contrast. Really, the expensive lenses will deliver you some biting sharpness that the consumer lenses can't (but that's not really needed for web exhibition - consumer lenses should mostly be fine), faster focusing in some cases, the ability to use the maximum aperture more readily, and maybe less vignetting (darkening round the corners at long lengths). But if your problems are down to not being able to hold the camera steady, or heat haze, or such, no lens of any value is really going to be able to help you - OK, someone will now mention image stabilisation in terms of holding the camera steady, but for the most part what I'm saying is I think fair.

Andy
There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 9:36 pm

Andy - I think as general observations your comments are entirely fair, but what I picked up on in James' initial posting was that he was frustrated by specific aspects of his lens ie. performance above 200mm and below f8.

I've always felt that as soon as you are concious of the limitations of a bit of equipment, its time to move on as these issues will start looming ever bigger in your mind and frustration will increase. Because of this, I now have a rule of photography which goes

"never play with, test or try a new piece of equipment unless you are prepared to buy it"  Smile

I remember reading a review in a hi-fi mag for a pair of speakers retailing for something silly like $100K. The reviewers final remark was along the lines of how great the speakers were, but he wished he'd never heard them because his listening pleasure with anything he could afford was gone for good.

Cheers,

Colin

Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
sulman
Posts: 1963
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:09 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 10:18 pm

I can understand Andy's viewpoint. The number one complaint of screeners I've read (aside from A319s over Myrtle avenue) is people either blaming or relying on their equipment. If I'm guilty of anything it's underestimating the demands of aviation photography. I was perfectly happy with my lenses when it came to strolling around the new forest and on holiday, but the detail, movement, rigid geometry, and colour in aircraft are a different game.

Here's an illustration. One of my colleagues at work is a professional photographer. He's got a pretty interesting portfolio, working for several specialist magazines, mainly doing portrait and model work. His principal gear is a 10D and Various 'L' lenses. I broached the subject of post-processing with him. He looked me straight in the eye and told me he did not do any at all. Curiously, aviation and sport photography don't do anything for him at all.

Made me realise what a varied field this is.

[Edited 2004-05-18 15:22:40]
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
Staffan
Posts: 3879
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:21 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 10:23 pm

I think you'll find that even though your colleague doesn't do any post processing himself, there is someone else doing it before it gets printed.

Staffan
 
sulman
Posts: 1963
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:09 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 10:34 pm

Staffan,

You're probably right. I just thought it was an interesting example of the variation of skills found in a similar field.


James
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
Skymonster
Posts: 3428
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 7:53 pm

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Tue May 18, 2004 10:47 pm

Colin,

I too accept your points in return. However, I'm keen to put forward a view, especially in this case, that changing from one consumer lens to another that costs £300 instead of £150 is unlikely to yield a major step-change in results - you know as well as I do (because we've both been there by our own admission) that throwing out one average-grade piece of kit and replacing it with another usually doesn't cut it - its only when we've got our technique really sorted out, and when we can justify thumping down the cash for top-end gear, that we can really make a big difference.

I believe that there are many things a photographer can do to address percieved deficiencies in results, one of which is reviewing technique and looking for work-arounds. I also believe that replacing kit should not necessarily be the first thought when trying to address problems. I make no appologies for the fact that I now carry around L-series glass, but there are three main reasons for that - 1. its more robust and will last longer, 2. I can afford it and I've learned its better to spend a lot infrequently than to spend a little frequently, and 3. the 100-400L in particular gives me length and stabilisation that I can't get through one consumer lens. Having said that, given the quality of results I personally want, if image quality was the only criteria in choosing a lens I suspect I'd still be using a cheap-and-chearful consumer grade 75-300 because I know that it will deliver what I need and I used the lens in the past for long enough to know how to work around most problems it exhibits.

Andy
There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Wed May 19, 2004 12:22 am

Exactly my initial point - sidestepping between consumer lenses is a waste of money - God knows I've done enough of that in my time, hence my recommending the 70-200f4 L.

Based on many years of photography, and a disconcerting tendency to drool in camera shop windows, I would suggest to anyone who is committed to photography, and can afford it (or can't afford it but like me believes that we'll all be wiped out by a comet before the Visa bill arrives) to get the best equipment they can.

A very common remark from those who do is "wish I'd done this ages ago", and I would bet anyone who has invested in top end gear looks back at old pictures and thinks "if only I'd had XXX then".

I will accept that I am advocating reckless and irresponsible behavior coupled with a serious risk of grief from your significant others. But you only live once. Possibly A.net should institute health warnings for certain posters - "Beware - reading this message may be harmful to your wallet"  Smile

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
EGBB
Posts: 527
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2000 3:21 am

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Wed May 19, 2004 1:07 am

More like-

'Beware - Colin has a new camera and he lets you play with it'

Do I break the bank and buy a MkII or just go for that 70-200 F2 glass for this year  Confused

Derek

 
2912n
Posts: 1978
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2001 2:12 pm

RE: Consumer Zoom Lens Expectations

Wed May 19, 2004 2:24 am

Just in that vein...my local camera shop loaned me a Canon 550EX flash unit for the week to see how I liked it. No strings attached...just use it and return it. Yeah, right. There goes another 300+ into the camera gear pit. (For those of you who have not used anything but the on camera flash or a cheaper external unit...watch out. I have only begun to play with this thing and it has blown me away with it's abiltiy and versatility. The true test comes tonight when I shoot my wife's school kids doing a play...{yes, the term shoot wife can be used interchangably.})

Now I wonder why I spent that money on cheaper flash units....sigh.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests