Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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36
votes
4answers
2k views

Should I get DX for my APS-C camera, or FX lenses in case I upgrade to full-frame in the future?

I recently bought a Nikon D90 camera body, which has a "DX" APS-C-sized sensor.. Within the same budget, should I go with DX lenses or should I get full frame lenses in case I upgrade to a full frame ...
36
votes
3answers
11k views

What apertures are required to enable autofocus, including cross-type or high-precision focusing, on Canon DSLR cameras?

This is a follow-up to Why does Canon and Nikon limit or disable autofocus beyond certain f-numbers? I'm doing this to separate the AF aperture requirements from the linked question above. My goal ...
36
votes
3answers
7k views

What's the difference between saturation and vibrance in Lightroom?

Both options affect colors in a similar way, but I can't figure out the difference.
35
votes
8answers
76k views

What can be done using a 18-55mm lens?

I have a Canon EOS 1000D with 18-55mm kit lens (entry level, as many say). Whenever I go out for a shoot, I always end up feeling handicapped because of the limited zoom range. Most of my friends ...
35
votes
8answers
24k views

What is aperture, and how does it affect my photographs?

How does aperture affect my photographs? Why should I care about the aperture with which a photo was taken?
35
votes
7answers
3k views

How can I take pictures through a skyscraper, airplane, or train window?

I find that I take a lot of pictures through skyscraper and vehicle windows (those that are impractical or impossible to open). There are all kinds of problems with taking photographs through windows: ...
35
votes
5answers
9k views

Why don't DSLRs come equipped with “classic” focusing screens (split prism, etc)?

I have a hard time manual focusing my Canon EOS 350D. Compared to the few higher spec DSLRs that I played with, and that have a pentaprism, my Rebel's (pentamirror) viewfinder feels crammed and ...
35
votes
7answers
31k views

Does Photoshop have an equivalent to Gimp's “Color to Alpha”?

I have discovered Gimp's "Color to Alpha" feature, and man is it awesome! Basically, it will extract a particular color out of a selection and convert it to transparency. This gave me the ability to ...
34
votes
13answers
3k views

What are the pros and cons when shooting in RAW vs JPEG?

In general shooting in RAW format uses a lot more file storage than JPEG. What am I gaining when shooting RAW? Besides file size are there any downsides to shooting RAW?
34
votes
15answers
6k views

How can I maximize the “blurry background, sharp subject” (bokeh) effect?

I know that this effect occurs when there's a shallow depth of field. My question is, what are the various ways I can increase this effect in my photos when I'm taking them? Note that I'm not ...
34
votes
10answers
1k views

What attributes should I look for when buying batteries for a flash?

I want to buy some more rechargable batteries (AAs) for my flashes. I suppose I mainly care about: - Quick recycling of the flash - Hold their charge when not in use Although bonuses for: - Long ...
34
votes
9answers
6k views

Why do people recommend 50mm or other prime lenses as starting lenses for learning photography?

I've seen quite a few people recommend the 50mm prime lenses, in particular the sub-$100 50mm/f1.8, as a starting lens for photographers (especially because they're likely to be using cameras with ...
34
votes
5answers
6k views

How to get a miniature effect on pictures without special equipment?

I was browsing Behance and came upon these pictures: http://www.behance.net/gallery/The-Little-Things/402879 I was wondering how he got this miniature style effect? I'm guessing a Gaussian Blur on a ...
34
votes
10answers
4k views

What should I look for when shopping for my first DSLR?

I am thinking of buying a digital SLR camera. What things should I be looking for?
34
votes
2answers
15k views

What is the difference between a pentaprism and a pentamirror?

Higher-end SLR cameras include a pentaprism to transmit the image from the lens to the viewfinder, whereas lower-end SLR cameras use a pentamirror to accomplish the same task. What are the ...
34
votes
6answers
4k views

Why use a dedicated light meter instead of the one built into the camera?

I know a few people who carry around a dedicated light meter unit (such as this one by Sekonic) and use that to meter photos instead of using the meter built into their cameras (and these are ...
34
votes
13answers
1k views

What's the best number of shots to combine to produce an HDR photo?

What's the optimal number of shots to produce a high dynamic range Does it vary from scene to scene? Do the capabilities or limitations of my camera factor in? Are there different HDR techniques ...
33
votes
7answers
9k views

What methods do macro photographers use to get so close to butterflies, bees, insects and the like?

I have seen some super macro photos of things like butterflies and bees that left me wondering how the photographer is able to get so close to the subject long enough to take a photo. Most of the ...
33
votes
12answers
6k views

How can I take shallow depth of field photos with a point-and-shoot camera?

I have a compact digital camera, and in macro mode I can manage to achieve a blurred background, if the background is far enough away. Can this be done when taking non-macro pictures, and if not, is ...
33
votes
1answer
10k views

How does one create the Dave Hill effect for portraits/action shots?

Inspired by the question here by sebastian.b, and the response to the subsequent meta question. I would like to ask how to achieve a specific photo effect. There may be more photographers that pull ...
33
votes
14answers
6k views

What photo management software would you recommend for Linux?

The most well known software for managing your photos are only available on Windows and Mac. so what photo management software do you use on Linux? What are it's strengths and weaknesses? What sort of ...
33
votes
7answers
2k views

How does one develop good photographic vision and style?

I am a relatively new photographer. I've only owned my Canon Rebel XSi for a year, however I was researching SLR/DSLR camera gear and photographic theory for over a year before I purchased a DSLR. I ...
33
votes
5answers
6k views

What should one look for when buying a used lens?

When buying a used lens, what should the buyer check? Other than looking for obvious physical damage on the outside of the lens, what else should be inspected to identify the condition or quality of ...
33
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I interpret an MTF Chart?

As part of how Canon (and other lens makers) give technical information about their lenses, they supply an MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) chart. How do I read and interpret what the chart is ...
32
votes
12answers
14k views

How can I get dramatic shallow DOF with a kit lens?

I'm currently using an entry-level DSLR with 18-55mm lens and having great trouble trying to creating a blurred background effect in my photos. Now matter what aperture or shutter speed I choose, I'm ...
32
votes
8answers
3k views

Do I really need a fast 50mm lens?

Everyone I speak to says that a 50mm lens is the best and beats them all as an all-rounder. I was wondering whether to get myself a decent, fast 50mm as well. However I'm still not 100% sure whether I ...
32
votes
10answers
2k views

What are some tips for shooting in low light?

I own a Canon 450D with just the standard lens kit that comes with it (poor so won't be buy a new lens for a while) and one thing I tend to struggle with is shotting in lower light conditions, indoors ...
32
votes
5answers
3k views

In which situations should I use my circular polarizing filter?

I received a circular polarizing filter as a gift, but I have a hard time determining when I should be using it. I've done river shots with some success, but other than that, it doesn't seem to do ...
32
votes
7answers
1k views

What is “Hyperfocal Distance”?

I'd like a clear & easy-to-understand (especially for non-physics-types) explanation of what Hyperfocal Distance is, how it affects photographs, and what determines its value.
32
votes
2answers
3k views

What kind of camera do I need to capture deep space images?

By deep space image, I mean below kind. In the background it is space dust, I think. Is it dependent on camera or location? If on camera, what kind of cameras are capable to capture this kind of ...
32
votes
6answers
3k views

Why take diagonal photos?

In the "old days" I sometimes composed my photos diagonally, but I've not had success doing that in the "modern" era, because there's not really any nice way to present it digitally. Is there a ...
32
votes
10answers
1k views

Help motivate me to use my SLR's manual mode

(Was: Help motivate me to go beyond being a point-and-shooter) I'm aware of the existing 'getting started with photography' questions, but what I'm asking here is slightly different: I've had SLR ...
32
votes
10answers
8k views

Which focal-length lens is usually used for portrait photography, and why?

What focal length or range of focal lengths are usually used for portraits? What is used by professionals? Why would one select a certain focal length? What are the advantages and disadvantages of ...
32
votes
8answers
6k views

Can I publish photos taken in public legally?

Who actually owns a photo that is taken in a public place?
32
votes
5answers
8k views

What does it mean for a photograph to be “high key”?

As I learned the term, a high-key image is one where the shadows are effectively eliminated, and the mid-tone detail pushed into brighter zones. My question is simple: is this an accurate definition, ...
32
votes
4answers
7k views

What's the difference between CCD and CMOS image sensors?

I keep reading articles about CCD vs CMOS image sensors. What is the difference between these two types? What exactly do these sensors do in terms of photography? Is a CCD-based camera going to be ...
32
votes
7answers
6k views

How can I get sharp manual focus despite poor eyesight?

I suffer from astigmatism. It's only mild, though I feel it's affecting what I'm seeing when looking through the viewfinder. Frequently, after shooting a photo with my Canon EOS 7D, I'll load it into ...
32
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I show a slope? Even mountain roads appear flat in my photos

During a bicycle trip, I wanted to take a pic to show how sharp the slope was (about 20%). The same applies downhill. See below, the viewer can't really tell whether it is downhill or flat or uphill: ...
31
votes
10answers
6k views

Are equipment reviews from websites like kenrockwell.com and bythom.com reliable?

I know that nothing helps more when buying a lens to actually test it out yourself, but getting more than one perspective is helpful. Kenrockwell.com is a website that I run into a lot when trying to ...
31
votes
13answers
3k views

Should I be shooting in RAW even though I'm a beginner that doesn't know how to retouch photos yet?

I am a beginner, should I still be shooting RAW?
31
votes
10answers
4k views

What makes a photo a good photo?

I don't know if this is a stupid question, this just came across my mind. Imagine a photo of a dog yawning. Someone could say that is a very good photo as it is taken just at the right moment, from ...
31
votes
6answers
4k views

What are the dangers of removing a lens while the camera is on?

The manual warns that you should turn the camera off to remove the lens, but it doesn't say why. I suspect this may have to do with dust, but I could imagine there are lots of other reasons. I'm ...
31
votes
4answers
1k views

Are stock photo sites a viable source of income?

I'm considering uploading some of my photos to a stock photo website as a way of getting a few $$$ back from what's essentially been a hobby for me. Is this a sensible step, or am I likely doomed to ...
31
votes
7answers
10k views

What can a fisheye lens be useful for?

I have a variety of lenses in my camera kit. One that I do not have, and has me curious, is a fisheye lens. I mostly understand what it does: it captures an image with distortion similar to what you ...
31
votes
16answers
9k views

Do super-super-lightweight tripods exist?

Are there are any "ultra-portable" tripods out there? I'd like to find one for backpacking that weighs 500 grams or less, but none seem to exist... there are tabletop tripods that weigh considerably ...
31
votes
5answers
3k views

Focus problem vs. motion blur vs. camera shake - how to tell the difference?

I'm not sure if the title of the question captures what I mean, but it's hard to be succint in the space allowed. Suppose you have a picture that is not as sharp as you think it should/could be. ...
31
votes
10answers
2k views

Is version control software used for photos?

I am a software developer at heart and by trade, and spend a lot of time in development tools... One of the more useful development tool types is version control, and for the uninitiated, it works ...
31
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I take advantage of fog in my photographs?

Ir's been quite foggy here for the last few days. The quality of light is different. Colour saturation is fairly low. Near the edge of the fog bank the sun looks great, as if there is a huge ND filter ...
31
votes
7answers
1k views

Do good lenses really last a lifetime?

I’ve heard people say “a good lens will last a lifetime” many times. Is this actually true of modern lenses? More specifically, will a good lens be usable for a lifetime? With an inexpensive adapter, ...
31
votes
8answers
14k views

What should I consider when using DSLRs in cold weather?

What temperatures can consumer-level DSLRs and lenses typically handle? Are there any precautions one should take too minimize potential problems (e.g. condensating water)? What about moving in and ...

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