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I have a Canon EOS 500D camera which I’ve never been particularly happy with in regards to picture quality. It’s hardly been used since I bought my Lumix DMC FZ200 bridge camera. I’m getting more and more into macro photography and would love a really good macro lens (probably a Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Macro 1:1) and thought I’d use it on the Canon.

However, someone has just told me that this wouldn’t work particularly well because I’d still end up getting results I’m unhappy with. I've just read an old thread on here and understand that good photos are affected by the combination of lens and camera body. Could anyone guess at what results I may get with the Canon/Tamron combination?

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    Could you post some sample shots from your 500D, explaining what you'd like to improve about them? – Philip Kendall Sep 3 '17 at 17:17
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    What results are you unhappy with? What are you aiming for? – mattdm Sep 3 '17 at 17:29
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    You may want to learn about depth of field. DSLRs and a bridge camera like the FZ200 have completely different sized sensor and this is a significant issue in macro photography (where depth of field is an issue). – StephenG Sep 3 '17 at 17:45
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    The Canon shots have never seemed very sharp, and the colours aren't as bright. I've never used the Canon for macro, I started macro with the Lumix. The Lumix is great, colour and sharpness, (maybe the Leica lens?) I just wanted to up my macro photography even more, but can't afford a new SLR. I could stretch to the new lens. Thanks for your input everyone! – Snippit Sep 3 '17 at 17:59
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    Could you provide a link to the old thread on here that leads you to believe good photos are affected by the combination of lens and camera body rather than by the knowledge, skill, and vision of the photographer? – Michael C Sep 4 '17 at 7:22
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From your comments:

the colours aren't as bright

Colours from cameras are almost entirely down to how the image is processed. The default settings for compact cameras and (particularly) mobile phones tend to have higher contrast and saturation than SLRs, so photos from SLRs can look a bit flat if you're comparing them with those from a compact camera. But there's nothing stopping you increasing the contrast and saturation, either in-camera for the JPEG output from the camera, or in whatever tool you're using to process the images.

The Canon shots have never seemed very sharp

While it's true that sharpness is limited by the sensor and the lens at the top end, it's much more limited by the technique of the photographer. As has been commented, the depth of field from an SLR is much smaller than that from a compact camera, so you need to be much more careful with your focusing if you want to get the sharpness on the objects you want it on. It's very worth reading why are my photos not crisp? for a lot of things that you can try to improve. Don't buy any new kit until you're sure that it's your kit that's limiting you rather than your technique - particularly macro kit where your DoF becomes razor-thin.

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    Funny you should say this but I've had to admit to myself that after really looking into things I probably can't blame the camera. My old zoom lens has no IS and I never use a tripod, so lots of room for camera shake. And I tend to use the auto function most of the time. It's easy for the craftsman to blame his tools when he isn't a very knowledgeable craftsman! I've decided to keep the Canon, probably buy a good macro lens, and try and improve my photography skills! Thanks for your thoughts! – Snippit Sep 4 '17 at 19:41
  • Agree with this answer 100%, it's perhaps worth adding that the colour and saturation levels being lower in DSLR results is by design. It is expected that the results from a point and shoot or bridge camera are likely to be used as is, so the manufacturers try to make them print ready out of the camera. The DSLR user is expected to make edits in post processing, so the in camera processing focusses more on giving the best possible base from which to work. It's easy to add saturation and contrast in post if you want it, but doing so in camera can sacrefice options – Joseph Rogers Sep 5 '17 at 11:34

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