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29 votes
6 answers
21k views

Can I use lens brand X on interchangeable lens camera brand Y?

I've got some lenses of brand X, but I've just got a new camera of brand Y. How can I tell if it's possible to use my lenses on my camera? I accept that I may lose a lot of automatic functionality ...
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  • 19.7k
155 votes
10 answers
59k views

What is the "exposure triangle"?

What is the exposure triangle? How do the "sides" affect my photographs?
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  • 12.2k
32 votes
8 answers
38k views

Why are my photos not crisp?

I use a Canon EOS Rebel T3i (600D) with the kit lens. I have experimented a lot with different settings and modes, but I feel like I have wasted many good shots that could have looked amazing, if only ...
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  • 447
67 votes
9 answers
9k 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?
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  • 955
87 votes
6 answers
44k views

What is "angle of view" in photography?

I read on the Lens Buying Guide @ neocamera: Focal-length determines the angle-of-view seen through a lens for a given sensor-size. With a full-frame sensor a lens gives the same angle-of-view ...
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  • 7,736
46 votes
11 answers
12k views

What is crop factor and how does it relate to focal length?

I'm reading that a 50mm lens is recommended as a first prime lens for DSLR owners as it's supposed to give a 'natural' perspective, but when used on (most) DSLRs, the view is cropped, as if you were ...
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  • 1,180
69 votes
5 answers
10k views

What exactly determines depth of field?

There are several questions here about the definition of depth of field, about focal length, and about subject distance. And of course there's the basic how does aperture affect my photographs. And ...
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  • 140k
196 votes
15 answers
132k views

What do all those cryptic number and letter codes in a lens name mean?

When looking at a lens name, there are a lot acronyms describing its features (often specific to the manufacturer). Examples, Nikon: Nikon AF-S DX 16-85mm VR f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED Nikon AF-I 600mm f/4D ...
52 votes
7 answers
189k views

Is there a general formula for image size vs. print size?

What size images do I need for common print sizes, such as wallet size, 8x10, and 16x20? Is there a general formula? How could that size change if, for example, a 16x20 was printed on canvas rather ...
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17 votes
6 answers
3k views

What do I need to consider to choose between dSLR, mirrorless, or a compact as my first "serious" camera?

I am thinking of buying a camera to learn photography. Most of the time I'll be shooting portraits and landscapes. But I am not sure where I should start. Most of my friends tell me that I should get ...
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  • 351
57 votes
9 answers
144k 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?
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  • 2,027
45 votes
12 answers
42k 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 ...
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  • 535
20 votes
4 answers
6k views

What features should one look for when selecting a flash?

I have been thinking of getting a flash to improve my low light photography (particularly indoors). However, there seem to be a number of different models available at similar price points (budget of ...
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  • 4,495
22 votes
6 answers
15k views

When should I upgrade my camera body?

As the question says, when should I upgrade my camera body? In particular, if I have a low- to mid-range body (A DSLR such as a Nikon D3200 or Nikon D5100, or Canon SL1 or T5, or a mirrorless camera ...
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  • 12.3k
19 votes
3 answers
7k views

RAW files store 3 colors per pixel, or only one?

Ken Rockwell says that camera makers consider the individual R/G/B sensors when they talk about megapixels. So the image below would be a 6x6 pixel camera, not 3x3 as you would imagine. If that's ...
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  • 455
10 votes
2 answers
7k views

How do I diagnose the source of focus problem in a camera?

Probably a novice question, but how do I correctly diagnose from a photo for what reason that camera wasn't able to focus properly? It can be any 1 of the following Unsteady hand Lens issue Metering ...
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  • 412
78 votes
6 answers
60k views

How do I generate high quality prints with an ink jet printer?

Creating high-quality photo prints using an ink jet printer is no trivial matter. Depending on the tonal range and color depth desired and the expected viewing platform, how you approach printing may ...
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  • 69.1k
44 votes
12 answers
7k views

Are there disadvantages to a prosumer camera for a beginner, aside from cost?

I basically decided on a whim (from reading this site, talking to some friends, and always admiring great photos) that I want to get into photography. Are there disadvantages to starting out with a ...
user avatar
  • 3,119
39 votes
7 answers
21k views

Does my crop sensor camera actually turn my lenses into a longer focal length?

So, I mount a 200mm lens on my Canon 450D. It effectively becomes a 320mm lens. Is this the equivalent of 320mm on a full frame camera? That is, from what I've figured out I get an equivalent field of ...
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  • 1,383
128 votes
7 answers
19k views

What is "ISO" on a digital camera?

What is "ISO" in general, and how is the scale defined? How does the ISO scale for film speed differ from ISO sensitivity as used in digital cameras? Is lower ISO always better?
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  • 140k
25 votes
9 answers
7k views

Can a smaller sensor's "crop factor" be used to calculate the exact increase in depth of field?

If APS-C and similar crop-sensor digital cameras have a focal length multiplying effect such that a 50mm lens has an apparent focal length closer to the field of view of an 80mm on a full frame camera,...
user avatar
  • 3,737
68 votes
7 answers
23k views

What is a "diffraction limit"?

I've seen the term used, but what is a "diffraction limit", when should I worry about it, and what undesirable effects are a result of it ?
user avatar
  • 26k
307 votes
16 answers
60k views

Good examples of RAW's advantages over JPEG?

I'm curious to see some real examples of where simply capturing the same photo in RAW (and being processed by someone who can do it justice) has significantly improved the photo at the end of the ...
user avatar
  • 9,582
122 votes
9 answers
51k views

When do the differences between APS-C and full frame sensors matter, and why?

I'm trying to decide on a higher-end digital SLR, and I'm down to choosing between an APS-C model and a full-frame model. I understand that the sensors are of different sizes, and as such have an ...
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30 votes
3 answers
62k views

Why do RAW images look worse than JPEGs in editing programs?

I've found that when you load a RAW image into an editing program such as Lightroom/Aperture, the image is usually worse than if you just took the image as JPEG. Now I understand that the camera does ...
user avatar
  • 3,188
20 votes
4 answers
7k views

What are the Yongnuo flash naming conventions?

I'm trying to get an idea of which Yongnuo flash will fit my requirements. I'd like to have a flash to pair with my SB-900 with TTL support for use both on and off camera (Nikon CLS-compatible). My ...
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47 votes
9 answers
31k 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 ...
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  • 2,889
97 votes
8 answers
138k views

Can the sun damage the camera sensor? Under what conditions?

I want to experiment taking photos in which the sun appears. I'm afraid of what might happen if I take one with a narrower angle (where sun would be bigger). Can the lens act as a magnifying glass and ...
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  • 3,141
43 votes
7 answers
14k views

Is there a sane reason why ¹⁄₁₂₅ is not, instead, exactly half of ¹⁄₆₀?

Here are some common shutter speeds you will find on most DSLR cameras: 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000, 1/4000 As you move from left to right, or as you increase the shutter ...
user avatar
  • 921
10 votes
4 answers
10k views

Blown out blue/red light making photos look out of focus

I've only recently started taking photos and got into shooting concerts in a small venue that has neither a pit, nor proper lighting. All they use is some kind of simple LED array. The thing is ...
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43 votes
9 answers
131k views

What is the difference between EF and EF-S lenses?

This is specific to Canon, but what is the difference between EF and EF-S lenses?
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  • 2,281
56 votes
7 answers
27k views

Why are Red, Green, and Blue the primary colors of light?

Colors don't have to be a mixture of red, green, and blue because visible light can be any wavelengths in the 390nm-700nm range. Do primary colors really exist in the real world? Or did we select red, ...
user avatar
  • 1,253
84 votes
11 answers
7k views

How much do lens lineups vary across DSLR platforms?

I was reading this question and recalled how often I hear the advice "choose your lenses and then choose the body that matches" in the context of deciding on a camera platform (Nikon/Canon/Pentax/Sony,...
user avatar
  • 10.7k
47 votes
20 answers
17k 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 ...
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  • 2,022
12 votes
4 answers
8k views

What is the relationship between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed?

I know digital cameras have ISO options, and that ISO is the camera's sensitivity to light, but if you set higher ISO then you can get a noisy image. I also know there are two other camera options, ...
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  • 149
11 votes
6 answers
11k views

Why do Full Frame lenses and crop body lenses exhibit the same crop factor when used on a crop body camera?

I have a Canon 7D, which has a crop factor of 1.6x. When using a Canon EF-S lens I get the focal length stated on the lens, when using a Canon EF lens I get the focal length times 1.6 when used on ...
user avatar
  • 417
17 votes
4 answers
6k views

What is the difference between perspective distortion and barrel or pincushion distortion?

I've heard of: perspective distortion barrel distortion pincushion distortion mustache distortion What are these different types of distortion, and how do they relate? What causes them, and can they ...
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  • 140k
29 votes
6 answers
13k views

Is there a difference between taking a far shot on a 50mm lens and a close shot on a 35mm lens?

I am looking for a prime lens to pick up, and I'm wondering if there is any difference between 35mm and 50mm in terms of the end product if I just stand back more with the 50mm. I use the Sony a6000 ...
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16 votes
4 answers
38k views

Why prefer the 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses vs 18-200mm?

There seems to be a preference for to have the 18 mm - 55 mm 55 mm - 250 mm lenses, but no mention of why they're better than a single 18-200mm. Could someone please explain why the two separate ...
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70 votes
14 answers
14k views

Is there any significant difference between Nikon and Canon?

I'm considering purchasing a DSLR for the first time here in the next couple of months. The two "big boys" seem to be Canon and Nikon. I've looked at both companies, and I can't really see significant ...
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  • 3,310
26 votes
3 answers
7k views

What are neutral density filters and how do I use them to create long exposures in daylight?

I've seen a few related posts on the site but nothing specifically on this point: I'd like to be able to take long exposure photos during daylight (like the examples in this Flickr group). I'm told ...
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20 votes
7 answers
63k views

Why do images get "corrupted"?

I have had my Nikon D40 for a while, and some of the pictures are coming out distorted. Two examples are below: So my questions are: How do I fix them after the fact? - i.e. after they have been ...
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78 votes
7 answers
469k views

How do I convert lens focal length (mm) to x-times optical zoom?

What is the rule to convert the 'mm' notation to the 'optical zoom' notation? I searched a bit and found this one: optical zoom = maximum focal length / minimum focal length For example a 18-55mm ...
user avatar
  • 2,146
35 votes
8 answers
27k views

Is there any practical difference between saving at 300ppi or 72ppi?

I often see statements in discussions about web displayed image quality that go something like this: "I only upload pictures at 72 dpi and 1200 pixels on the long edge, so if someone copies and prints ...
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  • 167k
53 votes
8 answers
10k views

Do megapixels matter with modern sensor technology?

Are more megapixels good? Are more megapixels bad? Do more megapixels increase detail? Do they make my images sharper? On the other side, is there a point that is too much? Do megapixels cause ...
user avatar
  • 140k
39 votes
15 answers
11k views

What is the best way to clean the sensor on a interchangeable lens camera (mirrorless or digital SLR)?

I've got a couple of spots of dust on the sensor of my Canon 20D. A rocket blower isn't shifting them, and I'm ridiculously scared of some of the more direct methods for cleaning sensors — what ...
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  • 15.7k
42 votes
3 answers
12k views

What does it really mean that telephoto lenses "flatten" scenes?

This is another perspective distortion question. I understand that perspective distortion is primarily a function of capture and viewing distance, but I am still working on fully understanding the ...
user avatar
  • 585
95 votes
4 answers
16k views

What does an unprocessed RAW file look like?

I know people use fancy software like Lightroom or Darktable to post-process their RAW files. But what if I don't? What does the file look like, just, y'know, RAW?
user avatar
  • 140k
56 votes
5 answers
24k views

What methods can be used to micro-adjust autofocus of a camera body to a particular lens?

I have a Canon 7D with a 50mm f/1.4 lens, and I think the auto-focus of the lens is off. How can I test and adjust this reliably? Will this approach work with all of my lenses? If I had a different ...
user avatar
  • 1,993
50 votes
3 answers
9k views

What image-quality characteristics make a lens good or bad?

When reading lens reviews on the Internet, I often find subjective statements about the image quality that a lens produces, such as "good contrast" or "sharp". The problem is that I don't think I am ...
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