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Pet and wildlife photography thread

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
Have some more:

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CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
Damn, you guys and your exotic animals, bugs and macro lenses. >.<

What? You don't like lemurs, tigers and bugs? :3

Also, bird ass:

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CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
I love lemurs, tigers, and bugs...

And the bird's ass.

I just wish I had a macro-er lens. :v

I actually shot most of that stuff with a tele lens from 1988 and a 50mm standard prime :p
The butterflies I shot with a macro lens though. But I'm actually planning to replace that lens soon. It's a 40mm lens which SUCKS for macro. To get to 1:1 magnification you pretty much have to crawl up the butterfly's urethra >__> That's how close you need to get...
 

Rekel

A Professional Expert
All I have right now is a 24-105L (not sure if you're a Canon person). At 105mm I can focus on something as little as 8 inches away, but its max ratio is 1:4, so... not exactly macro. :c
 

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
(not sure if you're a Canon person)

Naa, I like to buy good cameras :V
But in all seriousness, I do have my reasons why I chose Nikon over Canon^^ One of them is that old professional Nikon lenses are less expensive than older Canon lenses of the same age and quality.
For example my 25 years old 80-200mm f/2.8 AF ED that cost me 240€ gives me the same image quality as the new 70-200mm f/2.8G VRII which costs 1800€.
The Canon equivalent, the 80-200mm f/2.8 L IS, which is also 25 years old, costs around 800€. For that money I can get a used Nikon 70-200mm f/4 VR, which is also fantastic and around 2 years old, just to put it into perspective.
And secondly, their consumer lenses are also much cheaper. Canon doesn't even offer an inexpensive 35mm f/1.8 prime :p Nikon has one for APS-C cameras for 180€. To be fair though, the full frame version of that lens, the 35mm f1.8G ED, costs 600€ which is totally overpriced...


1:4 isn't bad. To my knowledge a lens can be classified as a macro lens when it has a reproduction ratio of at least 1:4.
And that is a nice lens overall, too. On which body are you using it?
 

Rekel

A Professional Expert
Yeaaaaaah, Canon is spendy... I kinda looked at it as both companies being about the same (I have absolutely nothing against Nikon), but I just happened to begin my investment in Canon.

I use the 6D, which kind of goes with what you're saying -- the D600 is basically the same camera but slightly superior in different ways, and it actually costs a little less I believe. Surprisingly enough, though, the whole WiFi thing with the 6D is quite useful for me, and the main reason I bought the camera was for film school (haven't heard of the D600 having any raw video capabilities).

I really like the 24-105, because it covers pretty much everything you need (basically) except shooting very far away or very, very close. Plus, it's not the best thing for lower light since it's max aperture only f/4. And don't get me wrong, it can shoot pretty close, especially with the cropping capabilities of 20mp. I just want to be even closer and get that super bokeh. :v

I'm also not a pro or anything like that, so I'm still learning here and there. :p
 

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
Canon is more popular right now so people are willing to spend more money on that brand. Naturally Canon reacts to that by keeping the prices higher :p
Comparing Canon and Nikon is always difficult. Canon has always been better for video and in my opinion Nikon is better for stills.
For example, if you compare the D600/D610 and the 6D that becomes very obvious. The D600/D610 has a bigger viewfinder (100% pentaprism vs. 94% pentaprism in the 6D), more AF points (39 with 9 crosstype vs. 11 with 1 crosstype) , a higher burst rate (6fps vs. 4.5 fps) and a higher resolution (24mp vs. 20mp). And while the D600 and D610 can't go to ISO 102,400 (who needs that anyway?!) it has the better high ISO perfomance overall because it handles the noise better.

On the other hand the 6D has better AF in live view mode (and thus also during filming) and RAW video, which the D600 and D610 don't have. Canon also makes some STM lenses with a stepping motor which is just awesome for video!
The 6D and the D610 both cost around 1200€ here right now by the way. So as far as the price goes they are pretty much the same right now.

Personally I am a still shooter. I haven't even touched the video mode of my camera so far... I also don't even have a full frame DSLR, my D7000 is an APS-C DSLR. But I don't care about that too much because I don't need those stupidly high ISOs!^^

So yeah, both great companies but in my my opinion Nikon is the way to go for stills and those who might be on a tighter budget and Canon is great for video.
 

Chuchi

Where'd the time go?
I am nowhere near as knowledgeable about cameras as everyone else is, but for what little it's worth, out of the digital cameras I've owned in the past, the Nikon I currently have is my favorite. I agree with CaptainCool that it is the go-to for stills. The video is pretty ok, if you don't expect anything amazing. My camera is not one of the high end pro ones, it's just the Coolpix S8000, but I love it and my experience with it has convinced me to stick along with Nikons.

Also, dat burd butt!
 

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
I am nowhere near as knowledgeable about cameras as everyone else is, but for what little it's worth, out of the digital cameras I've owned in the past, the Nikon I currently have is my favorite. I agree with CaptainCool that it is the go-to for stills. The video is pretty ok, if you don't expect anything amazing. My camera is not one of the high end pro ones, it's just the Coolpix S8000, but I love it and my experience with it has convinced me to stick along with Nikons.

Also, dat burd butt!

Well, I was more talking about DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. In that segment the differences between models and manufacturers are more noticable.
The Coolpix S8000 is a compact camera and those are all much more similar to each other, even between manufacturers.
There are exceptions to that like the high-end compact cameras but in the budget and midrange segments there really are no huge differences.
I'm not trying to talk down on you because "you only have a compact camera and I have an awesome DSLR!" but because that's just how it is with compact cameras^^ The manufacturers are on pretty equal footing in that segment so the products are all the same.

The Coolpix S8000 is a great compact one though! :3
 

Chuchi

Where'd the time go?
Well, I was more talking about DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. In that segment the differences between models and manufacturers are more noticable.
The Coolpix S8000 is a compact camera and those are all much more similar to each other, even between manufacturers.
There are exceptions to that like the high-end compact cameras but in the budget and midrange segments there really are no huge differences.
I'm not trying to talk down on you because "you only have a compact camera and I have an awesome DSLR!" but because that's just how it is with compact cameras^^ The manufacturers are on pretty equal footing in that segment so the products are all the same.

The Coolpix S8000 is a great compact one though! :3

No, I completely get what you're saying, and I wasn't trying to put any input on any high-end cameras, I'm very ignorant about them! I just wanted to chuck my 2-cents in about Nikons, as I've experienced them. ^^ Really the only exposure I've had with more complicated cameras is what I've played with in the stores. X3 I've always been kind of curious about DSLRs but I really wouldn't know where to start and I don't find myself with much opportunity to do more serious photography, so I've just stayed with casual stuff, if that makes any sense. But thank you for clarifying!
 

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
No, I completely get what you're saying, and I wasn't trying to put any input on any high-end cameras, I'm very ignorant about them! I just wanted to chuck my 2-cents in about Nikons, as I've experienced them. ^^ Really the only exposure I've had with more complicated cameras is what I've played with in the stores. X3 I've always been kind of curious about DSLRs but I really wouldn't know where to start and I don't find myself with much opportunity to do more serious photography, so I've just stayed with casual stuff, if that makes any sense. But thank you for clarifying!

The thing about DSLRs is that they give you more control. A point and shoot camera does almost everything for you but on a DSLR you can set everything manually. That is the biggest difference :p
You can use a DSLR just like a compact camera. Set it to auto mode and you are good to go. But the manual controls are there if you need them or if you want to learn more about how to take an image :3
 

Chuchi

Where'd the time go?
The thing about DSLRs is that they give you more control. A point and shoot camera does almost everything for you but on a DSLR you can set everything manually. That is the biggest difference :p
You can use a DSLR just like a compact camera. Set it to auto mode and you are good to go. But the manual controls are there if you need them or if you want to learn more about how to take an image :3

Ah, alright. Would you say getting used to or learning about the individual manual controls is difficult without any form of training/education? As in, is it kind of a "play around with it to learn" scenario or would you suggest formal introduction to the various functions? I would love to go out and take some of these bitchin' good pictures, such as wildlife and environment, and I live in Finland so there's no shortage of trees or plants for me to photograph. X3 Even some of the different settings on just the compact camera I don't know much about, so I am intimidated by the level of control a DSLR presents. But, then again, I said the same thing about Photoshop and Flash and with enough drive, I've learned my way through them.

And thank you, by the way, for taking the time to answer my questions. I know I'm very ignorant about this, but I am taking things away from it. ^^
 

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
Ah, alright. Would you say getting used to or learning about the individual manual controls is difficult without any form of training/education? As in, is it kind of a "play around with it to learn" scenario or would you suggest formal introduction to the various functions? I would love to go out and take some of these bitchin' good pictures, such as wildlife and environment, and I live in Finland so there's no shortage of trees or plants for me to photograph. X3 Even some of the different settings on just the compact camera I don't know much about, so I am intimidated by the level of control a DSLR presents. But, then again, I said the same thing about Photoshop and Flash and with enough drive, I've learned my way through them.

And thank you, by the way, for taking the time to answer my questions. I know I'm very ignorant about this, but I am taking things away from it. ^^

A lot of it is trial and error and experience. For example, one of the most important aspects of photography is to learn to judge lighting conditions. Basic composition is also something you need to get a good feeling for.
But you also need to learn about a lot of stuff. There is the exposure triangle for example. By that I mean how shutter speed, aperture (the hole in the lens that the light has to pass through) and ISO work together. You have to learn how changing one of these three affects the other two and how it affects your image.
Then there is the focal length of the lens. Different focal length have different effects on the image.
For example, a wideangle lens (everything shorter than about 35mm) pronounces the depth of your image. Things that are far away actually look like they are far away.
If you take the same image with a telephoto lens (everything longer than about 70mm) compresses the image. The background is pulled closer to the subject and usually also blown out and not sharp (you probably know the bokeh effect).
This is an example for that: http://www.depth-of-field.com/blog/images/wideangle/Travis_WideTight.jpg
On the left is a shot with a wide angle lens. The background seems further away. And on the right is the shot with a tele lens. Everything looks compressed and almost like it's about on the same plane. This is better for portraits because it isolates the subject and the image also looks less distorted.
Everything between about 35mm and 70mm counts as a "normal" focal length. As in it's kind of close to how we see the world.

Naturally you also have to learn what all the buttons and settings on your camera do.

It's not an easy hobby and most definitely not as easy as many people claim it to be. It's about more than just pressing a button :3
 

Chuchi

Where'd the time go?
A lot of it is trial and error and experience. For example, one of the most important aspects of photography is to learn to judge lighting conditions. Basic composition is also something you need to get a good feeling for.
But you also need to learn about a lot of stuff. There is the exposure triangle for example. By that I mean how shutter speed, aperture (the hole in the lens that the light has to pass through) and ISO work together. You have to learn how changing one of these three affects the other two and how it affects your image.
Then there is the focal length of the lens. Different focal length have different effects on the image.
For example, a wideangle lens (everything shorter than about 35mm) pronounces the depth of your image. Things that are far away actually look like they are far away.
If you take the same image with a telephoto lens (everything longer than about 70mm) compresses the image. The background is pulled closer to the subject and usually also blown out and not sharp (you probably know the bokeh effect).
This is an example for that: http://www.depth-of-field.com/blog/images/wideangle/Travis_WideTight.jpg
On the left is a shot with a wide angle lens. The background seems further away. And on the right is the shot with a tele lens. Everything looks compressed and almost like it's about on the same plane. This is better for portraits because it isolates the subject and the image also looks less distorted.
Everything between about 35mm and 70mm counts as a "normal" focal length. As in it's kind of close to how we see the world.

Naturally you also have to learn what all the buttons and settings on your camera do.

It's not an easy hobby and most definitely not as easy as many people claim it to be. It's about more than just pressing a button :3

Thank you very much for the insight! Perhaps in time, I will try my own hand at this, but I have much to learn!
 

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
No problem^^

It took me about two years to get where I am now. But I still have much to learn as well :p
 

Rekel

A Professional Expert
There is the exposure triangle for example. By that I mean how shutter speed, aperture and ISO work together.

And to add to that, there's the effect each one has. Smaller aperture = deeper depth of field, lower ISO = cleaner image and higher shutter speed = a more "still" image (less motion blur). Then there's vignetting, lens flares, center sharpness and all that jazz.

Also, CaptainCool, I would agree with what you have said about Nikon vs. Canon, but I simply have no experience with Nikon, especially in the still-photos aspect. So I can't relate -- I do, however, believe you. :p

Taking photos is great fun until I get some more equipment, but I'm a movie guy. The literal reason I grabbed a Canon DSLR for video was because I saw Act of Valor in theaters and was thoroughly impressed with the high level of detail and sharpness in that movie, so I googled what kind of camera they used (turned out to be a 5D II) and found out it wasn't outrageously priced. After being introduced to this line of cameras, I learned about the advantages of DSLR film-making and was hooked.

EDIT: The 6D actually has a 97% viewfinder, but hey -- it ain't 100%, so it ain't good enough. :v

EDIT 2: Also, just thought I'd throw it out there that I really like your work. I'mma watch you. o.o
 
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CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
Right. The exposure triangle in itself and the effects of each component of it are very important.
Vignetting and lens flares aren't really such a big thing in my opinion. Vignetting can usually be removed very easily through editing software and most lenses come with a lens hood so as long as you don't take shots of the sun everything should be ok^^

The thing with Nikon and stills is that, at least in my opinion, the sensors that they use handle the noise in a more pleasing way. From my experience the noise with Canon cameras looks more "digital" while the noise with Nikon cameras looks more similar to film grain. Not exactly like that, just similar.
And as I said, some features are more geared towards stills than videos. For example, my D7000 that I bought for 450€ has more AF points than your 6D and the 5D Mk II combined^^
But there is a reason why Canon is so popular with video people. The other option would be the Panasonic GH3 and GH4. Those are currently pretty much the best enthusiast video cameras you can buy! Especially the new GH4 because it has amazing 4k capabilities.

The 6D doesn't have 100% but since it's a full frame DSLR the viewfinder is still a little bigger^^
But the 6D also only has one slot for an SD card... My D7000 and all other Nikon enthusiast cameras have two slots. Either two SD slots or one SD and one CF. Since Canon is so popular with video people I really don't understand that o_O

And thanks a lot, I'll return the favor :3
 

Rekel

A Professional Expert
Yeah, the 11 point AF thing is a bit of a downer... especially since only one is cross-type. I mean, I barely shoot and I've had it focus on the wrong thing quite a bit. xD My next step up would be the 5DIII, which has 61 points (41 cross-type). But, hey, I'm not going to spend an extra $1500+ just for a fancy AF system I won't even use much. The 5DIII also has a built-in aliasing filter -- the 6D doesn't and in turn it produces pretty bad moire in video. Moire that can be solved with an external filter for $400. Sigh, money, money, money, money.

The single SD slot is another downer. Two SD slots isn't any better for me, but lacking CF slots means a slower writing speed, which is very important for shooting RAW video. I'm limited in that respect, but not enough to really set me behind.

Yeah, the GH4... It came out after I got my camera. It costs the same as mine and has LOADS more detail in video. On the bright side, though, I have full-frame (which has actually been a HUGE help thus far), crazy ISO and a billion lenses. :p Obviously I don't have the best thing on the planet, especially for what I paid ($2300), so Nikon's got that stuff figured out it seems. Buuuut, eh... video, bro. Not to mention Magic Lantern has some BADASS features.
 
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CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
In my opinion the AF points are actually a huge disadvantage of all full frame cameras, be it Nikon or Canon^^ Because on the APS-C cameras the points are spread over a larger portion of the viewfinder than on 35mm cameras. It's not as bad on the more professional models but in the consumer segment that can be a problem.

As a stills shooter I don't even really need the 2 slots. I have two 16gb SD cards in my D7000 and so far I only managed once to fill one of them completely in one day. That was when I got my 80-200mm f/2.8 and tested it at the zoo^^

Every camera has its pros and cons^^ Your 6D is still mainly a still camera that is just really good at video stuff, the GH4 is geared towards videography but still pretty capable when it comes to stills.
 

Chuchi

Where'd the time go?
Thank you, Rekel, for your additional input. :3

One of the big things I'm interested in taking pictures of is birds and also stars. After doing a bit of reading online, as much as my flu would allow me to actually retain, I've begun to look into different cameras and gather information regarding photography nomenclature. The first steps to establishing the hobby, I think. I've also done some research regarding pricing and, while actually purchasing a camera is a ways off for me, I can learn all I can in the meanwhile. I've always been really intimidated by the knowledge required to take great photos, as I've only ever been a layman, as well as how expensive such a hobby can run. But I'm in a more secure place in my life and I can actually begin to reconsider such pursuits, so I thank you guys for rekindling that interest in me. ^^
 

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
You are very welcome :3

You did choose two things that can be pretty difficult though... When you say birds, do you mean birds in the wild? Like actual birding? I don't want to intimidate you but for that kind of thing a rather extreme telephoto lens is kind of mandatory. I have a 200mm lens right now and even that is barely enough for taking pictures at the zoo where the animals don't get scared and run away. When you go birding your lens needs to be as long as possible so you don't scare the birds, and unfortunately ultralelephoto lenses are quite expensive.
To my knowledge the cheapest lenses that get you actually useful results are the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 (around 700 bucks), the Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 (also around 700 bucks) and the new Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 (around 1 grand and I have heard good things about it). If you look for a lens that is not from a thirdparty manufacturer but instead made by Nikon or Canon those lenses easily cost more than 1 grand. Like the new Nikon 400mm f/2.8 FL VR? 12 grand. $11,999.95 to be exact. It's insane! XD
Those lenses are also very heavy. When you take something like that with you you usually have a bag for your camera and one bag just for the lens!^^

With stars you mean astrophotography, right? That is also rather tough depending on how you want to do it. If you want to take shots of the milky way or the moon you just need a tripod, a fast (with a big maximum aperture) wideangle lens and a tele lens. I've done that, that's not too difficult^^
But if you want to shoot things like nebulas like this? That requires a lot of skill, patience and special equipment.
The lens isn't really that important in this case. A good and fast lens just makes it easier. The camera itself is the limiting factor here! That is because in astrophotography you need to take very long exposures. Some times hours instead of something like 1/200s in regular photography. And the issue with that is that when you take an image for that long the camera gets hot. And a hot camera produces a LOT of noise. So you have to modify the camera with a cooler to keep the sensor and processor cold, which looks like this.
You then also need a special tripod with a star tracker. Depending on what you buy these can also easily cost many hundred bucks. I have yet to find a cheap solution for that.
 
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