Not the greatest camera since it was designed by a lens company but Sigma is the only manufacturer to use the Foveon sensor. Low light sucks, but that's not the strength of it's sensor. Landscape shot color rendition is spectacular, and the IR filter is removable.
Hi all, first post on CPF - looking forward to some LED projects but I stumbled across this camera thread! I've been interested in photography ever since I was little. Been shooting semi-professionally for about 10 years now, mostly sports and event photography, and have collected lots of gear over the years. Shooting landscapes and HDR panoramas are what I really love to do though. I am starting to get some prints made and my work shown locally. Here's my gear - some of it, anyway...
Nikon D810, D600 backup. Still have my D70 from 2004 too And an F5 that I don't think I will ever sell.
Nikon 14-24mm :twothumbs, 24-70mm, 70-200mm lenses
Some assorted primes - 24mm/1.4 (import) for night photography
Gitzo tripod and RRS pano heads
Homemade GPS unit for Nikon w/10-pin cable
For events and stuff-
Nikon SB-800 flash - still going strong after 10 years
3 cheapie manual flashes, stands, umbrellas, etc.
And lots of cheapie import wireless triggers for events and remote setups
I've never really been deep into cameras but I always have something basic to take my equipment and beam shots. Current is an older Canon 5Sis. I've toyed with the idea of getting something a little better but it was not a priority. I volunteer at a thrift store and an excellent physical condition Canon EOS500D/Rebel T1i came in. It came with the Canon EF 50mm lens and a Sigma 18-200mm 1:3.5-6.3 lens. None of these has Image Stabilization from what I can tell - there's no OS or IS markings on them as shown on other pics on the camera review sites. There are about 8 filters, a wired and wireless remote controls and some other misc stuff with it plus a couple of cases. They priced it at $125 so I picked it up after some brief searches on Ebay for its' value. Similar packages recently actually sold on Ebay for around $350.00 The reviews from back in the 2009 era seem to be pretty much positive. Everything works great as far as I can tell. Can you experts out there chime in on what I got?
Would I want to get another small lens for low light/indoor shots?
My understanding is that the Sigma is about 11-12 X's zoom. What if I wanted to jump to a 15 or 20X, "better" to "best" quality zoom? I was into telescopes so I know you don't get something for nothing in that all things being equal -more zoom = more grainy/less sharp. So good glass is important when looking at zoom lenses. From my back deck, I can see Whales breaching quite a few months out of the year. It would be nice to be able to get them really close. I have a heavy weight capacity Manfrotto 055XB tripod and a Manfrotto 128RC Pan/Tilt head so I'm covered in that department.
For HD video, this cam will do 1080P at 20 Frames Per second - too bad it's not at least 24 for film-like or 30 for std HD. This purchase has sort of raised my interest and I wonder if I might sell the body and Canon lens and pick up something a little newer with full 30 FPS HD video and maybe a little bigger sensor?
You're in luck in the lens department, as Canon has one particular lens that is singularly unique in the camera world; a 400mm super telephoto for ~$1,000. The good news is that it's remarkably sharp and an unbelievable bang-for-the-buck deal, the bad news is that it's prime - it's 400mm only, no zooming in or out. That kind of reach on other platforms is usually twice the price though.
1080 video is old news on current cameras, my compact Sony will do it at 60 fps, 4K is becoming more common. A modern version of your camera with all the timely feature upgrades is only ~$500, full-frame models start at ~$1,100.
Edit: Should also mention, your camera is crop-sensor, so when using full-frame lenses, you must multiply 1.6 to the focal range; the 400mm lens mentioned above would be 640mm.
If the filters are cpl (circular polarization) or neutral density filters, don't ditch them. Once you become more advanced with you photography, you will probably find some use for them (whether you use Lightroom or not).
Would you want to get another lens for low light/indoor? That is up to your own needs and desires. So, explore your camera and make your decisions then. If you do, I can give 2 suggestions. First of all, I suppose the prime is 50mm 1.8? It sells for something like $100 new or $50 used. Don't sell it. Considering its price, it is a rather good and fast low budget prime to accompany with a cheap zoom. It is a bit tight for indoor photos but once you use it, you'll find out if you need something wider. If you do, I could suggest Sigma 17-50/f2.8 that I personally have (or the same lens from Tamron). It is pretty good, relatively fast, comes with image stabilization and you can get it for less than $300.
My understanding is that the Sigma is about 11-12 X's zoom. What if I wanted to jump to a 15 or 20X, "better" to "best" quality zoom
Your Sigma already has quite a wide zoom range. There are not many lenses that cover a wider range. You should ask yourself what you mean by "better" or "best". If you mean wider zoom range, Sigma, Tamron and Canon have some 18-300 (or so) lenses that cost something like $600 and up. On the other hand, if by better you mean better image quality, you should look for shorter zoom range lenses (or even better, primes).
I am not familiar with tele lenses so I don't comment them. Regarding to the video, taking sharp video shoots with a DSLR is not easy at all, unless it is a scene where you can keep the same focusing distance all the time. Before buying another DSLR for video purposes, I suggest you to try it first with your current camera. You could also explore open source firmware named Magic Lantern. I think it should enable 24 and 30 fps with 500D.
Another things that you could consider is a speedlite. Be sure that it has a rotating head (you want to bounce the light from e.g. ceiling) and e-TTL (automatic power adjustment). You could get a Yongnuo for something like $70.
+1 for a speedlight; did my Christmas pictures this year with a ceiling-bounced Yongnuo 560IV on a tripod moved around the room as needed, got studio-clear pics in a space that usually has only a camera-unfriendly trickle of warm light. Very pleased with my $60 investment.
Thanks for all the tips and suggestions. In playing around in the last two days, I have noticed that when in max zoom, the Auto focus is not providing the sharpest focus. I determined this by taking identical shots first when the auto focus finishes its adjustment, snapping the shot and then by switching to manual focus, moving the ring more towards its' max infinity stop and taking the same shot. To describe how much, - in auto focus, there are about 8 knurls of the ring travel left before the stop. When taking over from that position in manual, I have to move the ring about 3 knurls towards the stop for the sharpest focus. Any further movement seems to net the same sharp result. (There are 27 knurls in 90 degrees of circular movement so I'm having to adjust about 10 more degrees) For both shots, I'm mounted to the beefy tripod and pan/tilt head with all locks secured. I'm using the wired remote to snap the shot and I wait about 15 seconds after touching the camera before I shoot so all vibrations are settled. The Pismo Beach Pier target is approx 4,200 feet distant. I have the auto focus set to focus at the central dot/zone only, no peripheral focus points. (Although similar tests with more focus zones enabled netted the same result) The camera mode is in full automatic. In the frame, there are no closer objects to mis-focus on. I know the lens makes the adjustments but is it the camera that determines the adjustment necessary or is that also done in the lens? I've tried this 4 times with the same result. It's consistent.
I have not tried the same experiment with lesser zooms on this lens or with the 50mm lens. I will do that to see the result. I'm having fun tinkering!
A side question on zoom numbers: If my target is 5000 feet distant and I am using a 12X's zoom, is the "apparent" camera position 416 feet away from the target as portrayed in the resulting photo? (5000 / 12) I think the "12" means that the target is magnified 12 times but does that mean the distance is divided by 12 also?
Auto focusing objects at infinity is a mixed bag; the camera determines the focus, but as focal distance goes up, the amount of light available and thus contrast goes down, which can confuse the AF. Your best bet for anything still at a distance is manual focus, especially if your camera has the Focus Peaking feature, which will give you best results.
I have no clue about magnification numbers, camera folk use 35mm-equivalent focal range numbers.
ok, that lets me know there's probably nothing wrong with the camera, which was my concern. I completely understand how the loss of light, contrast and resolution as magnification is increased can make it more difficult for the camera to focus.
Somebody on a camera forum answered a question that was similar to yours regarding magnification numbers, so I'm apologizing if that was you; The magnification number listed on any device is only relative to what its base/shortest focal length is - if it's listed as "10x" and the base zoom is 35mm, then it maxes out at 350mm. So the x number can't be used to compare actual max zoom capability between devices, it only gives you an idea of the total telephoto range of the lens used.
You can create your own objective, comparable magnification number by extrapolating from the focal length of the human eye, 50mm: a lens that zooms to 150mm is 3x the magnification of your vision. But again you have to factor in the sensor size/if the lens numbers are "35mm equivalent." The 400mm lens mentioned above is indeed 8x on a full frame camera, but that's with 1.6 times the sensor area of your camera - you're cropping to 640mm, or 12.8x.
I currently shoot using a Nikon D3000 with an 18-55mm kit lens. It has worked quite well for me, and has been to multiple countries (including combat zones while I was in the military) and has held up far better than I'd expected. I am finally getting around to purchasing a new bit of equipment, though it will be March sometime before I get it. I am purchasing a Nikon D3300 (still old, I know, but it IS an upgrade for me) along with a Sigma 17-70mm f2.8 lens.