Shooting in raw

raw is not an acronym.

Although many people write it as ‘RAW’, it doesn’t stand for anything. Unlike ‘jpeg’, raw is not even a single file type. Raw refers to the file of unadulterated raw data that comes from a camera’s sensor.

How are raw files made?

Individual photosites (microscopic red, green and blue sensing dots gather varying amounts and different colours of light  on the sensor and turn them into electrical signals.

Photosites record the light and send an electronic signal that becomes the raw data
A microscope image I took of the photosites on a camera sensor at 10x magnification.

The camera’s processor reads these  electronic signal, storing them on the memory card as a raw file.

In most cameras, photosites are set in a Bayer Pattern, a pattern of red, green and blue dots. That pattern approximates the proportions of red, green and blue light-sensitive cones on your retina in your eye.

The Bayer Pattern

An analogy

Imagine these photosites as tiny cups that fill up with light. With no light they are black with a numerical value of 0. Filled to the brim they are white with a numerical value of 255. (There are 256 shades of grey including black and white, not 50!) Mixing these tones  with Red, Green and Blue (RGB) creates all the colours that go to make up your photograph.

As the exposure to light increases, so the brightness of the resulting pixels increases

So, what’s the difference between raw and a jpeg (.jpg)?

In days of old, we took photos using film cameras; film photography is increasing in popularity again, which is great. Films were sent away in colourful, pre-paid envelopes to KwikFotoPrintz, or similalry badly spelt photographic laboratories. They developed the film to create a negative. From that negative they would produce prints, exposing photosensitive paper to light that was shone through the negative. Processing the paper in chemical baths to develop the image, the Laboratory applied a standard process to all the thousands of photos that arrived in those envelopes.

If you had your own  dark room, you could develop your own negatives and then process your own prints. You had control over the process and therefore more control over how the prints appeared.

Think of raw files as being the negatives and jpegs the prints.

What happens in your camera

Teams of extremely clever technicians work in laboratories, probably in Japan. They decided how your photos should look depending upon its mixture of colours and tones and upon which art filter or effect you applied. They programme your camera to develop and process all your photos, plus everyone else’s who has a camera like yours, according to how they think your image should look. This is the digital equivalent of KwikFotoPrintz.

If you save solely jpegs in your camera, the raw data travels into the processor, gets developed automatically using the technicians’ settings. Only the relevent information needed to create that jpeg is extracted and used. The rest is discarded and lost forever.

(There are other picture file types available, but I am using jpeg as an example throughout this post as it is the most widely used and most familiar.)

A note on raw file types

Every camera’s raw file is different and each manufatcurer used separate filke extensions. Olympus uses .orf, Nikon .NEF, Canon .CR3, Pentax .PRF, Panasonic RW2 and Sony ARW, SRF and SR2.

Adobe created what it hoped would be a universally compatible raw file, .DNG. This hasn’t been adopted by any of the big brands but they provide a free DNG converter which will turn any other raw file into a DNG file. This improves compatibility in certain cirumstances, e.g. if you have old software and it does not recognise your new camera’s raw file.

Before and After

The jpeg made by your camera is likely to be an excellent looking picture. It is stored on the memory card and the raw data is then discarded. That is akin to throwing away the negative. In that deletion, a lot of unused data is lost That is data that could be needed if you wanted to make a different version of the image, but it’s gone. The jpeg is also compressed to make it relatively small, univerally compatible and easy to share. Even more data is lost in that process.

That’s all very fine if you are happy with the results straight out of camera (often abreviated as SOOC). But, if you want to adjust the image to appear how you want it to look, you no longer have all that now-lost data to work with.

If you shoot raw. all the raw data is stored on the memory card and, like a film negative, it’s there for you to use over and over.

Leaf Straight out of camera
This image of a leaf straight out of camera (SOOC) is a bit flat and calling out for development.
Black and white raw development
Developed in raw and converted to black and white, it becomes a more interesting image.

Previewing a raw file

Raw files do generate an image to preview; a jpeg built into the raw file. That’s what you see on your camera’s LCD display.   The embedded jpegs are only accessible by your camera brand’s own software plus some image viewing programmes. That preview shows you how the image would look if you created a jpeg using the settings you applied by the camera or it’s manufacturer’s software.

Third party raw development software cannot be access the previews, they generate thier own which will display any changes made using them. These previews are stored in the programmes’ databases and not in the raw file.

Indestructable!

You have the option of developing a raw file how you like, as many times as you like. These adjustments are non-destructive. Each time you adjust a raw file you can create a jpeg from that set of adjustments in much the same way your camera does. The original raw file is retained unchanged to be used over and over again.

developing in raw
I had deliberately applied under-exposure to this image, and by develpoing in raw I was able to accentuate the contrast between the sunlit grass and the darker background

Developing raw files

Raw files are unique to each camera and the software needs updating for use with newer cameras. If you buy a new camera, you may need to update your software.

Historically, Adobe ruled the roost with Adobe Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop and then later with Lightroom. When they issued new versions of the software, they stopped updating the old versions so they became incompatible with new cameras; you had to buy the software again. They  since changed to a subscription only model. Some people balk at  the idea of paying a relatively expensive rental fee.

There are free programs such as Lightzone.  These are clunky in comparison to the Adobe products, but nevertheless produce good results. Apple has its own Apple Photos, but this is very limited in its functionality.

Of course the camera manufacturers produce their own raw development software and some charge for it and others do not.

There are also a host of other programmes, some inexpensive and others that charge bank-breaking fees. They vary in quality accordingly and include: DxO Optics Pro, Phase One Capture One Pro, Affinity Photo and…

On1 Photo Raw 2018 – my raw recommendation

I don’t often make recommendations for cameras or software, but on this occasion I shall.

I’ll also declare an interest. If you follow the link and download the free trial of the software, from this week I’ll get paid a commission, which goes towards helping me maintain this site. But, I have only approached On1 for this affiliation because I think the software is excellent; I’ve been shouting about it in my Northumberland Gazette column for a long time and they have supported that with free copies for competition prizes. If I create any other affiliations in the future it is solely because I’ll happily recommend the company and their products.

Download a free trial of On1 Photo Raw 2018 here.

On1 Photo Raw 2018
On1 Photo Raw 2018

Apart from the raw development tool, On1 also includes an excellent cataloguing system, a fast browser and image editing tools. Give the free trial a go and try some of their excellent tutorial videos.

If you are already a Lightroom user, ON1 created a tool to allow you to transfer your catalogue from Lightroom to On1 Photo Raw 2018.

How do I learn to develop raw files?

There are a host of ways of learning to develop raw files. The software manufacturers produce their own tutorials and there are independent tutorials on Vimeo and Youtube. Photography magazines often have simple explanations and there are books and manuals available to buy. Some professional photographers, including me, run workshops and courses.

There’s too much to learn for me to run through the settings here, but my general advice is ‘be gentle with the adjustments.’

Metadata

The raw file doesn’t only contain the image data. The metadata from your camera (e.g. the camera make and model, the date, GPS information, exposure settings, file number etc,) and details of what settings you applied to the image in the camera also comprise the raw file. You can also add your own metadata, such as your name, address and copyright information.

And Finally

There is a big difference between developing an image and editing it. There are also situations when you should not change the image and moral considerations too.

Developing a raw image is akin to putting a negative into an enlarger and applying different darkroom techniques to produce prints that look the way you want. Most development work I do is increasing the details in the shadows and highlights and boosting contrast. I also convert to black and white. I sometimes edit photos. For example, I removed an acne spot from the face of a bridesmaid at a wedding shoot. Nobody apart from the bride noticed it and the bride was really happy I had done it.

Some people object to even raw development. They think that we should be stuck with the SOOC image, in much the same way as a Polaroid camera produced a print over which we had no control. I disagree! Good though they are, why should we be stuck with the development decided for us by the clever technicians on the other side of the planet?

If you are providing images for a criminal investigation, then adjusting an image would be tampering with evidence; a criminal offence. Raw was first invented as a tamper-proof file for the purposes of providing evidence. Likewise, if you are recording an event for news purposes, then you also must provide an accurate record.

However, most of us are creating art. Developing the image is part of the artistic process. Develop away!

I hope you found this post and my other posts useful. If you did, please do share it with others so they can read it too. I also enjoy your comments and questions.

 

A long time ago in a cinema far, far away…

Do you need a formal photographic education?

Have you heard of the late Gilbert Taylor?

A long time ago in a cinema far, far away… well, 40-years ago this summer at an Odeon in Norwich, my big sister started my photographic education when she took me to see Star Wars. Spellbound by every aspect of the film, the young me was captivated especially by its visual style. That was the work of self-taught cinematographer Gilbert Taylor. He was also Director of Photography for Ice Cold in Alex, A Hard Day’s Night, Flash Gordon and Doctor Strangelove. Watch one of Taylor’s films and you’ll see the magic he put into lighting and composition.

I can’t watch television or go to the cinema without noticing, and then learning from, the cinematographer’s work. As well as taking photos for a living, I deliver training to my clients, which I love, so I am always learning; keeping up to date. Besides analysing films, I read books, magazines, photographers’ blogs and tutorials. I watch documentaries and academic lectures. Plus, I am always trying new techniques and pushing my boundaries.

Star Wars droid R2D2 was part of my photographic education

Formal Photographic Courses – Are They Right for me?

There are formal qualifications in photography. A-level art has a photographic route. In the UK, National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are delivered by a host of providers, NCFE being the awarding body. City and Guilds provide similar courses but they are not renewing their photography accreditation and their courses will soon cease to exist.

The NVQ Level 3 Certificate is an accredited course that takes upwards of 260 hours to complete. Promoted as a step towards getting employment in commercial photography, the Level 3 Diploma is more demanding, requiring at least 730 hours of study. A degree is most likely to get you employed in that highly competitive career and the NVQ can be a stepping stone into that field. However, they don’t offer a great gateway into employment.

The NVQ route may suit some who like a formal, rigid structure even if they are not looking for work. There are some excellent academic providers of both tutored courses and distance learning.

Beware of Sharks!

Beware! Do your research. Quality of provision on courses varies enormously. There are also providers that mislead, calling their completion certificates ‘levels’ and ‘diplomas’. These are not qualifications. Others offer the NVQ Level 2 and 3 Certificate and call them a Diploma; they aren’t. I challenged one provider about this and it transpired that their ‘NCFE accredited diploma’ was not even an NVQ. I would not touch any of these with a tripod!

Do think whether on-line or correspondence training is for you. It doesn’t suit everyone and it can be difficult to keep enthused if you haven’t got peers around you to help push you along. Seeing a good tutor face-to-face can also be very motivating.

Sunrise over the Sea

Might Alternative Training Suit Me Better

Choose the learning style that suits you best. If you are not concerned about having a qualification for employment, then do contemplate private training from a professional photographer. It is often better value, more flexible, targeted to your needs and hands-on. I have to declare an interest here; I am a professional photographer that offers training.

What photographic education great names get?

Many employed in the industry today got there by following the academic route, but not everyone.

One young woman I know has just secured a place working in one of the biggest studios in Europe. She learnt some techniques on one of my courses and she has no formal photographic qualification, she just has buckets of talent and enthusiasm for photography.

It’s a different story too for most of the great names in photography. Bernice Abbott, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Capa, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, David Bailey, Linda McCartney, Ansel Adams and a host of others did not study for a photography qualification. Like Gilbert Taylor, they learnt their skills by taking pictures, usually supported by other professional photographers. They developed their own styles away from the education establishment.

Get Out!

Get out and take photographs; it's the best way you learn

Of course, there are a host of other ways to learn photography. I have over 50 books acquired over the years, some new and some bought second hand. I always search charity shops for new books to read. General photography books are all pretty similar, covering the same topics. I have a great fondness for the books of Michael Freeman ever since I bought a copy of his 35mm Handbook about 30 years ago. His later works have lost none of their accessibility or interest.

Specialist books can also help if you are interested in a specific style or genre of photography. My library includes excellent books on weddings, wildlife, landscapes, portraits, studio lighting and so on. I also have collections of works by different photographers from Linda McCartney to Koo Stark. My bookshelves are weighed down with huge volumes of collected works and photographic history books. I am forever dipping into them, learning and getting inspiration.

The internet is brimming over with sites eager to share photographic knowledge. Sites like Petapixel, My Modern Metropolis, DPNow and a multitude of blogs have huge amounts of useful information. I like searching the BBC site for the keyword ‘photography’ or Photographer and reading, watching or listening to the articles on there.

Looking at other people’s work also is a great way to learn. Look at what you do and don’t like. Discover photographers that inspire you and whose work you find challenging.

If you want to learn photography, get training but, most of all, get out with your camera and take photos. It is, after all, what we enjoy doing the most.

 

 

A truncated version of this article first appeared in The Northumberland Gazette.

What Sort of Camera Should You Buy?

 

Four people in the last week have asked me about buying a camera. With Christmas not that far in the future this is probably a good time for me to write about this.

I usually reply with a question: What sort of photography do you want to shoot? The needs of a wildlife enthusiast are very different from those of someone who just wants to take holiday snaps. Cameras are expensive pieces of precision equipment and you’ll want the system, design and model that will best suits your needs and budget.

Don’t Fall for Reviews or Personal Recommendations

Publishers don’t win advertising revenue by featuring unfavourable reports of their sponsor’s latest shiny new kit, so I’m sceptical of professional camera reviews. I read separate reviews of the same camera in two popular photography magazines. One reckoned the camera was a technological wonderment, the second gave it a mediocre rating. The first review was adjacent to an advert for that manufacturer – a manufacturer that didn’t advertise in the second magazine.

Reviewers also fuss over tiny performance differences. It makes good reading, but the small variances within similar price brackets make little difference to the majority of photographers.

There are some cameras that are game changers, but in the most part, similar priced cameras are similar in both design and features.

When looking for a camera a few months ago, I asked other photographers for their advice and was met with vigorous promotions of the brands they invested in. You’ll never hear a photographer saying, ‘I bought X but made a terrible mistake and wish I had got Y instead.’ They endorse the brand they use with an enthusiasm to put sales staff to shame. They’ll also decry rival brands with equal gusto.

I’m not going to recommend the brand that I use to you (I use Olympus). For me it is the perfect system to meet my needs. But that does not mean it is necessarily the perfect brand or model for you. That is a decision only you can make.

My Recent Decision

My main DSLR still takes fantastic quality pictures, but it’s six years old now and technology has moved on. I need performance beyond its capabilities for my work. Researching the market, I found a bewildering array of models.

Every reputable manufacturer produces fantastic cameras throughout their price ranges and I needed to find one that worked for me.

In the words of the  song and album title by the late, great George Harrison, All Things Must Pass. I was met with a barrier that Olympus had discontinued producing DSLR cameras, and so the lenses I had would not fit their mirrorless range without an adaptor.  That left me with a quandary. Should shift to a totally different brand and system and sell off my old equipment, or stick with the Olympus brand and adapt what I had to fit the Micro Four Thirds mount.

How I Made My Mind Up

I made a list of my priorities: exceptional low-light performance for photographing events without a flash; a fully articulating LCD screen to view when I use a low-set tripod and for macro work; lightweight, so not to suffer a neck injury from carrying it all day, and robust enough to take hiking or cycling in all weathers. If the camera could be made compatible with my existing equipment, that would also be a deciding factor.

I needed a camera of good enough quality so I could use it for shooting a wedding or party, but also slip in my pocket without damaging it. I wanted something discreet for candid street photography.

Because much of my work is built around training,  a large, clear articulated screen with a live preview of depth of field was a must. Finally, I set a budget.

Ergonomics is so important; some cameras are just too fiddly for my large hands. After numerous trips to shops trying different models, I rejected plenty. Even on some large cameras, I found my fingers inadvertently hitting other buttons when I pressed the shutter.  With some cameras, I could not hold them to my eye without them pressing uncomfortably onto my nose .

High pixel count is a marketing ploy.  16 megapixels – about the smallest pixel count on the market at the moment – is twice the size needed to produce high quality A3 prints. Wedding album photos are far smaller and many images I sell end up online, reduced in size to around 2 megapixels.  Larger image files also take more time to upload and use up valuable storage space. I neither needed nor wanted a 50 megapixel monster.

The Perfect Camera For Me

There are two brands I am really adverse to. I won’t mention their names but one I think makes really ugly cameras, and artists should use great-looking equipment. The second brand, and this is purely anecdotal from conversations with other photographers, seems to break down a lot.

I did find and buy camera perfect for my needs. I decided to stick with Olympus.  For me, it’s perfect. It fits my hands, it’s portable, it looks stunning, I can fit it in my pocket, it’s robust, it has a large, clear LCD display and viewfinder, the image quality is fantastic and it has game-changing image stabilisation.

If you are interested it’s an OM-D E-M5 mark ii mirrorless camera. At some point I will also buy an Olympus E-M1 mark ii.

As I said, this is not my recommendation to you. Like any other camera owner, I am pleased with my purchase, but I want you to find the right brand, system and model to suit your needs.

A 1.5 second exposure taken with my new camera, an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Which Camera System is the Best for You?

Like all aspects of photography, there are compromises to be made. There is always a trade-off to be made. Here is a quick run-down of the common camera systems with some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Digital Single Reflex Camera (DSLR)

The most expensive, but delivering (arguably) the best quality, DSLRs are large in size. They can be heavy to carry, but versatile for shooting many different types of photography. That versatility is brought about by buying a range of lenses. The quality of the lens has more to do with the quality of the final image than does the body of the camera.

Camera bodies usually come in three levels: entry, enthusiast and professional, with some overlap. The  build quality and performance increases with each, as does the complexity of use and the price bracket. Prices range from a little over £300 to over £13,000.

Sensor sizes can vary. Cameras with larger sensors are bigger and they cost more. They do have greater dynamic range than another contemporary camera with a smaller sensor. Saying that, the performance of modern DSLRs (and CSCs) with smaller ‘crop sensors’ – up to half the size of a 35mm ‘full frame’ sensor – is outstanding.

Modern digital cameras with the larger sensors found in mirrorless and DSLR cameras cope well in very low light situations, better than bridge or phone cameras. They can also take filters mounted to the lens that simulate low light conditions. This 40 second exposure was taken well after dusk and the island was barely visible to the naked eye.

Mirrorless (Compact System Camera, or CSC)

CSCs also can produce excellent quality images and come in the same three price brackets. The most expensive are around £5000, the cheapest nearer to £300. They too have interchangeable lenses. They are usually far smaller than DSLRs although share similar sensor sizes. Their small size is their big attraction. Saying that, some models are just as large as a DSLR, a marketing error realised by Sony whose sales of their over-sized mirrorless camera, the A7Rii, were disappointing.

Instead of viewing the world through a prism and a mirror like the DSLR, the viewfinder is electronic. This has an advantage that you can see pretty much how your photograph will look when you press the shutter. Information like the histogram and blown highlight and shadow warnings can be seen.

Most mirrorless cameras have a ‘contrast detect’ focusing system.  It is slower to focus than the ‘phase detect’ system used when looking though the viewfinder in DSLRs, but is also more accurate in some circumstances.  Modern electronics have narrowed the margins between the two systems and many photographers won’t notice the difference.

In Live View (looking at the image on the back LCD screen)  a DSLR  will also usually uses contrast detect. Some mirrorless cameras, such as the Olympus OM-D E-M1, have both focussing systems available.

There are mirrorless cameras  without a viewfinder. They rely on you using the live view screen, like taking a photo on a phone. These are cheaper and often smaller, but can be difficult to use in bright light. Furthermore, holding a camera at arms length is unstable. Some have viewfinders you can purchase separately that are mounted on to the flash hot shoe.

50 second exposure taken with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 mark II just after dusk. Hand-held, but resting against a not entirely-stable fence, demonstrating the outstanding image stabilisation and low-light performance of this modern mirrorless camera.

Bridge Camera

The Bridge Camera are so called because they bridge the gap between compacts and DSLRs/CSCs. They are similar to CSCs in most respects apart from having a single, permanently attached zoom lens. They are often marketed on the range of this zoom, and are sometimes called super-zooms because of this.

The image quality is good, though not as good as an interchangeable lens camera.  No lens can perform exceptionally well across a wide range of focal lengths because of optical limitations; images will be soft at the zoom’s extremes and colour fringing (chromatic aberration) may be noticeable along high contrast edges in the picture; you may see a purple or green fuzzy line around the edges of a person pictured against a bright background.

The sensor is also much smaller than in CSCs and DSLRs and this can bring a noticeable difference in image quality. The smaller sensor also makes it more of a challenge to get a blurred background.

If any one component of a bridge camera fails then the camera becomes unusable, if you scratch the lens, the whole camera is out of action.

This image shot with an older bridge camera, although acceptable, shows the limitations in quality. I have applied significant sharpening, noise reduction and tonal adjustments to improve the detail.

 

This image of a sisal plantation was taken in 2004 with the same bridge camera. Its small sensor gives poor results compared to a contemporary DSLR. Note the blown highlights in the sky. Limited dynamic range is still an issue with a camera that has a smaller sensor, although the performance of newer models is much better than they once were.

Compact and Phone Cameras

The compact camera market has collapsed since the advent of the camera phones. There are still some models available, but many are more like small bridge cameras than what we used to think of as compacts.

Compact cameras have tiny sensors but can still be useful. I would not have been able to carry my DSLR with me when I took this photo so I had to make do with what was available to me. The quality is not bad, but I had increase the details in the shadows and then apply significant noise reduction in post processing.

The ubiquitous camera phones are the backbone of services like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook where people can quickly and easily share images of what is happening in their life. They are familiar to almost everyone and so I won’t wax lyrical about them. The quality of the images has  come on enormously. They are not as versatile as the cameras listed above, but they serve a purpose and can produce great results.

Consider Buying A Pre-Owned Camera

Do you use Flickr? It’s a photography sharing site owned by Yahoo. Images are not heavily compressed as they are on Facebook, and photo metadata, which may include your copyright details, are preserved. Facebook strips images of their metadata.

One of the great things about Flickr is that one can search for images taken by a specific camera model. Choosing cameras that are now ten years old, I searched through images taken with the Olympus E-3 and E-510, Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10, Nikon D40X, Canon 40D, Sony A700 and Pentax K100D Super. There are still fantastic photos being taken with those cameras. Much newer models are available than these for a lot less cost than they were new.

There is an old saying that the most important component of any camera system is the one holding the camera and looking through the viewfinder. Flickr proves that point; you don’t need the latest model to capture great images, you need the photographic skills. (If you lack those, contact me for training!)

Newer models will produce better results in extreme lighting conditions and may achieve faster shutter values. But,  all the cameras listed above still produce excellent images and they are available second-hand for a song. If you have a restricted budget, then do think about buying second hand.

If you don’t like the camera then you can sell it on again and the resale value won’t change that much. A used camera also means a far lower carbon footprint. Older cameras are likely to have had firmware updates. Plus, the raw files will be compatible with software like Lightroom, On1, Photoshop or Elements. That’s not always the case with new cameras.

This picture of a great grey owl I took in 2010 with an entry level DSLR, an Olympus E-510, back in 2010. The image quality, although from an old and lowly specified camera by current standards, still stands up to scrutiny.

Check out user Reviews for Older Model Cameras

User reviews will also tell you if an older model has common flaws and how long they last. Check the shutter count against the life expectancy of the camera as the mechanics of a shutter will wear out. My pro-level DSLR should be good for between 250,000 and 350,000 shutter actuations, consumer end cameras have a lower life-expectancy of around 50,000 shots.

Where to Buy

Reputable dealers like Camera Jungle, Wex and MPB all sell used camera equipment. Their descriptions are accurate and cameras come with a guarantee. Some great deals can be found on online auction sites too, but there is an increased risk of buying a stolen camera. If buying privately, do ask the vendor for photos of the serial numbers of both the camera and the lens. If they refuse, don’t buy. There are internet-based services that help track stolen camera equipment using the serial number.

What if I Really Want a New Camera

The portability of a mirrorless CSC allows me to carry it almost everywhere. I was able to get lots of impromptu shots of these cranes operating here for a few weeks.

Low light and high ISO performance have improved enormously in recent years and I needed that facility for my work. If you do need very fast shutter values in low light, then a new, high-end camera might be what you require.

Look for discounts from retailers selling open box, returned and display models to save you a few tens of pounds. You may consider ‘grey’ goods, cameras built for overseas markets. Take care. You can get caught out by import duties and not all camera manufacturers offer a worldwide guarantee.

Don’t Forget the Lens

My personal need is for low-light performance. Using the combination of the fast f/1.8 45mm Olympus m.Zuiko lens on the E-M5 Mark II shows how  outstanding glass quality and the camera’s superb image stabilisation allow for shooting hand-held images that would have been unthinkable until recently. This was shot hand-held at 1/5th of a second.

High-end cameras don’t always come supplied with a lens because you are expected to choose lenses to meet your needs. Cheaper cameras are usually supplied  with one-or-two reasonable quality kit lenses.

Good quality lenses make far greater difference to the quality of your photos than a change of camera body. Buy the fastest lens you can afford, i.e. the one with the lowest  f-number.

Old cameras shot with my latest camera that 100 years newer than the one on the right.

If you are stuck choosing, please do contact me either on social media or by replying below and I’ll gladly help you choose the right model for you.

 

 

 

 

This article is an extended version of two of my columns first published in the Northumberland Gazette.