Need an upgrade ? Full Frame Camera ??? "L" Series Lens ???
Hi you all, and welcome to my second blog:
Since i did my recent first ever photo shoot with a model (circa 6 weeks ago), i have stopped to reflect on what i produced in that shoot and comparing it with what i want to produce in the future. Looking back, i consider my first shoot actually a little of a disappointment to myself. If i were to redo that shoot i would produce more lighting in the background to give the walls a brighter “white”, and possibly I’d have painted the wall an appropriate color to remove some of the “blandness” on the gift opening photos, as seen here from my first photo shoot
I have also been looking at the differences of having better equipment before i start my summer people & model shoots too, and here is what i reviewed:
I tried out a Canon 70-200mm 2.8 “L” Series lens, and also a Full Frame Canon 6D camera....the local camera shop by my house was gracious enough to help me with this, so here are my findings:
First, let’s look at what i currently use for shooting: I have a Canon T2i (1.6x)crop sensor camera with a Canon 85mm 1.8 prime lens, 50mm 1.8 prime lens (aka nifty fifty) and also a Rokinon EF 85mm 1.4 manual focus prime lens. Naturally i have a tripod, but it is a cheap 19 dollar model and i believe even with the remote shutter switch that i use, the movement of the sensor lifting when i shoot causes a little “shake” every once in a while. You could almost sneeze and move this cheaply made tripod, which i won’t name here.
So I went down to my local camera store and here is what we did, in this order:
We mounted the 70-200mm “L” Series lens to my T2i camera and i started taking shots inside the store. Most were at 150-170mm focal length. Image stabilizer was turned on position 1. I started taking shots around the inside of the store, and also a few pointed outside into the daylight.
Then I removed the 70-200 2.8 “L” Series and mounted my 50mm 1.8, shooting with the exact same camera settings.. To my surprise the 50mm 1.8 photos were very dark and you could barely see them using the same camera settings that i used with the “L” lens. The 70-200 “L” was letting in that much more light ! It was unbelievable ! I would not notice until i got home and viewed these at 100 percent, but with me effectively shooting at a 240-270mm focal length with the “L” lens (150-170mm x 1.6 crop factor) the IS was not that impressive at all. It was almost identical to me shooting handheld with my 50mm 1.8 prime lens(non IS). Granted though, I am certainly not “Mr. Steadyhands”, but i had hoped to get a little “help” from the IS, but at those focal lengths (with the shutter speed i was using) it just wasn’t happening for me.
On to the next step. We mount the 70-200mm L Series onto a Canon 6D full frame camera. This is where the magic happened. The Canon 6D full frame camera lets in SO MUCH MORE LIGHT than my crop sensor T2i, even so much that i almost did not want to give it up. For stock photography this is a world of difference: much faster shutter speeds are possible (as compared to my T2i) with the same amount of available light. Or using the same shutter speed, aperture and ISO the amount of additional light let in to the full frame camera is just absolutely astounding !
So the bottom line is:
Can you just rent a 70-200mm “L” Series lens and use with your crop sensor camera ? Well, you can but keep in mind that the IS will be outstanding only at the lower zoom levels unless you have unusually steady hands or enough light to use blisteringly fast shutter speeds. Even using the 70mm focal length on a crop factor you’d ideally want to use a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second minimum, even faster as you zoom out. Any extra light you gain with this lens will be needed for extra shutter speed to avoid camera shake, so I’m going to say you’d be better off going with a rental of the 17-40 “L” Series lens instead to pair with a crop sensor camera, even though it does not have Image Stabilizer.
Do you need a full frame camera ? Not necessarily, and keep in mind that you will also need to pair the full frame camera with the “L” Series lens to get the maximum benefit for stock, with that benefit being the fact that it gives you the maximum available light. You might wonder why the “maximum available light” is necessary (or even desired) ???
Well, my friends, that is the big secret. Let’s say for this example that you have some basic Alien Bee strobe lighting. With a crop sensor and a good prime lens you can use the lighting “properly” and get great shots. With a full frame and the “L” Series lens, you can use your lighting creatively and have totally even, “stock” lighting and compete in the world class category. Using that same “creative” lighting with the crop sensor camera and your prime lens will leave you with lighting that just isn’t quite up to par, let alone “World Class Stock Photography” type lighting, although you can correct some of that in Photoshop.
There is a way to “fake it” with the crop sensor camera and get results that are pretty close without spending a fortune, but it will require some extra money spent on quality lighting (if you do not already have it) and I’d recommend reading the book “Light: Science and Magic” by Fil Hunter and Paul Fuqua because you will have to improvise on your lighting depending on room size, colors, reflectivity of your walls, ceiling and subject, etc....
I am not in the market for a new full frame, but i think i am going to browse Ebay for a quality “used” full frame camera from someone with a good feedback rating, and my local camera store rents the 70-200mm “L” Series lens for forty bucks a day (plus a credit card deposit that only gets charged if you lose or break the lens).
Hopefully this summer will see me move up to that level. Until then, my next shoot will have to make use of my “creativity”... Look for my next shoot to show up here sometime in the month of May.
Photo credits: Mudplucker.