Photo gear

Tell us about your gear and assist others in purchasing options
  1. Hello all... I have been a full frame DSLR user for several years. I moved in this direction naturally as I believed the better the gear the better the image results. To some degree I would still favor a higher resolution image although it might not be for the reasons I became very motivated (pretty quickly I might add) to move from 4MP to 12MP to 20MP to 24MP to now 50+ MP. I also made the switch from Nikon to Canon years before the D8XX camera became available and found it to be financially miserable cutting over. So where is this all going?

    I currently shoot with a Canon 5DS R. I have a lot of lenses and gizmos and decided to see what I could get on the retail used market if I were to sell everything Canon I have. Now keep in mind I have been selling and buying and selling and buying for years in an attempt to keep up to date on the latest and greatest. Therefore, my list I sent to B&H Photo in NYC was fairly current and all my gear is in top notch condition. To my surprise the response on my sellable items came in at a reasonable $6,000 USD. About 50% of retail for the items I was trying to sell.

    My interest is in looking to move down in main camera body form factor and the quantity of lenses I pack around. I initially believed I could sell everything Canon I own and purchase a fairly high level full frame mirrorless body and get down to (3) lenses to fill out my arsenal. Lighting aside as that is an easy one to deal with based on my macro work. After looking at who's in the game today on mirrorless full frame bodies I have decided that two manufacturers are in the hunt. Sony and Canon. I was disappointed to find out that Fuji is only producing "C" and "Medium" format mirrorless bodies and will not be producing a full frame mirrorless camera... ever!? Who knows but they are not working on one today. Now Canon has a few shortcomings that if not overcome by the time I purchase a new setup will leave me moving to a Sony A7R III or A9. Still big sensors but these are supposed to be the best in sharpness, dynamic range, and "in body" image stabilization making them a solid first choice.

    In addition to this recap on my pursuit to make the switch I was shocked to see how expensive these top end bodies are and equally expensive the lenses are that would be a replacement to my existing "L" series lenses from Canon. Examples: The Sony 100-400 f4 G lens is a whopping $2,500. A reasonable macro lens at 80mm f2.8 is $1,000 and the 16-35mm is $1,300. The main body of the a7R III is $2,800 for an initial outlay of $7,600 just to start shooting again.

    So here I am... (pardon for my analogy here) all down hearted came to Sony but only farted!

    What to do? I am throwing this out to the community for a couple of reasons. 1) I haven't participated in a "topic forum" on JD yet 2) I am a bit misguided at the moment 3) I would love to hear feedback from such a diverse and awesome group of shooter members from JD 4) Maybe we can all learn some new things that will help elevate ourselves 5) Maybe help a fellow JD member out form making a mistake and staying on board with his current setup

    But most of all lets have fun with this tropic and provide some helpful and useful experience that collectively covers the entire spectrum of equipment, knowledge, experience, and creativity.

    PS - I didn't proof this so hopefully there are not too many mistakes and my explanation of the topic makes sense...

    Sincerely,

    Stephen
    Replied 3 months ago, modified 3 months ago
  2. yo Stephen, very interesting topic with many items that surely are on the minds of many high-end DSLR shooters these days. It's getting late here, but I'll be sure to reply at length somewhere tomorrow. In the meanwhile, I would be interested in which problem you're actually trying to solve?

    Less lenses you could do with your current setup, so is it just less weight? I would expect so, as the smaller body of a mirror-less does not seem like a meaningful advantage to me, it even can have ergonomical disadvantages.
    Replied 3 months ago
  3. Hm, Stephen, you raise an issue with which I have struggled for quite some time! There are too many cons and pros to be considered and evaluated.

    Finally it all depends on what basic goals you set, what kind of photography you will do.
    As for me, I was very enthusiastic when Sonny a9 appeared, especially with regard to the extremely fast AF.
    But my main interest is birds and wild animals shooting, so using big lenses is a priority. Currently I have EF 100-400MM F/4.5-5.6L IS II USM (Sony has similar) and EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Ext 1.4x.
    I was hoping as well Canon to do their best to launch a mirrorless camera that meets at least the parameters of Sony a9. Unfortunately this did not happen. I was ready to wait even more until the next mirrorless camera, but the biggest disappointment was that they have decided to use a different mount R.
    So far for me the best solution is to stay with Canon DSLR and just yesterday I've got my new body EOS 1Dx mkII! And I am very happy - I have no patience during the weekend to take the first pictures with it!
    Replied 3 months ago
  4. Jivko,

    Congratulations on your new EOS. Fantastic choice for birding. Excited to see your contribution on JD with new images from this incredibly fast and accurate focusing and burst speed body.

    On topic, you are right about selecting the right tool for the application. Also, there are so many pros and cons if one does not evaluate based on specific usage. Given those parameters one comes down to just a few check boxes. Your story is a good example:

    Birds and birds in flight needs strong autofocus and focus tracking with a long lens. 14 fps doesn't hurt you either ;-) You have a good pair of lenses to serve your needs so changing your body and staying with Canon makes good sense.

    For the sake of drilling into this topic and having some fun lets look at the following comparisons:

    AF focus speed: Hard to be accurate without some thorough testing but I would say that Sony a7R or a9 and the 1DX share top honors in fast focus. I will boldly call this a tie

    Burst speeds: The canon has an incredible High Speed mode of 14 fps through the view finder. Best in class for a DSLR. The Sony a9 blasts images at 20 fps which is nearly video quality capable. Crazy to think about that level of speed. While speed gets a nudge to the Sony one would have to put them in practice based on AF tracking and image stabilization whether one truly has the advantage over another. Real-life keepers would be "king" in this comparison.

    On a side note: One point that is of strong interest on my short list is IBIS (in body image stabilization). Hint for future topic discussion.

    Speaking of BIF and auto focus we have to look at what benefit it would be to have virtually 100% sensor area AF point tracking. That on paper is an incredible feature found on some mirrorless bodies. For BIF this would be a huge benefit if again in play it produced more keepers. From what I have seen in reviews and video the Sony tracks nearly full sensor field with either "eye point" or a variety of different applications. See user guide: http://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/www/support/ilc/focus/en/a9/settings/index.html I use a 61 point AF system for shooting birds and can attest to its accuracy and tracking capability. Canon has a great system although falls short of full sensor coverage.

    Jivko, thank you for your tussle with making a decision on which direction to make personally. I am very confident that you made the right decision based on your application and can't wait to see your results.

    Others, lets keep this conversation moving as there is a lot of unclaimed comparisons to grab. My thoughts go far beyond a couple of functions and feature as I shoot a variety of different subjects and have criteria that is broad. Think about the following potential benefits of Mirrorless and how it might assist you in shooting:

    1) IBIS joined with lens IS
    2) Fast burst speeds
    3) High ISO shooting and how that might improve keeper rates based on shooting at higher shutter speeds
    4) Full sensor field AF
    5) Silent shooting

    These are just a few but also think about what disadvantage any of these points might have. What other perceived benefits is the industry trying to lead us to believe? Weight, lens availability, balance, feel in hand, electronic view finder (EVF), and so on...

    Thanks for sharing there is still a lot of open debate to cover so let's keep it coming!!

    Ferdy, I know you are preparing to provide some feedback on this subject but as I am trying to capture the thoughts of others as well please hold back your full contribution as it could possibly impact the level of participation on this topic. That is a compliment to you BTW!
    Replied 3 months ago
  5. Loving this topic! I'm not very experienced with the technical side of equipment, so I have a lot to learn from you guys. I'm hoping to upgrade my old gear in the near future--so maybe I can get some tips here! Replied 3 months ago
  6. I am enjoying this conversation too, although I have no insight to add. I know very little about equipment and technical aspects of photography, but am learning from you guys and am in awe of all of your skills and knowledge! Replied 3 months ago
  7. Stephen, you can't do this to me, man. You had me thinking about an extensive answer and now ask me to shut up? This forum has 6 subscribers, so you're not going to get a whole lot more individuals unless you pull them in manually :) I hope you don't mind me not holding back as I don't see how sharing my opinion would stop anybody else from participating. My opinion is just my opinion, that is all. It has no special authority nor is it correct.

    I feel that we have a few things in common: we both use high-end full frame DSLRs because we appreciate the image quality and resolution. And, we both shoot multi-discipline, hence the multiple lenses, yet all of this mostly aimed at capturing wildlife. You express that you want to keep using multiple lenses, as well as keep using a high quality sensor. The only change would be that the new system is mirrorless.

    The situation would be to spend a shit load of money to effectively end up in a situation that I believe is not that different from what you already have right now. With perhaps some differences (pros and cons) but none very essential. And that makes it a very difficult proposition.

    I know this is a strong, explicit opinion, but I'll back it up, and I think saying it cuts to the heart of the matter: photographers having doubts on their DSLR gear now that mirrorless is on the rise.

    Continuing in the next comment...
    Replied 3 months ago, modified 3 months ago
  8. My first thought on mirrorless is to calm down and to slow down. Yes, I believe it ultimately will become the default for new cameras for most (but not all) use cases, as an inevitable roadmap. But it may take as much as a decade or even two decades. If you follow photography magazines and Youtube channels, mirrorless dominate the conservation, leading you to think your old stuff is obsolete.

    It is not. A high-end DSLR combined with great lenses is optically very strong in an almost timeless way. You could now put your DSLR in your cabinet, don't touch it for 5 years, turn it back on again and compete with any mirrorless shooter. Optical quality doesn't move that fast. Not in a way that is strongly meaningful in output.

    In fact, DSLRs are so not-obsolete that it's perfectly normal to still invest in new ones, like Jivko did.
    So realize and appreciate what you have: 50MP of great optical quality. It will outlast 4K, 8K, anything really. Optics age well. I recently bought a f/1.2 lens. Production of it started in the early 80s, almost 40 years later it is still produced, exactly the same, and can compete with modern lenses at let's say 80-90% of performance. Just to show that good optical quality doesn't move fast at all. It does in camera sensors, but also there it's really a very slow increment of progress.

    So to sum up this point: you already have an awesome system, and you're part of a pretty tiny minority having such good optics. What you have is not obsolete and can optically compete with any mirrorless system for the next 5-10 years, as differences will be subtle, not essential.

    This doesn't mean you shouldn't get a mirrorless. It also doesn't mean it's not a better system in some ways. I'm saying you got time, lots of it. There's no pressure. You owe nothing to these camera companies nor do I believe a switch would lead to spectacularly better results given the awesome tool you already have right now.

    Continuing in the next comment...
    Replied 3 months ago
  9. My second thought is gear addiction. I'm mostly pointing at myself here, but I suspect you may suffer from it as well.

    Addiction is perhaps a too strong word, but enjoying camera tech is something I can definitely be accused of. Like you, I've been leveling up for years. Each time, I stepped up to overcome camera constraints, until I got to a camera system that is so awesome, that the only thing that is lacking is myself.

    Part of this journey is sensical and rational. In particular when you make the big steps up, you do see better output. And why not spent money on a thing you enjoy so much?

    Part of it is nonsensical though, a craving for the new, and simply enjoying tech. New for the sake of new. With my current gear, I've now arrived at the nonsensical level. What I have is so good, that spending thousands more will have near-zero effect in better output. Instead, better output would more likely be achieved by getting out more, gaining skills, finding better subjects, waiting longer for them, getting up early, those kind of things.

    My point here is to recognize the phenomenon of gear hunger. Part of it makes sense, yet at a particular point it doesn't anymore and you have to recognize it as just a craving for the new . The current "reset" button in the camera landscape is the perfect way to trigger your gear hunger. To a gear hungry mind, there's nothing better than starting fresh.

    There's nothing wrong with a guilty pleasure, I'm just saying that for me personally, I've come to recognize the nonsense part of it. More gear won't produce better photos, at least not for me.

    Continuing in the next comment...
    Replied 3 months ago
  10. A brief intermission on pricing. You're absolutely right that prices for mirrorless and its lenses are through the roof. Similar to the crazy prices regarding FF cameras and FF lenses.

    They aren't coming down. They are a direct effect of companies like Canon and Nikon seeing their low and mid end market completely slashed. Their main source of income. What remains is a much smaller market of high-end users, and these will now pay a hefty prize.

    You'd think that in this new mirrorless ecosystem, there would perhaps be some competition, driving prizes down. Nope, not happening, and not going to happen. They don't want a race to the bottom, as this is the only market segment they can still control.

    Furthermore, realize that the camera market isn't really that competitive. For example, Canon can now launch the world's best lens, but it doesn't matter for a Nikon user like me. And vice versa. We'd have true competition with a universal mount, but there isn't any. We'd have true competition with an open RAW standard, but there isn't any. And it's clear why: they want the lock-in to persist, also for mirrorless.

    Continuing in the next comment...
    Replied 3 months ago
  11. And now, finally, I want to add some thoughts on the actual pros and cons of a mirrorless system. There's no absolute truth as each pro/con is highly subjective and personal, so that's what I'll do: just add my personal thoughts on them.

    Smaller body: A clear con for me. I want a big camera body as I have large hands. A big camera also warrants space for lots of dials and buttons, which I consider vastly superior to some shitty touch screen menu.

    Less weight: for the body, a con, because a light and small camera is hard to balance with a heavy lens. For the lenses, a pro. I'd love lighter lenses.

    EVF: I don't have enough experience with them yet, but yes, having a true preview of what you're shooting (including exposure and aperture preview) seems very valuable to me. A possible game changer even as it means faster shooting. As an example: in a dark forest I constantly have to tweak exposure settings to capture birds, as I can't preview what the result will be. Seeing this beforehand would be awesome. Faster, less failed shots, simply better results.

    A second EVF benefit I'm eying at is focus peaking. I have it on my D850 yet only on the LCD. It overlays red "paint" in the actual scene indicating in 3D what is in focus. I would love to have that in the view finder, it would be awesome for macro work.

    So for me, EVF is the main and perhaps only game changer regarding mirrorless. But it really has to be lag-free.

    Battery life: much worse for mirrorless, but it doesn't matter. It should be enough and I always bring a bunch of extras anyway.

    Auto focus on the sensor: theoretical advantage here of mirrorless is that lens calibration is a thing of the past. There's no alignment between a separate auto focus sensor in front of the sensor and the actual sensor itself. A better system, but it doesn't mean the old system doesn't work, it's evolved to be quite good and accurate at this point.

    Full sensor focus area: Yes, fully agree this is an advantage. I don't often focus outside the main sensor points of a DSLR, but when I do, clearly having this ability would be better.

    Silent shooting: not sure what this has to do with mirrorless as DSLRs have it as well, at least mine does.

    Higher burst rate: Although I have no experience with burst rates on mirrorless, I've seen plenty of reviews from experts stating that you should be extremely skeptical. You won't be getting 20fps in actual meaningful shots, it's more like 5-7. The reason is sensor blackouts in between shots, lost tracking as a result of that, possible buffer issues, etc. As said, haven't tried it, and best advise would be to try it and see if actually delivers.

    High ISO: Don't understand this remark, how it differs between DLSR and mirrorless?

    IBIS joined with lens IS: no experience and no information about this, so will not comment here.

    Continuing in the next comment...
    Replied 3 months ago
  12. Bringing my thoughts on mirrorless to a conclusion:

    Yes, I agree the new system has its advantages. And there seem to be more pros than cons. I do believe it will be the standard for the future, an inevitability. Yet with a hard critical look, the only real game changer for me would be the EVF. If it works well, it can be game changing. Better photos and less missed photos. A meaningful difference in output.

    All the other improvements I consider improvements, but not essential ones. They are a difference between something already very good, and something slightly better than that. Both are still very good at the end of the day.

    I think our case, wildlife photography, makes the switch less attractive compared to a portrait photographer or landscape photographer. Those users could actually scale down a lot in size and weight, whilst persisting quality and even gaining some extra benefits. Note that all those Youtuber are mostly wedding photographers, not wildlife photographers.

    For me, I'm kind of blessed by Nikon launching a sub par first mirrorless. It's not terrible, but not that great. It would actually be a step down compared to my DSLR, in many regards. So that has helped me to still my gear hunger. My irrational part is stopped in its tracks, killing the impulse, and now the rational part takes over. Although I may change my mind at any time, my current plan is to happily continue to use the awesome gear that I already have. I may do so for years, let's see.

    As for you, perhaps after all this rambling a very short piece of advise is to rent a mirrorless system with lenses and use it intensely for a few days. Better would be even longer than that, to get a really good feel for it. It may help answer many of your questions.

    Or, there's nothing wrong in going the path of gear hunger. It's your money after all, and it needs no justification. The above is only food for thought.

    I'll end it here. Sorry for the long rant and for not holding back, I couldn't resist.
    Replied 3 months ago
  13. The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it - Ansel Adams Replied 3 months ago
  14. Sorry, couldn't resist!
    This is something I have learned though. Since moving to the UK I have been getting out a lot less with my camera and have been seriously disappointed with my photos. This resulted in me upgrading to the 7D Mk II and having my old 100-400 serviced. Result, still taking crap photos. Looking back on some old photos I found I was often getting better results with some of my older cameras which has made me realise that it is not my gear at fault, but me, and I need to get in more practice.

    I too have that problem with multiple lenses and not being able to cart them all around at once, I have to discipline myself and only take two cameras and two lenses or more often, just the one camera and two lenses. The lenses are dependant on the environment/lighting and what I am after. Quite often this means that I won't get that shot of a beautiful spider/amazing sunset/awesome bird, but I have learned to live with that.

    As Ferdy quite rightly says, more gear won't produce better photos and my restricted budget restricts my gear hunger so now I am content to concentrate on mastering the gear that I have.

    Sorry Steven, I know this isn't helpful at all, just thought I would put my two pennyworth in! :)
    Replied 3 months ago
  15. @Claire: That is absolutely true. But this statement is sometimes interpreted into such a way that only one of the following is true:

    - The photographer matters most
    - Gear matters most

    ...whilst they are both true, and not mutually exclusive. A great photographer, with just skill, can produce a great photo using very limited gear. My immediate follow-up to that statement is that this great photographer would make an even better photo if the gear was better. Which doesn't mean this better gear is required, all it means is that both skill and gear contribute to results. Where in general I do agree skill has a bigger impact than gear, in most cases.

    A second aspect of how gear matters is purely technical. No matter the skill of the photographer, many disciplines of photography are simply impossible without proper gear, no matter how skilled the photographer. Birding is a good example. If your gear lacks range, shutter speed, sensor performance...you're simply not going to hit the shot, skill or not. If you're a wedding photographer with super human skills, yet have a slow flash system, nobody will hire you. If you want a 2:1 magnification of a subject, you will need the best possible sensor and macro lens, skill by itself will not magnify anything. In product and commercial photography, clients will ask for 100MP files that require a medium format camera system. Skill cannot overcome that.

    It may seem like I'm intentionally finding edge cases to show how gear matters, but I think in this shrinking market of high-end photography, almost every (commercial) discipline is highly specialized, with high demand on quality output, requiring such "minimum" gear.

    In the enthusiast market, I agree that almost always, skill matters more than gear. I've seen many examples here on JD of awesome photos taken with moderate gear, which proves the point. Yet still that does not mean gear doesn't matter. As said, that person with great skills and moderate gear would produce even better output if the gear were better. Would it be better in a meaningful way? Depends on the goal, I'd say.

    Finally, I'll end with a thought that I think outranks both skill and gear: relevancy. Being out there, at the right moment and time, finding interesting subjects. An interesting subject or event has meaning even if the shot is not skillful or not done with high-end gear. Both skill and gear mean nothing if the twelve inches behind it sits at home idle :)

    Sorry, I'm in a verbose ranty mood today.

    Replied 3 months ago
  16. Aren't you just! Point taken though and I agree with all you say. :) Replied 3 months ago
  17. Nothing profound to add, but I just wanted to comment that I know people who have very fancy cameras and equipment AND are always upgrading...yet, their photos really suck. They know all the technical jargon and keep up on the latest stuff, but have no instinct.

    Steven, your photos are insanely good. And, I doubt that is all because of your gear. You have natural talent for photography, and I'd guess that whatever you decide about equipment will work out because of the person behind the camera. As I said before, I know very little technical photography stuff, and haven't understood most of what was written above about gear. Yet, I have been tempted to upgrade my gear to mirrorless simply to reduce the weight of what I carry. I am a small person and can only manage to carry my camera and two lenses, so weight is a huge factor for me. But, I ultimately decided to stick with my 80D because I'm satisfied with it and think I would get overwhelmed with the technology of an upgrade, and I think the prices of the new cameras are ridiculous. Maybe someday that will change. Anyway, in my unprofessional opinion, decent gear is important, but I personally think that skill, creativity, instinct, and attention to detail are more important. You clearly have all those things going for you.
    Replied 3 months ago
  18. @Claire: I recognize the issue of becoming rusty, I think it's quite normal. I usually don't photograph during winter at all, being idle for months. Then when spring arrives I make tons of needless mistakes as if I've unlearned it all.

    And I can totally relate to the lenses dilemma. I don't want to carry everything, but every time I don't, the universe conspires into launching a subject for which I need the lens I don't carry :)
    Replied 3 months ago
  19. @Christine: Absolutely there are gear junkies that would better invest in skills than gear. At almost any level I'd say ranking up in skill brings larger improvements than ranking up in gear. I don't want to be sexist or stereotyping, but I'll make an exception: I think it's a male disease, the good old toys for boys. I certainly feel I have this disease, but as said, I'm at the end of it. Further improvements should come from skill, taking more time, being more out there.

    Instinct is a great word to describe soft skills in photography. Some of it can be learned, some is very hard or impossible to learn. I recognize it in Henriette, she doesn't know much about camera technology yet has superior composition skills. It seems to be something you have or don't have.

    As for you, Christine, you blew my mind when I first heard you don't shoot RAW. Technical people would now say that you're not using your camera's sensor optimally. But in your case it doesn't seem to matter, because you produce stunning, well-exposed shots consistently. I couldn't tell the difference, and that's the ultimate proof of both skill and technical aspects not mattering as much as some of us may think.

    Another aspect not yet covered is post processing skills. Purists may frown upon doing much of it, but I disagree. Stephen to me is not just a great photographer, he's also highly skilled in post processing. A well processed photo can make a photo a whole lot better. If you'd follow some professional wildlife photographers you would soon learn that they invest a lot in post processing. By doing so, even their mediocre shots turn into incredible shots.

    For the sake of argument, consider that with great processing skills you gain 30% in the quality of your output. I know it's weird to put a hard number on something subjective like that, but hear me out. Now consider that stepping up in new gear will set you back thousands of dollars to gain 10% in optical quality (more likely far less). Which of these two to invest in?
    Replied 3 months ago
  20. Thank you all for sharing and contributing to this topic. The purpose of it was truly meant to get people thinking about mirrorless technology in an effort to present a realistic capability as to its implied viability as the "go to" platform for new camera buyers and as an alternative to current DSLR users. I will try to summarize the forum input.

    I agree mirrorless does not overtake or make obsolete DSLR (optical) technology. While mirrorless cameras are getting better with each new body it still lags in many aspects. Optical viewfinder technology has a few benefits (realtime movement and raw view) but does not represent a true view of the scenes captured image from a few different aspects. Current EVF's will accurately represent in most cases DOV, exposure preview, black and white (or other picture style selection), better viewing in low light situations, and on newer copies more shooting data on-screen. Advantages with optical VF is your image can be viewed with the camera off, takes far less battery power to operate (one of the biggest drawbacks with mirrorless today), image is viewed in real-time with no lag (the differences are becoming moot as technology improves), the quality of optical viewing is not dependent on the quality of the screen used in a EVF body. Lastly silent shooting (not quiet shooting) if required based on your shooting discipline only mirrorless will provide this benefit. I am sure there are a few other valid points but from my evaluation these are the high points.

    @ferdy (1): Calm down... mirrorless technology is a worthy option for a lot of shooters and is not just coming to market although it is far from mature. The current top end offerings are really addressing the shortcoming of just a year or two ago which were many. If I were going to invest with a clean canvas today I would be hard pressed not to take mirrorless as a serious contender to DSLR. This does not mean that DSLR is obsolete as you point out. DSLR will be viable beyond our lifetime (or some of us). As you pointed out lenses made decades ago which some are still being manufactured today and produce amazing results that rival the most up to date technology in optical performance. They may fall short in IS but optically are outstanding. As far as sensors go my interest did not suggest or imply that mirrorless sensor technology is superior or that it would render better IQ. In fact the sensors in most cases are the same sensors used in DSLR cameras. What improvements may lie in mirrorless IQ will not come from its sensor but rather will be realized in advances in IBIS, continuous shooting speeds, low noise at high ISO thereby providing the potential to shoot at higher shutter speeds, and focus tracking improvements. The latter benefits are what has created the allure for me personally.
    Replied 3 months ago
  21. @ferdy (2): Pricing is hefty for sure. The main players bringing new technology to the game and making heavy investments in lenses and bodies will continue the traditional business model of keeping the prices high on top of the line equipment and continuously introducing functions and benefits that are perceived to be "must have" for high-end users to stay current and competitive. This model has worked for generations and in nearly all technological products. You see this in phones, computers, automobiles, gaming, tv, VR, automation, and audio. If this model was not effective we would not be seeing technology double every 6 months. Maybe not in photography as much as other specific technology related products but it certainly advances quicker than most peoples budgets can keep up with.

    @ferdy(3): You mentioned you want a big body. While I agree small is not desirable although if you have large hands I understand big cameras would be of benefit. I have no issues with how physically big current DSLR bodies are. In fact I have been shooting with the same body for 5 years and would find it difficult to transition. From what I am seeing mirrorless bodies are becoming more in line with DSLR bodies in terms of size and buttons and dials. I think that gap is going to be lessened if it has not already been eliminated on both Sony a9 and EOS R. Even the newest Fuji "C" bodies are full button and dials. Touch screens are not my desire either. They will become smeared and dirty and require you to take you eye off the subject to make any meaningful changes. I do prefer the buttons and joystick method of making on the fly and just in time corrections to settings.

    EVF comments already mentioned above. Focus peaking I do not have but see a huge advantage when shooting sills in macro, moving subjects, and BIF. Also from a focus standpoint, full sensor AF is huge in some instances. Sensor autofocus clearly keeps any variable between lenses and body to ground Zero. Nice attribute.

    Silent shooting on mirrorless is truly silent. Not a whisper or muffled down shutter... silent. On DSLR bodies you can shoot in silent mode but if you are shooting not in LV it still has a shutter click. I don't have a problem with this as I do not shoot in settings which require true silent shooting. Weddings, interviews, your childrens string concert, or spying on someone might require this feature but for the most part my subjects don't care.

    Burst rates on the newest copies from Sony and Canon no longer have the issue of blackouts. Focus tracking has improved dramatically and therefore do not effect speed like they did. Buffering issues have been reduced on the top end as well and you should realize the stated speed on these two bodies. As mentioned I agree with results being king when it comes to "KEEPER RATES". That would and should be the determine goal. Not sheer rates of speed.

    My high ISO remark is relative mainly to a comparison to my current body 5DS R not as it relates to DSLR technology. Since the same sensors are used in each platform the high ISO results will be like sensor for like sensor not based on platform.

    @ferdy(4): Good overview and summary. Our style of shooting and our disciplines are very similar and switching might not make sense at this point due to a few shortcomings which in my mind still outweigh few benefits.

    @claire(1): So very true so very relevant to this topic. Technology does not replace the shooter. Skill, experience, and practice is our greatest opportunity to improve our overall results. Gear only improves IQ, comp, and post when we first improve our own skills. When I first started shooting I was told to buy a basic DSLR with a 50mm lens and learn how to shoot with my feet. I wish I would have taken that advise instead of gearing up for all potential variables. i.e. - wide angle, telephoto, and prime lenses.
    Replied 3 months ago, modified 3 months ago
  22. @claire(2): Do not apologize for contributions. Your input is valuable and appreciated!
    @ferdy(5): "- The photographer matters most - Gear matters most"
    Very well put Ferdy! A good photographer with good skills can improve their results by improving their gear. I do agree 100%. In the same vein based on shooting style and specific applications functions can also improve results. A prime example of this is IS or its newest form of it in IBIS. Even though from my current setup I may be sacrificing some advantages by moving to mirrorless I question whether this feature alone would improve my overall keeper rates and IQ improvements. This is especially true in macro and BIF if the results match what specs suggest. At a minimum before I make a final decision I will test both of these applications on a mirrorless body.

    @christine(1): You make a very good point. I have seen it both ways... good equipment poor results, poor equipment good results. This supports what Ferdy and Claire have stated as well. You're a testament to great photographer over best equipment and proof is in your images. This is one of the reasons why I am not as concerned about top end vs compliant or complimentary to shooting discipline and having the right tools for the job. There are a lot of great shooters on JD and I am confident that in a short period of time we could all swap gear and end up with similar results as we were getting in our original setups. Mainly due to our unique styles. Methods that have been developed in capturing and processing images in processes we have developed over time through vast experience. When I process an image that someone else took on a different camera setup (in RAW) the end result is still in the style I have developed in my post processes (as long as the image data is available) and a viewer of that image would be hard pressed to see the differences from images I have taken on my own equipment. I invest(ed) a lot of money and time in my post processing. Not that I need everything at my disposal on every image but I do on occasion need every tool on my desktop to squeeze out something useful from a mediocre shot (which I seem to have a lot of a times). I can honestly admit that my post abilities are far greater than my through the lens skill level. I crop (a lot) and make significant adjusts at times to make up for a lot of shortcomings. This goes back to my earlier comment regarding my first camera... buy an entry level body and a 50mm lens and let your body and feet make the shot. I threw a bunch of big sensors, lenses, and software at a below average photographers work to make up for my plethora of mistakes. I think I learned "in camera" capture skills through my computer monitor instead of doing it through the lens. Ha! That is the first time I actually said that out loud! Anyway, this wasn't about me...
    Replied 3 months ago, modified 3 months ago
  23. Let's see if we can get a little more conclusion thoughts on this. I have my own but would like to hear from others. How do we push this topic out to a greater participation level??

    Stephen
    Replied 3 months ago
  24. @Stephen: My replies were mostly aiming at making a switch from having already high-end DSLR gear. I totally agree that with a clean slate, mirror-less is close to a no-brainer or soon will become one. A full replacement of high-end DSLR gear at this point...in my opinion a more difficult proposition. Unless of course you don't mind the investment.

    I can relate to your self-critical comment on skills vs gear. I too believe I've ranked up faster in gear than I did in skill. Hence my gear pause. I too have plenty of mediocre shots. Most through my own fault, but also many due to conditions. Birding in particular is my nemesis, you just can't take a good shot of a tiny bird at range with backlight, it won't work. It's something to accept. When I produce a poor shot in a situation with more control, I do blame myself.

    I think it's good to get back to basics at times. I recently bought a f/1.2 50mm manual focus for that reason, and use it in the camera's manual mode. Intentionally slowing me down (as I am too rushed) and thinking about scenes. It's just a practice lens, not something to use a lot, but it's tons of fun. It even has manual aperture on the lens!

    As for participation level, sorry, but as said this forum has only a handful of subscribers. I cannot push emails to a wider audience without their consent due to privacy laws. You're going to have to pull them in yourself (for example via direct messages) if you want more participants.

    So anyway, are you going to rent a mirrorless? What's your next move?
    Replied 3 months ago, modified 3 months ago
  25. As Stephen lured me here with a message, I'll just add that I've been shooting mirror-less as long as I've had digital cameras *verycoolsunglasseson* ... ahem ...
    ... as in compact and bridge cameras ... ;o) I never owned a DSLR, and I shoot everything as JPEG with small sensors ranging from 4-10Mpx and use free Linux tools and even good old IrfanView in Wine for "post processing" (which I do a lot of as my camera skills seem to be sub-par too, just like the equipment). So I'm afraid I really haven't got a clue for a discussion like this :-/

    But I do have a question relating to the ease with which Stephen is discarding the smaller sensors offered in some makes/models: It seems to me that a larger sensor (physical size, not pixels) inherently calls for much bigger, more elaborate "glass" to focus an image evenly and undistorted over the larger area, automatically making for heavier (to carry) and more expensive (to buy) lenses. Somehow the criticism on smaller size high-res sensors (as used in compact cameras) has always been some vague issues with supposedly more blurring or crosstalk between pixels or some such, yet the same critics see no point in moving up from 4 to 10 to 50 or 100Mpx on a full frame sensor, which to me translates to : the higher number of pixels per square mm (or inch) now all at a sudden does not seem to be the problem it was made out to be?!? What's up with that? Following the same "logic" you would have needed to increase the size of the sensor and hence the "glass" again and again too.
    In other words: Wouldn't a smaller sensor size automatically result in a "need" for much smaller glass in front of it and hence lighter and less expensive lenses? In theory a pinhole "lens" (no glass at all) with a small sensor behind it would be ideal, at least for great DOF. Make the glass bigger (because you have a bigger sensor) and there goes your DOF down the drain and you need to throw endless money and skills at it to repair that. Look at what the cameras in modern smartphones do with a lens of 1-3mm maybe, if that. So what is all this cow dung about "needing" a full frame sensor for proper results? It seems to me that today, from a technology point of view, it should be quite possible to use a half (or 3/4??) size sensor with ample pixels and thus safe tons of money and weight on the lenses needed to produce a proper image on that. Or where am I mistaken in this?
    Cheers, Arp
    Replied 3 months ago, modified 3 months ago
  26. Wow... I have some work for actual work to do, so I don't have the time to read through everything right now or go through any long amounts of reasoning, but I will tell you that for me the choice to go mirrorless has been nearly all about weight and size.... I work as a photographer. For quite a bit of time I had really stopped taking any photographs for myself. It was just too much trouble to carry everything around and it wasn't fun any more... Then I got a Fuji X-10... Suddenly I had this *tiny* little camera that I could take everywhere, put in my pocket that was awesome, even if not the equal of my pro level gear. It made me enjoy what I was doing again. I did eventually go a bit bigger. I still use the Fuji X system though and for me it's still quite a lot about size and weight. I'm not a big person and I do a lot of long distance hikes that include a lot of elevation gain. I choose the gear I take carefully so as to not limit how long and far I can walk by carrying too much weight. With the Fuji I can take 3 lenses, including a long zoom and still be carrying less weight than my Nikon DSLR and one lens.... Replied 3 months ago
  27. Hey guys, catching up on this forum and kind of overwhelmed! lol

    I tried dSLR when I wanted to be more serious with wildlife photography, getting a Nikon D5200 with 18-300 mm lens, which I later found out wasn't good enough for some serious photography. And for macro, I just add-on the Raynox DCR250 on my 18-55 kits lens. Being in the tropics, I always struggle with the need to change lenses when in the field due to high humidity and wet weathers.

    Then I got overwhelmed with all the gears that I need to bring on trips considering that I always almost do the land trips in combination with my scuba diving trips, whereby I have totally different sets of camera set-ups with underwater housing, strobe lights etc.

    And all this also has an impact on my luggage weight as I also have to bring my scuba diving gears, which is easily 20 kg by themselves!

    So now, I am keeping my set-up basic, not too serious with the photography aspects but more for documenting wild life.

    For underwater, I am just using Olympus TG-5, which is great for macro and super macro. The camera itself is water proofed to 15 meters depth without housing, which is great for wet weathers for my land trips looking for insects as I can still take pictures even if its raining without fear of flooding the camera.

    And for birdings, I am now using Canon Power Shot SX 60HS which gives me 65x optical zoom, good enough to take decent pics of birds even if they are far away.

    Again, I have to emphasise, I am more into documenting wild life and not so much into the serious photography :D

    Replied 3 months ago
  28. ahw yes, let me add that one HUGE advantage of the simple bridge camera I use now (Fuji S5800 - old stuff) is that is has NO moving parts on the outside that can get wet or dirty. The lens doesn't move in/out of the body but is fixed with al moving parts _inside_ the lens. To me that was a game changing advantage as I used to always get dirt in moving parts of the lenses. Replied 3 months ago
  29. @P4B: Thank you for commenting. I am glad I through out the line...

    Your input is valuable to the discussion and is a good example of how experience and perception do not always line up. This is not meant to suggest anything good or bad. It is simply an aspect of how marketing works.

    You are right to a point that bigger sensors require bigger lenses due to transmission rate and larger diameter in order to create clean full images on a larger medium. Making the comparisons as you did brings up another potential argument in favor of mirrorless which comes into play based on how the image is going to be presented at the end of the day. In other words large sensors play out best when the final image is presented in print on a larger scale. This is why medium format cameras are the only platform you will see in large advertising and commercial print applications on large output medium. You also see the need for more MP when you start to print fine art images. There is a science behind all this pertaining to viewing distance, size of impression, and pixel concentration. But that is not part of this topic and I don't have the expertise to discuss it anyway.
    If we are displaying our images exclusively on the web there is no logical or reasonable argument that mirrorless technology is not at a point in development that it can deliver professional level images when they are presented only a web based platform. As long as you pair the body with the right lens and post process those images with methods that will maximize the cameras capabilities. I have been blown away by images I see on JD or on the web that had been taken with below average equipment or cameras that were held together with duck tape and 50 year old lenses.
    There is no doubt I am a better photographer because I have very good equipment. My equipment allows me to make a lot of mistakes that can be corrected during post processing. That being said I do believe I would have become a better through the lens photographer if I would have reduced the quantity and level of equipment I use.

    This topic may have wore itself out and probably needs to come to a close. I am going to continue to use my DSLR and focus on how to reduce the amount of lenses I use to shoot the various styles I engage in for now. I will give mirrorless a year or more to fully mature and relook at the possibilities then. My biggest complaint with the 5DS R is that it is so critical of motion blur and is best when stationary (not handheld) and delayed mirror slap which is not conducive to wildlife photography or field macro work. Outside of those two disciplines the camera is spectacular. I may end up buying a different body for wildlife who knows. I have a couple of months before critters get active in the desert and that gives me a chance to step back a bit and evaluate some more. I could easily stay with a Canon DSLR since I am heavily invested and buy a second "C" sensor body that has a more forgiving pixel pitch (crosstalk as you put it) and use my 5DS R for landscapes and controllable shots. So instead of reducing equipment and gaining a smaller platform I gain in equipment and make this more complicated as to deciding what equipment I take to the field. Funny thing happened on the way to the store... YOU FILL IN THE BLANK!
    Replied 3 months ago, modified 3 months ago
  30. @Arp: You bring up some good points on the downsides of larger sensors, which I take as sensors both physically larger and having a higher resolution. The increased weight and hefty prize are points I don't think anybody can refute, they are mere facts.

    Pixel pitch is a more complicated topic. Yes, high-end DSLRs have been packing more MP than before, but sensor technology has improved a lot in the last 6-7 years, allowing manufacturers to seek the boundary. It's now technically possible to pack 50MP on FF with dynamic range and noise performance at comparable (say, 90-95%) of the earlier say 24MP on the same surface. Actually getting that performance and resolution to work for you is a challenge, as Stephen indicated. Yet only if you want sharpness at 100% crop, which isn't always needed at such giant resolutions.

    But this doesn't mean pixel pitch no longer matters. A high-end FF may have 50MP which suggests tiny pixels, yet note that these pixels are still 3-4 times larger than a high-end smartphone sensor. So that's 3-4 times the resolution whilst still having 3-4 times the pixel size. Hardly a subtle difference, between these two extremes.

    Yet between these two extremes, I think you're absolutely right that there's a lot of technical room now for mid-sized sensors with high MP. Such as micro 4:3 sensors and a step up, APS-C. Strangely, the new mirror-less market has a lot of emphasis on the high-end, not these mid-sized options.

    Another quality of big sensors, if not the primary quality, is of course light sensitivity. More surface is more light. Whether this is a practical benefit in one's day-to-day entirely depends on what you shoot and what you do with the results.

    Then there is range. FF means less range because of the crop factor, yet you can kind of compensate for it using crop mode. I can tell you though that for birding, I used to have 500mm on APS-C, which equals to 750mm on full frame. Now I have 400mm at FF, which is far less range. As said, you can use crop mode and then crop some more, but FF in the end is not good for range.

    And finally, there's DOF. You get a thinner DOF on FF compared to smaller sensors. This is an interesting aspect that swings two ways. You can get that super dreamy thin shot you cannot take on a small sensor, yet if you actually want a large DOF, it works against you. This is why so many people new to DSLRs struggle, they come from cameras where "everything" is sharp. Now they have to "work" for that.

    Still, if you want subject isolation, which is a pretty big feat artistically speaking, it's a pro. From a FF you can stop down to gain DOF, yet from a small sensor you can't "stop up" to reduce the DOF.

    Note that all of the above is a mostly technical review of aspects of a sensor's size. Whether any of it is needed, practically useful or not, is a separate and personal question. A follow-up comment coming on that...
    Replied 3 months ago
  31. So now I want to discuss the practical and pragmatic part of the above.

    I will first repeat my earlier opinion that the meaning of photography triumphs both skill and gear. As an example, when somebody posts an interesting species here and the shot is reasonable in the sense that the subject is clearly recognizable, the community loves it and the main goal of our shared meaning here is accomplished. Photographic quality comes as a secondary goal, and in fact, so many shots accomplish both.

    As for the technical meaning of chasing for very high image quality, we should acknowledge today's world where it seemingly matters a lot less than before, at least in the consumer space. The vast majority of photos are taken with a smartphone, and viewing them also happens primarily via a smartphone. Even when desktop viewing, most websites won't show images bigger than say 1000px wide. Whilst we may capture them at 8000px wide. Most people also won't do a noise inspection at 100%, people simply do not consume photos that way online.

    So what is this 800% in head room of resolution good for? I remain a stubborn MP fan boy amidst all of this, and I'll express why. Three reasons

    1) Print. The least important reason for me, yet I do print occasionally. Photo books as well as posters over 1m wide. Resolution matters here, depending on viewing distance.

    2) Future-proofing. Also not a critical reason, but a reason nevertheless. Just like with film, the better the original, the more future-proof it is, even if the original's quality isn't fully used today. It's easy to see how 4K is becoming mainstream and 8K is coming. You can be skeptical of the usefulness of all that right now, but a high quality digital file can stand the test of time.

    3) The true and primary reason for me to love high MP is detail and cropping room. Which is ridiculously good and powerful. As an example, if I take a photo of a frog, I can crop out just the eye, and it will still be over 2000px wide, and be able to stand as a photo on its own. Once you have this capability, you can't turn back. It's incredible.

    Back to the original point of this thread: we no longer have to chose, really. If your budget allows it, you can now get a lighter and smaller FF with the same quality attributes of the bigger stuff. If you can't afford it, there's a lot of options in the middle that still produce awesome results. And even in the low-end, you can produce very usable results, as has been proven time and time again. This is true for most disciplines (landscape, macro, 50-200mm range) with birding being the notorious exception. It still requires a heavy solution and in the low to mid end, results will kind of suck. They often will suck even in the high-end. Note that with "suck" I mean quality/range/noise/sharpness is visibly compromised, I don't mean to say you can't produce meaningful results. This is just the nature of the game, birding asks the maximum or even impossible of optics, it's a compromise in any case.

    Apart from that, I think the trend for most people in the enthusiast market will be mirror-less and lighter solutions, fully agree with that.
    Replied 3 months ago
  32. I want to add some more thoughts regarding the dilemma of DSLR cameras vs mirrorless ones. I would not want to convince you, Stephen, what is better, I just want to point out why I am sticking to the DSLR cameras at this very moment. Plus, I would like to emphasize, that the only mirrorless camera I consider is Sony a9.
    As you probably noticed I am a Canon addict guy. Why not Nikon? Difficult to explain. Maybe because in the past I just started with Canon and now I just keep sticking to this brand. From my point of view the qualities of the high-end cameras and lenses of both brands are more or less equal.
    Let me first point out that for me photography is far from just documenting the facts. Photography is mostly a meaning to show the world, as I see it, to show my sensation of the nature, the wildlife, the animals and plants, the people and the environment in which we live. My main interest is wildlife, but I do as well city, street and landscape photography. And as immodestly it sounds, my goal is to do photo-art. It is another question of whether or not I manage to do this!

    In this respect the price is not the most important decisive factor. Neither the weight of the body and lenses, but the main features and performance.

    Sony a9 is cheaper, at the launch it was about 1500$ - 2000$ less than Canon EOS 1Dx mkII and Nikon D5 respectively. Now it is much cheaper. Why?
    Indeed, the issue is not just about the price of the body, it is about changing the whole system. And the lenses are not much cheaper than the respective Canon and Nikon lenses.

    Lens availability is another important issue. Such as 180mm Macro, EF 200-400mm F4 + ext, or 400mm F2.8 or 500mm F4 or bigger ones. I definitely need such lenses and the Canon EF 180mm Macro and the EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM are the next on my list. Up to the moment Sony doesn't have such lenses.

    Autofocus – Sony claims a9 has an impressive AF, but as I have read a couple of reviews, many users say that the “AF performance is within the realms of that offered by the current generation of pro DSLRs.”

    In fact, before obtaining the Canon EOS 1Dx MkII I have made a couple of test bird shootings. As a result, I can say, that while photographing flying and fast-moving birds with EOS 7D MkII I had about 20-30% acceptable shots, with EOS 1Dx MkII I had about 70-80 % acceptable shots.

    Although I hadn’t test the Sony a9, for me the AF performance of EOS 1Dx MkII is remarkable and I do not need to replace it.

    Another question: do you really need 20 fps? I don’t need. I rarely do more than 10 frames in continuous shooting, so 14 fps is quite enough for me.

    Memory cards – Sony uses only SD Memory cards, which I consider a big disadvantage. The best one being Sony G 64GB at 146.88 MB/s or Lexar 2000x 64GB at 146.16 MB/s.
    While Nikon and Canon use CFast cards, the best one being Lexar 64GB 3500x at 258.12 MB/s! Yes, more expensive, but the performance is much better and I think a CFast or CompactFlash card may last as long as the camera body itself.

    The noise - it was my biggest problem so far. Now I have made some tests with 1 Dx MkII at ISO 8000, 10000 and 12000 and obtained some very good results. Perhaps in this respect, Sony a9 has better performance than the Canon’s and Nikon’s flagships. I do not know exactly. But when all other pros and cons are taken into account, it is not enough to make me switch the system.

    Look at this photo - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2018451564864307&set=a.104897969553019&type=3&theater

    Made at ISO 8000.

    Finally, as a mentioned before, I feel the camera too small in my hands, although I do not have big hands. I would definitely have to use it with a grip and still it is uncomfortable. Maybe it would be just a matter of time to get used to it, I do not know.

    Maybe in a couple of years, if Canon launches a camera with similar or better features, which on top of everything accepts all EF lenses without an adapter, maybe it will make me buy such a camera.

    Replied 3 months ago
  33. @Jivko. I think you fit the profile of a true birder or long range shooter, and you're even looking to up it by going 600mm f/4 (ouch!). I can totally see how mirror-less isn't an immediate fit for that scenario.

    As for FPS, I tend to agree as well, although it's highly personal. The main question to ask is how often you encounter the scenario. In my case, in the last few years in Colombia, I didn't have much use for high FPS as most birds were small songbirds with an unpredictable flight path. It's pretty much impossible to track those. The situation would be different for larger birds with a somewhat predictable flight path. You also have to be ready for the situation as 1/200s would do for a stationary bird, yet when it flies, you may need 1/1000s, preferably 1/2000s.

    I'm a great admirer of Steve Perry, he's a Nikon shooter, but an overall fantastic teacher on wildlife photography:
    https://backcountrygallery.com/

    One of his relevant points is how with high FPS shooting, he dramatically increases the keeper rate by better tracking skills of the photographer. The point being, if you have 20 fps yet don't have basic tracking skills, somebody with 5-7fps will outperform you.

    As for noise, Nikon actually uses Sony sensors, and then adds some "secret" sauce to it, making it even better. The additions are proprietary and patented, and cannot be used by Sony itself. So strangely, usually Nikon's sensors are slightly better than Sony in terms of dynamic range and ISO performance, but probably a negligible difference. If this is still true compared to the A9, I don't know.

    A quick note in between if you think this is a Nikon fanboy speaking: yes, I'm fully into their system. But I bash any technology. For example, Nikon is an arrogant company, their controls are backwards, their software shitty, and their accessories absurdly bad and expensive.

    Just so you know that I'm not here to defend any brand. I call out good or bad without any loyalty to any brand. I needed to say that because what I'm about to say, you may not like or take offense of. Please try to take it as purely a technical observation, I mean no harm nor do I want a flame war. I'm criticizing technology, not the photographer.

    Regarding your FB photo, let me be clear that it is a great shot, well focused, composed and timed. I'm only criticizing the technical quality of it, and nothing else!

    I'm looking at it on a 27" monitor, 1440p resolution. I'm not impressed with the technical quality, to be honest. ISO 8000 isn't even that high for a high-end sensor yet the photo shows a lot of artifacts. The foreground has strong visible noise, the subject within focus is smeared and blurry, with no fine details.

    I would expect a whole lot more from a 5000 euro camera at an ISO this low. Yes, 8000 is low these days. Before you get angry and unfriend me, please allow me to indicate that there may be several reasons for this output, most having nothing to do with the camera itself. In the next comment...
    Replied 3 months ago
  34. Continuing, in an effort to make Jivko not mad at me :) Here's a few reasons:

    1) Let's first get the nasty bit out of the way: Canon sensors lag behind in dynamic range and ISO performance compared to Sony and Nikon (which uses Sony). Not an opinion, fact. It's proven time and time again and a common complaint of the most demanding Canon users. As to by how much and how much it matters, I can't answer, you probably know better than me.

    In this case though, I do not think at all that it is the sensor giving this result, instead other factors have a much stronger effect on this output:

    2) You're using a convertor. So do I. I can't judge for your combination, but I can tell you that in mine it sucks. It sucks a lot. It forces f/8 on me (in your example f/9) which is stopped down a lot. It makes subjects in focus visibly softer, as seen on the owl's face. The example is exactly what I get when using the convertor and ISO doesn't seem to matter that much. I don't have a solution, like you, I need that extra range. But for me it comes at a high cost of image quality, possibly for you as well.

    3) Perhaps unexpected to many, but do not underestimate how much of your photo is destroyed by posting it on Facebook. Their compression destroys color, contrast and sharpness. If you want to see how big this difference is, check this out:
    https://ferdychristant.com/facebook-destroyer-of-photography-e75b4d0a356

    4) I have no information on how you post processed this one, perhaps not at all and it was a bare test, but clearly the photo has room for gains in that area, mostly via selective sharpening and noise reduction.

    Out of these 4 reasons, I don't think the camera's sensor is the strong differentiator here, I think it's because you're using a teleconvertor and posted it on Facebook. So, can we still be friends, please? ;)
    Replied 3 months ago, modified 3 months ago
  35. @fchrisiant & @Jivko: I will try to take the time to go back through the last 3 posts but if I understand how Jivko set this combo up he is using : Canon EOS 1Dx mkII EF 200-400 mm f/4 IS USM w. Ext.1.4 x - switched on + additional ext. 1.4x III = 784mm 1/800 sec, f/9.0, ISO 8000. There are two potential issues. 1) that lens already has a built in 1.4x converter. Jivko added a second. Whamo! Don't do that you will destroy all resolution and cause all kinds of distortions, aberrations, and artifacts. Then it will all be compounded when ran through FB image algorithms. I would like to see this file in RAW format. Send to me personally. 2) Did you attempt to take this handheld? If so, your shutter speed was barely over limits for that sensor in very steady hands. 3) The other potential issue that can not be determined by the FB image is good focus. Were you able to determine a clean focus point and was it where you expected it to be. You can see in DDP (canon software) where the focus point is. Then determine if the image is actual in focus at the location of the designated focal point. 4) Did you deploy IS and if so which setting? Tripod or handheld.

    More to come...
    Replied 3 months ago, modified 3 months ago
  36. @Stephen: Wow, didn't realize a double convertor was at play here. If one convertor sucks so badly (for me), I'd speculate that having two is about 80% of the reason for this output. Next, Facebook will do the other 20%. Conclusion: not a sensor issue.

    Regarding shutter speed, I know it's kind of offtopic for this discussion, but agreed that 1/800s is too fast for a stationary bird, with "highish" ISO as a result. I recently learned a really cool trick that allows you to switch between stationary and in-flight settings with just one button, but don't know if it works on Canon, something to look into.

    And finally, yes post processing. No matter this discussion and no matter how great your gear, the reality with birding is that even with the best gear, you will often still get mediocre results from an image quality perspective. It's nobody's fault, they are just technical and optical limitations. The best professionals get it too. Post processing is the savior to make that mediocre shot a world class shot. I will once again refer to Steve Perry who has a class where he takes an extremely messed up shot (ISO 12800!) and post processes it into a thing of incredible beauty. Post processing matters so much for birding, it cannot be emphasized enough. It cannot recover a lack of sharpness though, it can be boosted slightly, but very soft results do not hold the detail needed.

    @Stephen: Would love to see what you can do with this file, I know you're like a magician in post processing.
    Replied 3 months ago
  37. @Ferdy, although I would like to be very, very angry at you, I can’t. -:)

    Self-confidence is a good thing, but it must be based on real knowledge and experience. And because I am always very critical about my photographs, and at the same time I suffer from both - lack of enough knowledge and experience I always welcome the constructive criticisms of others. And it's only up to me if I'm going to accept them and try to improve something in my photography or I'll reject them.

    So, we are friends, Ferdy!
    @Ferdy, @Stephen,
    You are right about the photo I posted on FB. The reason to post it is only to emphasize the difference I noticed concerning the noise level between the camera I used till now – EOS 7D mkII and the new one – EOS 1Dx MkII. Any photo made with the first camera with ISO higher than 1250 was awful, much worse than that one at ISO 8000. That’s why I used to limit the ISO range up to that level. This constraint hindered me a lot, and all these years I avoided taking photos in worse light conditions. Fact.

    Because I also think that the reason for the high noise level is not just the camera sensor. This is probably due to the other settings I've made. I have a lot to learn about the optimal settings for best results in different light conditions (don’t stop to comment my photos!).

    Post processing! Yes, no doubt a big problem for me. I use only Lightroom. I don't use Photoshop, although I have Adobe Creative Cloud subscription - just a question of free time.
    I shall send the photo in RAW format to Stephen. I am very curios to see the result.
    Yes, the lens has a built in 1.4x teleconverter and I have added one more. The photo is taken from tripod. I tried to focus on the bird's face and eyes.
    Replied 3 months ago
  38. There is another point we didn’t discuss here:
    Prime vs Zoom lenses
    One of the main arguments raised here is reducing the photo gear to be carried on a trip.
    There are many reasons many photographers stick to zoom lenses, although almost all of them show some almost neglectable lower performance in comparison to respective prime lenses in the same range.

    One reason is financial – instead of two prime lenses to cover the range you have one Zoom lens.
    Other reason is the total weight of the gear.
    Third reason could be flexibility on the field, no need to change lenses in the course of an action.

    The high-end zoom lenses cover the range up to 560 mm in both Canon and Nikon systems (without additional teleconverter).

    Now I have the following gear to carry on a trip (if I don’t want to miss any opportunity):

    Two cameras – EOS 1Dx MKII and EOS 7D MKII
    Lenses:
    EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro
    EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM III
    EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM+ext
    teleconverter 1.4x III.

    Not counting the tripod and the additional accessories – this is already quite heavy!

    In this respect there are two options:
    - To plan carefully every trip and depending on the purpose – birds and wild animals or insects and flowers – to leave some of the gear behind (risking to miss interesting moments), or
    - Sometime in the future to switch partially to mirrorless camera with a macro and a 70-200mm lens and Canon DSLR gear for birding. Maybe!

    For the time being I prefer the first option, although I am not very happy with it.
    Replied 3 months ago
  39. Jivko, thank you for taking constructive criticism well. Your statement that this was a relative comparison compared to your previous camera I did not realize when posting my comment, so you do make a point in that your new camera performs a lot better.

    In terms of quality in absolute terms, at ISO8000 and with a camera that good, I stand by the opinion that the output is not ideal, but we have established already the biggest root cause is likely the double teleconvertor, combined with Facebook.

    As for post processing, it looks like Stephen is already helping you behind the scenes in an awesome way. On top of that I recommend you this video workshop:
    https://backcountrygallery.com/new-video-workshop-noise-reduction-using-lr-ps/

    It's paid, but I'll even pay it for you if you don't want to shell out the cash. Because I want you to see it. It will change your post processing workflow forever, in particular for birding. And it's not that hard. No matter how much you up your gear, with birding you're always going to be fighting the noise battle. This shows you how to solve it, and how to do it in minutes.

    I can totally relate to the gear weight problem. I don't have a solution for it other than to optimize the load per hike based on likely findings.
    Replied 3 months ago
  40. @Ferdy, thank you very much for your comments and the link for he workshop. I shall definitely see it. You are very kind, but I think it shouldn't be a problem to pay for it.
    @Stephen, once again thank you so much for the help and kind advices.
    Replied 3 months ago

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