About Photography Wednesday (and Art)

Yes. A new feature here at LouCeeL. A 'once in a while' feature, to be sure, but something I hope will be worthwhile. The idea behind this is to pass on some photography knowledge, tips, etc., in order to help new and fledgling photographers understand their equipment better - how to use it, why they use it, and what type of equipment to select.

First of all, I need to fulfill a promise - below is a picture of the watercolor I'm working on as a result of the workshop last weekend. Keep in mind - THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. Please.


For those of you who have trouble identifying - It's an Iris - soon to be purple.

Okay. On to photography.

Someone asked me, recently, why they would use a DSLR rather than a Point and Shoot camera. Both systems are capable of taking fine photographs. Which is true. And my answer is - it all depends on whether you want a snapshot or not. I'll explain ...

Inside every lens there is a diaphragm (not that kind of diaphragm. Pervert). The diaphragm opens and/or closes to allow control over the amount of light that reaches the sensor. Unlike the shutter, which controls the amount of TIME that the sensor is exposed to the light, the diaphragm also has an effect on focus. The SMALLER the f-stop number (subject for a future post), the more open the diaphragm is. The more open the diaphragm, the narrower the depth of field is. The narrower the depth of field, the more that foreground and background objects are thrown out of focus. The more out of focus that foreground and background objects are, the more the eye is drawn to the subject of the photograph. It's this isolation of the subject that makes a DSLR a better tool for serious photography than a Point and Shoot.

Point and Shoot cameras seldom sport f-stops greater than f3.5 or so. Zoom lenses, typically, will actually drop to f5.6 when run out to their maximum. A DSLR, by definition, has interchangeable lenses. Some are zoom lenses, which enjoy many of the same limitations that are imposed on Point and Shoot lenses. But some are of fixed focal length, and those lenses can see f-stops in the f1.2, f1.8 or f2 range, which will isolate better than any Point and Shoot I'm aware of.

Left and right you see two pictures of the same object. The shot on the left was taken with my Canon 30D with a 50mm lens set a f1.8. Wide open aperture. The camera was allowed to pick the shutter speed - which, as we know, has no effect on focus.

The shot on the right was taken with my Fuji FinePix J10 Point and Shoot. It was taken with the lens set at wide angle and the ISO set at 64 - which would force the camera to shoot wide open.

The first thing I want you to see is that there is much more 'clutter' in the Fuji shot. There is more stuff in the Fuji shot, mainly because of differences in angle of view due to different lens focal length, and physical size of the sensor (Both sensors are 8 megapixel - but the Fuji is physically smaller). I took the shot trying to get the object being photographed to be the same size in the resulting 'print'. Both shots were taken from the same spot.

The Fuji shot is a little blurred. The shutter speed couldn't get high enough to 'freeze' the subject - which was swaying a little in the breeze, and because of the low light situation, it couldn't freeze the 'camera shake' introduced by the human taking the photograph. Everything you see in the shot on the right displays the limitations of Point and Shoot cameras. Do you see how much of the scene is in relatively good focus?

Now look at the shot on the left. The subject is isolated. Everything beyond it that's in the scene is out of focus and your brain will ignore it. You see the feeder. You don't really notice the bush at all.

That is the clearest demonstration I can provide you as to why you want to use a DSLR instead of a Point and Shoot.


p.s. I made a boo boo yesterday. I sent everyone to hte wrong site for the interview. Okay. Everybody. Slap my hand ....
The interview is actually here.


Shadow said...

that is really good. i mean it. and yes, it definately looks like an iris!

Tara R. said...

Your irises are shaping up nicely.

Jientje said...

There is indeed a huge difference between a DSLR and a point and shoot. Since I started playing with my Big Guy, I have hardly touched the point and shoot anymore!
Great interview!
I LOVE the painting!

Joyce-Anne said...

I don't think I was the one who asked you the difference between cameras, but boy I'm glad you showed an example of each. Your photos of the same subject clearly showed me the physical differences regarding good photos.

Thanks for the correct link to the interview, I was wondering if I missed something yesterday. Nice job on it, by the way.

Rusty said...

There is not many people who are so generous as to explain the difference between the cameras. They keep info a secret. Nice.

LceeL said...

Shadow: Thank you, Shadow. I am so excited.

Tara R: Thank you, Tara.

Jientje: Thank you, Jientje. our work with your 'Big Guy' camera is just amazing.

Joyce-Anne: Thank you, Joyce-Anne.

Rusty: I did but follow your example.

lisaschaos said...

Great explanation on p&s and dslr. :) I love your watercolor! Wish I could paint. :)

Emily/Randomability said...

I SO want a DSLR....

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

I love irises. So pretty, Lou!

My husband and I toted film SLRs around for a while but now do point and shoot cameras with the kids. I lament the pictures aren't as good, in my opinion, but it's hard to lug around a big camera when you already have two children to watch out for and carry a giant baby bag with you. My point and shoot fits in my jeans pocket. Still would love to get a digital SLR.

Eve Grey said...

I love irises. They remind me of my childhood. My mom used to call them "flags".

Mrs4444 said...

You're very talented; the drawing is beautiful.

Kind of complicated stuff, but you do confirm what I suspected; that I would love a DSLR. Thanks.