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SNAPSHOT - PHOTO NEWS FROM BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to SnapShot, the weekly newsletter on
the art of photography from
BetterPhoto.com


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IN THIS ISSUE - Tuesday, December 20, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: Learn to Be a Complete Digital Photographer in Exciting 1-Year Adventure
* BETTERPHOTO: Understanding Natural Light: New Course by a New Instructor
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterPhoto's Winter Online Session: Our Very Best Ever!
* BETTERPHOTO: How-to Articles: Photographing the Holidays and Christmas Lights
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focus on Images of Christmas
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: New Look at Legend's Work / Original Nikon
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Kelvin Temperature and Color Balance ... by Charlie Borland
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Volunteer Photography for Community Service
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: What Is Buzz?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Taking Pictures of Homeless People
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Inexpensive Indoor Lighting Solutions
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: My Cat Shuts Her Eyes
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Which Tripod Is Best?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Noise Reduction Software for CS2
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: New Lens: Telephoto?
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Suggestions, Please ... Christmas Gift


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Learn to Be a Complete Digital Photographer in Exciting 1-Year Adventure
Join BetterPhoto™ founder Jim Miotke for a great year-long adventure: The Complete Digital Photographer online photography course! Through assignments that you will be sent every two weeks, as well as immediate answers to the questions that arise, you will finally be able to produce GREAT photos again and again and again. You will have what it takes to be an award-winning photographer! Read all about it at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JCM05.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 243rd issue of SnapShot!

Hi {FirstName}

First off, let me wish you all a terrific holiday week. I sincerely hope you are all able to enjoy a wonderful break from the daily routine. And, for everyone who celebrates it, a very Merry Christmas!

Also, I am excited about a new BetterPhoto experience: The Complete Digital Photographer one-year online course. With this year-long class, you will turn into a competent, confident, and consistent photographer. For details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JCM05.asp

In addition, we are thrilled to welcome a new member to our talented team of online instructors: Tim Cooper, an experienced commercial/editorial photographer and a veteran workshop instructor. Tim will teach an awesome 4-week course: Understanding Natural Light.

In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss an excellent Photo Tip from instructor Charlie Borland, a couple of how-to articles on holiday photography, and another fine collection of questions and answers!

Happy Holidays from all of us at BetterPhoto.com!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
Understanding Natural Light: New Course by a New Instructor
Wonderful outdoor photography starts with wonderful light. And points out master photographer Tim Cooper, understanding this powerful phenomenon will help you to enhance any subject. In his exciting new 4-week BetterPhoto class, Tim will show you how to capture dynamic photographs with the creative use of natural light. For all of the details:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/TIM01.asp


*****
BetterPhoto's Winter Online Session: Our Very Best Ever!
Although BetterPhoto's next online-course session doesn't kick off until January 4th, signups are already proceeding at a lively clip, thanks to two new instructors (Tim Cooper and Paul Gero), awesome new courses (Understanding Natural Light, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Digital Wedding Photography, Mastering the Digital Camera & Photography), and our "usual" lineup of popular classes. See our schedules:

- Eight-week courses: http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/categories.asp

- Four-Week Short Courses: http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-short-courses.asp



*****
How-to Articles: Photographing the Holidays and Christmas Lights
We have so many tips and tricks for photographing this colorful season. For example, read these two articles:

- "Top Ten Tips for Better Holiday Photos":
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/topTen/holiday-photography-tips.asp

- "Photographing Christmas Lights and Other Holiday Happenings":
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?ID=107

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focus on Images of Christmas
The Christmas season is such a popular time for photography. And BetterPhoto members have captured so many creative and innovative images. See this eye-catching gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=287

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
An exhibit at a major U.S. art museum features the work of a 20th-century photographic icon that captures his mastery of the medium. The exhibit includes images of intimate portraits, still lifes, close-ups, and even a coffee can that features a picture of a snow scene. Who is this photographer?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Pet is:
A Adams

Editor's Note: Right you are, Pet! The exhibit also includes many of Ansel's landscape images. The collection can seen through January 4th, 2006, at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

To see all answers to this question, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp?stat=PRV

And Now... This Week's Photo Trivia Question - Original Nikon - entered by BetterPhoto member Scott Miki

In 1946, Nikon produced the "Model One", their first camera for retail sale. Which two camera brands did the Nikon engineers use as a basis for this new camera design?

Submit your own answer to this question by visiting:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp

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THIS WEEK'S PHOTO TIP
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Kelvin Temperature and Color Balance ... by Charlie Borland

Color or Kelvin temperature is the color of a light source. Daylight color temperature is 5500k and ambient light sources such as tungsten, sodium or mercury vapor, and fluorescent have different color temperatures. When photographing indoors, there is often a combination of more than one of these light sources. You use a color meter to accurately determine the Kelvin temperature and correct for it. The following chart gives and idea of the color of the spectrum in color temperature.

Kelvin temperature color relationship:

  • Amber: 3200
  • Warmer: 3800K
  • Warm: 4500K
  • Daylight: 5500K
  • Cool: 6200K
  • Cooler: 6800; Blueish:7500K; Blue: 8000K
If you know the Kelvin temperature for the light source you are photographing in and can adjust your camera's white balance accurately, you can correct for these indoor color shifts.

View Charlie Borland's online photography courses:



Top Ten Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/tips.asp

All Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/allTips.asp

Add Your Own Tip:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/login.asp?category=tip&inputType=tip

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ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Great Photos
My new book guides you away from the point-and-pray method of taking pictures to shooting with confidence. In this simple and clear how-to book, you will learn:
  • How to compose your picture with a more artful eye
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You can order this book online, call our toll-free order processing number 1-888-927-9992, or simply send a check or money order for USD $16.90 (or USD$18.90 if shipping to Canada or USD$24.90 to other international addresses) to:

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To order online, visit:
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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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NEW QUESTION 1: Volunteer Photography for Community Service
I'm an 18-year-old high school student looking to volunteer in the Boston area one day a week for a minimum of 6 hours (it's a school project) doing some sort of photography. The photographic work has to be some sort of community service so it can't be news photography or anything like that. I have a Nikon D50 with the 18-55 and 55-200 kit lenses and a bit of experience. I'm willing to do anything, basically. Send me an email if you know anything or need me! Thanks! Eli
- Eli C

ANSWER 1:
I've heard of people going down to the local animal shelter and photographing the animals for the shelter's Web site, I doubt that would take 6 hours a week, though.
- Brendan Knell

ANSWER 2:
Funny you should mention that. My backup plan was just to work at the local shelter where I volunteered over the summer. I can certainly combine the two but I was looking for something more photography-oriented. Thanks, though!
- Eli C

ANSWER 3:
I just searched the forum and came up with a thread that might help:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17274
- Brendan Knell

ANSWER 4:
Eli,
Check around for community Christmas parties for children. Or local club like Lions, Eagles, Shriners, and offer your services if they have children's Christmas parties. You call the organizers and I bet they love to have you.
- Kerby L. Pfrangle

See Kerby's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 5:
Another thought is to check with hospitals that have Christmas parties for the children. What a special gift for the child's family.
- Kerby L. Pfrangle

See Kerby's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21235

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21235

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*****


NEW QUESTION 2: What Is Buzz?
I've been looking at a lot of photos in "Digital Darkroom" on BP, and I see that many discuss "buzzing" the photo. I think this must be really basic, but I don't know what "applying buzz" means. Is it a specific filter, or...? I'd really appreciate someone explaining it to me.
- Mitch Spence

See Mitch's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
It's called a Simplifier filter. It removes some detail (you decide how much) and makes it look more painted, I guess you could say. It's a plug-in from www.Fo2pix.com. You get 30 free tries before you have to buy it. I'll warn you: it can be addictive. There's an article here on BP about it that one of the instructors wrote: Digital Photography: Getting a Buzz On (Simply Speaking) by Jeff Wignall. I have a lot of them on my Web site, too. I'm slowly breaking the addiction, but it's tough to do once you get so you like the look of them.
- Carolyn Fletcher

See Carolyn's Premium BetterPholio™

Visit PickYourShots.com - Carolyn's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Carolyn,
Thanks so much for enlightening me. I'll go look at the site and at the article. I'm struggling to learn the most basic stuff in PS, and it can all be enormously confusing sometimes. But the look is, indeed, most interesting with the buzz thing.
- Mitch Spence

See Mitch's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21232

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21232

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*****


NEW QUESTION 3: Taking Pictures of Homeless People
Homeless People seem like a interesting subject. Many of them have such character in their face. Am I being too sensitive or not sensitive enough? Has anyone shot homeless people? What is the correct way to go about this?
- David A. Wilson

ANSWER 1:
Ask them ... then reward them somehow. If they decline, apologize and move on. People are people, regardless of their means. Treat them the same as you would any causal passers-by.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
An excellent question, David. I agree with Bob, but must add a little more.
What about combat photogs who photograph a dying soldier laying on a stretcher? Or photos of survivors from natural disasters?
I think these are questions left to you alone. Photojournalism often does cross the boundary of right and wrong (at least in my opinion) and yet. Some of the images I've seen are emotionally overwhelming - yet tender and beautiful.
Your question is one that will indicate the kind of person you are. If the photo is for nothing else than to elevate me, then I will not shoot it at another's expense. If, on the other hand, it is designed to make one more aware of a situation or tell a story that must be told, I am OK with it.
- Pete Herman

ANSWER 3:
Greetings, David: I'm also inclined to agree with Bob and Pete here, although my initial response to your inquiry is what do you intend to use these photos for? A second question I have is how to you intend to go about doing this - i.e., a long-range telephoto from behind a street light or up close and personal?
I'm a photojournalist, and I've been fortunate enough to photograph a fair number of homeless folks primarily in San Francisco for various assignments. The key to success, like any other kind of portraiture, is contact with your subject.

The first time out, leave the camera behind. Introduce yourself, meet them and talk to them. After all, as it's been said, they're people - just apparently without a home to go to at the end of the day. They still have likes, dislikes, fears, suspicions, needs, and wants. And some, you'll find, have a wonderful sense of humor and are quite articulate and usually very opinionated. Some are in reasonably good health, others are not. Some will want to talk with you, others won't. If they don't, as Bob suggested, say "thanks anyway" and move on.
You need to be up-front with them about why you want to photograph them. Tell them about any project you're working on and especially why the work is important and why it should be done. Offer to compensate them, buy them a coffee, a meal, a few pairs of dry socks.

It's also extremely helpful to get acquainted with and get to know the people who run the local rescue missions, churches, soup kitchens, the Salvation Army, etc. They can help you meet your subjects in a familiar environment and may be able to introduce you to some with particularly interesting stories.
If you intend to publish these shots in any way, you're going to need model releases from them. That's the standard these days. Previously, there was nearly a complete "newsworthiness/public has a right to know" standard. That's been eroding over the past several years, probably for good reason to protect privacy rights and prevent unjust enrichment at someone else's expense. So, on your first visit, you're going to begin to establish some rapport with your subjects and make arrangements to see them later when you will have your camera. Some will be where they say they will be, others won't. The key to success in doing this kind of work is to connect with your subjects on a sincere level and avoid seeming as though you're an opportunist trying to exploit their plight. Take your time and over time, assuming you stay in the same neighborhood, you'll be introduced to friends of your subjects and more people to get to know.
Lastly, as far as equipment, keep it simple. Most of my work is done with a couple of very old, very well-worn Nikon F-2As usually with a 35mm Nikkor or a 105.
Hope this helps you out. Enjoy the experience.
Mark
- Mark Feldstein

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21222

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21222

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*****


NEW QUESTION 4: Inexpensive Indoor Lighting Solutions
I don't have any good lighting for indoor photography, and I don't have the income right now to buy a set. Are there any light bulbs I could buy and put into any conventional lamp?
- Kalina Acord

ANSWER 1:
Greetings, Kalina. If you're talking about putting high-wattage photo flood lamps into like a table lamp, I wouldn't recommend that. You'll probably fry the lamp socket.
What you can do, however, is go down to a local hardware store or a place like Lowes or Home Depot, and in their electrical department, you'll likely find some clamp-on type sockets with reflectors, either 6" or 10". You don't need to use them with photo floods, just regular bulbs. They're cheap, portable, pretty durable, and will help you control your lighting. OR, some of the quartz/halogen work lights might be what you need. They're available in 250 or 500 watt varieties. These are also relatively inexpensive, $10 - 20 bucks. You can even get them on stands. Look at the tool department at Sears also.
If you're shooting on color film, you'll need to experiment to determine whether you have to use a filter when using incandescent lights. Depends on the effect you want.
Take it light.
Mark
- Mark Feldstein

ANSWER 2:
Hello, Kalina,
The problem with using standard bulbs in a basic lamp socket is manyfold. Probably the three issues that will fight you the most are, "Amount or intensity", "Directivity" and "Color Problems."
Good interior photography usually requires a lot of light ... even a 100-watt bulb is not that bright in the photographic world.
Secondly, it is difficult to control "where" you want the light to fall. Mark's response is a good one given a limited budget ... at least with the inexpensive hardware store clamp-on reflector lights, you have "some" control over the "directivity" of the light.
Finally, "color balance" using incandescent lights can be a real pain in the butt! Although many cameras can compensate for various light color sources, the incandescent bulb will fluctuate in color over just a few moments.
If you shoot black and white, this color balance problem is NOT an issue obviously.
Finally, if you do use lights with reflectors, try to diffuse the light ... i.e., hang some sort of "non-colored" (white) cloth or plastic in front of the lights.
This will help reduce the harsh light and shadows associated with straight on lighting.
Hope that helps a little.
Pete
- Pete Herman

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21220

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21220

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*****


NEW QUESTION 5: My Cat Shuts Her Eyes
I bought my first digital camera. The cat shuts her eyes when the flash goes off, even from a distance. The camera has a red, laser-like "focus" light. Could this be the problem? The cat never did this when photographed with a film camera. Thank you very much!
- Manetta M. Argue-Raab

ANSWER 1:
Did you use a flash with the film camera? Try using the same shutter speeds as on the film camera. I doubt that it is the focusing laser. If none of this works, just try and get the room bright enough so you don't need a flash.
- Brendan Knell

ANSWER 2:
It could well be that the preflash focusing light on your digital (which your film camera probably didn't have) is the warning for your cat to shut her eyes. To her, the flash is likely not a pleasant thing to experience - and like Pavlov's dog, she has learned that when the orange-y light goes on that nasty flash will go off a moment after. What about just raising the ambient light in the room so to eliminate the need for the flash?
- Bob

ANSWER 3:
Bob, I've turned off the focusing laser, and they still shut their eyes.
- Brendan Knell

ANSWER 4:
I have a Nikon D70. I was having that problem as well and it was the preflash causing it with my dog. When I figured out how to change it, my dog stopped blinking.
- Sharon D

See Sharon's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 5:
Get a new cat and start over. Once they are flashed, they will never again look at the camera and you are reduced to catching them when they are sleeping. They hate flash.
- Carolyn Fletcher

See Carolyn's Premium BetterPholio™

Visit PickYourShots.com - Carolyn's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 6:
LOL Carolyn! My sister's husband was holding their cat for a pic once. I thought he was going to scratch both our eyes out. I never tried taking his pic again, and he's a pretty cat.
- Sharon D

See Sharon's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 7:
Good answer, Carolyn! (A used cat is a whole lot cheaper than a new camera.) :)
That point notwithstanding, I agree that increasing the ambient light (or the ISO) would eliminate the need for flash and solve your dilemma.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21205

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21205

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: Which Tripod Is Best?
I'm looking at the Gitzo G1228 C/F but noticed that the Slik Pro814 C/F looks very similar and is considerably less. Velbons 630 C/F is also considerably less. I understand you get what you pay for, so my questions: Am I paying for the Gitzo name? Is the Slik AF2100 good, or is Manfrotto 322RC2 better?
- Oliver Anderson

ANSWER 1:
Oliver: Manfrotto is superb. Imported from Italy by www.bogenphoto.com As with any tripod, don't buy the smallest/flimsiest model.
Gitzo is the Rolls Royce of tripods. Superb but expensive.
I have not tested any recent Slik or Velbon models.
Regards, Peter Burian, Instructor,
Mastering The Digital Camera and Photography
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/PBN01.asp
- Peter K. Burian

See Peter Burian's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Peter Burian's Web Site - www.peterkburian.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography

ANSWER 2:
Thanks, Peter and Mark!!! I use B&H so I'm glad they come highly recommended. Last night, I met a girl that sells used camera equip and she told me that used Gitzos are rare and don't depreciate, so I'm going that way but will look at the Manfrotto. Should I go ball head or pistol grip? Those grips are popular with the young car show photographers.
- Oliver Anderson

ANSWER 3:
Oliver: The pistol grip is large and heavy but very convenient. It works best with lenses that are not too heavy.
Regards, Peter Burian, Instructor,
Mastering The Digital Camera and Photography
www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/PBN01.asp

- Peter K. Burian

See Peter Burian's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Peter Burian's Web Site - www.peterkburian.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography

ANSWER 4:
I'm either getting the Gitzo 1227 or the Manfrotto 055MF3 both are C/F. I looked at the Linhof heads and was wondering if there was a great/good head in the $150 range?
- Oliver Anderson

ANSWER 5:
Oliver: I cannot keep track of all the different models in both brands. Check the specs (www.bogenimaging.us/) closely for:

- Weight: The amount of weight that each one is expected to support
- Type of leg locking devices ... if clips (as with most Manfrotto models), they are much faster/easier to use
- Low-level capability ... if you plan to use a tripod from a very low shooting position

I am not familiar with Linhof heads; they are used mostly by studio photographers. Here's a useful guide to tripod heads:

www.shutterbug.net/equipmentreviews/accessories/0705getyour/index.html

All the best, Peter Burian, Instructor,
Mastering The Digital Camera and Photography
www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/PBN01.asp


- Peter K. Burian

See Peter Burian's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Peter Burian's Web Site - www.peterkburian.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21204

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21204

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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: Noise Reduction Software for CS2
I've got Photoshop CS2 and need to purchase a noise reducing software package to complement my CS2. Which ones are the best?
- Oliver Anderson

ANSWER 1:
Oliver: Many Reviews favor Noise Ninja 2. See my Review at www.shutterbug.net/test_reports/0205noise/index.html

"Noise Ninja 2.0 Can Software Cure High ISO Digital Noise? Peter K. Burian, February, 2005"

Regards, Peter Burian, Instructor,
Mastering The Digital Camera and Photography
www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/PBN01.asp
- Peter K. Burian

See Peter Burian's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Peter Burian's Web Site - www.peterkburian.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21203

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21203

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: New Lens: Telephoto?
I am thinking of buying a telephoto lens (or a different lens) for my new Rebel XT. My price range is $100-150. What would the best lens to get? Right now I have a 18-55mm lens. Also, I would like to know if the next lens to get would be a telephoto lens or some other kind (I have a +10 macro add on). Thanks for the help!
- Jackie F. K

ANSWER 1:
HI Jackie,
I have the same camera. I bought a Sigma 70-300 for $175 or so from www.bhphotovideo.com. It has been a good lens for the price. Unfortunately, that amount does not allow for much...Good luck!
- Cyndee W.

ANSWER 2:
Try to stay with f/4-5.6 or f/4.5-5.6 lenses. In that $100-150 budget category, there are some f/4.5-6.3 or f/4.5-6.7 and f/5.6-6.7 lenses, but the XT's autofocus reliability falls off with maximum apertures smaller than f/5.6 (i.e. f-numbers larger than 5.6). The better alternatives are:
Tamron 75-300 f/4-5.6 LD Macro about $130
Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 DG Macro ~$140
Canon EF 75-300 f/4-5.6 III (non-USM) about $155
Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 LD Macro ~$160
and stretching a bit:
Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro about $220
Canon EF 100-300 f/4.5-5.6 USM about $280

Notes:
Between the 2 Tamrons, the 75-300 is an older design than the 70-300.
Between the Sigmas, the "DG" versions are new, with additional coatings on the rearmost elements for use with digital cameras. There are older non-DG versions available that are otherwise pretty good for a little less money. The APO version has 3 SLD (super low dispersion glass) elements that make it a bit sharper than the DL.
The Tamron and Sigma lenses have a "Macro" setting that allows them to focus a bit closer than the Canon lenses (to about 37" instead of about 59").

For the extra cost, the EF 100-300 f/4.5-5.6 USM is not any sharper, but has a couple features worth the extra cost. It is the only lens in this group with a front element that does not rotate or extend with focus, a plus when using using a polarizing filter. It is the only one with ring-USM autofocus motor for the fastest and near silent operation, and it has nicely damped manual focus.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 3:
Jackie: You can also find another discussion on zoom lenses for your camera at

http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=21144

Regards, Peter Burian, Instructor,
Mastering The Digital Camera and Photography
www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/PBN01.asp


- Peter K. Burian

See Peter Burian's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Peter Burian's Web Site - www.peterkburian.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21189

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21189

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Suggestions, Please ... Christmas Gift
Hi Everyone,
I have a friend going to India for two weeks (sightseeing) in February, and I know he only has a camera body and two lenses and polarizers. I am trying to figure out what things I could get him for his Christmas gift this year that he could use on his trip. Now nothing that is outrageous, but within reason. Any suggestions? One item I was thinking is a grad neutral-density filter, but never using one, I don't have a clue on what kind, etc., to get. And is there a good book on photographing India out there?
Thank you all!!
- Michele Wassell

ANSWER 1:
How serious is he about photography? If he's like me and not super-serious/advanced, and he really only has the body, lenses, and polarizers, here's what I'd want in his place. Maybe it can give you some ideas:

extra battery/ies
extra memory card/film
remote trigger
lens cleaning kit
camera bag or lens bags
tripod and/or table-top tripod
lens hood

I'm jealous!!
- Jennifer Wytmans

ANSWER 2:
Thank you, Jennifer. I am trying to find out what little things he has and all. Some really good suggestions. He isn't very serious or advanced, but he takes pretty good photos. He uses the Canon 10D.
- Michele Wassell

ANSWER 3:
Consider a monopod. That's on my Christmas wish list. Some of them have little levers that fold down so the photographer can step on them and keep the monopod a little more stable. A monopod is smaller and lighter than a bulky tripod. Easier to travel with.
- Cherylann Collins

ANSWER 4:
"A monopod is smaller and lighter than a bulky tripod. Easier to travel with."
I think it depends on the tripod. A shorter tripod can weigh very little and compact down to 15", tabletop or c-clamp models even more so. Monopods can be useful in museums, zoos, or sports activities where tripods are banned, but they definitely are limiting compared to tripods for longer exposures, macro shots, night photography, timer shots with yourself in the photo, etc.
There are monopods that convert to tripods with attachable integral legs, but you really gain little over a tabletop because fully extending the 'pod with the slightest amount of wind will whip them around like a leaf.
- Will Turner

ANSWER 5:
How about a power converter so he can recharge all of his goodies? Other countries use different power and voltages.
- eric brown

ANSWER 6:
I second the suggestions of: extra battery/ies, and extra memory card/film. You can never have enough, and they will always fail/fill up at the most awkward moment!
Jim
- James Osborne

ANSWER 7:
Michele,
I'm a traveler and have spent time in India on more than one occasion. It's a treat for a photographer, and if someone had wanted to buy ME a present, I would have been delighted if someone had taken care of the processing on my return.
I shoot film and recall looking forlornly at 30 rolls of film sitting in my fridge for a couple of years waiting til I could afford the processing. I now buy processing included film (transparency and print) to solve that problem. There's always money at the beginning of a trip and never any at the end.
Even if your friend is shooting digital, you could do an IOU for the printing and mounting of his 5 favorite shots, for example.
I like the idea of a grad ND filter (because I like them!) also, but if he's not using one now, odds are he won't have time to get used to it on a two-week run. I use the Cokin system - but it's rather involved.
Cheers
Kit
- Kitty Cross

ANSWER 8:
I love that idea Kit ... never thought of that. Thank you everyone else for the great ideas.
- Michele Wassell

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