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Monday, May 30, 2011
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Q&A 1: Please Explain th...
Q&A 1: What Camera to ...

"With each lesson building on the skills learned in the previous one, Doug Steakley not only demystified the creation of Layer Masks by using the Selection tools, he did so in a way that was both productive and (dare I say) fun. The result is that I now feel that I can move ahead with Photoshop without getting lost or ruining the images I'm trying to work on. ... So take this class now! You can thank me later. Enough said!" -David B. Dawson, student in Basic Masks In Photoshop


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Any Lens Can Be a Close-up Lens!
By Kerry Drager
You don't always need fancy equipment for capturing photogenic details and intimate close-ups! Sure, you may not be able move in super-tight on tiny objects - that's what macro specialty equipment is for - but you might be surprised how close you can get with everyday lenses. This applies to any focal length ... with wide, "normal," and telephoto each providing its own unique close-up perspective. In fact, if you've never treated your wide-angle as a close-up lens, you're in for a unique visual treat. Have fun zeroing in tight on your subject!

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 527th issue of SnapShot!

Now is the time to start taking your photography - or Photoshop - to the next level! BetterPhoto's June online school session begins June 8th, and we have a great lineup of photo courses... A number of our classes are brand new or recently updated - check out the list below. ... If next week is too soon, consider our 8-week photo session, which kicks off on July 6th. ... By the way, at BetterPhoto, there's no reason to wait! If you sign up for any photography or Photoshop course, you can get started - today! - with an early lesson. ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss Jim Miotke's thought-provoking article: "Breaking Out of the 'I'll Just Fix It in Photoshop' Mode". ... That's it for this week. Enjoy your photography!    Kerry Drager   Newsletter Editor    Where is Jim Miotke? Follow BetterPhoto's founder and president on Twitter - BetterPhotoJim

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto It's time to drop the "I’ll fix it later in Photoshop" way of thinking. Digital imaging experts don't agree on a lot of things, but here's one they embrace: The better the photo that comes out of the camera, the easier - and more effective - will be your post-production work. Read more in Jim Miotke's BetterPhotoJim blog... We are celebrating BetterPhoto's 15th anniversary year in a big way, including brand new, updated, and/or revamped online courses. Check them out... Here's an interesting page that's all about BetterPhoto members!

Photo Q&A

1: Please Explain the Kelvin settings.
When I set my white balance Kelvin setting to a high number, the image produced has the orange/warm color effect although the high numbers are considered cool. And then a low Kelvin setting creates a blue/cool looking image but the low numbers are warm. I don't get it ... does it do the reverse then? I need a physics lesson I guess.
- Jane C. Youngberg
Color temperature in Kelvin comes from when you heat a black body, or sometimes it's called a mantle, to a high enough range of degrees, it gives off light ... or glows from the heat and emits electromagnetic radiation. And light is electromagnetic radiation that's visible.
So you heat a mantle to around 3500K, it glows red-orange. Heat it to around 6000K, it's bluish.
If you can set the color temp on your camera, you match it to what the color temp of the light you're shooting in is. Overcast days, shade, fluorescent light has a blue to green tint. Regular daylight is close to 5200K. So you if shoot with it set to daylight, or with the color temp set to 5200K, your pictures get the green or blue tint to it.
So setting the color temp higher actually adds the orange-red color that's missing from the fluorescent light. Set the color temp lower, it's adding the green or blue color that's missing from incandescent light.
Got it?
- Gregory LaGrange
I got it. Thank you. I like to play around with the true light and distort it so its helpful to understand how that's happening. Thanks again!
- Jane C. Youngberg
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Answer this question:
1: What Camera to Buy?

I've been using a Canon 350D Rebel for a few years and intend to upgrade. My main subject is landscapes. I'm torn between the Canon EOS 60D and 7D. The question is, is the 7D worth the extra cash? Also, would I get better results by buying just a 60D or 7D body and a high-end lens? And if so, which lens would be recommended?
I'd be grateful for any input.
- Hans Abplanalp

I hate to be contrary (Naw, not really. :)) but I say neither. I base this on you stating, "My main subject is landscape." The Canon 5D or 5DII is the better camera especially if you are printing or having larger than 8x10 prints made. The larger sensor makes a considerable difference. 24x36mm vs 22x14.8mm or 1 1/2"x 1" vs 1" x 5/8". Which one do you want to capture a scenic on and have enlarged to 12x18" or larger? Which one would you rather have to crop?
The original 5D only has 12MP but these are large light-gathering pixels. There's lots of detail in the shadows as well as the highlights when properly exposed. Be sure to use Raw or Raw+JPEG.
The full-frame images are much easier to process. There is really something special about the 5D images. I can walk into the local custom lab and spot a print that came from the 5D. They have been described as "creamy, not having the digital look, wonderful" and a few other great words. The transition of tones is smooth with no banding even in the sky. Many knowledgeable photographers have both the 5D and the 5DII. The 5D is reserved for landscapes and portraits.
Usually they will walk out the door for general photography with the 5DII. But I have taken photos of birds in flight with a 300mm f4L IS and a 135mm f2L using the 5D plus beautiful flower photos as well as landscapes.
The 5DII has twice as many pixels and better high ISO (6400). The 5D is only good up to 1600. It also has video and "live view" capability, plus for macro it will give sharper detail. It cost $1000 more than a used 5D. It also has a few other features and is a newer camera with all the pluses that go with it. I still prefer the 5D prints but that is me.
If your prints are going to be 8x12" or less or you are only going to be using the photos for slide shows or the web, I would choose the 60D. At 18MP, it is the same as the 7D and it has all the controls you need for landscape photography. If you like bells and whistles, the 7D has them and will be of assistance in other areas of photography. Of course, this comes at a price.
Lens for the 5D & 5DII would be the 24-105 f4L to start. If you need, want, a longer lens the Canon 70-200 f4L IS is the sharpest of the breed except for the 70-200 f2.8L II which cost $2.5K. For wider angle the 17-40mm f4L is recommended. Landscapers generally do not need the f2.8 that the 16-35 provides. Heck, you can increase the ISO or have the camera on a tripod, best, and take a longer exposure.
For the 60D, I would think the 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 and wider the Canon 10-22mm f3.5-4.5. As for longer, go back to the 70-200 f4L IS.
For your landscape photos, please use a sturdy tripod as much as possible as well as remote release. Also get a double bubble level to insert into the flash bracket of the camera. It lets you know when the horizon is tilted and eliminates straightening the image and consequential cropping. But do crop for the best photo.
Good luck on your decision.
PS: I've been accused of being bias. Naw, not me. :=)

- Lynn R. Powers

If you are down to those 2 cameras, I'll assume you've ruled the 5D out of budget - same place I was at, when it came time to upgrade from my Rebel. I was torn between the 5D(i) and 7D - I just couldn't justify the extra $1k then.
I now have (and love using) the 7D, but frankly, I can't imagine it has a single thing that would be more "useful" to you in landscape photography than what the 60D provides. The sensors are, for all intents and purposes, identical. Megapixels, processor, HD-video... same. The feature set on both is nearly identical. The 7D brings faster frames-per-second, which is not at all critical in landscape photography; nor, I imagine, do the 19 focus points (7D) matter dramatically more than 9 focus points (60D). The 60D brings a higher-res LCD screen (always nice!) that is articulated. And for me, what I wouldn't give to FINALLY have a Canon that doesn't use Compact Flash cards!! (I've had 2 different laptops now that have built-in SD readers - I go get the 7D, with its bulky Compact Flash cards, and Canon finally adopts SD in their lineup!! Argh!)
I'd say find the best deal on the 60D, take the savings, and invest in an L lens, or the phenomenal 10-22EFS, as Lynn mentions.
P.S.: As for enlargements off either, I'm sitting next to my gorgeous 20x30 print of my January GP winner (toot, toot! ;) shot on my 7D, with the same sensor chip as that 60D. In my experience, you can safely go well beyond 8x12 prints! I even have some beautiful 18x24's from my Rebel, hanging at home.

- Christopher J. Budny
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