Monday, January 20, 2014

My Camera and Editing Equipment


Welcome to all of my new followers as of late from all the lovely house tours out there.
I am so happy you are here.

I have been inundated with questions about my camera and what editing software I am using especially since Saturday's post about the doozy photo from our laundry room.

I bumped out the winter decor of our upstairs to tomorrow to write this post and answer all of your questions.

Camera first!

I was previously, up until last September using a Nikon P90 point and shoot camera on a tripod which worked fine for the time being. It was light , I learned to use the manual function inside and out but it became obvious that my photos were as good as they were going to get with that level of camera.

Time to upgrade. When I started to hunt for a new camera I noticed that almost all big bloggers were using entry or professional DSLR cameras exclusively so, I thought that was the route I was going to have to go. I was starting to save my pennies because camera bodies alone are very expensive and because I like to carry my camera around my neck I was looking at a smaller Nikon J1 too so I didn't have to lug around the big beast at shows etc. It was going to be huge financial investment.
My uncle who is my go-to resource for camera info sent me an article about compact mirrorless system cameras and the rest they say is history.

I settled on the Sony NEX-5R which I believe is now the 5T. 
The camera is as small as my previous point and shoot, is easy to use, has many many interchangeable lens (I am starting to have a lens addiction) and takes high quality photos.
This camera comes in around 600/700.00 depending on sales which is still a good investment but when compared to the aforementioned expensive 3000.00 DSLR's you are still ahead of the game. There are higher models of the NEX line and they have just released a new 7 model.
The only thing my camera is missing is a viewfinder but the large moveable LCD screen makes up for it.



Now oddly enough, for this post I am using my Iphone for photos so I can show you the camera. Sony NEX cameras use what are called E-mount lens. The above lens is the kit lens that came with the camera. It is an 18-55mm lens with f3.5-5.6. I have read many a review for DSLR users that their kit lens is terrible right off the bat and you need to invest in a new lens pronto. The kit lens that comes with the Sony NEX-5R is actually a very good lens. It produces clear photos, with little distortion and is consistent in quality. More bang for your buck if your budget is really limited.


The screen of the camera is touchscreen but the wheels and buttons give you the option of doing everything manually which I prefer as it is quicker and I am old school. I don't need everything touchscreen, I like buttons


Most of my blog photos are shot with the kit lens or the Sigma 19mm f2.8 lens that I invested in right off the bat. It is a great wider angle lens for the money. I am in Canada and use Henry's Camera shop for just about all of my purchases. I purchased the telephoto lens for travel 55-210mm f4.5-6.3 but rarely use this lens for blogging purposes.

I am saving my pennies from my etsy shop (go buy lol) to purchase the Sony SEL10-18mm lens that will be able to produce super wide angle photos but at 899.00 it will be my most expensive purchase for this camera. I know DSLR people are shaking their head as 899.00 is nothing when compared with the big Canon and Nikon lens.

How do I use my camera:

Well now that I have told you about my equipment, lets talk a little about how I use it. 
I am always always always on a tripod. As a blogger you need the crispest, clearest photos you can produce. It is what home decor bloggers and readers are looking for. It is your gateway to social media. Taking photos by hand produces a camera shake that may not be visible on your little camera screen but blow it up on a computer and it becomes very evident.
I only shoot in manual. I know you read this everywhere but if you buy a DSLR or even your point and shoot camera and shoot on auto you are not getting your moneys worth and if you do not understand the basics of photography, how do you expect your camera to produce A+ photos. You need to understand what aperature and shutter speed mean to be able to judge situations and take the appropriate photo. It may not be your camera's fault but yours. Sorry to sound lecture-y but I learned this lesson and now it is your turn.
I also use the 2 second timer for every photo. This ensures my hand is off the camera and everything is still. I don't even have music playing when I am taking photos as our subwoofer can cause even the slightest tremor.
I change the white balance with every shoot according to conditions, daylight, cloudy, incandesent light in our basement. I sometimes use the auto white balance if there if a multitude of lights going on in the room especially at Christmas when there is daylight, mini-lights and candlelight you are trying to capture.
I am almost always at ISO 100 which is the light sensitivity of the camera but also where the noise (graininess ) of pictures comes from. The higher the ISO, the more noise in your photo. I also try to shoot at the lowest focal point for many photos for light purposes ie. f2.8

Editing

Up until 2 weeks ago I was using Picasa ( a free web program that can be downloaded for editing) and PicMonkey exclusively. Picasa is a great program for beginners and is fast and easy to use. It has many great developing features that can enhance many people's shots and I would still recommend it for beginners
My husband at my request bought me Photoshop Elements last year for Christmas and after a year of trying to understand the program, getting frustrated with the importing options and really only using it for overlaying my watermark. I called it. I gave up!

I downloaded a trial version of Lightroom(lightroom was second on my list last Christmas and should have been first, learn from my mistake) from the Adobe website and purchased through Shoot Fly Shoot (link in my sidebar, and I would love if you would use it if you are planning to purchase a class) a tutorial class about using Lightroom.

The class is about 3 hours long (you can do at your own pace and watch over and over if you need) and I was hooked. The class goes over every aspect of using Lightroom, is easy to understand and the instructor really dumbs everything down so you can understand what he is doing if you don't have a lot of experience (I am no graphic designer). Lightroom has all the properties I liked about Picasa with importing and organizing and the quality of my photos has quadrupled. I have used Lightroom since the Patina Style post. It allows me to add my custom watermark on export without a million other steps. I am in love and will always have it on my computer.

The next step that I haven't conquered is editing my photos on my iMac. I was generously gifted with a business computer from Santa this Christmas and have been slowly working on syncing my laptop (a PC) with the Mac desktop. It has been a challenge so far but will be worth it. I want to edit my photos on the Mac as the difference you see in quality on Apple products is insane. You think the photo looks amazing on your PC and switch to the Mac and see all the details you missed. My only issue is I write all my blog posts late at night in my lap while catching up with some tv shows, so i need to be able to get the edited photos off my Mac and onto my laptop. Oh the problems we have to complain about seem so minimal in comparison to some.


Well I hope that answers some questions, and if you have any more feel free to ask them in the comments section and I will try my best to answer


Have a good day,


2 comments :

  1. This information, especially that about the lenses and the editing software, was very helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, you have it down to a science! I found this very interesting. Thanks for sharing! Your pictures are beautiful and one of the reasons I follow your blog : )

    ReplyDelete

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