camera or lens?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Conrad, May 15, 2006.

  1. Conrad

    Conrad Guest

    Hi,

    Just thinking about whether camera or lens is more important in photo
    capture. Take the top three (with pricing differences) Canon or Nikon
    digital SLR's. Use the same lenses on all of them. Not measuring speed
    differences of various individual camera components - how much
    difference would there be in finished photo products?

    Best,

    Conrad
    Camp Sherman, Oregon
     
    Conrad, May 15, 2006
    #1
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  2. Today Conrad attempted to dazzle everyone with this profound
    linguistic utterance

    > Hi,
    >
    > Just thinking about whether camera or lens is more
    > important in photo capture. Take the top three (with
    > pricing differences) Canon or Nikon digital SLR's. Use the
    > same lenses on all of them. Not measuring speed differences
    > of various individual camera components - how much
    > difference would there be in finished photo products?
    >
    > Best,
    >

    unless you give us more than a theoretical question, you may be
    mistaken for a troll - and treated accordingly

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "Cake are square, pie are round" - Pundit's saying
     
    All Things Mopar, May 15, 2006
    #2
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  3. Conrad

    Don Stauffer Guest

    Conrad wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > Just thinking about whether camera or lens is more important in photo
    > capture. Take the top three (with pricing differences) Canon or Nikon
    > digital SLR's. Use the same lenses on all of them. Not measuring speed
    > differences of various individual camera components - how much
    > difference would there be in finished photo products?
    >
    > Best,
    >
    > Conrad
    > Camp Sherman, Oregon
    >



    To me it is the chain and weak link thing. When I used to do MTF system
    analysis on cameras, we would multiply the MTF of each box in the system
    diagram. ANY box/function with a bad MTF would mean bad results for
    that whole camera system.

    There also is "what performance criterion" is most important to you.
    Cameras which are very sharp may fall down on flare performance, for
    instance. Dynamic range, exposure accuracy, and such can differ.
    However, if you restrict it to "top" cameras I wouldn't think there
    would be substantial differences (but then I don't think there are
    really that substantial differences in their lenses, either).
     
    Don Stauffer, May 15, 2006
    #3
  4. Today Don Stauffer attempted to dazzle everyone with this
    profound linguistic utterance

    > To me it is the chain and weak link thing. When I used to
    > do MTF system analysis on cameras, we would multiply the
    > MTF of each box in the system
    > diagram. ANY box/function with a bad MTF would mean bad
    > results for
    > that whole camera system.


    The correct term is MTBF, but it is hardly the discrimator here,
    for the OP, or for anybody, as modern digital cameras can
    outlast all but the most prolific users.

    > There also is "what performance criterion" is most
    > important to you. Cameras which are very sharp may fall
    > down on flare performance, for instance. Dynamic range,
    > exposure accuracy, and such can differ. However, if you
    > restrict it to "top" cameras I wouldn't think there would
    > be substantial differences (but then I don't think there
    > are really that substantial differences in their lenses,
    > either).


    without knowing a single clue as to what is going through the
    OP's mind, other than trolling for responses, it is impossible
    to even guess what is important - or not - so I shan't waste my
    time.

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "Cake are square, pie are round" - Pundit's saying
     
    All Things Mopar, May 15, 2006
    #4
  5. Conrad

    Pat Guest

    Without context, it is an unanswerable question. But I will say this,
    everything is at the level of the lowest common denominator. In most
    cases, that is the photographer. A great photographer using crappy
    equipment could pull off a better picture than 99% of other
    photographers using top-of-the-line stuff.

    If, by chance, you are not a troll, then spend your time, energy, and
    money learning how to take pictures and when you outgrow your
    equipment, you'll find the answer to your question by yourself.
     
    Pat, May 15, 2006
    #5
  6. Conrad wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > Just thinking about whether camera or lens is more important in photo
    > capture. Take the top three (with pricing differences) Canon or Nikon
    > digital SLR's. Use the same lenses on all of them. Not measuring speed
    > differences of various individual camera components - how much
    > difference would there be in finished photo products?
    >
    > Best,
    >
    > Conrad
    > Camp Sherman, Oregon


    I certainly don't think you can pit one brand against another on this
    question. There are just too many variables. I suggest you worry about
    what camera will produce images that meet your needs and that you can use.
    There are many many factors to judge a camera by. The only one that counts
    is are the results you get. You can't even use the results someone else
    gets as their skill level may be higher or lower than yours and their
    subject choice is likely to be different.


    --
    Joseph Meehan

    Dia duit
     
    Joseph Meehan, May 15, 2006
    #6
  7. Conrad

    2 Guest

    There is no perfect measure in reality because we just don't know the
    specifics: every case cannot be covered, however there are some things to
    keep in mind.

    If you get a mainstream DSLR (or if someone makes a high-end RF), then
    purchasing a very good lens is the starting point. Very high-end lenses can
    be made to last for a longer term than the camera because the camera
    technology is still evolving and obsoleting previous versions rapidly and
    lens technology is largely settled (for a single sensor). Schneider is
    making some good digital-centric lenses. I'd expect at least two more
    manufacturers to follow. (However, due to constraints in flat, single-sensor
    designs there are shortcomings in offerings for very wide-angle
    digital-centric lenses at this time. The manufacturers are limited to what
    they consider adequate angle-of-acceptance of the sensor medium.)

    Then get a good body. Live with it until it is obsolete. Throw it away and
    get another that fits your good lens.

    I am not disrespecting digital with the 'throw away' comment. It is simply a
    truth that digital cameras are not built to be robust compared to high-end
    mechanical film cameras.

    Finally, unless you are a talented photo-tech and enlarge past 14x14", it's
    unlikely that midrange DSLR cameras will disappoint you... until it breaks.
     
    2, May 15, 2006
    #7
  8. All Things Mopar wrote:
    > Today Don Stauffer attempted to dazzle everyone with this
    > profound linguistic utterance
    >
    >> To me it is the chain and weak link thing. When I used to
    >> do MTF system analysis on cameras, we would multiply the
    >> MTF of each box in the system
    >> diagram. ANY box/function with a bad MTF would mean bad
    >> results for
    >> that whole camera system.

    >
    > The correct term is MTBF, but it is hardly the discrimator here,
    > for the OP, or for anybody, as modern digital cameras can
    > outlast all but the most prolific users.


    No, the correct term is MTF as in Modulation Transfer Function. There is
    an introduction here:

    http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF.html

    David
     
    David J Taylor, May 15, 2006
    #8
  9. Today David J Taylor attempted to dazzle everyone with this
    profound linguistic utterance

    > All Things Mopar wrote:
    >> Today Don Stauffer attempted to dazzle everyone with this
    >> profound linguistic utterance
    >>
    >>> To me it is the chain and weak link thing. When I used
    >>> to do MTF system analysis on cameras, we would multiply
    >>> the MTF of each box in the system
    >>> diagram. ANY box/function with a bad MTF would mean
    >>> bad results for
    >>> that whole camera system.

    >>
    >> The correct term is MTBF, but it is hardly the discrimator
    >> here, for the OP, or for anybody, as modern digital
    >> cameras can outlast all but the most prolific users.

    >
    > No, the correct term is MTF as in Modulation Transfer
    > Function. There is an introduction here:
    >
    > http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF.html
    >

    and, what is wrong with Mean Time Between Failure, David, a
    reason why "better" DSLRs are reputed to be worth the money over
    entry level DSLRs?

    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "Cake are square, pie are round" - Pundit's saying
     
    All Things Mopar, May 15, 2006
    #9
  10. Conrad

    Bill Funk Guest

    On Mon, 15 May 2006 10:15:16 -0500, All Things Mopar
    <> wrote:

    >Today David J Taylor attempted to dazzle everyone with this
    >profound linguistic utterance
    >
    >> All Things Mopar wrote:
    >>> Today Don Stauffer attempted to dazzle everyone with this
    >>> profound linguistic utterance
    >>>
    >>>> To me it is the chain and weak link thing. When I used
    >>>> to do MTF system analysis on cameras, we would multiply
    >>>> the MTF of each box in the system
    >>>> diagram. ANY box/function with a bad MTF would mean
    >>>> bad results for
    >>>> that whole camera system.
    >>>
    >>> The correct term is MTBF, but it is hardly the discrimator
    >>> here, for the OP, or for anybody, as modern digital
    >>> cameras can outlast all but the most prolific users.

    >>
    >> No, the correct term is MTF as in Modulation Transfer
    >> Function. There is an introduction here:
    >>
    >> http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF.html
    >>

    >and, what is wrong with Mean Time Between Failure, David, a
    >reason why "better" DSLRs are reputed to be worth the money over
    >entry level DSLRs?


    There's nothing wrong with MTBF, but Don meant MTF.

    MTB for the better DSLRs is, IMO, longer than the expected "practical"
    life of the cameras.
    IOW, they will be discarded, or relegated to "secondary/backup" status
    before they fail.
    So, quality of image is more important than the length of time the
    camera will last before failure.
    --
    Bill Funk
    replace "g" with "a"
     
    Bill Funk, May 15, 2006
    #10
  11. Conrad

    ASAAR Guest

    On Mon, 15 May 2006 10:15:16 -0500, All Things Mopar, our
    newsgroup's new Mister Bluster, said "Howdy!" and wrote:

    >> No, the correct term is MTF as in Modulation Transfer
    >> Function. There is an introduction here:
    >>
    >> http://www.normankoren.com/Tutorials/MTF.html

    >
    > and, what is wrong with Mean Time Between Failure, David, a
    > reason why "better" DSLRs are reputed to be worth the money over
    > entry level DSLRs?


    The problem is that you answered without thinking, and still
    haven't had the courtesy to admit your mistake. The OP was
    interested in learning whether the lens or camera plays a bigger
    part in producing better photos. Your response was to imply that he
    was a troll. Don answered correctly, adding that the camera's
    performance might be subject to more factors than the OP had
    considered, and the MTF system analysis that he had done helps
    measure performance. How could you think that he meant "MTBF",
    since that "mean time" is a measure of product life based on failure
    rates, and has absolutely *nothing* to do with performance or
    picture quality? As usual, you're in over your head and either
    don't realize it or don't care.

    DSLRs may have greater MTBFs than entry level P&S cameras, but
    that assumes that the MTBF is based on usage, not calendar life.
    Some pros can average many hundreds of shots per day, so their
    cameras may need replacing (or just the shutter mechanism) within a
    couple of years, whereas most P&S cameras can (as you acknowledged)
    "outlast all but the most prolific users". So by one measure, DSLRs
    can have greater MTBFs than P&S cameras, and by another, lower
    MTBFs. In any case, MTBF has little to do with photo quality. You
    could make a crude camera out of cast iron and concrete that could
    have a *huge* MTBF, yet its pictures, even 4" x 6" snapshots might
    be of very low quality.


    > without knowing a single clue as to what is going through the
    > OP's mind, other than trolling for responses, it is impossible
    > to even guess what is important - or not - so I shan't waste my
    > time.


    You nailed it this time. You hadn't a clue, yet you wasted your
    time as well as ours with an incorrect answer that showed that while
    you may be able to read messages written in English, your
    comprehension skills remain below par.

    Awaiting your usual inane insults I remain,
    Your faithful reader,
    ASAAR
     
    ASAAR, May 15, 2006
    #11
  12. Conrad

    wilt Guest

    Image quality is a product of the lens times the image capture of the
    camera body. If the lens exceeds the quality of the imaging system, no
    matter how good the lens the image will be limited by the body
    performance. If the lens is inferior than the body performance, you
    will see the limitation of the lens. Assuming that the lens
    performance and body performance both are well suited to each other for
    spatial resolution and for contrast resolution, then you may see the
    difference in the bodies in terms of freedom from artifacts in the
    image caused by the image capture, like digital camera noise.

    (the kids should continue their childish fighting in the playground)
     
    wilt, May 15, 2006
    #12
  13. Conrad

    ASAAR Guest

    On 15 May 2006 06:05:33 -0700, Conrad wrote:

    > Just thinking about whether camera or lens is more important in photo
    > capture. Take the top three (with pricing differences) Canon or Nikon
    > digital SLR's. Use the same lenses on all of them. Not measuring speed
    > differences of various individual camera components - how much
    > difference would there be in finished photo products?


    As others have pointed out, that's not an easy question to answer.
    Like it or not, some owners of Canon and Nikon DSLRs rarely have
    prints larger than 4" x 6", so for them, the relative importance of
    camera vs. lens is almost meaningless. For the better
    photographers, much might depend on which lens is used. Canon and
    Nikon both produce excellent lenses, so using one of these might tip
    the scale towards the lenses. But most people don't own the best
    lenses since they tend to be *very* expensive. For some types of
    pictures, the camera body might be more important, especially for
    some photographers that specialize in shots that would benefit from
    Canon's full frame sensors. But these bodies are also larger,
    heavier and more expensive. Are you considering getting a
    camera/lens where the body alone might cost either a couple or many
    thousands of dollars?

    BTW, where you asked about comparing the "top three" Canon & Nikon
    DSLRs, it wasn't clear whether you meant the top three sellers or
    the best, most expensive DSLRs in each manufacturer's line.
     
    ASAAR, May 15, 2006
    #13
  14. Conrad

    Bill Funk Guest

    On Mon, 15 May 2006 08:56:29 -0700, Bill Funk <>
    wrote:

    >MTB for the better DSLRs is, IMO, longer than the expected "practical"
    >life of the cameras.


    Should be MTBF, of course.
    --
    Bill Funk
    replace "g" with "a"
     
    Bill Funk, May 15, 2006
    #14
  15. Conrad

    Paul J Gans Guest

    Conrad <> wrote:
    >Hi,


    >Just thinking about whether camera or lens is more important in photo
    >capture. Take the top three (with pricing differences) Canon or Nikon
    >digital SLR's. Use the same lenses on all of them. Not measuring speed
    >differences of various individual camera components - how much
    >difference would there be in finished photo products?


    There are primarily three things that affect the picture.
    One is the sensor. The next is the electronics that reads
    the sensor. The other is the lens.

    Given a decent manufacturer, the major variable is the lens.
    A good lens gives a notably better image than a poor one.

    The brand name on the body hardly matters except to name
    the package. A good lens from brand A will outperform a
    poor lens from brand B on a wide variety of bodies, if you
    could mount both lenses on a wide variety of bodies... ;-)

    ---- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, May 15, 2006
    #15
  16. Conrad

    Paul J Gans Guest

    All Things Mopar <> wrote:
    >Today Conrad attempted to dazzle everyone with this profound
    >linguistic utterance


    >> Hi,
    >>
    >> Just thinking about whether camera or lens is more
    >> important in photo capture. Take the top three (with
    >> pricing differences) Canon or Nikon digital SLR's. Use the
    >> same lenses on all of them. Not measuring speed differences
    >> of various individual camera components - how much
    >> difference would there be in finished photo products?
    >>
    >> Best,
    >>

    >unless you give us more than a theoretical question, you may be
    >mistaken for a troll - and treated accordingly


    Why? It seems to be a reasonable question and I think can be
    answered in terms of the current state of the art.

    In fact, I just did in a previous post.

    ---- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, May 15, 2006
    #16
  17. Today Paul J Gans attempted to dazzle everyone with this
    profound linguistic utterance

    >>unless you give us more than a theoretical question, you
    >>may be mistaken for a troll - and treated accordingly

    >
    > Why? It seems to be a reasonable question and I think can
    > be answered in terms of the current state of the art.
    >
    > In fact, I just did in a previous post.
    >

    Paul, /no/ question that is essentially "what should I buy, I
    don't know what I want to take pictures of, don't know why
    technology I want, and don't know how much I want to pay, so can
    you give me your opinion and advice, please" is best considered
    to be trolling. If you want to waste your time answering an OP
    without enough intelligence to even define their own needs,
    that's fine by me.


    --
    ATM, aka Jerry

    "Cake are square, pie are round" - Pundit's saying
     
    All Things Mopar, May 15, 2006
    #17
  18. Conrad

    secheese Guest

    On 15 May 2006 06:58:04 -0700, "Pat" <>
    wrote:

    >In most
    >cases, that is the photographer. A great photographer using crappy
    >equipment could pull off a better picture than 99% of other
    >photographers using top-of-the-line stuff.


    You're absolutely right! And we continue to hear comments like,
    "Wow... great photograph! I gotta get me a camera like yours!" :)
     
    secheese, May 16, 2006
    #18
  19. Conrad

    Bill Funk Guest

    On Mon, 15 May 2006 16:36:23 -0500, All Things Mopar
    <> wrote:

    >Today Paul J Gans attempted to dazzle everyone with this
    >profound linguistic utterance
    >
    >>>unless you give us more than a theoretical question, you
    >>>may be mistaken for a troll - and treated accordingly

    >>
    >> Why? It seems to be a reasonable question and I think can
    >> be answered in terms of the current state of the art.
    >>
    >> In fact, I just did in a previous post.
    >>

    >Paul, /no/ question that is essentially "what should I buy, I
    >don't know what I want to take pictures of, don't know why
    >technology I want, and don't know how much I want to pay, so can
    >you give me your opinion and advice, please" is best considered
    >to be trolling. If you want to waste your time answering an OP
    >without enough intelligence to even define their own needs,
    >that's fine by me.


    Reading the OP...
    ===
    "Just thinking about whether camera or lens is more important in photo
    capture. Take the top three (with pricing differences) Canon or Nikon
    digital SLR's. Use the same lenses on all of them. Not measuring speed
    differences of various individual camera components - how much
    difference would there be in finished photo products?"
    ===
    I see no question about which camera should be bought, but rather a
    question about which (camera body, or lens) will have the most effect
    on image quality, comparing the top 3 (here's a problem; which top 3?
    In sales, or quality?) of Nikon's & Canon's DSLRs.
    It's not a bad question, really. Should the new buyer spend the
    initial load of money on great lenses, or a great body?
    --
    Bill Funk
    replace "g" with "a"
     
    Bill Funk, May 16, 2006
    #19
  20. Conrad

    ASAAR Guest

    On Mon, 15 May 2006 18:10:48 -0700, Bill Funk, who might live better
    if he consumes more fiber (carbon fiber, that is) wrote:

    > It's not a bad question, really. Should the new buyer spend the
    > initial load of money on great lenses, or a great body?


    The new buyer might be better off spending lots of money (even if
    he has really good Molonic hands) on a really great . . . tripod.

    <g>
     
    ASAAR, May 16, 2006
    #20
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