Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Southwest Road Trip 2012, Part 2: Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch, which sits just west of Amarillo, Texas, is one of the most iconic and most visited sites along old Route 66. It's funky Americana. It's an interactive display. Cadillac Ranch screams everything that The Main Street of America was all about.
Sunrise At Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas
Despite its association with Route 66, Cadillac Ranch was first erected well after the infamous highway was made irrelevant by Interstate 40. Because the site epitomizes The Mother Road so well, it has become one of the highlights of the old highway.
Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas
What is Cadillac Ranch? Technically, it's 10 old cars partially buried in the ground hood-first. Actually, it is an interactive modern art display with an historic twist. The project was started in 1974 by three local artists. The Cadillac automobiles show the evolution (birth to death) of the infamous tail-fin, with examples from 1949 through 1963.
Cadillac - Amarillo, Texas
What is interesting is that this is an interactive exhibit. You are encouraged to leave your mark on the cars. Graffiti is not just allowed, it's what you are supposed to do. Because of this, Cadillac Ranch changes each day--it will be a little different with each visit.
Cars in a Row - Amarillo, Texas
The downside to the graffiti is the trash. Despite a provided dumpster nearby, people seem to think that this is their personal trash can. It's too bad that some folks are too lazy to clean up after themselves--really, it's a shame.
Graffiti Tool - Amarillo, Texas
I was surprised at just how crowded it was on the morning I visited. There were about a dozen people photographing the cars at sunrise. It's not a large scene, so staying out of everyone's way while also getting the shots I wanted was a challenge.
R.I.P Abuelita - Amarillo, Texas
Another challenge was finding my own vision of Cadillac Ranch. It's been photographed from pretty much every perspective imaginable, and I didn't want to create run-of-the-mill images. This might have been an easier task if I had done more research prior to my arrival, I could have understood better exactly what I was going to find. Since I didn't do that research, I had to think quickly as everything was unfolding before me. Unfortunately, I feel that I left some good images behind. Lesson learned, I hope. Maybe I'll get another chance at this scene in the not-too-distant future.
Robot Boy - Amarillo, Texas
Overall, though, I'm happy with the results. I used a Pentax K-30 DSLR to photograph the scene, and I think it handled the situation well. The photographs here do a good job of artistically conveying the location. They show Cadillac Ranch through my eyes.
Morning at Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas
If you've never been to Cadillac Ranch, I hope that these images will inspire you to experience it for yourself. If you have been, I hope they bring back good memories of an unusual slice of Americana. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Camera Turns Amateur Photographers Into Pros?

A photographer recently stated on his blog that a certain camera "turns the amateur into a pro."

That statement couldn't be any further from the truth. Sadly, some will not only believe that, but will spend money on that camera thinking that it will improve their photography.
Guitar and Drum - Phoenix, Arizona
If you owned this guitar and drum set, would that make you a professional musician?
If I gave you Neil Peart's drum kit, would you be able to play drums like a pro? If I gave you Phil Keaggy's guitar, would that make you a professional guitarist? If I gave you Ryo Okumoto's keyboards, would you be able to play like him? No!

What if I gave Neil Peart a basic drum set? Or Phil Keaggy a beginners guitar? Or Ryo Okumoto a kid's keyboard? They would be able to make those instruments sound amazing!
Summer Mow - Tehachapi, California
I could have created this with almost any camera... but not without vision.
It's not the equipment that matters. It is the skill and vision of the one using the equipment that is important.

A great painter can create a masterpiece using cheap paint, brushes and canvas. An amateur wouldn't be able to create a masterpiece even with the best paint, brushes and canvas.
Steadfast Movement - Mojave, California
The make and model of camera was irrelevant to creating this image. Skill and vision are what matter.
Drums, guitars and keyboards are tools. When placed in the hands of skilled musicians who also have audio vision, you have wonderful art that can touch the soul. Paint, brushes and canvas are tools. When placed in the hands of skilled painters who also have artistic vision, you have wonderful art that can touch the soul.

Tools are never as important as the skill and vision of the ones using them. In fact, tools are not important whatsoever--you can get the job done with any tools. Some tools may be preferred or may make the job a little easier or are maybe a little more comfortable, but any tool will suffice.
Sunrise At Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas
Does it matter what camera I used? No.
It is the same with photography. The tools that you use are never as important as your photographic vision.

Ansel Adams said, "The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it."
Window Shadow - Victorville, California
Vision created this photograph. The camera wasn't important.
If you want your amateurish images to look like professional photographs, you must work hard at becoming skilled and you must develop your own artistic vision. There are no shortcuts. No new camera will ever do that for you.

 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Southwest Road Trip 2012, Part 1: Arizona

I took my family on a road trip across the southwest United States. This was a quick vacation, traveling almost 3,000 miles in only 10 days. I captured over 1,000 images during this time.
San Francisco Peaks - Flagstaff, Arizona
This was a major crop--I removed probably 70% of the image to create this photograph. If I had a longer lens with me, all of this cropping would have been completely unnecessary.

I'm doing this a little differently than my typical travel blog posts. Usually I have the photographs in chronological order. This time I'm organizing the images into categories and publishing them in alphabetical order. "Arizona" is first alphabetically, so it's part one of this series.
Three Trees In Autumn - Flagstaff, Arizona
Here we have color contrast--yellow and blue--and the magical number three, both working in one photograph.
With so many miles planned in such a short time, Arizona became a "pass-through" state for us. Because we used to live in Arizona and have previously visited many of the places we drove through, this wasn't a real big deal for us. We spent far more time on I-40 than historic Route 66, which is too bad. I really wish we had driven The Mother Road more, because there are so many great things to see (and photograph) along the old highway.
Nearing the End of Fall - Flagstaff, Arizona
The light was a bit too harsh for this image.
We made Flagstaff an overnight stop going both east and west. By the time we crossed the Colorado River eastbound, the sun had already dipped below the horizon. It was also dark when we left New Mexico westbound. Half of the journey through Arizona was under a blanket of stars. Even so, we saw the entire distance across in daylight, but it took two tries to do so.
Yellow - Flagstaff, Arizona
 Why would somebody write "yellow" under a yellow line? Sometimes by isolating something out of its greater context, one can make an interesting photograph out of what would otherwise be an uninteresting subject.
I used a Pentax K-30 DSLR with a kit 18-55mm lens to capture all of these image. The K-30 is a fairly small and lightweight DSLR that is weather sealed and has great image quality. In other words, it's an excellent travel camera. I really enjoyed using it on this trip. 
Painting The Bank Door - Flagstaff, Arizona
If I wasn't lazy, I'd correct the distortion caused by the low camera angle. One of these days I will get a tilt-shift lens so that I can fix this prior to capturing the image.   
Arizona was more-or-less a blur. We still enjoyed the autumn colors, red deserts and green mountains from the comfort of our automobile. I suspect that on a future trip (perhaps in 2013), we will be able to spend more time exploring northern Arizona and Route 66.
Crossing The Tracks - Flagstaff, Arizona
This was another massive crop--about 60% of the image was removed to create this photograph. The human element--the pedestrians crossing the tracks after the train passed--is what makes this an interesting photograph. Notice how the rail leads the viewer from bottom-left into the middle of the image where the people are.  

Just Returned From Vacation!

I returned home last night after spending 10 days on vacation. I drove almost 3,000 miles total, which is way too much time in the car over only 10 days. I planned to spend much time on historic Route 66, but ended up on the I-40 most of the time instead. I think if I had four or five more days to vacation, this trip would have been a lot better. Even so, I had tons of fun!
Sunrise At Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas
I captured about 1,000 images over the 10 days, mostly using a Pentax K-30 DSLR. I also used a Samsung NX210 mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, but only after running out of batteries for the K-30. The NX210 is a perfectly capable camera with exceptional image quality at low ISO, but the K-30 is even more impressive. 

Over the next couple of weeks I'll share with you the images from this adventure plus many thoughts. Stay tuned! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Best APS-C Digital Camera Sensors

In my review of the Pentax K-30, I stated what I believe are the four best APS-C sized sensors for digital cameras. I said, "There are four outstanding APS-C sized sensors out there: a 16 megapixel Sony sensor, a 24 megapixel Sony sensor, Fuji's16 megapixel X-Trans sensor, and Sigma's Foveon X3 sensor. Each have there own advantages and disadvantages, but they are each great in their own way."

I was asked why I didn't include Canon's 18 megapixel sensor or Samsung's 20 megapixel sensor in the list of best APS-C sized sensors.

Canon's 18 megapixel APS-C sized sensor, which is found in the Rebel T3i and T4i, is junk. Well, it's actually perfectly fine for capturing images, but compared to the sensors mentioned at the top, it is junk. DxOMark ranks the T4i 96th out of all digital cameras, which is not a good place to be.

Now I'm not sure if the problem is the sensor or Canon's software (or both). But whatever the issue is, the image quality from cameras with this sensor is not nearly as good as from pretty much any other camera with an APS-C sized sensor.

The Samsung 20 megapixel APS-C sized sensor, which is found in the NX200, NX210 NX20, and NX1000, is not a bad sensor. I've done professional work with this sensor. Performance at low ISO is great, although dynamic range and color depth could be just a little better (but they're still not bad). Performance at high ISO is really lacking. Overall, I feel this is a good sensor, but it just doesn't have quite enough upside and a just little too much downside to make the "best" list. But it is a close runner up, in my opinion.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Going On Vacation!

I'm heading out tomorrow on vacation. I'll be visiting northern Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, following The Mother Road. Hopefully I'll have time enough to enjoy the ride and not just hurriedly pass through.

It should be a lot of fun and a good opportunity to use my Pentax K-30 and Samsung NX210. I'm excited for the opportunity to create--to exercise my vision--along a beautiful stretch of America. I'll post photographs as soon as I can, but expect this Blog to be quite over the next two weeks. 
Aspen Tree In Autumn - Flagstaff, Arizona

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Pentax K-30

Intro: The Pentax K-30

The most important part of any digital camera is the sensor. There are four outstanding APS-C sized sensors out there: a 16 megapixel Sony sensor, a 24 megapixel Sony sensor, Fuji's16 megapixel X-Trans sensor, and Sigma's Foveon X3 sensor. Each have there own advantages and disadvantages, but they are each great in their own way.
Pentax K-30
The 16 megapixel Sony sensor has appeared in many cameras. The Pentax K-5 has this sensor, and DxOMark claims that it has the highest overall image quality of any digital camera with an APS-C sized sensor (and 11th highest image quality out of all digital cameras!). The Nikon D7000 and D5100 both have this sensor. The Sony Alpha 580 and NEX-5N both have this sensor. The Pentax K-30 also has this same sensor.
Back of The Camera
There are some minor variances in image quality between all of the different cameras that share this same Sony-made 16 megapixel sensor. The software that processes the data from the sensor is slightly different in each camera model, and especially with each camera manufacturer. Nikon can squeeze just a little better image quality out of the sensor than Sony can. And Pentax can squeeze just a little better image quality out of the sensor than Nikon can. But no matter the camera, image quality is great whenever this sensor is used. The differences from one camera to the next are really minor.
Two Trains - Tehachapi, California
After the sensor, the next most important part of a digital camera is the lens. Pentax makes some excellent lenses, and any k-mount lens can be used with the K-30 without an adapter. The f3.5/5.6 18-55mm kit lens that came with my camera really is great for a kit lens. At some point you will want a prime lens or two, but in the interim the kit lens will suffice and perform perfectly fine for most photographers and most situations. It's not a throw-away lens.
Autumn Fence - Tehachapi, California
After the sensor and lens, the next most important part of a digital camera is the built-in software (or firmware). This is less of a factor (although still a factor) if you save in RAW instead of JPEG. Pentax put some great and versatile software in the K-30, giving the photographer plenty of creative tools.
Rainbow - Tehachapi, California
After the sensor, lens and software, the next most important part of a digital camera is the processor. This determines the speed that the camera works at. The K-30 is fairly fast, capturing six frames-per-second for five straight seconds when saved as JPEGs or for just over a second if saved as RAW. The camera goes from off to on-and-image-captured in just over one second (and that is with the dust removal set to "Startup Action"). Auto-focus in normal or bright light is almost instantaneous.
Alpaca Eye - Mojave, California
Everything else comes after that. People get caught up in design, build quality, electronic viewfinders and all sorts of other nonsense. Those things may be important, but never as important as image quality. The photograph is what matters, and no one viewing that image will ever care about the many things that photographers get unnecessary heartburn over.
BNSF Intermodel Train #1 - Tehachapi, California
Using The Camera

The Pentax K-30 DSLR is easy to use. While I certainly recommend reading the manual, the camera is set  up logically and no functions are difficult to find or adjust. Besides that, the camera gives a short explanation of most function right on the screen. The majority of people should have no problem figuring out the camera on their own just playing around with it.
As The Crow Flies - Tehachapi, California
All commonly used functions are easy to adjust with a one or two step process. Some less commonly used functions are found in the menu, but are only a two-to-four step process to adjust or select. The camera is very user friendly and does a great job of "getting out of the way" of the photographer.
Wet Flower - Tehachapi, California
Many of the auto features work great. I'm not one to use a lot of auto anything. Auto-white-balance was spot-on under many different light sources, and it's difficult to throw it off. Auto-focus is accurate and fast. In very dim-light, the auto-focus will fish a little, but it's still accurate after a second or so of trying. I used the fully auto mode just to check it out, and I was happy with the settings the camera picked and the resulting photographs.
Six Crows - Bakersfield, California
The light meter is right on the money in normal or bright light, but the camera tends to underexpose in dim-light situations. Adjusting the exposure is easy, so that is not a real big deal. 
Ties That Bind - Tehachapi, California
The camera has a "U1" and "U2" option for custom settings. It's good to set these up. I set one up for landscapes with vibrant colors and another for portraits with softer colors. You can set them up however you want, just be sure to set them up because it will speed up your process when changing from one situation to the next.
Tree In Autumn - Tehachapi, California
A few other settings you will find are lens distortion correction, chromatic aberration correction, highlight correction and shadow correction. I recommend at a minimum using the highlight correction. The K-30 has a tendency to clip the highlights. What highlight correction does is underexpose the image a little and then increase the brightness of everything except the highlights. Problem solved. I personally use all four of these features.
Country Road Less Traveled - Tehachapi, California
A couple of additional features are "electronic level display" and "automatic horizon correction." Having a level built into the camera, which is displayed in the viewfinder and on the rear screen during "Live View," is genius. This is something that should be on every digital camera. I'm not sure if the horizon correction really works, but if you have a hard time keeping a level horizon, supposedly the camera can fix this for you.
Property of Autumn - Tehachapi, California
The "Live View" rear screen looks and works good. It does slow down the camera some and drains the battery. Since the viewfinder uses a pentaprism and has 100% coverage, you'll find yourself very happy to use it instead of the rear screen. Most low and mid level DSLRs have a pentamirror, but the K-30 has a pentaprism, which is most often found on high-end DSLRs. The difference between a pentamirror and a pentaprism is significant.
Tehachapi Mountains In October - Tehachapi, California
The K-30's battery life is pretty small. You'll want to purchase a second battery or purchase the adapter for AA batteries and get yourself some ultimate-lithiums. A work-around is to keep the charger handy and any chance you get charge the battery. This is one of the disadvantages of the K-30. 
Buffalo Horn - Mojave, California
Image Quality

The Pentax K-30's image quality is excellent. DxOMark ranks it the same as the Canon 5D Mark II and Sony Alpha 850, just ahead of the Hasselblad H3DII 50 and Sony SLT Alpha 77, and just behind the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and the Nikon D700. Each of those cameras are significantly more expensive than the K-30 and have been used by many professional photographers.
Two Bulls - Tehachapi, California
When in ISO 100 or 200, the K-30 has excellent color, excellent noise control, excellent sharpness and excellent dynamic range. The image quality dips very slightly at ISO 400 (but not significantly or even noticeably without a very close side-by-side study of 100% crops). There is another very slight dip at ISO 800, but it still has great image quality. At ISO 1600 we see another slight dip in image quality, but this time it is noticeable, especially when compared to images captured in ISOs 100-400. The K-30 produces very nice images when in ISO 1600 or below, and exceptional images ISO 400 and below.
Autumn Leaves - Tehachapi, California
There is a significant drop in image quality at ISO 3200, where noise control, sharpness and color are significantly degraded. ISOs 6400 and 12800 are not really usable, except if you want a soft and noisy image that will be converted to black-and-white.
Serious Look of Fake - Tehachapi, California
JPEGs from the K-30 look great. I prefer JPEG over RAW because it saves me time. By spending a handful of seconds in the field making sure everything is correct, I save several minutes in front of a computer fiddling with the image later. After a few hundred photographs, those minutes add up to many hours. Time is important to me. 
Another Brick In The Wall - Tehachapi, California
You can squeeze a little better image quality (particularly noise at high ISO and dynamic range) out of the K-30 by saving in RAW and using software like Lightroom and/or Photoshop. At ISO 400 and below, you won't gain a whole lot by saving in RAW, and you'd be hard pressed to tell the differences without a very close side-by-side study of 100% crops. But by ISO 1600 there is some noticeable improvements in image quality by saving in RAW instead of JPEG.
Blue Bugs - Tehachapi, California
You can change between saving in JPEG and saving in RAW by pushing one button, so you may find it useful to stick to JPEG in low ISO and switch to RAW in high ISO. Also, the camera will often let you save an image in RAW that was captured as a JPEG, if the raw data is still in the camera's temporary memory. This can be useful if something (white balance, for example) isn't exactly as you wanted it, and the image was a one-chance type of situation.
Yearning For Life - Tehachapi, California
A quick note about RAW while we are talking about it: the K-30 saves RAW in DNG format. This could be a big deal if you are an Adobe user. Long-term storage (or, more importantly, the ability to open and use files that have been stored for many years) benefit from this, as well. As far as I know, Pentax and Leica are the only two camera manufacturers that save RAW in DNG.
Pumpkin Top #1 - Tehachapi, California
One last note about image quality is that the K-30 has a very weak anti-aliasing filter. This filter prevents moire pattern distortion, but at the expense of sharpness. Almost every digital camera has an anti-aliasing filter. Because this camera has a weak anti-aliasing filter, you'll find some moire pattern distortion here and there; however, each and every image is sharper because the filter is weak. I think it is a great compromise, but if you have a photograph ruined by moire pattern distortion, you may not agree.
Metal Door - Tehachapi, California
Note the moire pattern distortion from the K-30's weak anti-aliasing filter.

Getting Creative

Photography is art. As such, you probably don't want a stock and standard image. You want your photographs to have some look or pizzazz that sets it apart. The Pentax K-30 can help you with this, using the "Custom Image" and "Digital Filter" settings.
Collapsed Barn #1 - Tehachapi, California
Under "Custom Image" you'll find 11 preset options that can be customized to your liking. The ones that I found most useful are Portrait, Vibrant, Bleach Bypass, Reversal Film, B&W, and Cross Process.
Emu Stare - Mojave, California
The Portrait setting does a great job with skin tones. Bleach Bypass is named after the film development technique that this setting somewhat successfully emulates. B&W allows you to capture images as black-and-white, and has a couple more options that aren't available when converting an image to black-and-white using the camera's built-in post-processing.
Zebu - Tehachapi, California
The Vibrant setting is one that I'm quite impressed with. It reminds me a lot of Kodak Ektachrome E100VS reversal film. Landscape photographs, or really any photograph where you want the colors to pop, look great with this setting. I did bump up saturation and contrast one notch each in this setting.
Autumn Tree - Tehachapi, California
The Reversal Film option doesn't look great set to standard. I bumped the saturation up two notches, changed the hue two notches warmer, and bumped the contrast up one notch, and it looks more like reversal film--maybe like Kodak Kodachrome or Ektachrome 100SW. I do prefer Vibrant over Reversal Film, even after making the adjustments I mentioned above.
Vacancy At The Santa Fe - Tehachapi, California
Finally, the Cross Process setting, which is named after the film development technique that this effect emulates, is very interesting. It comes with three standard options, which aren't particularly good, plus a "Random" option. It's that Random option you want to use because it comes up with some interesting (and not so interesting) effects. You can save up to two effects that you like for use later. 
Camel - Mojave, California
I used the Cross-Process setting for this photograph.

Digital Filter settings can be applied prior to capturing an image or after. The most useful options are Monochrome, Extract Color, Toy Camera, Retro, High Contrast, Shading, Invert Color, Color, and Base Parameter Adjust. There are some other options that may be useful every once in a while, but not often.
Large White Flower - Bealville, California
These settings allow you to post-process your photographs right on the camera--no computer software needed! This is great if you don't own a computer or photo editing software or if you are away from your computer and need to polish your images. I wouldn't use these features all of the time, but in a pinch they really come in handy.
Learning Blocks - Tehachapi, California
Monochrome converts your images to black-and-white, and there are options that emulate red, green and blue filters, as well as infrared. With Extract Color, you can choose up to two colors to keep in color while the rest of the photograph becomes black-and-white.
Camp Site #11 - Tehachapi, California
I used the Extract Color feature to convert this image to black-and-white and keep the blue in color.

Toy Camera emulates lomography. Retro makes the image look like it was from the 1960's, but more importantly it has some options for borders. High Contrast is useful only in its weakest setting and only on low-contrast images. It can turn a dull image into one that excites when used correctly. Shading gives some vignetting options.
Step - Tehachapi, California
I used both the Toy Camera and the Retro effects for the above image.

Invert Color turns an image into a negative. Color is a selection of warming and cooling filter effects. Base Parameter Adjust allows you to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, hue and sharpness--this is particularly useful when editing your photographs.
Negative Energy - Bakersfield, California
I used the Invert Color feature for this image.

Another cool thing the K-30 can do is multiple exposures--up to nine images combined into one photograph. With some creativity, this could be an interesting feature.
Ghost Girl - Tehachapi, California
If you like high-dynamic-range (HDR) photography, the K-30 makes this easy. The camera will combine multiple images into one HDR photograph. You do have some control over the final product, and the camera does a good job overall with HDR (it definitely works), but I think if you are serious about this you'll want to combine the images yourself using software on your home computer and not rely on the camera.
Ranch Shed - Tehachapi, California
This is a hand-held HDR image, and it looks mediocre. Also note the moire pattern distortion.

Finally, the K-30 can do interval shooting. Set the camera on a tripod, decide how often the camera will capture an image, and decide how many images you wish the camera to capture. This is great for creating time-lapse videos or even capturing wildlife photographs where you want to remove yourself from the scene. I'm sure there are other creative uses for this.
MMC Carpet - Tehachapi, California
Build Quality, Etc.

The Pentax K-30 is a solid and sturdy DSLR. It looks and feels serious. It is weather sealed, making it rugged and ready to handle whatever elements you wish to photograph in. One quick note on that: you must have a weather sealed lens for the camera to be completely weather sealed.
Trees In The Morning Mountains - Tehachapi, California
The camera weighs almost a pound and a half, which is somewhat light. It's also fairly small for a DSLR. Size and weight matter because lugging around a large and heavy camera gets uncomfortable after awhile--the K-30 is pretty close to ideal.
Old Wood - Tehachapi, California
There are two control dials plus plenty of buttons to ensure that it is not difficult to adjust whatever you wish. The buttons are smartly placed so that you don't always need to take your eye away from the viewfinder.
Orange Leaf, Blue Sky - Tehachapi, California
The K-30 has 1080p HD video. It definitely works, but it's a little tricky and you want to avoid using the auto-focus. The microphone is mono and there is no jack for an external mic. I shot the very short video below using the K-30, and quickly threw it together for this review.

One disadvantage of the K-30 may be the price. It's not that it's a poor value, because it is a great value. But when you consider that the K-30 (body only) retails for $850, and the Nikon D5100 (body only) retails for $700, and the Nikon D3200 (with a lens!) retails for $700, the Pentax camera doesn't stand out as a bargain. You have to factor in the weather sealing and the pentaprism--that alone is worth $150 in my opinion.
Goodyear Tire - Bodfish, California
Conclusion

The Pentax K-30 has a few issues: short battery life, slow auto-focus in very dim light, and it's not the greatest DSLR for video. But beyond that, it is a great camera that produces excellent images. It's a good value that includes some features (weather sealing and pentaprism) that you find on more expensive cameras. I've had my K-30 for three weeks now, and I couldn't be happier with it.
Ax Blade - Bodfish, California
One final thought: don't worry too much about what equipment you have or don't have. Vision is what's important. Worry more about that and less about your camera.