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Do i need a better lens or better camera?

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    Hi! I know this probably makes me sound a bit thick as i study photography, but i know how to compose and light a good photo, but haven't got a clue about cameras and lenses.

    I have a Canon 1100D. It's a great camera, but I bought it before I applied for a photography Uni course so I didn't think about getting a slighter better one.

    Comparing my photos to some other people's photos on Flickr, theirs seem to look a lot crisper than mine, and have more vivid colours.

    I'd like my photos to look like that. Is it down to the camera body, or the lens?

    What other cameras would be better, or what different lenses should I look at?

    Thanks!
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    It could be either, both, or just that you haven't sat down and learned everything there is to know about your camera. Play around with the aperture and ISO, or try shooting in one of the 'modes.' Search Flickr for photos taken on 1100Ds and compare them with yours to see what it has the potential to shoot, and don't forget that a lot of people enhance their pictures before they put them online to make the colours more vivid etc.
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    (Original post by ScottS_bristol)
    Hi! I know this probably makes me sound a bit thick as i study photography, but i know how to compose and light a good photo, but haven't got a clue about cameras and lenses.

    I have a Canon 1100D. It's a great camera, but I bought it before I applied for a photography Uni course so I didn't think about getting a slighter better one.

    Comparing my photos to some other people's photos on Flickr, theirs seem to look a lot crisper than mine, and have more vivid colours.

    I'd like my photos to look like that. Is it down to the camera body, or the lens?

    What other cameras would be better, or what different lenses should I look at?

    Thanks!
    It could be either, but I'd always upgrade lenses first. You won't regret an upgrade in lens, even if it turns out to not ultimately be the *******, but I've seen people drive themselves quite mental upgrading the camera but still sticking the same poor quality lens on it.

    I'm assuming you're still with the Canon 18-55mm lens that you got with the camera? Try an upgrade to the Tamron 17-50mm (some people say non-VC is better; I personally don't have a ******* with the VC version, but then I have very shaky hands so I have to accept VC as necessary) - has a good IQ and is a match for the Canon 17-55mm (nice lens, but much more expensive and not worth the additional expense IMO; I can't see a huge difference between the images the two produce.)

    You may also not be processing the photos properly in order to get the best out of them. How do you currently process?
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    (Original post by TheSownRose)
    You may also not be processing the photos properly in order to get the best out of them. How do you currently process?
    Just using JPEG if you mean that? I don't shoot in RAW. I have tried different lenses on the camera in photography and the photos have seemed to look more professional/clearer, so I'll consider getting a different lens . It is the 18-55mm one at the moment.
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    (Original post by ScottS_bristol)
    Hi! I know this probably makes me sound a bit thick as i study photography, but i know how to compose and light a good photo, but haven't got a clue about cameras and lenses.

    I have a Canon 1100D. It's a great camera, but I bought it before I applied for a photography Uni course so I didn't think about getting a slighter better one.

    Comparing my photos to some other people's photos on Flickr, theirs seem to look a lot crisper than mine, and have more vivid colours.

    I'd like my photos to look like that. Is it down to the camera body, or the lens?

    What other cameras would be better, or what different lenses should I look at?

    Thanks!
    Beware of comparing your originals with the shots people post on flickr, flickr does all sorts to them in terms of sharpening, colour, contrast etc to optimise them for web presentation at 1080 pixels. If your observations are between your flickr versions and those of other folks then fair enough and the advice folks have posted will prove useful.
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    (Original post by ScottS_bristol)
    Just using JPEG if you mean that? I don't shoot in RAW. I have tried different lenses on the camera in photography and the photos have seemed to look more professional/clearer, so I'll consider getting a different lens . It is the 18-55mm one at the moment.
    I think they mean processing as in post-processing, minor editing you do to your photos when you have them on your computer. Do you use any software to adjust the brightness/contrast, colour saturation, sharpness etc.? You say photos on flickr have more vivid colours- you could probably achieve this with minor editing. I believe digital cameras are specifically designed to capture the greatest range of detail possible in an image, but this can leave them looking a bit washed out, so post processing is very beneficial. Not sure if this is what you meant, but I hope it helps?
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    (Original post by ScottS_bristol)
    Just using JPEG if you mean that? I don't shoot in RAW. I have tried different lenses on the camera in photography and the photos have seemed to look more professional/clearer, so I'll consider getting a different lens . It is the 18-55mm one at the moment.
    I'd start using raw, if I were you.

    Here is the camera-produced JPEG of a technically good (according to the histogram; I'm inclined to think it looks a little over-exposed :dontknow:) but rather flat image, completely unprocessed apart from resizing:




    Here is the best I could do with that JPEG using Lightroom:




    And here is the best processing of the raw file using Lightroom:




    Using the raw has enabled me to produce a more natural image at the end, plus gives me more ability to undo the flaws from the in-camera image (like I say, the histogram's great, but I think it looks a little overexposed - using raw enables me to get rid of this.) In addition, the raw process retains detail that the JPEG process doesn't, because everything you do to a JPEG degrades the image a little bit, which isn't the case for raw.
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    Lenses make a MASSIVE amount of difference and will improve your photos - don't bother replacing your body, it's pointless. Just get some decent lenses.

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