D5200 new lens?

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I have a D5200 that is around 10 years old. I was wondering if I could get better pictures with an upgraded camera, or if just purchasing a newer lens would help? I have the lens that came with it and the telephoto lens as well (55-300mm)
 
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Welcome to the Café.
You will get much better advice if you can tell more about your shooting—what subjects you shoot, your skill level, what you like/dislike about your current gear and the pictures they deliver, and what you mean by "better"pictures.
 
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I have a D5200 that is around 10 years old. I was wondering if I could get better pictures with an upgraded camera, or if just purchasing a newer lens would help? I have the lens that came with it and the telephoto lens as well (55-300mm)
Welcome. You have come to a great place to get help. Nick asked some great questions. I hope you take time to reply. Cameras have come a long way in the past 10 years. There are are budget conscious users here as well as those who seem to be able to purchase the latest and greatest. If you could give us some more information it would be most helpful to make recommendations. Do you shoot portraits, sports, landscape, wildlife, etc, or all the above. There are experts in every area here.
 
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As above, what are you shooting and what do you hope to “improve”?
A new camera or a new lens will not make your pictures more interesting. If that worked, there would be a lot of great photographers. Heck, my own work would be better.
Equipment will not usually make your pictures “better”, whatever that means, unless it is fixing or improving a specific issue.
They can be sharper, focus faster, have better contrast, better color rendering, but that is all way less important than most of us think.
I can essentially guarantee that whatever equipment you are shooting with right now is better than the equipment used by the great photographers of the past, like Weston, Frank, Penn, Adams. It is not about the camera.
Now if you want something to fire up your creative juices, get a lens.
But first use your present equipment until it is your limiting factor, then it will tell you what you need.
This is coming from a old guy that has bought WAY too much equipment over the years.
Gary
 
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Welcome to the Café.
You will get much better advice if you can tell more about your shooting—what subjects you shoot, your skill level, what you like/dislike about your current gear and the pictures they deliver, and what you mean by "better"pictures.
Thank you for your reply. I shoot everything from landscape to my family to school portraits for a small private school. Most recently was asked to do some senior portraits, so am wanting to do more portraits. I always used auto mode but spent way too much time editing for lighting. I recently am beginning to shoot in manual. It seems that my portraits are not crystal clear. It seems like when I use the editing on my computer I can get them clearer. I am sure part of it is I am just not using all that the camera can do, so perhaps just need to take a class. I was just wondering if it was even worth getting a new lens or if what I have should be doing the job just fine.
 
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  • #7
As above, what are you shooting and what do you hope to “improve”?
A new camera or a new lens will not make your pictures more interesting. If that worked, there would be a lot of great photographers. Heck, my own work would be better.
Equipment will not usually make your pictures “better”, whatever that means, unless it is fixing or improving a specific issue.
They can be sharper, focus faster, have better contrast, better color rendering, but that is all way less important than most of us think.
I can essentially guarantee that whatever equipment you are shooting with right now is better than the equipment used by the great photographers of the past, like Weston, Frank, Penn, Adams. It is not about the camera.
Now if you want something to fire up your creative juices, get a lens.
But first use your present equipment until it is your limiting factor, then it will tell you what you need.
This is coming from a old guy that has bought WAY to much equipment over the years.
Gary
Thank you so much for your advice. That is what I was thinking as well. I just need to up my game a little more for better contrast and sharper images.
 
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Thank you for your reply. I shoot everything from landscape to my family to school portraits for a small private school. Most recently was asked to do some senior portraits, so am wanting to do more portraits. I always used auto mode but spent way too much time editing for lighting. I recently am beginning to shoot in manual. It seems that my portraits are not crystal clear. It seems like when I use the editing on my computer I can get them clearer. I am sure part of it is I am just not using all that the camera can do, so perhaps just need to take a class. I was just wondering if it was even worth getting a new lens or if what I have should be doing the job just fine.
Since you mention facing some challenges getting the senior portrait results you desire, I would recommend you spend a little on lighting and devote the time to learn to use it. I know you started the thread looking for recommendations on a new lens, but if you’re learning portraiture, mastering the light will really improve your results. In fact, that is true for any kind of photography, but it is low hanging fruit if you want to make better portraits, since you have lots of control over the shooting circumstances when it comes to this genre.

The 18-55 that came with your D5200 is a fine optic; for senior portraits, improving your lighting will make you much happier with the results you get from it, especially if it’s the non-VR version.
 
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Thank you for your reply. I shoot everything from landscape to my family to school portraits for a small private school. Most recently was asked to do some senior portraits, so am wanting to do more portraits. I always used auto mode but spent way too much time editing for lighting. I recently am beginning to shoot in manual. It seems that my portraits are not crystal clear. It seems like when I use the editing on my computer I can get them clearer. I am sure part of it is I am just not using all that the camera can do, so perhaps just need to take a class. I was just wondering if it was even worth getting a new lens or if what I have should be doing the job just fine.
By " It seems that my portraits are not crystal clear. ", how deeply are you looking at the pic.?
If you are zooming in a LOT, that is a problem. Most people do not zoom in to the image so that the eye fills the screen.
Most people to not print a pic larger than 8x10.

It is about learning technique, and the small stuff.
  • It might simply holding the camera steady, and pressing not jabbing the shutter button.
  • Learning the minimum shutter speed for your lens and your ability to hold.
  • Lighting is another factor. Not enough light = low contrast picture.
  • Learning the autofocus. If you want the eye sharp, you have to focus on the eye, not on the shirt.
  • If the filter/front element is dirty, nothing will be sharp. This is just like when I look through my dirty glasses.
As others, I prefer to learn to get the most out of what I have, before getting more gear.
But if I have a need for a feature or function, I will buy what I need.
 
Joined
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Location
Winter Haven, florida
You have answered your own question, but you may not realize it.
Please, put down your wallet and walk away slowly. You do not need equipment.
Take your budget and buy some books, take a workshop. Or post images here and ask questions. Use the critique button, and accept criticism as it is given.
A lot of people here have been doing this for years, and make it look easy. It isn’t.
Unless something is actually broken you do not need a camera or a lens.
Once you have natural light down, you may want to get some lighting. Even that is elective.
Do you want a plan? Post two images a week here, using the critique button. Listen to what is said and recommended, and move forward. In a month, you will see improvement. I hope to see some of your images.
gary
 
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Nov 22, 2020
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  • #11
Since you mention facing some challenges getting the senior portrait results you desire, I would recommend you spend a little on lighting and devote the time to learn to use it. I know you started the thread looking for recommendations on a new lens, but if you’re learning portraiture, mastering the light will really improve your results. In fact, that is true for any kind of photography, but it is low hanging fruit if you want to make better portraits, since you have lots of control over the shooting circumstances when it comes to this genre.

The 18-55 that came with your D5200 is a fine optic; for senior portraits, improving your lighting will make you much happier with the results you get from it, especially if it’s the non-VR version.
Thank you. I agree.
 
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Nov 22, 2020
Messages
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12
You have answered your own question, but you may not realize it.
Please, put down your wallet and walk away slowly. You do not need equipment.
Take your budget and buy some books, take a workshop. Or post images here and ask questions. Use the critique button, and accept criticism as it is given.
A lot of people here have been doing this for years, and make it look easy. It isn’t.
Unless something is actually broken you do not need a camera or a lens.
Once you have natural light down, you may want to get some lighting. Even that is elective.
Do you want a plan? Post two images a week here, using the critique button. Listen to what is said and recommended, and move forward. In a month, you will see improvement. I hope to see some of your images.
gary
THank you so much. Always good to save a little money. I would like to learn more about using the light to my advantage along with the settings. Below are a few shots from some senior sessions. I think they turned out nice, but wish the color and lighting were more brilliant. Both shot 1 hour before sunset.
 

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THank you so much. Always good to save a little money. I would like to learn more about using the light to my advantage along with the settings. Below are a few shots from some senior sessions. I think they turned out nice, but wish the color and lighting were more brilliant. Both shot 1 hour before sunset.
As you can see in the photos, Im looking for more blurred background and more vivid color. I used the 55-300mm lens. Auto mode for first shot and manual for second. Thanks for all the advice. I need it, as it seems more people want me to take photos, so I want to give them the best that I can and am open to all advice to improve.
 

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Joined
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Messages
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  • #14
You have answered your own question, but you may not realize it.
Please, put down your wallet and walk away slowly. You do not need equipment.
Take your budget and buy some books, take a workshop. Or post images here and ask questions. Use the critique button, and accept criticism as it is given.
A lot of people here have been doing this for years, and make it look easy. It isn’t.
Unless something is actually broken you do not need a camera or a lens.
Once you have natural light down, you may want to get some lighting. Even that is elective.
Do you want a plan? Post two images a week here, using the critique button. Listen to what is said and recommended, and move forward. In a month, you will see improvement. I hope to see some of your images.
gary
You have answered your own question, but you may not realize it.
Please, put down your wallet and walk away slowly. You do not need equipment.
Take your budget and buy some books, take a workshop. Or post images here and ask questions. Use the critique button, and accept criticism as it is given.
A lot of people here have been doing this for years, and make it look easy. It isn’t.
Unless something is actually broken you do not need a camera or a lens.
Once you have natural light down, you may want to get some lighting. Even that is elective.
Do you want a plan? Post two images a week here, using the critique button. Listen to what is said and recommended, and move forward. In a month, you will see improvement. I hope to see some of your images.
gary
THank you so much.
 

Butlerkid

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Another thought. CreativeLive.com has some great courses....and I'm thinking a course on POSING your subjects would be of great value to you. And if you get their eNewsletter, you can watch classes for free that are being aired live!

Posing 101

Posing Essentials

Posing 101: Men

Posing and Lighting


etc. Just search for "Posing" and you will see all the courses. They even have one for Posing Puppies! :p
 
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Both shot 1 hour before sunset.
Im looking for more blurred background and more vivid color.
1. In the first image (boy/dog), the gray stripes are quite similar to the crushed limestone trail in color. In this situation, a kicker light placed behind the subject would help define the body outline and separate your subjects from the lovely BG. Nevertheless, it is a great image, just as you have taken it.

2. Increasing the distance between the subject and the stone pyramid, backing up the camera, and using a longer focal length to keep the same BG framing would be a good option. This would blur the BG a bit more and opens the door to the option of adding artificial lighting (maybe for catchlights in the eyes) without casting shadows onto the BG.

3. The lighting for the flannel shirt image is classic golden hour. The relationship between subject and sidelight works very well. If you were to add any light, a reflector at camera left would provide nice fill and give you eye catchlights, but not really necessary to get the money shot. Instead, your efforts might be better spent experimenting with a variety of poses, since you have already achieved beautiful light.

From a postprocessing perspective, a range of options is available. With a little masking effort, the subjects in #1 and #2 can be made to pop.
 
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Location
Winter Haven, florida
It sounds like you are on your way to a new great journey!! I am not a people photographer, many others can help you more with the posing and lighting. I’m lucky, my daughter is very good at that and thus does all the family pictures.
Please continue to practice and post. Ask for critiques, grow thick skin and listen to what the people here say. All in all they are kind, and know what they are talking about.
The change will not happen overnight, but I suspect you will be surprised how just small changes in lighting, posing and post will elevate your images to a whole different level.
Good luck
Gary
 
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  • #18
1. In the first image (boy/dog), the gray stripes are quite similar to the crushed limestone trail in color. In this situation, a kicker light placed behind the subject would help define the body outline and separate your subjects from the lovely BG. Nevertheless, it is a great image, just as you have taken it.

2. Increasing the distance between the subject and the stone pyramid, backing up the camera, and using a longer focal length to keep the same BG framing would be a good option. This would blur the BG a bit more and opens the door to the option of adding artificial lighting (maybe for catchlights in the eyes) without casting shadows onto the BG.

3. The lighting for the flannel shirt image is classic golden hour. The relationship between subject and sidelight works very well. If you were to add any light, a reflector at camera left would provide nice fill and give you eye catchlights, but not really necessary to get the money shot. Instead, your efforts might be better spent experimenting with a variety of poses, since you have already achieved beautiful light.

From a postprocessing perspective, a range of options is available. With a little masking effort, the subjects in #1 and #2 can be made to pop.
Thank you so much. Great suggestions.
 
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SF Bay Area, California, USA
Are you shooting in RAW or JPG?
In RAW, the camera does not do any sharpening. You have to do that in post processing.

Autofocus.
  • When shooting in "Auto" mode, the camera focus on the "closest subject."
    • IOW, the camera chooses what to focus on, not you. And it focus on what it sees as the closes subject.
  • I would shoot in one of the PSAM modes, so that YOU can select what to focus on.
    • P mode is similar to Auto, but allows YOU to select what to focus on. This is my usual mode.
    • You use the direction pad to move the focus point. Read the manual and practice.
For portrature, I suggest using A or M modes.
  • A = Aperture priority. This allows YOU to select the aperture, which gives you control over depth of field.
    • Usually you would use a large aperture (small number), to give you a shallow depth of field.
  • M = Manual. You have control over both aperture and shutter speed.
In A or M, you now have to select the appropriate aperture, shutter speed and ISO level.​
In A mode, the camera selects the shutter speed, but you have to watch that it does not drop too low, for you to be able to hold the camera steady. If the shutter speed drops too low, you have to raise the ISO level.​
Color
If you want more color, the subjects have to wear brighter colors.​
For color #1 is the best, as the boy has red/orange-red. But people have to match the color they wear. Some do not look good in red.​
In #2, putting him in front of the green tree would make his shirt stand out more than against the rock wall. But then his hair may blend into the dark parts of the tree.​

Pictures:
#1
  • Background is out of focus, good.
  • The focus "appears" to be on his sweater, or his right hand and knee, not his face.
    • Make sure you know where the camera is focusing on.
    • I suspect that the camera decided to focus on his sweater, where there was more contrast.
  • I would have position him or you, such that his full head was in the path, so his head stands out from the background.
  • At first I thought that I would shoot a tighter shot. But as it is shot, it is a great square frame shot, where you crop the top and bottom to give you the square.

#2
  • The rock wall behind him is "busy" and distracts my eye from him. It is also in focus.
As Andy said, increasing the subject's distance from the wall, would let you blur out the wall, so that it is not as distracting.​
For some reason, my eye is drawn to the part of the wall in the red circle. Maybe it is the lines, angles and color or the stones. This is a problem with a busy background.​
1606158659076.png
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#3 - Looks good. I like how the background is out of focus, so it does not distract the eye.

BTW, in pics 1 and 2, the face is farther away from you than other parts of the body; in #1 the knees , in #2 the hands and his left knee. So the face would not be the "closest subject." This is a problem with "closest subject" focusing.
 
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