Choosing camera (or rather lens) for this season's chase

Mar 7, 2016
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Omaha, NE
Short answer - Yes. You could in theory do that, and it would probably look good if focused correctly, properly exposed, and shot with a reasonable shutter speed to minimize motion blur. If you only shoot JPG and don't edit a lot after the fact, this is fine because most cameras encode JPG files at 8bit color depth with the equivalent of a 4:2:0 subsampling scheme which is the same way the G7 shoots 4K video. Now, the G7's H.264 compression is not the same as a JPG and you might see a drop in quality, but for fast stuff it works.

If you shoot RAW/TIFF images primarily and edit a bunch in post, this will not be a good fit for you. A higher quality still image is usually 12- or 14-bit (sometimes 16), whereas a JPG is 8-bit. A JPG will offer you 256 possible tones/colors per pixel, where 14-bit offers 16,000. Where this really matters is when you're editing. An image with 16,000 possible tones per pixel will hold up much better when you crank contrast/make adjustments than one with 256 possible tones per pixel. In a rough comparison, a 4wd vehicle with large tires will have an easier time on muddy Kansas clay roads and freeways alike than my little 2wd sedan.
 

chrisbray

EF4
Apr 24, 2012
471
125
11
Bourbonnais, Illinois
Thanks for the input! I don't really do much editing, so it may not be a big deal for me. I am just so unsure how to go about selecting my new camera, there are so many options!
 
Mar 7, 2016
31
35
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Omaha, NE
No kidding! If it makes any difference, I've been very impressed with Panasonic/Lumix's products lately, they're very capable both with video and photo. I'd wait until after NAB to buy something, prices should start to go down after everyone releases the newest/latest/greatest cameras.
 
Feb 9, 2007
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Illinois
skywarnforum.com
I wish I knew more about my camera. I have a Nikon D3100 that came with a few "basic" lenses. I see other lenses out there for it, some at a great price, some at a really expensive price but I don't really know which one to get. The wide angles look good. I should of taken a photography class at some point, haha.
 

chrisbray

EF4
Apr 24, 2012
471
125
11
Bourbonnais, Illinois
Hey All..
I think I have it down to 3 or 4 options.
Sony a6000
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II
Canon Rebel T6i


Anyone have experience with any of them, or opinions?
 

alfredo carrion

Enthusiast
Apr 24, 2016
6
0
0
everywhere
I have the sony a6000 and its amazing for lower light situations. Very fast focusing too, and smaller format so its very portable. I got the sony 50mm 1.8 with OSS (their optical steady shot), its super sharp, small foot print and with the OSS and 1.8, you can basically shoot anything handheld with it. I also got a Rokin 12mm f2.0, but its manual focus, but its great for those pano's. Planning on getting the 35mm lens next.
 
Jul 5, 2009
873
589
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
As has been pointed out above, good lenses are very expensive. An option worth looking into is renting a lens. I had never even thought of this, until I attended a Philadelphia-area business event that featured a panel of local entrepreneurial companies, one of which was Bokeh Fire, a lens rental company. I had been wanting to get a wide-angle lens for my Nikon 5300 DLSR, but they are so expensive. Years ago when I had a Canon camera, I had a "cheap" wide-angle lens (about $250) and it only lasted two years (and I barely used it beyond my two-week chase vacations!) I avoided getting a new one because of the cost. But from Bokeh Fire, I just rented a Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G. It is a $900 lens and I am renting it for just $125 (joined as a member and that's the monthly membership; it is cancelable at any time, so I will cancel when I get back and return the lens). They will also recommend a lens for you; I have found the customer support to be excellent and very responsive. The only annoying thing is that they want you to email them copies of your credit card, drivers license and a utility bill to prove your identity. But I guess you can't blame them, given the value of the lenses. I just ordered mine last week and expect to receive it tomorrow. Let me know if any of you decide to try it out.

http://www.bokehfire.com/
 
Oct 19, 2007
15
1
1
Weatherford, TX
Does anyone have experience with renting lenses? I really want to try out a wide angle lens, but I won't have the funds to outright buy one this year so I'm thinking about renting one. If anyone has a company that they recommend or any tips I would appreciate it.
I've rented from https://www.lensprotogo.com/ before (in that case it was usage of a $9,000 Canon EF 500 f/4L IS lens for a special trip to Yellowstone where the expense was worth it). Great service from them. If you live in any major metro area, check to see if there is a local camera store that has rentals. Perhaps the cheapest way is just know what the values are worth on ebay, buy one on ebay, use it for 2 months for storm season (for example) and you should be able to sell pretty much at the same price on ebay less commission (Canon L lenses for example don't lose value unless a new model comes out or you damage the lens).
 
Aug 27, 2009
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I am back at this thread again and it was interesting to re-read all the comments in here. I am very glad I ended up upgrading my whole stash of lenses and camera house in 2016 - in time for Dodge City. As for now I am quite happy with my Canon 760 but I am considering upgrading again to a Canon 6D for a few reasons:

- I can actually afford it now
- I don't want my old 450 to be my spare camera as I realize I am using it quite frequently, while my main camera is filming (as was the case in Dodge City).
- I am spending so much time and money to go storm chasing and get those photos I might as well do the best I can to get the most out of it.

At this moment it seems I won't be able to use my 18-135mm (which I use the most) or my 10-18mm wide angle (which I am considering replacing). The 50mm I believe I can use as well as my telescope lens (80-300mm). I also understand that switching to a full-format means that the actual depths changes.

The main problems I have discovered in the last 3 years is:

- A complete inability to photograph stars (except for with the 50mm which is quite pointless) which I tend to do, and like doing.
- My tripod is awesome but far too bulky (and thus slow to use) during stressy tornado interceptions.
- Not knowing exactly what trade-offs I am doing while choosing camera during a chase. For example, would it still be better to use my fixed 50mm instead of a, perfectly framed zoom, at 100mm with a less quality lens.
- Not a major problem but 4 lenses tend to be the maximum what I feel is convenient.

What I am considering now is to buy a fixed wide angle (to go with the 6D) to get a more light sensitive lens than my 4.5-5.6 10-18mm. I typically tend to use the 10mm setting most of the time anyway.

Although I am not really considering it atm I guess a monopod would not be a bad idea. The main reason not to is that it is just too much stuff! This year I will have more room as well so the tripod should work.

The main problem with the new 6D will be that I won't have a great "work horse lens" i.e. my 18-135mm.

My questions now I guess are:

- Which fixed wide angle would you recommend (max budget $600 something)
- For you who go by full format (and Canon), which lens do you tend to keep on most of the time?
 
Aug 27, 2009
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I am not sure if this is interesting/relevant information to you but in case someone is following the same path as I have, I will conclude my thoughts.

After a visit to the camera shop (Scandinavian Photo in Sweden) and an extremely helpful salesman he actually convinced me to go with the old Canon 6D mark i instead of mark ii - which they only sold as used. The reason for this was that althought mark ii had some technical upgrades (a flip screen) it has a problem with the dynamic range and ISO above 3200 to the point of being worse than the mark i. I also ended up saving $1.000 on this - although I will miss the flip screen.

In addition, he suggested that I would go with a used 16-35mm ($1.000) instead of buying a new fixed 16 or 20mm wide angle lens. Basically because the used one was equally good to the fixed ones but I also get the flexibility. I may end up with a fixed one as there was some uncertainty of that particular lens still being in stock.

I will continue to use my Canon 760 mainly for video and more zoomed in shots and the 6D for wide angle shots. Much because my "work horse" 18-135mm won't fit on my 6D. I will try out my 50mm and 70-300mm with the 6D and see how useful they will be in chase situations.

...

A whole different thing is how to actually photograph the storms in the end - there are a lot of improvement that can be done here. I believe I have an old thread about that here on StormTrack that could be revived.

Thanks, once again, everyone for your help!