Benoît Viguier

I really started photography in August 2018. I enjoy taking Landscapes, Sun rises and Sunset. I'm also an active ballroom dancer and you will probably see me taking pictures at competitions.

My gear: Body & Lenses

If you know your gear and the theory, then it will be easier to know about your photography. While this might be true, it does not mean that technical knowledge translate into beautiful pictures. But it helps.

Canon EOS Kiss M
also known as the EOS M50, I bought it during a trip in Japan. It is mirror-less camera with a 24M pixel APS-C sensor. Mirror-less camera do not have a mirror which reflect the light inside the viewfinder. Instead you have a small screen which will give you a rather accurate representation of what your image will look like. By changing the aperture, the shutter speed and the ISO, you can thus see how this will affect the resulting picture. It is like using the live-view of a DSLR but directly in the electronic viewfinder, removing the difficulty to read the indications in bright light environment.

In addition to this composition help, I also really like the simplicity of its menu and the ease of use that comes with it. The Kiss M does not comes with many buttons, but those are enough for their purpose once you are used to it. The basic settings are easily accessible and this is all I can ask for.

The EOS M50 comes with the famous dual-pixel auto-focus. It is most of the time on point. However I noticed that there is no way to calibrate it for specific lens and as a result if I can I tend to prefer manual focus with focus peaking to be sure of my results. There are two kinds of focus peaking available, either you can see a blue or red overlay of the area of focus or you can zoom in your image 5x or 10x to be sure to be precisely on the edge. I tend to prefer the second option.

I don't do video so I never had to complain about the crop factor in 4K, the missing dual pixel auto-focus in 4K etc. I know that it has a microphone input but as I don't even have an external microphone.

There are main drawbacks about the EOS Kiss M. The first one is more of utility kind: you cannot charge the battery inside the camera via USB (and it is only micro USB). The second one is due to its crop sensor. As a result the EOS M50 does not have good performances in low light situations. Going at ISO higher than 1600 leads to pretty noticeable noise.

However if you are able to tolerate those small inconveniences, I do believe due to its simplicity that it is a very good camera to learn on.

A 70-200mm f/2.8 IS, a 24-70 f/2.8, and a 50mm f/1.4
The EOS Kiss M has a EF-m mount. I have a 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS and a 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS for it, however as they are kit lenses, they are not that sharp. On the bright side, using an EF-m EF adapter, I am able to access all the EF lenses.

This leads me to my favorite glass: my beloved 70-200 f/2.8 IS L. It is the first version, I know that the next iterations add one more stop of Image Stabilization and reduced flare but I got it second hand and I am really happy with it. Wide open at 200m this lens produces amazing background blur.

I also have the classic 24-70mm f/2.8 L, it is the first version again. While the lens is good (better than my EF-m ones), I am slightly disappointed by it. The breathing in the extension tube and the fact that the Tulip is not moving with the tube makes it a bit awkward. On the other side the Tulip is pretty sturdy and stable so that the lens can rest on it without it's cap.

Aside from those two f/2.8 lenses I have a 50mm f/1.4. I find the chromatic aberration with aperture wide open pretty strong. However this is a very nice learning lens (still 3 times more expensive than a nifty-fifty) and it really forces the photographer to think his composition. The bokeh is lovely, especially at f/1.8 and f/2. At f/1.4 it has a eye shape which disappear as soon as you stop down a bit.

Focal Reducer and filters
However the Canon M50 having a APS-C sensor, this implies a 1.6x crop factor. Meaning all those lenses have a 35mm (full-frame) equivalent of 112-320mm f/4.48 ; 38.4-112mm f/4.48 and 80mm f/2.24. In order to get better light I am using a Speed-Booster/Focal-Reducer with a factor of 0.71x. As a result my effective crop factor is 1.136x instead of 1.6x allowing me to take better advantage of my glass. In short, this Focal-Reducer gives me 2 stops of light for not much drawbacks: the images are still visually as sharp and I can slightly drop my ISO.

I also have a few ND filters from Gobe (ND8, ND64 and ND1000). I use the 2 peaks ones, better quality than the 1 peaks and not as expensive as the 3 peaks. I haven't really noticed a color shift. I really enjoy using them for long exposures.

Improving my Photography

I do a lot of research, I read a lot and watch a lot of videos. But in the end, what matters is how I perform in the field. Sadly I don't have that much time to go out and take pictures to practice.

To any photographers, I would highly suggest to have a look at Photography Composition: The Definitive Guide by Anton Gorlin. The techniques presented were an eye opener for me. It gives the simple rules but also a lot of illustration to help the reader to familiarize with the concept presented.

I also found the following youtube channels quite interesting:
Thomas Heaton (my favourite)
Peter McKinnon

Should a photo show the "reality" or should it show what the photographer "sees"?

As of March 2019, (I may change my point of view), I think both views are valid, however it is the choice of the photographer to determine when he should slightly alter the colors, the shadows, the highlight, for artistic purposes and when he should adjust them to match what his eye saw.

Using such a recent camera forces me to use Lightroom as the RAW files are not supported on other softwares such as Darktable or Exposure X4. I alternate between tweaking my images manually by playing with the exposure, contrast, white, highlight, shadows, HSL... and by using presets from Peter McKinnon, Do More and Medium format from Jamie Windsor.