There are some photography beliefs that we were taught ages ago and we firmly stick to them. Should you delete photos in-camera? Should you really always shoot raw? In this video, Tony and Chelsea Northrup challenge and debunk twelve of the most popular photography myths. Let’s see if you agree with them.
Tony and Chelsea have traced back some of these beliefs all the way to their source. A few of them are based on facts that used to be true, but aren’t applicable any longer. Personally, I find a few of these opinions completely new. I’ve heard of the rest, but I can’t agree that all of them are myths. There’s actually some truth to some of them.
- Fully discharge your battery: this one is rooted in a fact that used to be true. Old batteries did actually need to be fully discharged before recharging them. However, modern cameras use Li-ion batteries that allow you to recharge your battery even if it’s not fully discharged.
- Don’t delete photos in-camera: many photographers will tell you that you shouldn’t delete your photos in-camera or your memory card will get corrupted. However, Tony and Chelsea argue that this isn’t true. Personally, I occasionally do this instead of formatting the entire card and I have never had a problem. But, I still don’t do this all the time.
- UV filters improve image quality: UV filters did improve image quality with film photography when using certain films. However, when you use them with a digital camera, UV filters have nothing to do with image quality. They do protect your sensor from strong UV light though, and your front element from any ensuing damage, but that’s it.
- Higher megapixels = more noise: Tony and Chelsea tested this claim and produced results that were different from popular opinion. In their test, a higher resolution camera had a much better low-light performance and lower ISO. However, the same ISO doesn’t give the same results across different cameras, even if they have the same resolution.
- Compression is separate from the angle of view: for me, this belief has been unknown so far. According to Tony, higher compression is often related to medium format cameras. However, what really determines compression is the angle of view.
- Raw processing is better: this one isn’t necessarily about comparing raw to JPEG, but it’s more about the quality of JPEG images. With earlier cameras, JPEG images did look worse than raw images. However, in modern cameras, you can get an excellent photo in-camera even if it’s shot in JPEG.
- You can’t edit JPEG images: I guess this belief is in a way related to the previous one. Honestly, I haven’t heard of it. But anyway, I edit JPEG photos in Photoshop after editing raw files and converting them to JPEG in Lightroom, so… to me, it doesn’t make any sense that you can’t edit JPEG.
- Turn off image stabilization on a tripod: with modern cameras, the stabilization will in many cases turn off when the camera is on a tripod. However, with some third-party lenses, you may still need to turn it off manually. So, I guess this “myth” is in a way true after all.
- Lenses are sharpest at f/8: many people believe that every lens’ “sweet spot” is f/8. However, this isn’t true. The “sweet spot” varies for different lenses, and you should determine it separately for each lens you own. However, there’s some truth to this one too. With kit lenses, the “sweet spot” in most cases is f/8.
- Manual focus is more accurate: in the earliest days of autofocus, it was probably a better idea to focus manually. However, with modern lenses and cameras, in most cases, you can completely rely on autofocus and not worry that your subject will be out-of-focus. Honestly, I hate focusing manually because I can’t see that well, so I’m happy that I can rely on my camera’s or lens’ AF motors.
- Canon has the best “color science”: “Why don’t you shoot Canon? It has better colors” is one of the things I’ve heard a million times. And honestly, I do believe that Canon is special when it comes to colors. However, this is totally irrelevant if you don’t shoot JPEG, and I never do, so I’ll just stick with Nikon.
- Memory card failures: cheap or user error: if a memory card gets corrupted, many photographers believe that it’s either user error or because of a cheap card. Tony and Chelsea argue that it’s neither – stuff simply breaks, and any card is more likely to break the more you use it. Still, I believe that sometimes it is user error or it is because it’s a low-quality SD card. So, I wouldn’t say this one is always a myth.
Do you hold any of these beliefs? Do you think they’re myths, or you consider them to be true?