View Full Version : new guy with ?
11-21-2007, 10:56 PM
well, i am looking at getting into photography for when i am out and about. i have no clue about it though. i am looking for some books or whatnot to read up on and looking for advice for my first nice camera. i understand i don't need the best in the world, but i would like a nice one to start off with. thanks in advance and i look forward to getting into this new world.
11-22-2007, 12:33 AM
If you have no photography experience, maybe the "Dummies" series books would be a good place to start. I should get one as a refresher. And look into a community-college type photo class.
For the camera, how much do you want to spend? That's the big question.
If you are speaking of 35mm-type format, and already know you want a digital camera, Canon seems to be the market leader with Nikon a close second. Canon is the only manufacturer to offer a "full-frame" image sensor. But that model is $3000.
You say you want a 'nice one' to start, so look at the DSLR's (digital single lens reflex) which means you can change lenses to fit the task. When you start with a certain brand, you will start building a collection of lenses. Then, with a large lens collection, you will want to stay with that brand when you upgrade the body. In the digital world, they are always coming out with the "latest and greatest" every 6-12 months, so beware. Do your research, because sometimes a lens series within a brand (manufacturer) do not interchange with all of their SLR's.
On the other hand, "point-and-shoots" have one lens, non-changeable, but it usually is a zoom. They are much cheaper. They can be very good as far as picture quality if you get the high pixel counts. I just read a Popular Photography test where a $400 Sony 12 MP Point-n-shoot was compared to a $3000 Nikon 5D SLR. They could not really say there was a picture quality difference. It came down to saying the interchangeable lenses of the SLR make it desireable.
There are some good test reports on the Popular Photography magazine website. (http://http://www.popphoto.com/) I just subscribed to the magazine (a card stuck in an issue I bought off the newstand) for $15 for three years; can't beat that!
11-22-2007, 01:01 AM
I bought a Nikon D40 because of the price point. It was the most I wanted to spend and I knew I wanted a DLSR. I have been very happy with it and I am glad I didn't get more camera like a D50 or D70. My D40 will do more than I will ever need it to and the photos are fantastic although a pro will tell you the colors are a bit too vivid. I personally like that though. The way my better pics look on my Mac's 15" screen is incredible. Another good selling point of the D40 is it's size, it is a very light and fast camera and it's easy to carry around. Now all I have to do is learn how to take better pictures, I have to develope a photographer's eye. I like having something in my life I don't have to be the best in or take too seriously. It is a very refreshing hobby with long term payoffs. I will only get better but I don't think I will ever out grow the Nikon.
11-22-2007, 04:47 AM
Overdrive's reccomendation to take a class is an excellent suggestion, but I'd add that you should take the class BEFORE you buy. Through the class, you will develop a MUCH better understanding of what you are looking for in a camera.
If you are into instant gratification, you can attend a weekend workshop seminar, or most good camera shops regularly offer mini-workshops, and can rent you all the gear you're likely to need.
Before I plunk down money on a lens, I always rent it first to see if I will get what I am hoping for.
But before anyone can really help you fine tune your search, we need to know what your budget is, or what you think it is :-)
We would also like to know more about what kinds of things you want to shoot, how you will use the camera, what software you are familar with, etc...
11-22-2007, 12:11 PM
sounds good guys. i will check into the classes. that makes sense to take the class first and then look at a camera. i know i want a digital, but like i said, i don't know too much else about all of it. the pics i will be taking are when i am overseas, on trips, or out on the trails here in the states. my price tag i would say is mid line. again, thanks for all the help and i will keep all updated.
11-22-2007, 03:51 PM
Do a search on Amazon for the National Geographic Photography guides. (http://amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/002-0624514-7197613?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=national+geographic+photography&x=0&y=0) The first one that comes up,
National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Secrets to Making Great Pictures, Second Edition (http://www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-Photography-Field-Guide/dp/079225676X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195749956&sr=8-1) by Peter Burian and Bob Caputo is a pretty good place to start, but it does not talk about digital capture, which is best handled in a separate book.
11-27-2007, 07:42 PM
I know of a few instructors that use books by John Shaw (http://www.johnshawphoto.com/)for their classes, because of they are easy to follow, and he is an outstanding photographer of landscapes. The National Geographic books are good too, and there are many more.
If you take a photgraphy class, you will need to have a camera with you. Borrow one if you need to, and the operating manual. Don't go to class without them. These are not camera comparison classes, they are photography classes. You will be expected to create photographs. Tough to do without a camera.
If it is a beginners class, there will be a bunch of other people in the class, that don't know anything about their new digital cameras. It will be hard for you to learn anything from them. But you might get to handle quite a few different cameras.
You will learn what controls are necessary on a camera, to create good photographs. When you go looking for your camera, you will know what you want the camera to do, and see if any of the new cameras are intuative to operate.
As for price, you suggested mid-line. Digital SLR bodies range from $800 to $8000. Mid line would be close to $4000. I suspect this is more than you were thinking. If you don't have any lenses yet, or you have a cheap lens, then you can chose any brand you want. If you already have a "high quality" lens or two, then buy a brand that will work with that lens.
I have used Nikon, Pentax and Canon. I would suggst the Nikon D200 or D300, or the Pentax K10D, because they are dust and water sealed (weather proof). The Canon cameras in this same price range (30D, 40D, 5D) are not weather proof (duh!).
Next is a lens or two. Digital cameras seem to magnify the deficiencies of low quality lenses. The better quality lenses are more expensive, just like better quality anything. The lens controls the light and the digital chip and processor are your new film. They both have to be good. Lenses will cost between $600 and $1800 each. A professional camera with two lenses would cost $6500, a good camera and lens might be $2000; or you could buy a low-end (lower quality) kit for about $1000.
If this is beyond your price point, think about a good quality Point & Shoot for about $500 - $700.
11-28-2007, 12:03 AM
Brian's response is brilliant.
Also, don't forget that the built in flashes (if they have them) often are not tall enough to see over a decent lens without casting a large shadow, neccessitating an external flash ($400-$600), and then you need several memory cards, a decent computer, image processing software, and external backup media (DVD's or external hard drives...or both).
Digital SLR's are the bomb, but they are not inexpensive.
11-28-2007, 05:14 AM
Photog had some great suggestions. Listen to what he had to say. You will have to buy or borrow a camera FOR the class. They will have you buy the books you need, so do not even worry about that.
Now this is just my opinion and only that, you may want a DSLR, but if you are just starting out I would really suggest you start out with 35mm film and not digital. If you really want to understand the nature of light and how to use it to your advantage, it is best to start with a traditional film and darkroom class. You will not believe how much working with an enlarger helps you understand how photography works. I found my first camera, a Minolta XA7, in a 5 dollar box at a tag sale. A $20 cleaning later and I was good to go. Won my first contest (a National Geographic one) with it 5 months later. I still prefer that little no nonsense fully manual camera over my DSLR. I dropped that thing in a deep tide pool in Baja, a steam vent in Hawaii, a few snow drifts in Austria and New England, dropped it a few times on rolling talls ships (I have butter fingers at times), and it still works perfectly with only minimal cleanings. Using a fully manual camera is the perfect way to start out. Working in a darkroom can also help you understand how to best use Photoshop and its tools. I guess I just prefer grain to pixels.
That's just my opinion. Ignore it if you would like. Any class will help greatly.
Another great way to enhance your understanding is to study the greats. During my high school and college years, I was heavily influenced by Margaret Bourke Wright, Daido Moriyama, Harry Callahan, National Geographic, and German Expressionist Films.
If you want to check some books out now, then here are three from college that I liked.
The Photographers Handbook- John Hedgecoe
Photography- London, Upton, Stone, Kobre, Brill
Digital Photographers Handbook- Tom Ang
You can't go wrong with books from National Geographic. I have bought several and they are great for travelers like us.
One last thing. Since this will be your first CAMERA, I would highly suggest you do not buy new. Look on ebay, craigslist, or even better if you have local camera shop near you check them out. They might have used stuff for great prices. That's what I do at times. I'm not talking about Best Buy, etc. I mean a local Mom and Pop place. The kind of place with no wall or floor space for anything new, the kind with carpet older then you, that smell like your local army/navy store. Those are the best kind. They will have years of knowledge to help you. That's if you can find one:rolleyes: .
Anyways, good luck. You will love the leap from point and shoot to SLR/DSLR
11-28-2007, 04:53 PM
What Phil said has a lot of merit. In another post (http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9542), I suggested nearly the same thing. It had to do with using print and slide film in a manual 35mm SLR. Using slide film, the lab will not make adjustments to the process, and you will be able to determine if your exsposures were correct. With film, the lab will correct color and exposure errors, and you may not know that you messed up the exposure.
Using film will slow you down. This is a GOOD thing, because creating nice images is not a fast process. Digital has made many photographers lazy about checking their meter readings, etc. People think they can fix everything in the computer. A lot can be done in the computer; if you want to spend all your time fixing problems. Film will help you to learn the art of photography, then you can use other tools, such as digital capture.
You may already have a film camera. If not, do as Phil said, get a used one, and have it cleaned and tested. Use this for your photography training.
For your travels, you may want to pick up a decent P&S digital. Using this will allow you to start learning the digital process, and work-flow. Shooting, storage, backup, editing, printing, etc.
As you learn photography, you will be much more comfortable in choosing you new or used Digital SLR. Technology is changing fast; but a digital SLR from two years ago was good then, and it still is. People were making great images with those cameras two years ago.
An external flash is also a great idea, when you start using flash to control shadows and color correction. As NWOODS stated, the pop-up flash can have trouble when using a good lens. The best lenses tend to have large diameter barrels, to hold a large piece of glass. The flash is so close to the level of the lens, that the lens will actually create a shadow in the photograph, as it blocks the light to the lower part of the photo. It ruins most photos, when it happens.
This should trake some of the pressure off of any Christmas decisions you have coming up.:)
11-28-2007, 08:00 PM
Very good points that I did not even think about Brain. I think that whole lazy digital photographer thing is why I am resisting the jump to Digital. I hear people say I can just fix it in Photoshop later.
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