Advice for DSLR starter to avoid beginners mistakes?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pol0001, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. pol0001 macrumors 6502


    Apr 15, 2008
    I have been using compact Canon cameras for years. (Currently a Powershot.) But there are more and more situations when I realize the limits of a compact camera. (And I want to go beyond them.) After doing some research, I am going to buy a Canon EOS 450D (I think it's named EOS XSi outside of Europe.) There is a good offer on Amazon Germany. It seems to be a good body that gives a starter room to grow.
    But now comes the though part. Choosing the right kind of lenses for a starter and learning the ins and outs of the 450D. Do you have any tips of dos and don'ts for starters? e.g. What kind of lenses should I look for? / What is a good way to get familiar with the camera? etc.
  2. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    I love Canon P&S, they have great SLR's also.

    This thread talks about which lenses to avoid (a shorter list):

    Good luck! Post some pics when you get it!

    Oh, and the top 3 things to do to master photography and learn your camera:

    1. Take pictures
    2. Take pictures
    3. Take pictures.

  3. Styxie macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2008
    You should really get the EF-S 18-55 IS kitlens with the 450D. Make it's the IS version though, I was shopping for a 1000D (which is supposed to have the IS lens), and when I opened the package, there was a non-IS lens in there. So I ended up buying a 450D with the IS lens.
    The kitlens will get you going for a while, and if you need a secondary lens, you could go with the EF-S 55-250 IS lens if you want to zoom a bit further, or the EF 50 1.8, which is great for portraits. I don't have one of these lenses though, I'm just writing what I've heard from other guys.
    Anyway, be sure to post some pictures when you get the camera. Happy shooting =)
  4. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    Whoa. How is that possible? Did you buy it used? That is a discontinued lens, and Canon no longer ships it with any camera bodies.
  5. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    just get the kit. if there's a kit with the 55-250 IS, go for that instead. that'll have you covered from wide to telephoto while you figure out what you like.

    i also suggest the 35/2 (~250 USD) over the 50/1.8, because the 50mm focal length is awkward on a 450D if it's your only prime lens.

    other than that, read up on exposure (and some other basics)

    i recommend "The Photographer's Eye" by Michael Freeman for tips on composition.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Buybthe 18-55mm "kit" lens. Then shoot 1,000 frames. Give your self an asignment, shoot about 50 or 100 images, edit them evaluate them and then repeat. After doing 1,000 this way you will know what kind of lens you will need.

    The typical beginner never gets close enough to his subject and thinks he needs a long telephoto zoom. But after 1,000 images you may find that you need a faster lens or a wider lens. Or maybe you are shooting wildlife and really do need a very long and fast lens.

    The other common mistake is to think photography is about camera settings. It's not. 99% of the time "auto" works wel enough. Look in the "Art" section of the library or book store. Find images you like then set out to emulate that style. The idea is to have the image in your head before you go shooting and then to make the shot happen. When you can't make the shot, that is when you think about new equipment. Start that process with the 18-55, with luck the process will never end. Don't buy another lens untill there are many shots you just could not get.
  7. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    That's odd cause my XS came with the new kit lens. Report to Canon about your experience, that shop could have switched the lens :mad:, also the lens to avoid is when you are looking for a new lens, otherwise the lens that came with the camera body is fine to start of since its likely you wont be able to see the difference between a good lens and a poor lens yet.

    With the kit lens 18-55 IS, avoid shooting at 55 cause that is the softest range, shoot around 18-anywhere except the extreme end and the quality should be good.
  8. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2008
    Amazon should have a book for your camera I would recommend:
    "Canon EOS Rebel XSi/450D Digital SLR Photography" by David D. Bush.

    This book explains the manual in detail, and gives you examples, photos, charts, etc., as it guides you through. It will save you quite a lot of time learning how to use your camera. I have one by the same author, written for the 40D, and find it indispensable.
  9. emheenan macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2008
    One thing I'd recommend is to shoot in RAW mode from the start.

    You may lack the skills (and the software) now to get the most out of RAW photos, but in a year (or two or three) you will, and you'll regret not having taken all your early shots with RAW images.

    Treat your RAW data files as you'd treat film negatives - keep them forever.

    I recommend Adobe Lightroom to organise your photo library too. Even if you don't use all the advanced RAW development options now, you will eventually learn how to. It's also much better (I think) at organising and editing your images that Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) is.

    I shoot only in RAW mode, but if you don't think you'll get much out of RAW mode at the moment, shoot in JPEG+RAW, and just store the RAW files for later.

    PS: Obviously, if you're shooting in RAW mode then you have to be using the advanced shooting modes of your camera (such as P, Tv, Av, M and A-DEP), as the 450D only allows you to shoot in JPEG in the automatic modes. It goes without saying that even if you're planning to shoot in JPEG you should be learning to use these modes and not the automatic ones. Never ever use the automatic modes.
  10. aprofetto macrumors 6502a


    Dec 19, 2008
    Hamilton, Ontario
    That first tutorial was awesome. So well laid out, thanks!
  11. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Stick with the kit lens to start. I took the attached shot with the 18-55 non-IS ::shudder::, but it still came out pretty well. It's more about the photographer than the equipment when you're starting. The IS version of the lens is *so* much better.

    Attached Files:

  12. SimD macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2008
    Depends on how serious you are about photography...

    the kit lens is fine for the everyday snapshots, but if you really know exactly what you want, then read up on those type of lenses.

    When I bought my first ever camera, I picked up a wide angle prime lens because I knew I was going to shoot landscape only. Having said that, I quickly dived into other lenses and yeah, I have quite a few now.

    Anyway, if you already know you want to do portraiture, maybe look at the 50mm f/1.8 (which you should get regardless as I think it is a lens that teaches a lot).

    You can also try to rent a couple of kits and play around.

    But in terms of advice.

    1) read the manual, then read it again.
    2) Try EVERY single button on your camera, then do it again, this time with the manual open in front of you.
    3) Take pictures.
  13. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Take lots of pictures and use different settles and angles. I personally always use burst mode, since I can always go back and delete the stuff I don't want—there is no way to go back and take the shots you missed.
  14. iBecks macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2006
    Nottingham, UK
    I'm looking at the 450D also.

    Think I'll get the 55-250 IS, as toxic stated to cover from wide to telephoto.

    Have found the 450D Twin lens kit for £636
    Lens included with camera - EF-S 55-250mm IS f/4.0-5.6 lens and EF-S18-55mm IS f/3.5-5.6 lens.

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