Beginner considering to start photography as hobby - needs advice!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by gangst, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. gangst macrumors 6502a

    Dec 27, 2004

    Well, I've decided that I would like to take up photography as a hobby and not just use my 5MP Sony T7 for family and holiday pictures.

    I've looked round the net, but there is so much to consider, I really don't know where to start. I just want to be able to take really nice pictures of people, landscapes and objects,; and have the option of being a bit creative.

    What I am looking for is a SLR camera which has a good range of manual settings, takes great photos and is relatively easy for a complete beginner to use. Could anyone please recommend a good camera which can take RAW photos for about £600, including lenses. Because from what I have seen, there is so much available and I really don't have a clue as to what lenses are good or not, or what they do. I've seen the Canon 350 and Nikon D50, but not really to sure what I'd want, or if these are suitable.

    Also, if you take high quality photos, what options do you have for printing? Do you take them to a print shop?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    online courses first?

    hi gangst,

    your post is so well timed. i was literally bout to post something similar.

    but, before i buy a camera and you may want to follow suit.... i would like to take an online course/class on photography. i need to understand all the terminology, the lenses, shutter speeds, blah blah blah. i think that is the key before buying a camera b/c i don't know much right now, understanding more will help me buy a solid camera to last a long time. i would hate to buy a decent camera and then find i've learned enough for something better.

    photography is always something i've wanted to get into and now that i've dropped my canon s410...again, it's time to move the learning into focus (no pun intended). the 410 still works, but it's acting funny. doh!

  3. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    i'm in a similar situation. try this thread:

    the budgets are a bit higher than yours but it might give you an idea.

    as much as i found out so far is:

    the lenses are the important and expensive part. the body is less important (but still important)

    don't waste money on very cheap lenses. you will want to upgrade them soon. rather buy one good lens at a time.

    it's a good time to pick up slightly outdated dslr bodies that are proven technology and allow you to buy lenses that will work in a few years when you buy a better body.

    aside of that it's a staggering amount of stuff to learn. and on top of that you have to actually learn the artistic part of it.
  4. macOSX-tastic macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2005
    At the Airport. UK
    as far as shooting subjects goes, i would shoot things that you are passionate about / enjoy / like. for me, thats landscapes, macro shots, and aircraft. you may be different, as almost everyone is from one another. you will shoot something better if you like it / understand it better (this usually goes hand in hand with liking something.) so, look at what you like. as a hobbyist, you dont need to cover all the bases, just do what you're passionate about (i.e. not all types of photography are necessary to build up a good portfolio).

    hope i helped.

  5. Gwardys macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2006
    The camera I have right now is perfect for what I think your needs are.

    The camera can attach to add-on lenses, it shoots raw, has manual settings, but it's not overcomplicated to the point where you can't use it.
    It is upgradeable with add-on flash, lenses ect.

    For the price, I don't think you can go better. If you find that this is something you want to get involved in, the next step would be a higher end camera, but don't rush out and get a superexpensive camera, just incase it's something you regret getting into. A purchase of this camera is still usable if you don't care about manually adjusting settings and stuff, but if you get something like a D70, good luck not caring.

    In no way am I a professional photographer, but I hope to be one day.
    This camera started me off on the right track, and I hope it does the same for you if you decide to purchase it.

    Obviously because it's not a super high end camera, it wont work with everything. But the list of add-ons here are nice.

    Like I said before. The price is a major appeal. You get a very decent camera, and it's a way to dabble your feet in the water of photography.
  6. Josh macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2004
    State College, PA
    The D50 would be a great choice,

    You definitely want an SLR. A point-n-shoot, even with full manual controls, will not give you the oppertunities and expandability that an SLR will.

    The D50 is a really great camera - great price, great reviews.

    Even the D70/D70s, while a little more expensive, are great for hobbyists. I have a D70 myself and LOVE it to death.

    I really like Nikon/Nikkor lenses as well, and they have a wide selection for all purposes, and all budgets.
  7. Zeke macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2002
    Greenville, SC
    The Pentax *ist DL has a pretty loyal following and can be picked up for a pretty good deal. Recently with an 18-55 kit lens and printer for $390 after rebate.

    I personally have a Canon 20d but that's much more money.
  8. gangst thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 27, 2004
    Thanks for everyones feedback.

    Would a photo printer be good enough to print high res photos or would I have to get it done specially.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    ALL SLRs will have "a good range of manual settings, takes great photos" this goes for every current production digital SLR and for film SLRs going back to the 1960's. Your budget is large enough to not constrain your choise to much.

    This realy DOES come down to a Canon vs. Nikon debate. This debate is about like arguing over if football or basketball is a better game to watch. There are some very vocal hard core sports fans in each camp who think the other group is just plain nuts and will tell them so loudly.

    Here is the way I would deside: Think about the lenses you would like to have in five years. Believe me -- When you buy into an SLR system what you are really buying is a set of lenses. Optical tecnology is mature and the technology changes slowly so any lens you buy will remain usfull for well over a decade. I have and use Nikon lenses that are 40 years old and work well even using todays profesion standards. OK, you will need a camera body too. DSLRs are new and become obsolite quicklly. Expect a five year life before you will feel the need to upgrade.

    So, with the above in mind look at both Canon's and Nikon's line of lenses and look at the prices and look at the used market too. Lenses are very reliable and use lenses work mostly like new. So seriouly concider buying used. I would not say the same for a camera body.

    One thing that is different between Nikon and Canon is that Canon changed the Lens mount system with the introduction of autofocus technology. Nikon was able to keep the mount system compatable. So with Nikon even the very old (late 1950's) still works to a degree with the lastest DSLRs. This is a big deal if you already own some older Nikon equipment. If you are starting from zero and only plan to buy current production equipment you would not care.

    Remember you are buying into a SYSTEM and it will be expensive to chance systems later. Don't chose a system based just on the cost and feature set of one entry level DSRL body. Look at the bigger picture and where you want to be in 5 years.
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I do both. and I also do neither.

    First off now that I've gone digital. I don't look at prints that much. I think I most view photos on screen now. I put my images on the web and my freinds and family look at them on their computer screens. So mostly I don't print

    OK when I do print I do it serval ways. (1) use a service where you send the images over the Internet, they do the prints and either mail them back to you are you pick them up locally saving both time and postage. (2) print them on my own (cheap) printer. This does decent quality work. Good enough to pass aroud and show freinds and relatives and it's quick, in just minutes I have the print. but the ink and paper cost is about double what a comercial printing service charges for prints and theirs are water proof and fade resistant, mine are not. (3) Take the file to a profesional printer. This is expensive but they can make "exhibition quality" fine art prints using a very expensive printer.
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You could do good work with any camera. But the above Kodak is NOT an SLR and he said he wanted one. An SLR wil have the folowing fetures

    1) Through the lens viewing
    2) Interchangable lenses
    3) A sensor (CCD or CMOS) that is physically much larger. This is
    the best feature of the DSLE over the point and shoot. The larger
    sensor will give much better images. Lower noise and better control
    of depth of field and perspective.
    4) better eronomics: Focus and Zoom rings are on the lens and operate as fast is you can move your hand. More subtle differences are if a control is down three leves in a menu or if it is a button on the camera
  12. gangst thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 27, 2004
    So if I was to buy a Nikon D50 or Canon 350d, could someone please recommend a good all round lens which takes great pictures and is going to last.

    I'm not reall sure what all the stuff on lenses means at the moment!
  13. Gwardys macrumors member

    Apr 6, 2006
    I never said it was an SLR. =]
    My post was to show him a camera that functions like an SLR, without the cost, and to show him an alternative, or a good staring point.
    A DSLR is a huge investment for hobby photography unless you're sure it's something you know you will stick with.
  14. tobio macrumors regular


    Sep 5, 2004
    You could buy an old second hand film SLR first. I had a nikon EM that you can find on ebay for very cheap. I also had a similar sony DSC to yours, and would take them both about with me.

    I would take photos on the sony digital point and snap in automatic, look on the display at what settings (aperture size, exposure and all that) it had chosen, set up the nikon to similar and go for it.

    Very soon after getting a few rolls of film developed and scanned I was confident enough to not refer to the digital camera anymore.

    Very soon after that i decided that I was having a great time, and bought myself a D70s.

    I tried out in the camera shop canons, the nikon D50 and so on, and because from the film camera I already knew what I was used to, and was comfortable with a manual camera, the D70 just felt absolutely perfect to me. I have never regretted it for a second, but it would be a hell of a lot of money to spend if I wasn't sure about the hobby.
  15. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA

    i have a sony photo printer. although it's cool to be able to print pic's whenever you want the costs are high: $400 for the printer, $1.2 for each pic. so i use it not very often. only as test print before i order large prints or for family pics that i need to send out immediately.

    to put it in a nutshell: don't buy a printer. go to cvs/walgreens or walmart or best buy and print there from a memory stick. cost you 20c per pic or so and you get probably better quality.
  16. kjr39 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2004
    Take a look at the Tamron 24-75 or 17-50. Good lenses for the price.

    I would look at getting a used 350 or D50 rather than buying new. Should be able to save you a few bucks in the process and still get a quality camera.

    FWIW, my wife uses a 350 and likes it. Me, I think it's too small for every day use. Whatever you do, make sure you go to a store and touch/feel one before buying!
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I'll agree with the Tamron suggestion, but that lens is actually a 28-75 mm lens. The 28 mm indicates how far you can zoom out (ie: how wide an angle you can shoot), and I think it's a bit low. I'd actually recommend the Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens as a go-everywhere general lens, because 28 mm will not let you shoot "wide" enough. The f/2.8 indicates how wide the aperture is, where a lower number means that the aperture/hole is wider. A wider aperture means the camera collects more light, which makes general situations a lot more tolerable.

    If you want to spend more money, then a lens like the 17-55 mm along with a Nikon D50 would be great. I find Nikon's lower range to be much better than Canons, but I also think the same thing about Olympus. Their lenses are good, although their camera will require you to dig through some menus to make changes, just like the Canon 350D/Rebel XT. I don't like that, but you may not mind whatsoever.

    If I had to recommend several lenses for a starter, I'd recommend getting the 70-300 mm lens (which is cheap) for a Nikon D50, and the Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens. The Olympus E-500 is another option. Same can be said for Canon.

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