Best Book and Camera for absolute beginner

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Frisco, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    Researching for a family member who currently has an old cheap Sony Digital. She enjoys take nature pictures not of people or animate objects. She needs a good zoom. She needs a book that is easy to read--not a technical person at all:

    Is this book good? BetterPhoto-Basics-Absolute-Beginners

    How about this camera? Is it too much camera for a beginner?

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    That camera is a fine choice for a beginner who you suspect is at least a somewhat serious hobbyist. The only significant downside is that it doesn't have a viewfinder, which is helpful when shooting handheld. On a tripod though, it will be perfect.

    That book seems fine, but note that the best learning comes from making mistakes, thinking about the mistakes, and figuring out what to do to correct or avoid them.
  3. kingalexthe1st macrumors 6502


    Apr 13, 2013
    I started out reading Bryan Peterson's book called Understanding Exposure. It sets everything out easily and is really engaging. I highly recommend that as a starting point.

  4. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    For a beginner I really think that video based training is better than a book. There's lots of good stuff on YouTube, or look at
  5. Menneisyys2, Jun 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014

    Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    It's an excellent choice - it produces way better image quality than anything else in the price range (assuming kit lens).

    Note that:

    - it's autofocus speed isn't the greatest - if you want to shoot for example running kits, particularly indoors (meaning low light), get for example the first-gen Nikon 1, which can be had for $200 with kit lens. While it has much poorer IQ and worse kit lens than the Fuji A1, it's simply unbeatable WRT focus speed and accuracy for indoor action shooting. And it still provides considerably better IQ than most P&S cameras (and, of course, autofocusing speed).

    - its video quality isn't on par with most? all? Sony / Panasonic / Nikon more "serious" entry-level mirrorless or DSLR cameras. If you need as good video quality as possible, don't get a Fuji. NOTE: video quality has nothing to do with still image quality.
  6. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
  7. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    His book on composition is a good read too.
  8. axehedge macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2014
    I second the recommendation (if you're on a budget, you can actually get the free trial, and try to watch as many courses as possible!). I learnt so much about photography from the guru Joe McNally. You can also get his books. :) Hope it help!
  9. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I'm also a fan. Bought a year's subscription so I could download videos to my iPad. Lots of videos that cover my interests.

    Don't know much about the Fuji line but the comment about wanting a viewfinder is important. I probably use the viewfinder for 75% of my shots on my Sony Nex-7. If she plans to use a tripod a lot then no viewfinder is ok.
  10. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
  11. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Thank you, i just ordered it from Amazon.
  12. ChrisA, Jul 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Almost all of the stuff yu find on or youtube is what I call "dial twiddling" what they cover how to operate a camera and not much about photography.

    This book is very good in that that starts out talking about photos, not camera controls and then brings in the controls later after there is some reason to use them.

    I think the OP's plan is good but not enough. I would add...

    1) look in the library for the works of famous photographers and find some you like. Try to emulate their style. This is how people learned art for the last 6,000 years. Work for a master then only later develop your own style. Find some work you like is step one.

    2) Every day make up some kind of self-asignment. Shoot 100 frames and then edit down to a very few. Compare this to the "masters" you like see what you could do better.

    As for the camera. It's OK but then most any camera with manual controls would be OK for learning. I would suggest saving a pile of money and buying an older SLR for about $200 or even less. Thinks like the older Canon 400D or the Nikon D50 can still do very good work can cost under $200. When you are done with your $200 used camera sell it for $150.

    This way when it comes time to spend the big $$ for the next camera you know enough to know what you want. or B&H will have loads of good used equipment and 30 day warranty. Both have top tier reputations.

    One bit of advice when taking photos: 1) get closer. 2) Ask if people want to be in your photo, most will be flattered then hand then a card with your email so they can ask you for a copy. (free cards at vista print) 3) don't forget #1 above.

    Used SLR really are the best deal in town. Here is one example I found in 20 seconds.
    The price is $144 and then about $65 for a used 18-55 lens. Figure your can sell if for 60% of these prices.

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