Coming to a Crossroads

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Moccasin, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Moccasin macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Newcastle, UK
    #1
    I was chatting to a good friend in the pub last night who's a keen photographer and his comments have coincided with a bit of a dilemma about how to proceed with photography myself.

    I'd class myself as a keen amateur - I have a Nikon D90 with a kit lens, 50mm lens and a zoom lens. I try to use priority modes when I can (though do lapse into automatic modes). I currently have an 11" MBA as my main machine, which while fine for day to day use and nicely portable for the travelling I do, is not really enough for serious photography. I find iPhoto a bit frustrating in terms of its way of storing images.

    I'm not really good enough to make any money from photography so if I am to upgrade my kit, it will be purely for pleasure. So the question is, do I take the plunge and buy Lightroom/Aperture and then more than likely buy an iMac or do I just sell my camera kit, get a hybrid/bridge camera instead and probably save myself a lot of money?

    I know its my decision in the end but have others had this dilemma before? If so, how have you resolved it?
     
  2. GregPQ macrumors regular

    GregPQ

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #2
    Well, I'm just an amateur with a D60, the kit 18-55mm, another zoom (55-200mm maybe), and a 35mm prime.

    I use a 13" MBP with Aperture, which I like a lot.

    It's very satisfying to shoot RAW and then process with Aperture.

    I would say, if you don't shoot RAW, you're not getting the full potential out of your D90.

    Cheers,
    Greg
     
  3. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #3
  4. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #4
    I don't think a high end P&S would really save you any money. I don't know Nikon that well, but the new N1 is $750 and the Canon G12 is $380. Selling your gear and getting something like this might just be a break even deal. Some people who use easier to carry cameras like these seem to take more photos, though.

    Play with the trials linked above and think on it.

    BTW: If you don't like the way iPhoto manages your pictures, then you won't like Aperture, either.

    Dale
     
  5. kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    #5
    First thing I wouldn't do is sell your Nikon. The D90 is still an excellent body so I wouldn't invest in anything new. A G12 and N1 would definitely be a step down, in my opinion.

    If you're going to invest in anything it should be quality lenses since they rarely ever change and make a huge difference. You're MBA should be fine since my old White Macbook runs Aperture just fine. I'd progress like this:

    1) Learn to take photos using the equipment you have. When you start doing less post production you'll know you're improving. For now iPhoto is fine, but watch a few tutorials and learn how to use it to its fullest extent.

    2) Once you figure out the focal lengths you like using invest in the best lenses you can get for those ranges.

    3) By this time you'll want to upgrade to Aperture.

    4) Then it becomes a toss up between new computer and new camera body.

    This is how I did it and it's worked great for me. Hope this helps!
     
  6. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #6
    I never need much of an excuse to buy a new mac or some better lenses. :D If it's not going to hurt your other priorities in life, absolutely go for some added investment! You may be amazed at how easy Aperture is and the impact it can have on improving your photos. I can't shoot without it.
     
  7. fireman32 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #7
    I would say keep the D90 its a great camera and an application like Aperture is only 80 dollars. I you have a student ID you can get Lightroom 3 for fairly cheap as well. Like others have said lenses are where you need to make the investment. I already have my tax refund allocated for purchasing one or two good lenses. The MBA is more than adequate to run Aperture.
     
  8. RHVC59 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Location:
    St. Johns, Portland, Oregon
    #8
    Keep the D90. Lightroom or Aperture will open a world of possibilities once you start shooting RAW. Non destructive edits, and virtual copies are are quite nice to work with. Something that I think you can do with your current setup once have LR3 installed, (if you go that route), is shoot tethered. Then your laptop screen can act as a live preview.... see http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/842/cpsid_84221.html

    I still make do with my D80, but have expanded my collection of glass. :)

    My favorite lens is the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S Nikkor Zoom. It is a FF lens, so when I do upgrade the body some day, I can still use this pretty good lens.
     
  9. Moccasin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Newcastle, UK
    #9
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Thanks guys. I forgot to say that I already shoot RAW though don't do much post processing. I guess it's more of a case of being able to go back when I get better at doing that.

    I appreciate that the MBA is fast enough but 11" screen and 128GB storage is a bit limiting. While I do have a NAS for more storage, I don't find using the MBA for that stuff as easy as I'd like. I live the machine but it's hard to get a good look at a photo at that size.

    I guess my post is partly to help justify to myself buying a new iMac but it's more than that.

    Apple are doing an interest free deal at the moment which is tempting but maybe I should try the two software packages, as suggested, first and then see if I get into post processing enough to want to do more on a bigger screen. I do have a monitor but it's pretty poor. Stupidly went for a cheap Viewsonic a year or two ago
     
  10. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    paradise beach FL
    #10
    Dump iPhoto for Aperture or Lightroom. You will be amazed. This alone is your single greatest bang for buck upgrade.

    Please do not get a bridge camera. You will be sorely dissappointed, especially coming from a D90. Waste of money, better off with an iPhone camera on the side. ;)

    Get the iMac, or a base mini and a nice big ips panel.. then if money is still burning a hole in your pocket treat yourself to something special in some high grade lenses. Your Nikon body doesn't need upgrading unless you are headed to 'pro' category..

    I am in your same boat, not "making money" as often as just having fun and sharing cool images. I personally consider investment in high quality lenses to be what has heated up the passion in my love for photography.:D:p
     
  11. Moccasin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    Mar 21, 2011
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    Newcastle, UK
    #11
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    I'm looking forward to the next iPhone as the 4S seems to be a very good camera to go with a DSLR. That's the annoying thing about good photographic kit, it's not great for spontaneous photos.

    I'll try the two software packages and also see when the 0% interest deal ends at Apple before deciding. My friend and housemate is in financial difficulties at the moment and I think it would be rather cruel for me to go out and buy a £1000+ iMac when he's struggling to cope with his debt.
     
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #12
    Lots of good advice here. I agree, stick to the camera you've got.. and just get in the habit of carrying it everywhere with you. If your "grab and go" kit is just the camera the single zoom lense, an extra battery and a memory card... and nothing else... then you've got a very small bag's worth of stuff to carry, and a serious camera that will do everything that a bridge camera will do.

    It is too too easy to want to pack the full kit with you everywhere, just because you own the stuff. Instead, get in the habit of using your "grab and go" kit when you are out doing other things. Sure, you will occasionally miss a shot because you didn't bring the fandangled accessory, but you will get many many more shots because you've got the camera with you. And - more importantly - you will get better at taking photos because you will be taking more of them, and you will get better getting the shots with equipment available, in marginal situations.

    When you are going out specifically for a photo-shoot, then you can pack the full kit.

    Personally, I prefer Lightroom - but that's just personal. Aperture is the better deal, since it can be had for (relatively) cheap through the App store.

    I doubt you need to worry about what computer you may need, yet. What is more important is the monitor regardless of the computer. If the monitor is not colour accurate, it doesn't matter what computer you have your photos will suffer. Whereas a relatively slow computer driving a good monitor will allow you to create good looking photos... it just may take some extra time. A good monitor can eventually be hooked up to a better computer, when you upgrade the computer.

    All of this is IMHO, of course.... hope it helps.

    Luck.
     
  13. Moccasin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

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    Newcastle, UK
    #13
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    I think the monitor issue is what's driving this to a certain extent. Clearly the 11" MBA is limiting in many ways in that regard. I love the MBA for its portability but checking pictures isnt easy.

    If I buy a monitor on its own then that pretty well ties me to a Mini when I need to upgrade. As my MBA is 2010, i can't buy the Thunderbolt display as a short term measure. Yes i could get a Dell monitor but thats still a fair amount of cash. Nothing against Minis but by the time you have keyboard, trackpad etc you're getting towards the cost if an iMac even without the screen.

    So I think if I do upgrade, then it has to be an iMac - just a matter of when and which model
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #14
    I qualify myself as a keen amateur as well. I have a d70s with a number of lenses that I opted to sell and buy a mirror-less camera. They have larger sensors then P&S (but smaller then DSLRs), interchangeable lenses, and take excellent shots.

    For me, the Nikon V1 (Nikon's entry into the mirror-less camera category) takes great shots and is much smaller then a DSLR. I wanted a camera that was fast took great pics and was not over bearing to lug around in places like disneyworld

    I couldn't be happier. The old addage applies - the best camera is the one that's with you.

    If you love photography, it doesn't matter how good you are, but rather you get a camera that helps enjoy and extend that hobby.

    The software Aperture and/or Lightroom only improve the images through their non destructive editing and helps manage and categorize them. If you have lots of pictues then I think one of those apps is a no brainer. Given the price of aperture in the Mac App store that might be a good option
     
  15. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #15
    Think about where you may be in 5 years. One strategy might be to start with a base-model Mini (watch the refurb store obsessively - they pop up on a regular basis for a really good price, and are snapped up quickly). As long as the RAM is bumped up, a base Mini will do the job. Add a decent monitor, eventually a decent printer, other peripherals as needed (don't forget the camera gadgets too!)

    Eventually, you will either decide that you are happy with the system and you'll chug along for 3 to 5 years, or you will decide you need to make a serious investment because your photography is getting that good. At this point you can could:
    1) Simply retire the Mini, and substitute a Mac Pro (if still available) since all of the peripherals should just plug into the MP, if you've been planning ahead, Or..
    2) Retire the Mini for an iMac, and use the old monitor as a 2nd screen. If you plan ahead, all of the peripherals should just plug into the iMac as well.

    Learn how to buy used lenses - you can save a lot of money that way. The best way is patronize a pro-camera store. In my experience, a cosmetically clean lense that works for 30 days (in my neck of the woods camera stores will warranty used equipment for at least 30 days, even if sold "as is") will work just fine for many years - for at least 30% less than new.

    Also, camera bags and a bunch of other accessories can be bought used.... I've got a collection of camera bags (different sizes and different styles i.e. over the shoulder or backpack) that I get from a local thrift store for $5 to $25 each. They are beat up sometimes, but I prefer my bags to not shout "new camera here!". And the money I save on things like bags, I can invest in things like glass and printer paper.

    Luck.
     

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