Getting More Into Photography- Not Sure Where To Start

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by peglegjack, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. peglegjack macrumors 6502

    peglegjack

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #1
    First off, I know absolutely nothing about photography beyond maybe the importance of getting as much light as possible into a shot. That being said, I've been taking pictures with an iPhone 4S and it's gotten to a point where the limitations have become far too much for me to deal with.

    I've read a few threads and articles on this board and on other websites, and there seems to be a consensus that the Nikon D3300 would be a good one to start out with. I do appreciate that it has a guide mode for people like me without a clue. Also I found one on Ebay with a lens and a copy of LR for only $400 which sounds good to me. I figure if I want more lenses then I'll figure out which ones as I grow into it.

    From reading that you would think that I've made a decision, but I'm not quite there yet. I keep reading that mirrorless cameras are the future and that if you are starting in photography that it may be good to learn on what will be commonplace in the future. The Sony A6000 seems like a good place to go if I were to go on that route since it is comparable to the D3300, yet it would cost at least $200 more. Money isn't really an object in my case, yet I may have a hard time buying something that has similar performance at a higher cost.

    Part of me wants to say screw it and get an iPhone 6+ at full cost since I need a new phone soon anyway and it would only be about $400 more. But I also understand the growth possible with DSLRs (and mirrorless) in regards to different lenses, zooming, better blurred effects, low light, etc.

    Also do people generally use Lightroom exclusively? Does a program like Pixelmator ever come into play?

    Basically I'm really confused and was hoping someone could steer me in the right direction. Thoughts?
     
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #2
    You need to establish a budget for this. How much are you willing to spend on something that might not work out for you? For every poster on this forum there are 1000 who have a pretty good camera in the closet for some reason or another, myself included. And none of it is for sale. Ever.

    Don't buy software of any kind on-line, especially from Ebay. Get it directly from the publisher to guarantee that you don't get stuck with an unlicensed copy. Amazon, Adorama or B&H Photo are OK, but only boxed, sealed full versions.

    Dale
     
  3. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #3
    Just start.

    Read, take a class, look at other peoples photos that you like and experiment yourself.

    Just about any entry level DSLR or mirrorless and kit lens is going to produce great results if you learn how to use it and the price for entry is cheap enough now that if you decide to change course later it's not that big a deal. To debate the attributes of one brand/system to another is exhausting and unnecessary to get started.

    I would encourage learning about photography and developing your own style with a camera that has interchangeable lenses and manual settings (most, if not all entry level DSLRs and mirrorless). You'll probably always have a phone that has a camera regardless and learning about lenses and manual settings (learning about light and how cameras work) will only make you a better "iphone photographer" in the long run.
     
  4. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #4
    It's useful to consider why you find the iPhone to be limiting. Those limitations point the way towards what you'll need next. The next camera's limitations will inform the decision you make for the camera that comes after that one; and so on. You can learn a lot by analyzing the "ones that got away." And the ones that get away change as you get deeper into the art, as you may start experimenting with different subject matter/styles.

    One thing's certain; if you become an avid photographer the new camera will not be, to paraphrase The Men in Black, "The last camera you'll ever own."

    Maybe you end up over-spending, as you may find the camera's automatic modes and original lens all you need. You may not require the added quality that a larger imaging sensor brings. Or, maybe having such a highly capable camera will inspire you to explore the art in greater depth than a lesser camera would. Sometimes it's helpful to move in smaller steps, so that each time you bump into that particular camera's limits, you're pointed towards the next. There's no right and wrong in this.

    In my case, I don't consider any of the many cameras I've owned to be a mistake (and I've been shooting since the 1960s). That list includes a Kodak Instamatic 100, as "entry level" as you can get - no exposure meter, no focus or aperture adjustment, two shutter speeds. It taught me a lot.

    As to the Lightroom/Pixelmator (and let's not forget iPhoto or the upcoming Photos, presuming you have a Mac)... You may be living with this decision longer than you live with your next camera, as migrating can involve a lot of work and a substantial learning curve. Each of us here has our preferences, and they can be as fierce as the Nikon vs. Canon rivalry. My own advice, if you have a Mac, is use iPhoto (and switch to Photos, when it's released in a few months). It's easier to learn than the others, is very capable, and integrates so well into the Apple ecosystem. If you're already using it, there's no need to change for now - by the time you outgrow it, who knows what your best choice will be. (Now I'm going to duck and run for cover.)
     
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #5
    You do need a budget, and it would be extremely helpful to know what you wanna take pictures of. Doing portraits is gonna require very different equipment than sports photography or wildlife.

    And you'll need some accessories too, depending on what you shoot. Minimally a tripod and software to process images.

    I wouldn't necessarily dive into a DSLR, although you probably won't go wrong with a D3300. There are lots of non-interchangeable lens cameras now that take awesome photos, some with larger sensors, and some with long lenses, waterproofing, etc. They also have most of the manual controls you get on say a DSLR, certainly all you'll need for learning. As an example, there are a ton of superzooms; if you wanna do wildlife that kit lens with the Nikon isn't gonna cut it, so mo' money. But a superzoom already has the long lens, manual controls, RAW files, etc. Might be better to start with.

    And as an example, Canon USA has refurb'd G1 X and G15 cameras pretty cheap.
     
  6. peglegjack thread starter macrumors 6502

    peglegjack

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #6
    I really do appreciate all the suggestions. Yeah at first I was thinking I needed something really good, maybe even a fixed lens like a Ricoh GR or something. But then I thought what good is a camera if you become too frustrated to use it? And it seems like the D3300 is the easier barrier to entry. And yes I should probably read about what photography means to other people, what it means to me, and what ultimately inspires me. Because that is what this is all about at the end of the day.

    What do I find limiting? Definitely low light situations. Not being able to control the noise and things like that. I do feel like I have a good eye, but I want to put it better to use. I do agree that I should move in smaller steps now. Start out using a lot of auto, figure out if I'm pleased with what I'm doing and if I want to keep going. And if I don't I could probably sell my camera without losing a ton of investment. And if I love what I'm doing then just keep going down the rabbit hole. My worry is about feeling like I have to have more lenses at the expense of learning in general.

    I think that whatever I do I'll probably go with iPhoto/the new Photos app coming up along with dabbling in Pixelmator here and there, trying to get my bearings.

    Oh yeah, mostly I think I'd want to take some street photography around Brooklyn along with some wildlife/nature shots when I go camping upstate. No sports or anything like that.

    Is there a fixed lens camera out there for someone getting into photography that would be as easy to use as say the D3300?
     
  7. peglegjack thread starter macrumors 6502

    peglegjack

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #7
    I suppose I should add that I could possibly spend up to $1000-1200, but ONLY if it was compact (even pocketable) and if it would be as easy to learn on as the D3300. I don't know if such a camera exists, but it would be interesting to find out. Obviously I would like to spend less if possible.
     
  8. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #8
    If you're thinking about non-DSLR options and pocketable seems a plus -- have a look at the Sony RX100 mk3.

    I have a mk2 and I like it a lot. I also have a D810, which I like more, but that's a very different kind of camera.

    When I go into the back country to shoot, I always put the RX100 in my backpack, along with the D810 and my lenses. And if I'm not going out specifically to shoot, I'll usually just take the RX100.

    I have a friend who shoots with a 4x5 view camera. He got a mk3 and takes it everywhere with him.

    It shoots RAW, it has a high-quality lens (with limited zoom range, it's true), and I've found it to be very rugged.

    I think that Panasonic has some good models in the same class, but I can't speak for them.
     
  9. Razeus macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #9
    ...sometimes you DON'T want as much light as possible into a shot.

    Your first lesson: Only use the light you need for the shot.
     
  10. Attonine macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    Kent. UK
    #10
    For street photography the Ricoh gr series you mentioned are fantastic. Will probably be next to useless for the wildlife stuff though. Using an SLR for street can be a real PITA. People do it though.
     
  11. peglegjack thread starter macrumors 6502

    peglegjack

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #11
    Is this what you're talking about?

    http://flash.newegg.com/Product/9SI...lV0MOeOc5lZYoM_gBmXaRPS14Y1586LpBkaAtca8P8HAQ

    The more I think about it, a small camera like that to use when backpacking sounds enticing. And any zoom now would be better than nothing at all which is what I have right now. Would it be easy to use with room to grow?


    Duly noted :)

    I read somewhere that the Ricoh camera is a little confusing at first. And yeah, I'm not against using a DSLR at all. But I'm starting to realize a benefit of a compact with a lot of power that I can use while backpacking.
     
  12. monokakata, Feb 6, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015

    monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #12
    Yes, that's the one, and that's an attractive price, too, even for a refurb.

    As for "room to grow," though . . . there isn't any. The lens is non-interchangeable, so that's the one you'll have for the life of the camera. So you need to think about that.

    It's easy to use because you can set it up to be a point-and-shoot with just about everything on auto, or you can move step by step from full auto to full manual.

    Edit: But perhaps that's what you mean. Start simple and then, with the same camera, be able to make more interesting and complex pictures, using the camera's advanced capabilities. If that's what you meant by "room to grow," then absolutely.

    The video is good in the mk 2 and it's supposed to be even better in the mk 3.

    My only complaint about mine is that the controls are small, and it's easy to push the wrong button. I think that if it were my primary camera that wouldn't happen much.
     
  13. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #13
    One of the advantages of the DSLR is its size. You have room to have the controls where you need them, rather than negotiating through menus etc.
    Yes it's true there are smaller options out there, but none of them have the range of lenses you can get for a DSLR.
    Have you been to a camera shop and tried handling a few? Just be wary of the sales people. They are often on bonuses to push certain camera brands and models. Go in, have a play, then tell them you'll think about it.
     
  14. peglegjack thread starter macrumors 6502

    peglegjack

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #14
    Thanks for all the help everyone, I sincerely appreciate it. I still haven't decided yet, but I think I've narrowed it down to two cameras as of now: the D3300 and the Sony A5100. That A5100 has close to similar image quality that I may actually be able to fit in my pocket with the right lens of course, and I found a refurb w/ lens for $450.. On the other hand I do very much appreciate the hand holding for newbies that go along with the D3300. Guess I'd have to go check all this out to be absolutely sure. Luckily B&H Photo is a few subway stops away so that's not a problem.
     
  15. seadragon Contributor

    seadragon

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #15
    For the learning photography side of things, I think any good photographer would emphasize the importance of having a solid understanding of the exposure triangle (shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity). I would HIGHLY recommend reading the book called Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

    It explains in detail each aspect of proper exposure and is not camera specific. It also helped me understand the differences between the various modes on the camera and when you would ideally use each including full manual mode.

    I read that book a few years ago and for me it was like learning to ride a bike for the first time. I finally understood the theory behind the exposure triangle and like riding a bike, you never forget it.
     
  16. peglegjack thread starter macrumors 6502

    peglegjack

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #16
    Thanks for the advice! Much appreciated.

    I actually decided to go with that Sony RX100 III refurb. Only $600 with no tax! Got it a couple days ago and it came basically new, no scratches or anything like that. Honestly it looked new to me.

    My reasons for getting this model:

    - I was talking to a friend about looking at cameras and they talked about having one major focus, and music/audio production is really my first love the more I thought about it. This gives me an opportunity to have a pocketable camera with excellent image quality and a zoom lens while not having to go down the rabbit hole of endless lenses/bodies. It's also complex enough to give me a fair amount of customability when I want it in addition to taking RAW photos when I get to that point.

    - I also want to take better pictures at the music spaces I go to, and the portability and zoom lens along with the EVF helps a lot for that. Don't want to be that guy taking smartphone pics at a show using that bright LCD screen!

    - This goes back to the first point, but if I wasn't planning on buying other lenses than there was no point in something like the A5100, as the kit lens did not show to have any improvement.

    Again thank you for your help everyone!
     
  17. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #17
    Enjoy. Don't forget to post some photos over in the POTD thread.
     
  18. soulreaver99 macrumors 68020

    soulreaver99

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Location:
    Southern California
    #18
    RX100 (any of them) is an awesome camera. Also, what helped me with basic photography (on top of common sense) was reading Lifehacker Night School of photography (or something like that) on their website. Really good place to start.

    Also, if you want to work with interchangeable lenses, there is a forum member selling a mirrorless Sony NEX 5T at the Marketplace for $250, which is an awesome deal.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  19. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #19
    I think you made a good choice.

    One thing . . . think about shooting RAW (Sony's ".ARW" images) all the time. You can set the RX100 to make RAW plus JPG, so you don't have to give up jpgs if you want them immediately.

    You need to get as much as you can out of that sensor, and RAW will let you do that.

    I suggest getting acquainted with Adobe Lightroom as soon as you can, or trying out another image processing package that understands RAW images.
     
  20. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #20
    Getting as much light in is NOT the #1 rule.

    FIRST step is to find many photos and some photographers who's work you like. Go to the library and check out some big coffee table books and look and a few thousand photos. Figure out what you like and what you don't like.

    Also read up and composition and style and colors.

    The VERY last thing you do is buy more equipment. Only buy equipment if you can make up a strong story for why you can not get the images you want.

    Likely your iPhone is not that much of a limitation. Then if you do need a better camera buy USED. You can get a good used digital SLR setup for about $250.

    ----------

    Why do you can so much about which SLR body you have? What matters is the lens. I'd go for and older used SLR and if you main concern is low light then some lens that is at least f/1.8 to go with the body.
     

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