New Guy to Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by bbadalucco, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. bbadalucco macrumors 6502

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    Jan 4, 2009
    #1
    A few questions relating to photography:

    I’m getting interested in photography and would like to learn about it. In order to do so I feel like I should purchase a DSLR while learning. I would mainly take pictures of family and scenery.

    Anyway I need to learn about the different aspects of photography and at the moment am getting my MBA…I have time to read/practice for 60 mins 4 times a week but don’t want to take an additional class on top of my MBA classes. Does anyone have a book they could recommend that would tell me about taking pictures with DSLR cameras?

    Second as stated earlier I’d like to purchase a camera. I’ve held the following three:
    Nikon D90
    Nikon D5000
    Canon T1i

    Of the three I like the D90 the best as I felt it had the clearest pics and I really want to use a GPS solution such as the GP1 by Nikon. I also liked the fact that the D90 had a lens I felt I could use for a bit whereas with the D5000 or T1i, I’d have to buy lens off the bat (105mm vs 55mm). I liked the T1i better than the D5000 (liked the pictures/feel better) but again a GPS solution is important to me and I can’t think of one with Canon.

    Anyway curious would the D90 be too much for someone who is learning about photography on the fly?

    Also, anything reading material out there you might recommend?
     
  2. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #2
    Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson, recently updated into a Field Guide on August 18th of this year.
     
  3. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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  4. Pikemann Urge macrumors 6502

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    #4
    No camera is 'too much' for someone learning. Except maybe specialist ones like view cameras etc. So either of the cameras you listed is fine.

    You could probably find better value in a Pentax or Sony or Olympus so look at those, too. Nikon and Canon don't have built-in image stabilization and so you have to buy their lenses for that. I have Nikon DSLRs but I use non-VR lenses all round.

    IMHO don't bother with classes. I did, however, a short course in darkroom technique back in the '90s for the obvious reason that I had no darkroom to play with. Good fun, that.

    You are very welcome to post your photos here for critique. We're tough but we don't insult anybody. :p I'm a member of www.photo.net. All forum threads and articles are of course publicly viewable without having to register. Have a look around. You'll occasionally see me on the Leica or Casual Conversations forums.

    Maybe familiarize yourself with composition and things like that. Once you get some basic theory down the rest is simple: take lots of photos and look at as many photos as you can. There are millions out there to learn from.
     
  5. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #5
    VR is heavily overrated, so far as I'm concerned. A minority view, I know, but one I'm increasingly certain of.
     
  6. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    Tripods are better, no doubt, but wherever they are forbidden or utterly impractical, stabilization makes a world of difference.
     
  7. SayCheese macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Welcome to the wonderful world of photography.

    The best advice I can give is to get whichever camera you feel most comfortable with. You are the one that is going to use it so make sure you are happy with it.

    I would suggest that to start with you find a subject that is lit with a steady light source and then using full auto take a picture of it.
    Then make a note of the settings and put the camera in to full manual. Dial in the exact same settings and then from there adjust one setting at a time (Aperture/Shutter speed) in one increment at a time either way. Take a picture each time you adjust a setting.

    Download all the photos to the computer and then whilst looking at your photos look at the exif data that goes with them. This is by far the easiest way (IMO) for a beginner to understand how the different settings affect a photo.

    It is pretty much what I was tasked with doing when I first started learning photography. However I was using black and white film on an old Pentax KM camera. I had to make a note of what settings I used for each frame and then make 6x4 prints of an entire roll of film before I could look at the results. Thats one of the beautys of digital. It won't take ages or cost a fortune in film and processing costs.
     
  8. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #8
    Not pushing you one way or the other. Just wanted to point out that the T1i can be bought "body-only" so that you can buy whatever lens you want.

    The 18-55mm IS kit lens is decent, but may not have the zoom range that you want. Canon just announced a new EF-S 18-135 IS lens (MSRP $500). Not sure when they'll be available.

    As for GPS, you're right. Canon doesn't really have a good builit-in or add-on GPS device. They're coming out with a GPS-grip, but it looks expensive.

    I will say that Nikon's solution looks kinda pricey to me. You might get better results using a GPS logger and merging your photos to the GPS log when you upload.

    Personally, I'm thinking one of these days, they're gonna make an SD card with the GPS built-in (or bluetooth) so that the pictures are embedded with GPS data. This will eliminate the need for merging log files or taking up the hot-shoe or connecting with wires.
     
  9. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Since you don't really state your experience level (I'll assume you're a beginner), why not just get a "nicer" point-and-shoot, learn more about framing and composition, and then upgrade to a DSLR and save the "difficult" decisions about which lens to buy and which "family" of camera brand to join later, once you've covered the basics?
     
  10. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

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    #10
    Understanding Exposure is a great book for the "big picture", but its' pretty short on details for a new shooter.

    Worth buying and reading a couple of times, then put it away and get a book with more specifics on how aperture, shutter speed, and iso relate to each other, shoot a few thousand pictures, and then re-read Understanding Exposure again once you have the tools and skills to apply what he's saying.

    My 2¢...
     
  11. bbadalucco thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    I appreciate the input...any suggestions on books, etc???
     
  12. electroshock macrumors 6502a

    electroshock

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    #12
    Fourthed. :) I keep a few copies to give out to family/friends with the spark of interest in photography. It's amazingly good, thoughtful, visual, and easy to read. Very little text. Photographs on every page to demonstrate technique and show what's possible.

    Exposure is really the most fundamental single concept in photography. So it's the natural starting point. It also serves as a pretty darned nice coffee table book, too. ;)

    (This is regarding Bryan Peterson's book, 'Understanding Exposure'.)
     
  13. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #13
    Hmm. Seems to me that's what Peterson's book is all about. I recall it being very much aimed at beginners. As for as the absolute relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO:

    If the aperture blades are opened wider, more light comes in.

    If the shutter speed is slower (meaning the blades are open longer), more light comes in.

    If the ISO is higher, the sensor is more sensitive to light, so it's as if more light is coming in.

    Those three variables must be negotiated in order to get a proper exposure. There are, for any given photograph, six possible combinations that might work (see pg. 24 of Peterson's book). Which one is best comes down to a creative judgment, and the rest of Peterson's book is all about those options.
     
  14. bbadalucco thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    I appreciate the input, its been helpful. I think I'll stop by Borders tomorrow to see if they have the book.

    Thanks again.
     
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #15
    Although books such as Bryan Peterson's are really helpful, in the end the very best learning tool is the camera itself. Just buy one and get out there and experiment to see what happens. An advantage of digital photography is that we can get instant feedback on the camera's rear LCD screen, and that is invaluable.

    Buy a camera and kit lens and just get out there and shoot, shoot, shoot. You'll learn a lot from that! Right now don't worry about this camera body vs that camera body or various lenses, just concentrate on learning the basics. As far as choosing a camera body there are two important considerations: the first is how good the camera itself feels in your hands and how intuitive the interaction between you and it is. That's really important when you're actually out there shooting. If the camera controls don't seem to be in the right place for you or if you don't like the menu layout, then that's not good.
    The second consideration is that you're more than likely not going to just be buying a camera and lens, you'll be entering into a camera system. That is, if you, say, go with the Nikon D5000 and the kit lens that comes with it and you really like it and want to eventually expand your horizons you'll be needing to look at other Nikon lenses. Ditto if you begin with a Canon or an Olympus or a Pentax..... Therefore, it's a good idea to look ahead a little bit right now and see what kind of overall system is offered by various camera manufacturers. Canon...Nikon...Olympus...Pentax...Sony....


    Getting more specific here, as a Nikon user myself, but someone who is unfamiliar with the GPS feature in which you're interested.....I can say that the advantage of the D90 over the D5000 is not exactly "clearer pictures," but rather, more flexibility in lens choices. That is, with the D5000 you would have limitations as far as autofocus goes. The D5000 is designed to work with AF-S (Autofocus-Silent Wave) lenses but not with regular AF lenses. It's fine for manual focusing on any lens, though, even the golden oldies. The D90 will work very nicely not only with AF-S lenses but with AF lenses, too, AND the golden oldies. More flexibility there. The D5000 does not have an internal motor drive, whereas the D90 does.

    I don't know much about the Canon system at all, someone else would have to address that, but I will say that it's important to consider an overall system and to evaluate what you expect/need from that system. Again, it's also important to listen to your gut level feeling when handling a camera....if one feels better than another, seems more intuitive to you, then that is the choice to make. Something like a GPS add-on in the long run should not really be the end-all, be-all when evaluating and choosing a camera system. Just how often are you REALLY going to be using a GPS feature?

    You'll learn more about lenses after you've had some experience using one or two for a while.....
     
  16. shoppy macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I am a complete newbie to photograhy and love the d90 lens kit. Camera is a lovely size and the photo quality is simply stunning. I have got some books onthe d90 and dslr photography.
     
  17. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #17
    This is sage advice. Mostly because you can read a manual or a book but unless you do as you read I don't think you get the full understanding.

    Personally, I read manuals piece by piece trying out each feature I read about. Some years later I skip over the obvious basics, but in the beginning I started with understanding the camera on auto, then on aperture priority, shutter priority etc. I did this all with film though so my feedback wasn't instant.
     
  18. flakes8 macrumors regular

    flakes8

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    #18
    The D90 is a GREAT camera !!! When I got back into photography the DSLR I bought was the D80 and have since upgraded to the D300. I have no need for video in my camera but I also do not have little ones and if I did would probably appreciate that mode. If you do purchase a DSLR I would check out Adorama or B&H online. There is many benefits to ordering online..no tax, inexpensive product and the companies have great customer service and return policy's. Whatever you choose I wish you luck !!!!! p.s. don't forget to buy uv filters to protect any lenses you get.
     
  19. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #19
    My first few cameras were not DSLRs (SLRs). I started off with a P&S Canon film camera. My first digital camera was a Fuji S602Z, which was a great camera, but sooo slow compared to todays' standards.

    Here is a book that I bought some years ago. Remember, that techniques DO NOT go outdated. So just because the book is from 2004, doesn't mean it is outdated by any means.
    http://www.amazon.com/Photography-C...=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253562959&sr=8-2

    Practice is going to be your best learning tool. You can read all you want, but practicing what you read applying it, is what is going to make you better.

    As for UV filters to "protect" your lenses, just a waste of money and, unless you are buying $100 B&W or Sing-Ray filters, it is just another piece of glass ontop of your lens.... I used to use UV filters, but the only filters i use anymore are graduated, ND or occasionally a polarizer...
     
  20. bbadalucco thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I appreciate everyone's feedback. I haven't bought a camera yet but have been reading the book "Understanding Exposure". Its funny, I knew NOTHING about photography a week ago. I still don't know much but when I see pictures now I ask myself "what settings were used here"

    Thanks again
     
  21. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #21
    You really need to get a camera in your hands for a lot of this to really make sense to you.....

    Buy a camera and lens and get out there and SHOOT!!!!
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #22
  23. bbadalucco thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    I agree, I'm moving in 2 weeks and will once i get settled in.
     
  24. ItsAllLuck macrumors newbie

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    #24
    if you don't want to shell out the money for a DSLR i suggest getting the canon g9 or g10. it's a point and shoot, but one of the best out there. only a step below a DSLR and will really help you understand exposure, aperture, shutter speed, etc.

    the pictures i've taken with mine look just as good if not better than some taken with a DSLR.
     

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