New Photographer Equipment Questions

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jnbull, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. jnbull macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2010
    Hi All,

    First of all, I have been a mac convert for about 2 years now. I am an attorney and I have converted all computers in my office to mac. I absolutely love Mac hardware and software and have no desire to switch back at all!

    I am currently considering picking up the hobby of digital photography. I don't have a ton of time and I never intend on becoming a professional photographer. I do have the personality that I will put 110% effort into something when I get involved with it, so even though I don't have a lot of time, I do intend on becoming completely competent at digital photography if I get involved.

    At one time I worked for and eventually managed a television station where I started out in the production department so I am somewhat versed in the vocabulary, technique and equipment necessary, but it has been several years.

    As for my purpose, my primary purpose is to take pictures of my 18 month old son. I would also like to get into taking landscape shots as well as other random things that come up, but primarily I would like a good camera to take pictures of my son. I am tired of paying $1000 to a photographer any time I want to have pictures of him made. I still intend on using a professional photographer occasionally, but I would like to develop my skill and acquire the equipment necessary to take care of most of my own photographic desires.

    I am looking at a Nikon D7000 but I am not sure if I need that much of a camera. My assistant has a D90 and loves it and I also have several friends with a D5000 that are very satisfied with them. I would like to purchase a body that will allow me to upgrade lenses, lights and other accessories and that those accessories will grow with me into a bigger camera if I need one later so I think I want to stick with Nikon and get involved with a class of camera that will allow me to interchange lenses between bodies.

    Do any of you have any suggestions or am I on the right track? Also, do you have any suggestions for good books or websites so that I can saturate my brain with all things digital photography.

    Also, any suggestions for image editing and manipulation software? Will aperture be enough for my needs or do I need to make the plunge for CS5 to edit portraits and the like?

    Thank you for reading this post, considering it and responding to me. I appreciate any and all help in my quest to educate myself in this area.
  2. fcortese macrumors demi-god


    Apr 3, 2010
    Big Sky country
    This is a very good website to review cameras and lenses:

    Scott Kelby's book on digital photography give good tips on taking various type of pix:

    Also this book:

    Most will tell you to go to a camera store and play around with the various cameras to get a feel for them. You may want to decide to get a camera that also takes video, although with an 18 month old you probably have a video camera already.
    Welcome to macrumors. This is an excellent site with a ton of people with expertise in photography. good luck and have fun!

    EDIT: I was in the same boat as you about a year ago. I chose a higher mid-level camera. Lenses are the keys, however. You can have a very expensive camera but if the lenses are of poor quality the pictures will suffer.
  3. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    As above poster said, try different makes/models and see what works well for you. If your friends shoot Nikon (and have already started collecting decent glass), Nikon is a good route. Borrowing lenses is much more affordable than owning and if you buy with the group in mind, you can have an impressive stable of lenses at your disposal without needing a mortgage.

    For landscapes, the kit lens and a good tripod (ie. $200 or more, more is better) will work for most shots (obviously you can spend a lot more if you desire, but the improvement will be incremental).

    For the kid shots, outdoors almost anything would work, indoors in crappy light, you need fast glass and/or added light.

    A great starting point is a body (I recommend nikon/canon for a number of reasons, although other brands such as olympus have their advantages (I would avoid Sony, most people I have talked to with Sony have buyers regret and later switch brands)), kit lens (~18-55mm for ~$100) and 50mm 1.8 (~$100). Add more kit as you find pictures you want to take but can't.

    As for software, Aperture and Adobe Lightroom are both free to try, pick the one you like better. I personally like LR, but own aperture and can't be bothered switching. Buy PS if you need it, but start with just the organizing software first and see if that fulfills your needs. I find the editing in LR to be more powerful than Aperture, with LR I might be able to get away without PS, with Aperture, I need PS.
  4. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    if you intend to take high-quality photos, you will need to understand and control light.

    also, don't get hung up on gear. even lenses aren't as important as people make it seem.
  5. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    If you are looking at Nikon, I have a D90 and love it! Though, I'm thinking of selling it to get a new camcorder because I tend to shoot more video than take photos. I have used the video function on the D90 with great success, but it's not feasible for when I want to go out and shoot interviews or weddings. I need a traditional video camera for that.

    I've shot Nikon's over the years and have never been disappointed. They are well made and the lenses are legendary. I also like Canon and their lenses have a tendency to cost slightly less. However, Nikon uses glass and Canon uses other man made materials to make their lenses out of. In my opinion, the color and contrast is better on Nikon. But that is a subjective opinion.

    This isn't the appropriate forum to sell my gear, but if your interested, send me a personal message and we can talk about it. I was planning on posting my gear on Ebay this weekend. If you want first crack at it, send me a message. Everything I own is in mint condition and Nikons are very solid cameras.
  6. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    You should clarify that a bit as it sounds a bit standoffish as it stands.
  7. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    I am guessing that he or she is referring to synthetic fluorite that Canon uses in their L lenses. I see nothing wrong with synthetic fluorite however -- I can attest from shooting with a 24-70L that it works really well at reducing chromatic aberration.

    As for the topic at hand, I agree completely with what jampat has said above. The only difference is that I use iPhoto still to manage my photos (and occasionally CS3 for post processing individual shots). That said, I'm getting to the point where iPhoto is sloooooow because of all the RAW images. I heard that Aperture 3.1 addresses performance with large libraries, so I may try that or just start splitting up my iPhoto library by year. I haven't tried Lightroom but everyone seems to like it.

    The website I recommend to folks who are interested in Canon DSLR and lens reviews is The Digital Picture. It is admittedly Canon-centric, but he does review some Nikon and other brands of lenses. As mentioned earlier, is also a good site for camera reviews and comparisons across a broader range of brands.

    There are also some people who recommend renting first to get a feel for specific cameras and lenses, before shelling out lots of money to purchase them. is a good site for that, as they rent cameras and lenses for Nikon and Canon among other brands. Personally I didn't go this route, as I figured I would just resell something if I didn't like it. So far I haven't had to do that. :D

    Best of luck with your purchase!
  8. The Mad Kiwi macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    In Hell
    Get a D7000 and a 17-55 f2.8 lens and a flash, you'll definately need a flash. The f2.8 lens will give you the ability to blur out the background, has a good build quality and will be nice and sharp.

    Since you're buying your camera to shoot your child, here's a few bits of advise I can give you, never never never shoot from a standing position looking down on a child or any other person for that matter always get to or below the eye height of your subject, makes for nice intimate shots. Don't forget to take pictures of them having tantrums, crying, sad etc as well, these make some of the most memorable photos. And when they're a little older you can get them to pose, the best way to get kids to pose is just to ask them to pretend to be their latest favoutite character, princess, lion, dinosaur, whatever, they really love getting into make believe. But remember get down to their eye level.
  9. georgemann macrumors regular


    Nov 25, 2005
    Seattle, Washington & Siem Reap, Cambodia
    This is the best advice anyone has given here. It is the secret to shooting any subject, always start a photo session by squaring yourself with your subject, once that is finished, you can start experimenting.

    As far as which Nikon camera model to purchase, I would like to suggest borrowing or renting a few different models before you make up your mind. If you are someone who learns very quickly and likes to have complete control, you may prefer the Nikon D300s (or even the D700) to the D7000.
  10. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    For portraits it's really 90% lighting and 9% lens and 1% camera! But for the camera, get the D7000 over the D90 or D5000 as it will handle more lenses -- you will get metering with old manual prime lenses as well as autofocus for older lenses and even current lenses that don't have built-in focus motors (the D5000 won't do that).

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