So I want to get a DSLR and I know nothing about them

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by yg17, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #1
    I'm just sick of all of the crappy point and shoots I've had over the years that have sub-par image quality, and I'm going on a trip to Europe next year and I don't want to come home to find that half of my pictures look terrible. I guess my first question is, can someone who knows nothing about photography, but is willing to learn, actually get good pictures out of a DSLR? I know it's not going to be as simple as a point and shoot, but you don't have to be an expert to operate one of these things, do you?

    I guess my next question is...I've narrowed it down to the Nikon D60 and Canon Rebel XS. I'm kinda leaning towards the Rebel because of the live preview capabilities, which I realize is one of the seven deadly sins of photography, but it would be nice to have it just in case, but if the Nikon is a much better camera, I'd be willing to make that tradeoff. Other than that, they seem about equal in terms of features, specs and price.

    Also, what about lenses? I don't want to spend a ton of money (if I could get a camera and lens for under $800 or so, I'd be happy). Is the lens that comes with either of these cameras decent? My Sony Cybersh*t (yeah, that's what I consider it, since it can't take a decent picture worth a damn and eats through batteries like you wouldn't believe) point and shoot has 3x optical zoom, I'd like a lens that can do an equivalent of 3x but preferably more, but I would like one lens, I don't want to be constantly swapping them all the time. Is the lens that comes with these cameras, 18-55 about the equivalent of my P&S? I think I would be satisfied with that if a higher zoom lens would break the bank.

    Umm....can't think of anything else right now, but I'll probably have about a billion more questions coming your way soon. Thanks :D
     
  2. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #2
    Given the constraints (being ready for your trip sometime next year), I'd say buy the Rebel with the kit lens - you can use it like a glorified point and shoot now (it'll be no harder to use than your Sony), then over time you can learn more. I strongly suggest you use the viewfinder rather than live view whenever possible because your camera will be much more stable (which means sharper pictures). Also consider buying a second battery so you can have one in your pocket as you're walking around taking pictures of cathedrals or what have you.

    There's lots more people can and will say - but you don't have to feel overwhelmed. You can learn as much or as little as you want. I'll bet that, over time, you'll want to learn more about using the capabilities of an SLR - but really it works perfectly fine as a point and shoot if you really want just to do that.
     
  3. apthai86 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    #3
    I recently got into photography as well and before this I knew nothing about DSLR. Nikon and Canon are both very good at making DSLR and you can't go wrong with either one. However, I personally recommend Canon because I think the buttons are better placed. If possible, you should go to a local store and see how each feels in your hands.

    The best way to learn is to pick one up and start shooting around. Play around with the settings to see what it does. There are a lot of online tutorials that will help. There are a few things you should read about and learn like exposure, aperture, etc.

    Use the kit lens and see how you like it, if you think you'll need more zoom then pick up a lens with more focal length. A basic DSLR with any decent lens will be way better than a P&S.

    Here's a good site to look at reviews of canon equipment.

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/
     
  4. Nikonut macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    St Louis Mo
    #4

    Iam here in St Louis with you and would be glad to help in any way!
    As far as make&model....these are very personal choices,and once you make that choice you will build from there,Glass is the most important thing to build your collection around.
    Now ,I guess you are familiar with Creve Couer Camera right? or Schillers ?
    These are pretty good local stores to go get a grip on and test drive cameras and lenses.
    They have a pretty good used selection too buddy ,thats also a pretty good way to get started,they also have a fair selection of used glass also.
    The thing you said about your trip in the future is good because you have time to elevate your skills between then and now.
    The best way to learn is shoot shoot shoot ! and we can put you on to sum websites and books to get you up to speed.
    The best thing I can tell you is to learn to shoot manually...p mode or point and shoot can get sum good results...but will not teach anything.

    Digital Photography is just wonderful,I used to shoot film years ago...now I wont even consider it..just a personal choice...once you understand the concept of the camera sensor and ISO and depth of field of glass ,you will be a changed man with a much broader horizon! ha.....Its just great fun!! and a huge money pit!

    Steve
     
  5. yg17 thread starter macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #5
    Cool, thanks for the advice everyone.

    Nikonut, yup, familiar with Creve Coeur Camera and Schillers. There's a CCC about 5 minutes from my house so I'd probably go there, I'd rather spend my money at a locally owned place like CCC or Schillers than Best Buy or something like that.

    I figure once I get it, I'll hit up the sculpture park (at Watson and 44, I forgot what it's called) and since I work downtown, maybe take my camera to work with me one day and get the Arch and Busch Stadium to get some practice.
     
  6. wheelhot macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #6
    yg17, me too, Im sick of the poor quality my PnS took and sometime its hard to get the same shot again, me myself is looking toward the Nikon D60 or Rebel XS and Im going favoring the XS (7AF) more then the D60 (3AF) because to me the D60 is just an improved version of the D40 (3AF) but its features cannot compete with what the market is offering at that pricepoint

    Both will take good photos, but Canon wins hands down when the ISO increases, the DigicIII imaging processor is better then the imaging processor found in the D60.

    So how do I learn about DSLR and its features? I read a lot of articles on the internet so it gives me an understanding (theory) and then I go out and play with my friend DSLR, play with the configurations and etc. That's how I get good with computers :D, I play with it ;)
     
  7. Nikonut macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    St Louis Mo
    #7
    The local stores are not bargain places...they are good for checking and comparing...your money can be spent most always better on-line once you have made sum decisions.
    On line you can find kit deals...but not locally.

    :D
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #8
    If you don't buy from local retailers, then sooner or later there won't be any local retailers. Most retailers will offer reasonable prices if pressed, but it costs money to own a storefront, much more than owning a warehouse or shipping direct. Authorized retailers are generally pressed to offer the same manufacturer's kits as online ones. Retailer kits are rarely a great deal, manufacturer's kits can be.
     
  9. nidserz macrumors 6502a

    nidserz

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Location:
    Dubai x Toronto
    #9
    the famous nikon vs canon debate haha

    well i was in a similar position as you a few months ago.
    debating the D60 and XS (waiting for it to come out here in Canada).

    well i prefered canon because even their PnS cameras take really good pictures and i was familiar with the buttons, etc.

    however i got the XSi because it went on sale for 50$ less than the XS and is a "better" camera.

    honestly im really new to this and don't have any experience but the best adivce i have gotten is read, read, and read then shoot, shoot, shoot as many pictures.

    both are great cameras but personally i prefer the canon.

    if i were you i would go into a local store and test them both out if you can.
     
  10. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Location:
    UK.
    #10
    It's a pity you've had such poor results with P&S cameras! I'd be interested to know what you mean by "sub-par image quality" simply because, in my experience, P&S cameras can produce results which can can be comparable (within reason of course!) with their big brothers.

    For example, here's the first shot I ever took (about 8 years ago) with a P&S - a Fugi FinePix4700. I literally walked out of the camera shop and snapped this picture.

    [​IMG]

    The Fugi "expired" a year ago and it has been replaced with a Panasonic TZ3. I bought it because I don't want to lug my Canon 30D around all the time. I must admit that I find that I am using the TZ3 as much, if not more than the 30D. With its superb wide range Leica zoom lens (28-280mm), at reasonable enlargements (say 8x5") it can be difficult to identify which camera took the particular photo!

    In the final analysis, before you lay out a load of cash, just make sure that your poor quality images are not the result of poor technique (camera shake, poor exposure etc) because a DSLR is certainly not going to help resolve this problem - it could even make it worse!

    Hope this helps.
     
  11. wheelhot macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #11
    True, but the picture you show has already shown the weakness of PnS. Look at how grainy the picture is? Its a nice shot, but the quality makes it look bad. Just my opinion though.

    PnS have it advantages though and in certain conditions it can really take some nice photos :D
     
  12. needlnerdz macrumors regular

    needlnerdz

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    Location:
    switzerland
    #12

    Don't forget that they said this picture is from a digital camera that is almost 8 years old! Their post should have also included a shot from their newly purchased P&S camera. I'm a HUGE fan of P&S [even though i just went ahead and bought a used nikon d200 for fancysmancy shots] but I have thousands upon thousands of shots from my P&S's over the years that are fantastic and their quality is only limited by how large I could/would blow them up. Nevertheless I had a gallery show in which i pushed pictures from a 5mp canon p&s to roughly 4ft by 5ft b/w prints - and they looked fantastic (probably due to high contrast printing where the noise added to the quality) - but the original shots were candid's from the subway of New York. There is no way that I could have gotten any of my shots were I to use a dSLR.. just the shutter click sound would have ruined my cover. Soo there are many situations where the silence of a P&S is ideal (sounding rather shady or sneaky here) - not to mention the small form factor.. easy and economical ability to have wide-angle or telephoto shots versus the huge $$ of specialized lenses for a dSLR. In the end the quality will of COURSE be far superior with a dSLR.. but if you are new to photography... learning how to use a dSLR on the go of your trip, will steal from just experiencing and living in the trip. I would highly suggest getting a p&s with a wide angle adaptor for all of those indoor shots you will likely find yourself taking in historical sites.. if having a live preview is a major need of yours -its the last thing that should draw you towards a dSLR. And if $800 is your budget, you will just barely get by with a decent dSLR setup with decent glass. I would suggest looking at the:

    panasonic lumix dmc-lx1

    or the

    canon g9

    - then researching on google for the best wide-angle adaptor for either one, which will take their widest setting [of 28mm to 35mm] and drop it almost in half.. for my older canon a95 the Raynox .66 wideangle was fantastic! resulted in a 24mm beeautiful capturing machine. Not to mention most kit lenses for cameras below $1000 will only be an 18-55mm - however p&s's will all go from about 35mm to 105mm+. So getting any of these 'upper end' p&s cameras that accept adaptors, could allow you to buy a quality wide-angle and telephoto.


    Once you have a comfortable grasp on using either p&s [which should be a huge different from your cybershot]- than consider the upgrading to a dSLR... but for your own budget, expertise, interests- I wouldn't write off the point and shoot market. just my [having fun procrastinating] 2 cents.
     
  13. bmcgrath macrumors 65816

    bmcgrath

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    London, United Kingdom
    #13
    Any of you guys thought about Canon G9 or G10?

    Having used a G9, I know it has pretty decent image quality and can produce sharp images. Noise is also quite good on it too and it gives you a lot of control to play around with.
     
  14. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Location:
    UK.
    #14
    No not really! Don't forget this was with only a 4.3Mp sensor - leading edge stuff in those days!!
     
  15. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    New York, Baby!
    #15
    I have a Bridge camera Fuji Finepix S5900 (I think)

    It has a DSLR style body but with a non replaceable lens.

    I thought it was really good, and I got some awesome pictures with it, like some snowboarding action shots that my mate couldn't get with his regular point and shoot. You can make a lot more adjustments than you could with regular point and shoots.

    Then my sister bought a Nikon D40, and that is just worlds apart. The ability to manually focus alone is a reason to get a real SLR.

    I know theres a valid point to being able to take pictures with any camera, but I have taken better pictures with my Fuji than I did with the Sony digicam that I had, and now I'm taking better pictures with my sister's D40. I guess as I've learned more, my composition and judgement on settings and on whether to use the flash or not has improved. But the camera itself is a big contributory factor.

    Although I am starting to wish I'd saved the £130 I spent on the fuji to put towards an SLR.
     
  16. apearlman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Red Hook, NY
    #16
    more details: what's the problem with current shots?

    yg17 -- I sincerely hope I'm not offending you by suggesting this, but it might be useful for us to have more information about exactly how or why those PnS images are so crappy. Because, frankly, sometimes bad pictures are caused by a camera's limitations, but just as often they can result from the photographer's skills/technique. In my experience, most PnS cameras can take terrific pictures when used correctly. If you could describe what's going wrong, or post a few examples, we might be able to tell whether a new camera (or what type of camera) could fix them.

    Separately, if you really don't like swapping lenses, then a bridge camera makes some sense. Alternatively, you might save your pennies for one of the 18-105 or 18-200 SLR zooms.
     
  17. wheelhot macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #17
    Aaah, forgot about the megapixels. My mistake :)
     
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #18
    Rule #1: Do not take a brand new camera with you. Before you leave on your trip shoot at leat 1,000 frames with the camera and run them all they way through your work flow and be hapy with the result. Make a schedule so that you will have time to do this. igure no more than 100 shots per day. Take photos like you would while on the trip, of building, people and landscapes bt do this close to home. NOTHING will improve your photography like shooting will. Without this experiance I'd say you'f be better off with the P&S. Plan lots of extra time in case you discover while shooting those first 1,000 that you need to buy some more equipment, like a wider or faster lens or a flash. and then you need time to learn to shoot with that too.

    80% of what you need to learn is not technical, it is artistic. You have to learn that youir camera does not record what you see. Learn simple rules of composition like "rule of thirds, diagonal lines, whach the edges and so on. Learn just the basic four or five rules and you'll be ahead of most people.

    But do shoot lots and do run these all the way through post procesing so you can judge the results. oo many cycles of this as feedback is required



    You will be locked into one brand, maybe for the rest of your life. Yes, really switching brands after you own a few lenses and flash units and so n os expensive and painfull. Do NOT make the decision about which brand to go with based on a trivieal and not-useful feature on one entry level SLR body. Think about what lenses you want in your kit in five years and plan it out using both brands and see which brand gets you there in five years. You are buying an slr SYSTEM not just a camera. That system will far outlive the first body you buy. That said both Nikon and Canon are good and you can't really go wrong. Neither makes a "bad" SLR.

    Lenses are what matters. The SLR vody only records the image the lens makes. SLR bodies do not make images, lenses do. After you have most of what you want. maybe in five yeras you should have more money invested in lenses than in the body. Plan your budget for the nest few years and buy a body that cost a bit less then the lenes you want. But at fist just get the kkit lens. Shoot 1,000 frames with it then make the next desision. Likely you will want another lens but the "kit" lens is a very good value and you should get it. But plan to buy another after you have those first 1,000 frames. You will likely want something eaithe r faster or wider or both or if you are into sports or wildlife you'd want a big telephoto. But they are expensive and not suitable to travel

    What books to read: Buy big coffee table size travel books filled withover size pictures and find the ones that you like. next try to emulate those but shoot near your house.
     
  19. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #19
    I was going to just say listen to Nikonut, but now listen to Nikonut and ChrisA. Go to a store, pick their brains and hold and work with and try different camara's and lens combinations. Don't be fooled by the liveview crap, it has its place with a DSLR, but it is not what people think/expect. You may likely never use it.

    Use the camera store to figure out what you want and buy it through a reputable place online to save cash. Remember as ChrisA's advice you are buying a system for life so you need to hold and play with a cannon and an nikon. I went with Nikon because I had two Nikon P&S. I was familiar with and liked Nikons software and the controls and menu buttons and what not were familiar so my learning curve was less.

    Then yeah take 1000's of photos, then you can decide what more you want out of the camera SYSTEM.
     
  20. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #20
    Once you use a viewfinder for a while, you'll absolutely hate using just a screen, even if it's live-view.
     
  21. Nikonut macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    St Louis Mo
    #21
    I in no way meant to sound like I wish to bash retailers,sorry if that came off that way! trust me,I have bought 90 percent of my equipment locally,I love my camera shops...my checkbook very often doesnt,:)...I was referring to I believe mfg marketing kits...I usually dont see to much of those in stores..more on-line...another plus for a good retailer is that they very often help with problems that come up...
     
  22. Nikonut macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    St Louis Mo
    #22
    I always try to encourage people to build systems that will stay with them with no regrets...that is spending good money after bad causes serious regrets....I always as well encourage new beginners to buy a camera with both sum auto features as well as full manual...I hope that its understood the more you know about correct exposure,the more fun and predictable things are and you just dont get to that understanding with a fully auto exposure....not to say that awsum pics do not come from pns cameras or p mode shots...I live in an area where its quite common for a deer to be across my fence,sumtimes there isnt time to set up a shot..thats fine...but if possible I will create that shot with the exposure that I prefer.I like for people to seek their best and have great fun doing it,thats what its all about!I think the starter of the thread has time to learn pretty much before his trip and I always advise to carry two cameras if possible,and in territory where you only have one chance or may not have the chance to return,take that p photo as well....which again means shoot...shoot and a huge CF card!

    :D
     
  23. wheelhot macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #23
    Wow Nikonut, you must be living in a very peaceful area :)
     
  24. yg17 thread starter macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #24

    Deer? Would I be correct in assuming you live in Town and Country, Wildwood or Chesterfield? I'm in Chesterfield and we have a ton of deer around here, I'm worried that one of these days, I'm going to hit one of those f**kers with my car :D
     
  25. Nikonut macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    Location:
    St Louis Mo
    #25
    Actually, Iam over in the Ewardsville area by the campus.
     

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