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Photography beginner.

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by Jordan, Feb 4, 2005.

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  1. Jordan

    Jordan
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    Hi, I've currently got a Sony DSC-P9 (4mp) which I've had for a few years now, got it mainly to just take family pictures. It's been ok but I find it a bit small and delicate to hold, the flash is a bit too intense even on the lowest setting, there is an annoyingly long delay between pushing the button to take a picutre and the camera actually taking it, and a lot of my pictures come out blurred (perhaps I just have shakey hands!?).

    I'd like start photography as a hobby and was thinking about getting a better camera at around the £400ish mark. I'm quite interested in architecture/engineering so it would be mainly for taking photos of buildings, bridges, historical sites etc from a distance, but I'd also like to use it for general family pictures too because I think I'd sell my Sony camera.

    I'm getting bogged down by the reviews online so was wondering if anyone can recommend a decent camera for what I want to use it for?

    Also, is it best to learn photography from trial and error or should I get some books or magazines for reference?

    Jordan
     
  2. MarkB

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    Up until recently i had a Sony DSC-V3 which is superb - you can get it for about £400 online including delivery. I sold mine (for what i paid for it) to get a digital SLR, but it has plenty of manual modes as well as auto modes.
    Mark
     
  3. Jordan

    Jordan
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    What does an SLR camera have over a normal camera, I'm a bit clueless about all this as you can probably tell! :confused:

    Jordan
     
  4. seany

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    Well the biggest difference is you can add lenses, flash guns ect. Giving you much more scope. Faster to shoot with better sensors just simply beat compacts hands down. If you really want to get into photography then you should be looking at an DSLR like the 300D which you can get for about £500


    But if you dont want to go down that route then with the type of photos you'll be taking i'd say the compact to go for is the Canon D70 which is wider then most compacts at 28mm and you can even add a lens (though no match for an slr)
     
  5. Centurion

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    If you can stretch to the canon eos300d then do. but if 400 is your max then the panasonic fz20 isn't a bad choice, with the 12x optical zoom you will be able to crop in tight to those distant architectural shots you are after. There is also a wide angle lens available for this model for close proximity shots allowing you to get the whole building in frame. It also has auto modes for point and shoot but you also get creative modes for manual overide.

    As for magazines and books, there are a few out there to choose from. Digital camera magazine and digital photo are very good for beginners as they have lots of tutorials and step by step guides to creating better photos.

    Hope this helps a little

    Gav
     
  6. expat

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    Are "Digital Camera" and "Digital Photo" both available online? Google delivers many results for "digital photo", none of which seem to be a magazine.

    Thanks,
    expat
     
  7. Jordan

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  8. owain_thomas

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    definitely get the SLR, they are a different world to compact digitals. If you are interested in getting into photography as a hobby they are the best way to go. I got my nikon D70 a month or so ago and absolutely love it, it has been even better than I expected, I've learnt loads that I just never understood or got to experiment with using my old canon digital Ixus. I know several people with a 300D and they all love it.
     
  9. seany

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    300D all the way. You're going to want a wide angle lens for the type of shots you like at some point, but the kit lens is 18-55mm which is wide enough but its a starter lens (quality wise) but still very good for the money . It will serve you well (as it has on my 20D) until you get a better lens
     
  10. mjw123

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    Just to address the balance mate their seems a lot of 'snobbery' over DSLR's and I for one am still to be convinced !

    I think the FZ20 is a better proposition for you.

    DSLR's are expensive, heavy, need extra lenses and 90% of the time you'll get just as good results with an FZ20. The ability to use much higher ISO is a big + for the DSLR though.

    We did a macro comp at work and the results were staggering.

    5th Place EOS300D with no macro lens - useless result
    4th Place EOS300D with Macro - good result but for the cost of everything dissapointing
    3rd place Pan FZ3 - Excellent sharp result
    2nd place Oly 765 - Just edged the FZ3 on detail
    1st Oly Mju 410 - Unbelieve result from a £149 point and shoot in super macro

    OK this is just one example but just proves a thousand pounds worth of kit doesn't always beat 150 quids worth :eek:

    Rhardaker from the forum will confirm these test results if you don't believe me.
     
  11. Johndm

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    Compact Camera/Beko TV/Mini HI FI/Ford Focus = Mr Average
    Digital SLR/Plasma TV/AV HI Seperates/American V8 = Mr Enthusiast
     
  12. mjw123

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    What a load of cr@p - I take pictures every day, just because I don't have the urge to lug around a heavy DSLR doesn't mean I'm not an enthuisast

    Look at the winning photo from the Feb photo of the month comp :hiya: :hiya: - yep taken on a poxy Olympus 765....probably one of the cheapest cameras that entered :clap:

    You've just proved my point - 'I own a DSLR so i'm a better photagrapher than you'........snobbery.
     
  13. Johndm

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    Everyone to their own.........if you and your compact are happy toghther, what's your problem.

    No need to slang people who have higher spec equipment now is there?

    If I was a 'snob' surely I'd have ordered a 350D by now.............. :hiya:
     
  14. mjw123

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    I'm extremely happy with my £200 invesment mate that does everything (and well)

    I get concerned when people ask for advice and and straight away it's get a DSLR......why ?

    Yes they are very good cameras but you need all the extra's and to get the best from them you need to know what you're doing. So it's quite an outlay up front.

    Look at the thread title 'Photography beginner' - is a DSLR really what a beginner needs ?

    Jordan - go for the all singing all dancing FZ20 for now (approx £300) and grow into it. If you feel the camera is not giving you everything you need then try a DSLR once you've honed your technique & knowledge. I'll be surprised if you do feel the urge to move from the FZ20.
     
  15. RobertP

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    Many years ago I started with an SLR camera and a couple of lenses. Using an SLR camera helps you understand the relationships between shutter speed and aperture, depth of field, ISO etc etc.

    I then moved on to an early Kodak digital with minimal manual options. It took good pictures but was frustrating. After that I bought a Olympus 5MP c5050. That had full manual options allowing me to have similar control to my old SLR film camera. If I had never had the SLR experience I would probably not have understood what the advantage of using manual modes in certain situations would be. It was still lacking in feedback - you don't get to look through the lens and see the shot as it happens and that restricts your creativity.

    My brother in law has bought various expensive compact digital cameras and has used them all on full auto because he does not understand what f stops etc mean.

    The original post said about developing a photographic hobby. My suggestion would be library books on basic photograpy (not necessarily digital) and borrow or buy used off ebay a FILM SLR and shoot a few rolls of film (you can return/ sell the camera afterwards). For £25 invested in film+developing you will find out if you like what SLR gives you and learn a lot even if you decide to stay with compact cameras.

    For me DSLR is a dream come true. I have a camera type that I grew up with and no developing costs + instant feedback.
     
  16. seany

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    I don't think mj that you repeatedly mentioning your winning a very novice comp that's made for fun, in anyway means have a camera that really can compete in the real world with an DSLR. There’s not a photographer in the world that would agree with you mate. As I’ve said go on fred Miranda and you’ll see what they can do, and how your entry and mine and most all of ours would get ripped to shreds. They have more knowledge and skill, but they will have started out as we all did at some point.

    I’m still a novice with very advanced kit, but I want to grow and as we have talked about better to have the scope if you’re really serious about it, and I am.

    Your test to with the camera, was a macro lens used with the dslrs (part of owing one is the ability to use the right tools for the job) thats the strength of them

    I'll say any real enthusest will move from a compact, be it 3x x12 at some point if they are serious about it.

    I recommended the S70 to the lad by the way because its 28 mm and that’s better suited to the type of shots he likes..

    Get the camera that’s right for you and how you think you’ll go in the future. I have idea where I want to go and I think I have the starting point to do it
     
  17. mjw123

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    Sean i mentioned it ONCE mate to illustrate a point.

    I realise DSLR are better cameras - however you have to know what your are doing to get the best from them.

    The difference between good compact and DSLR's is reducing all the time - the FZ20 is a fine example of this.

    My point here all along has been that for a beginner a DSLR may not be the correct choice, the better all in one compacts might be a better choice for now that's all.

    It never ceases to amaze me how touchy some DSLR owners are that a crappy compact just might be able to get a good result in the right hands. I'm not just referring to this thread either as we get this arguement at work nearly every day.....
     
  18. seany

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    I never pointed him in the direction of one myself. I thought that the S70 suited him well. I never meant in anyway there to have a swipe at u matey so sorry about that.

    I don't think that compacts are crappy i've had two and loved them to bits. Had an ixus and then an S1 which was pretty much the same spec as the Z3. So i've worked my way up. Best way to do as you know what you like then

    I'm in no way a snob about these things. I'd never say get a dslr no matter what, because it just isn't what some people want or need. I have some plans where i'd like to go so i felt that i needed an dslr. Thats not to say everybody does

    Compacts are great, never thought otherwise. They are kinda like the lifestyle option in the same way a Sony dav is to a full range AV setup. People worry about size and cost ect. That should not be such in issue if you're really serious about it

    My camera goes everywhere with me when i'm not working, i was with Steve and tom drunk as a skunk. I've taken about 2000 shots with it at least outside in mainly town when i've been on an all dayer



    It's lenses that really are the big issue with drlsr. I've been asked to take photos of my pals Childs christening, so i'm going to go out and get a 50mm prime 1.4 great for available light and a really fast lens. Perfect for in the church

    As much as i loved my S1 and it was something i really liked. Never in a million would it do for such things, and i want to get to do such things.

    Compacts are great they are getting better al the time. They are not nor will they ever be up there with dslrs. That is as much to do with the lenses then the bodies

    Thats what people seem to be missing
     
  19. Johndm

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  20. seany

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  21. MattB1

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    As a beginner who wants to learn I would be inclined to go with a good compact that gives you full manual control of things like apeture, shutter speed and iso value. As mentioned previously the panasonic FZ20 is a good example of one of these cameras.

    Digital SLR's are extremely good if you know what you are doing but in the hands of a beginner you will struggle to get results any better than a good compact (in most situations). Compacts such as the Fz20 also allow you to take a wide range of photo types from macro to 12X zoom without the addition of extra lenses. Of course DSLR's can do this as well but it comes at a hefty price because you'll need 3 or 4 lenses and they dont come cheap.

    I know a few people with DSLR's and i'm yet to see a photo taken by these people that would convince me they are worth the money. This isn't because DSLR's are rubbish but because too many people buy them that don't have the knowledge or ablity to use them properly, and therefore they become a very expensive (and heavy) toy that you will not want to carry around with you.

    Of course if you look on websites like fredmiranda there are some stunning pictures taken with DSLR's but the people that take these are experts. I'm sure given a midrange compact they could still take pictures 10 times better than any DSLR owner that enters the av forums competition (no offence intended ;-)

    This is an example of some photos taken by a guy with an olympus c770 (a £275 camera). He clearly knows his camera well and his pictures are superb.

    C770 pics



    My advice would be to buy a good compact for £300 use it for 6 months until you know it inside out, read a few good books. If you then still want to take photography up as a serius hobby sell the compact for £200 and buy a DSLR. They will probably be at least £100 cheaper for the equivalent model now so you'll be no worse off.

    Matt.
     
  22. mjw123

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    A well balanced sensible view MattB - good post.
     
  23. nobackwheel

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    If you really want to get into photography SLR is the way. Whether that be 35mm film first then so be it. Get a digital compact that has manual features, buy a second hand film slr - even one with just a standard 50mm lens. Then get yourself on a photography course and/or buy some photography books (not necessarily digital). I don't think you can truly know what you're doing unless you know about f-stops etc. It's easy to take a great photo - most of us have taken a few - the ability is to be able to take them time and time again (and also know where you are going wrong).

    I note that the original poster brought up the shutter lag problem - I don't know about current digital compacts, but one thing is certain, you don't get that with a DSLR.

    other than that - just shoot!
     
  24. MattB1

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    Shutter lag on most newer compacts is pretty good. Some people get mixed up with focus time and shutter lag though and include the time it takes for the camera to focus as well when they complain about shutter lag. Obviously compacts are still not as fast as DSLR's though.
     
  25. imichael

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    The Fuji f810 is around the 0.05 sec mark for shutter lag. I've just been dumb/brave and ordered the FZ20 to have a play with.

    I have the Fuji and a Sigma SD9 d-SLR at the moment. the SLR is a leap forward in quality, but this is dependant on the glass used (and of course me being any good behind it). I use the compact more at social events and for 'happy snapping', so it goes pretty much everywhere. The SLR gets an outing when I don't want to compromise, but lugging it around with spare lenses and a Manfrotto 055 tripod can be heavy work.

    I'm hoping the FZ20 is going to give me a compromise as it has full manual control, although a manual override on the zoom and a wider rather then longer zoom would have been ideal. I can lug it around like a compact, but then get serious if needed. If I find I use the SD9 less and less because of it, then someone will be getting a bargain.

    Back to the original posters questions, using a compact on it's widest setting and will always produce a fair degree of barrel distortion, adding an adapter will make it even worse. But go for the widest quality compact available (Canon S70 last time I looked) and it'll be a great start point, and has manual overrides for the controls as you get more confident.



    Ian
     
  26. mjw123

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  27. seany

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    People do seem to be forgetting about lenses here. They make a huge difference to a camera, they add extra speed, they allow you to use faster shutter speeds in low light conditions because of their aperture values. I've hardly missed a shot since i bought my 20D and the much higher iso’s that can be used has added a great deal to the photos i can take.

    I only have the kit lens which is F4 so not ideal for available light. The iso i use to compensate on the aperture on is something i could never use on a ps.


    I worked up to my camera. Fred Miranda has plenty of people that have crossed over from ps cams. If you spend enough time there and on dp review you see that, so many people on both sites do not make their living from photography they have just become more skilled. They have just learnt more and more about whets the right tool at that time for the right job. That's the scope that dslrs give you

    The lenses are really the eye's the camera the brain. I had hold of a Nikon D100 for year and the lens that that was with the Nikon left my 18-55 behind in sharpness and detail. Of course it was a much better quality lens an the difference is clear.



    Shutter lag is not pretty good on compacts, its a major drawback. I can take 5 shots in a second on my 20D up to a burst of 23. I have a lot of nieces and nephews as i'm from a big family, and you try to capture a punch of moving targets with a point and shoot and take enough shots to to catch all the commotion .


    I started with point and shoots, loved them. I know how they work inside out, i know how my 20D works inside and what lenses i'm going to need and what they are best used for. Until i bought my 20D i had no real idea, and i'm learning every day. That's just what i wanted.

    The artistic side is something that i really want to learn, i'v pretty much got the technical aspects now. But at present i haven't got the lenses that i need to help me to grow. But that's about to change and it's going to make a big difference to the quality of the image taken. Lenses are the eye of the camera


    Look at of johns aviation shots. Never in a million years could a ps of any kind take shots of that quality. I couldn't with my lens, but i have the option of getting the lens to take shots like that.


    The options dslrs give you are limitless, its why i have one. If somebody doesn't want those options then simply don't buy one.


    But it's simply not being realistic to compare a compact to a dslr when paired with the mind blowing options of lenses that can be used to with them. You wont find a single photographer that would entertain the notion be they pro or advanced aperture. The reason for that being is it's laughable.


    Still i recommend the S70 to our chap. Think it's better suited to as the shots he likes to take is better suited to some wider rather then long. He never asked about dslrs so i would never say oh just get one.

    It's up to people to decide on what they want. But compacts are a compromise, that's a simple fact

    I've got to in to it to compromise anymore. I want to go further, so dslrs are the way for me and anybody like me.
     
  28. seany

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    MJ thats one story about one person. That's hardly the view of the majority of dslrs users and you know it.

    For each one opinion like that you'll find many more that kept it. He had it for how long? matter of days, with one lens.


    The bit that tells me more about anything is this

    "years of P&S conditioninig"


    You have to get to know your camera and the right tools for it. To get the shots you need. Thats how you learn, you have to do it yourself.
     
  29. Johndm

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  30. seany

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    I recall the lens john;) just think what that new baby of years is going to!
     
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