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New to photography

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Initial post: Feb 23, 2012 12:04:21 PM PST
I'm new to photography, while I still have not taken any photography classes/courses yet (not until the fall semester), I was hoping to begin by reading some books on the topic, buying a camera and practicing at events.

One of my cousins is organizing a circus event and I thought it would be great for practicing.

I have about 1000.00 for a camera and time for practicing and training.

If someone could just give me some sort of advice or direction.

Also what's a good all around camera for around 1000.00.

Sorry for the such the "noob" question, but every advice is truly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 12:31:04 PM PST
JCUKNZ says:
You need more than just a camera and though it should cost a fraction of what you pay for the camera of equal importance is a good editing programme and you will need time to become familiar and practiced with it. I'd suggest one of the current M4/3 cameras which should leave enough surplus for Paint Shop Pro X4 or Adobe's Elements v.10. My preference is for Panasonic such as the GH2 or the G3 with the kit lens 14-42mm.
Other priorities for me would be a protective case and a class six SDHC card.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 1:14:53 PM PST
I appreciate the quick reply.
I do own Photoshop CS4. While I'm not pro at it, I get the hang of it or at least some of the basics. Yes and SDHC card is what I will also need, thanks. I will look into Panasonics' GH2 or the G3.

I heard Nikon is very good, would you also recommend a Nikon?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2012 1:26:07 PM PST
® says:
All camera makers are pretty good, but they don't do the same thing. For the circus then the Nikon you are thinking of would best fit you is the Nikon D5100 16.2MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm and maybe add a Nikon 85mm f/1.8G is reasonable price and a nice range for some good shots of performers. The d5100 produce IQ the same as the Nikon D7000, good low light performance so you can bump the ISO. Or you can get a wider angle , but I think the kit will do fine for that. Most newer cameras can make movies and this one does it too.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 2:12:06 PM PST
Tom Martin says:
On the Canon side a Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18 MP CMOS APS-C Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras, and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens, is a great start. You get zoom coverage from a wide angle of 18mm all the way through a nice telephoto of 250mm. You get a good portrait and low light lens in the 50mm f/1.8.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 2:15:12 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 23, 2012 2:29:25 PM PST
Tom Martin says:
To learn more about photography I highly recommend the AdoramaTV shows 'Digital Photography 1 on 1' and 'You Keep Shooting' on YouTube. Start at Episode 1 or pick and choose what sounds interesting to you.

edit: here's a Digital Photography 1 on 1 playlist:

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 4:02:36 PM PST
JCUKNZ says:
The long term solution for you is if you know where you intend to study would be to talk to the tutor and find out their preferences as to learning tools. Many consider that a DSLR or even an SLR [film] camera is the only one ... it has been the subject of lengthy threads here at Amazon in recent months.

I rate my Nikon as the best camera I have and it helped me take many of my favourite photographs but that is not a reccomendation just a comment. I suspect ones attitude to photography is as important as your gear and when I was using it I think I was keener than I am today. Having newly discovered what one can do with digital with a good camera and of course my editing programme was becoming more a freind than a mystifying challenge.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 5:01:48 PM PST
k. sandmann says:
Definitely agree with Tom Martin. AdoramaTv and YouTube are a great place to start.

$1000.00 will get you a good amateur kit.
Don't worry about what to buy until you've watched some basic stuff on DSLR's and lenses though.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 7:05:48 PM PST
T. Campbell says:
If you want a good book, Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera is probably the most recommended for those getting started -- especially if you're considering any camera that allows you to control the exposure, such as a DSLR.

A Nikon D5100 or a Canon T2i (or T3i) would both be good. The Nikon D7000 is a better camera... although I think that might just break your $1000 budget by a tiny bit (the body alone is just barely over $1000 ... but then you'd still need to buy a lens.) The Nikon D5100 and Canon T2i or T3i are both comfortably under $1000 even with their "kit" lenses.

BTW, fair warning: Canon has sent out invitations for a press release on March 2nd. Nobody is certain exactly what they are announcing, but there are fairly strong rumors that the announcement on that particular day MAY be a Canon T4i. If you're not in a hurry to buy something in the next two weeks, you might wait to see exactly what they announce. Canon's "Rebel" line of cameras are always priced so that the entire package costs less than $1000.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2012 7:26:28 PM PST
k. sandmann says:
Yes Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera is a good book Brian Peterson the author is on YouTube also.
Does seem to be a fair chance we'll see the T4i. At the least if it does come out the previous kits may have a price reduction.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2012 7:42:51 PM PST
@Tom Martin thanks, I completely forgot about YouTube. I'll watch some videos right now.

@JCUKNZ which Nikon camera are you using?

@Thanks for the recommendation, just bought the book for kindle, I will begin to read it tonight. Breaking the budget by a tiny bit is fine as longest I know I am getting something that I know it will be worth breaking the piggy bank. Buying a camera is something I don't often do, so I can to make sure I'm getting the best as possible even if it's a couple of bucks more.
Thanks for the heads ups, I will def keep an eye out for the new Canon line up. Then again the prices will drop for the older cameras, I just noticed Amazon is giving an instant rebate for 50 bucks on most Canon cameras. They probably already know what's coming their way.

Thanks again.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 8:09:29 PM PST
JCUKNZ says:
L A H ...I was not recommending the camera only expressing my respect for the brand at that point in time. The camera is now a nine or ten year old design and in its class I fear Nikon dropped the ball with its successors, why despite my respect for that camera, I moved to Panasonic. Since current designs by Panasonic leave something to be desired IMO I have moved to M4/3 and have something quite similar to that original camera but with a larger sensor.
Although I would be happy to teach somebody about photography with that camera I doubt if tutors in places you are likely to study would ,... hence my suggestion to buttonhole your prospective tutor becuase you need to please him to gain final credits instead of when I went to photo school I sat an external exam.
A quite good idea would be to stick with what you already have until you start tuition and start to learn what you really need .... hopefully by then you should have more than the $T in the piggybank :-)
It is what you do with what you have is more important than what you have to work with in photography.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 8:19:07 PM PST
JCUKNZ says:
I don't pay much attention to DSLRs but from other's comments I have gathered that Canon and Nikon leapfrog each other with new developments and other makers come up with ideas that might attact attention but all are good products .... sounds like it is Canon's turn :-) Come Fall time it may be Nikon's turn again.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 8:27:03 PM PST
k. sandmann says:
Introducing the term <<<lens lust>>>.
Photography can be an expensive preoccupation.
$1000 once spent may likely be the start of a nice expensive addiction.
Fair warning!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2012 9:52:32 PM PST
EdM says:
It is true that some people have "lens lust". At the same time there are others who are out there shooting with their basic - intermediate DSLR and a kit zoom lens, shooting thoughtfully and working to get better shots with practice and a good photography book or online lesson. It is not the "magic" gear that makes great photos, it is the photographer who tries to improve by practicing and working to shoot great shots with the gear s/he has.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 11:41:53 PM PST
I'm just an amature myself but I'll try to help.
I suggest looking at some local Photography classes. A teacher could help you decide what equipment to get and give you hands on training. Some classes let students borrow cameras and other euqipment.

TIPs: Always make sure that your light sorce ( Sun, lamp, spotlight ect) is behind you. That way you won't get a nasty glare in your photos.
If you plan on photographing cars or motorcycles, do it outside on slightly overcast days. That makes the metal and tires look sleek. That's why you see a lot of car ads with rain. :)

Posted on Feb 24, 2012 1:07:03 PM PST
k. sandmann says:
Indeed continuing education classes at the local high school or even a local photo club are good options. A club might be the fastest way to get a lot of hands on experience - some meet once twice a month.
Also you may find some teachers or instructors are better than others.

Posted on Feb 24, 2012 1:47:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2012 3:35:14 PM PST
JCUKNZ says:
EDIT ...www, I forgot and when I googled "Photographic Blogs' I got the usual 138,000,000 sources :-)

In these days of the net the photo club is a very poor way to go unless you meet people who are willing to discuss photography out of club hours. It is sad that Yahoo had to close down its free websites as there were a number acting as meeting places for advice and assessment. I only know of two remaining ... one is and another can be found by googling Australian Photographic Blog ... [I've lost the link with a computer crash]. There are others for sure which will prosper if more frequent them.
This is not an argument to ignore your local camera club, I belong and support two, but a suggestion for a better way to go/look.

It is often suggested that if you bite the bullet and are brave enough to venture opinions of other's photographs you will get assessments back on your offerings ... so try not to think that your opinions are of no value as a beginner becuase we all have brains to use and form valid opinions based on our level of knowledge. Just try to avoid sycophantic comments becuase they are really of little help to anybody.

Posted on Feb 24, 2012 1:59:57 PM PST
JCUKNZ says:
If you keep the sun behind you it is likely all you will get are rather bland results, except for people photos when you get squints. The trick is not to show the sun in the photo* or to let it shine on the camera lens and remember the 'Golden Hours' which are two hours after sunrise and before sunset when the sun is low in the sky and creating dramatic lighting as opposed to the dreadfully dull flat lighting you get either side of mid-day.

*Hide it behind a lampost or building or dense tree etc .. with sunsets/sunrise have it behind a cloud to avoid burnt out splodges of white in the photo :-)

Posted on Feb 25, 2012 12:27:16 PM PST
UG says:
Canon and Nikon are both excellent manufacturers, but don't discount the Sony Alpha series... particularly, the Alpha SLTs. I've shot weddings and several other events with my A33 and constantly hear "wow, you must have a great camera." The SLT cameras offer tremendous performance, value, a great user experience, have a slightly smaller size, but still have an APSC sized sensor like the others. On top of that, you get HD video with auto focus performance that most other DSLRs still can't match. Sony glass is excellent, but you also have the option of using Minolta glass, which can be purchased on Ebay for a steal! Good luck and remember its the photographer's vision, not the camera, that makes for the best pictures!

Posted on Feb 25, 2012 1:47:56 PM PST
P. G. Martin says:
As far as the camera is concerned, get a Canon T3i and never look back. You won't be disappointed.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2012 7:58:23 PM PST
Bobby says:
I concur with Tom, I own the T2i and absolutely love it!! Has alot of the same features that the 1700.00 7d has for about a thousand dollars cheaper. Here is a link to my Flickr account. All pictures were taken with the Canon T2i. Enjoy

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2012 6:38:43 AM PST
Do you have some idea of where you want to take your photography? Is this a hobby, or, you mention classes in the fall semester, is this going to potentially be a career?

For $1000 you can buy an entry level DSLR from canon or nikon, a 50mm f1.8 lens, a camera bag and a memory card. That's plenty to start out with. Don't overthink your gear at this point. The book "Understanding Exposure" is a good read, and there is plenty of useful information on the internet. Just remember to view that internet advice with a skeptical eye. Every nerd with a camera on the internet is happy to tell you that their brand is the best. There are good sample images for every camera. If you intend to be in photography for a long time, shooting in a variety of situations, go with canon or nikon, you will be joining a large group of highly skilled photographers, and you will have the resources you need to do the best you can. Other brands will work, but, why make it any harder on yourself than you need to?

Shooting a circus sounds like fun. For any event, find the key organizer on-site and talk to them about where to go, and where not to go. Stand still when shooting, lower your camera and pay attention to your environment when moving. The viewfinder can give you tunnel vision and blind you to the dangers around you.

Posted on Mar 1, 2012 11:40:46 PM PST
Thanks again everyone for the replies. I haven't been able to reply, but I'm glad this discussion is still breathing.

@k. sandmann yes, years back when I was a kid I never thought I would be spending more than a grand on a single item, haha.

@EdM Good point, a friend was telling me how Cartier Bresson would use film cameras, with the same lens and never upgraded to the latest technology. Even though the latest technology helps, I feel many people can end up relying on it.

@Wendy V Brejot Thanks for the tips, I will keep in mind to stay away from sunlight. I am also looking to take photography classes at a adult school, they do a lot of hands on training. I think they move much faster compared to College classes, where they tend to focus more on one subject before moving on, which is good but hands on is what I need more right now.

@JCUKNZ I appreciate the link. Interesting reviews, much more different than the ones on here. I took your advice and ventured out today around 6:00ish before sunset during the "Golden Hours" with a DSLR a friend lent me. I didn't know what I was doing most of the time but it was nice get some experimenting. I'll upload some pictures once I get more done, for some criteria.

@P.G. Martin Yes the Canon T3i is one of the cameras I am considering.

@Bobby You got really nice pictures there. Would you recommend the Canon T3i over the T2i since it's only a few bucks off?

@Paul LoveKing thanks for the tips. Yes I want to take photography as a hobby, but eventually I would like to find a job doing photography. I don't plan on making tons of money out of it, but something more on the side, like a part time job on the weekends-taking pictures at events

Good tips, I didn't consider asking the key organizer. I definitely want to get to there earlier and plan where I can stand where not to.

Thanks again for the tips everyone.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2012 3:04:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 2, 2012 3:06:28 AM PST
Neo Lee says:
My way to jump start in photography is to get your stuff in waves. The first wave of stuff is most important to anyone because it is to get one's feet wet and to allow some time to do practicing and reading. You'll get to realize what your areas of photographic interests are. From there, you will just know what you will need and what not.

First Wave:

* DSLR - Canon EOS T3i kit with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. T3i succeeded the T2i. The most apparent change brought to T3i is the swivel screen which makes creative-angle photography more convenient, like when you have to shoot from the ground up, you won't need to lie down on the ground and get dirtied, or if you shoot from the wall or corner, you won't need to put your head against the wall. At a concert, you could push your camera up in the air and take photos above the heads.

* Fast prime lens - Get the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens for low light and portrait photography. At $120, it's the cheapest prime lens around. Photography books will call for this kind of lens.

* Memory card - Get a 8GB or 16GB Class 10 card. Class 4 up is needed for HD video recording but these days the Class 10 is the most economical choice. Good brands: SanDisk, Transcend and Lexar.

* Books - You'll need these to teach yourself. The Understanding Exposure one is very good. I would also get the Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set, Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Scott Kelby knows how to convey his messages to every newbie.

Second Wave:

* You'll just know what you'll need but I'll add a few items anyway just for consideration.

* External flash - Portrait photography will call for this. You will love *bounce flash*. (This probably won't make sense until you've read the books).

* Tripod - Night landscape and HDR photography will call for this.

* Extra battery - You don't want to wait for that only one battery to charge and miss the shots.

* More lenses? What are your interests?
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Discussion in:  Photography forum
Participants:  16
Total posts:  38
Initial post:  Feb 23, 2012
Latest post:  Mar 6, 2012

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