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Old 08-24-2013, 04:26 PM   #1
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Default First Digital SLR

Hey guys,


I'm looking to get into photography and I pretty much have no idea where to start.
I have a budget of between 400 and 600 to get myself a half decent entry level SLR camera and as I understand it most entry level cameras should have some interchangeable lenses, which I would likely have the option of "upgrading to" in the future (if that's how it works).

My early research tells me Cannon and Nikon are the big players in the market with some respectable entries from Sony and Pentax as well.

I have looked at some quick photography courses which I do intend to do but I am very eager to just grab a camera and learn as I go, this is how I learn best.

I know we have a few guys on here that are into their photography so I'm hoping I can get some good guidance on where t start.

What is your best tips / advice for me and also what camera do you recommend for my budget?
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: First Digital SLR

The most important thing to remember when buying a slr is that the lens is far more important than the camera. Unless you're taking pics in extremely low light, any relatively recent camera will give very similar results. My recommendation would be to buy a used nikon body (maybe d3100 or 3000) and the excellent 35mm f/1.8 DX. It wouldn't be a bad idea to get a kit lens (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6) too, but only use this when you absolutely need the wide or tele end. Don't buy the 70-300 or whatever the current low end tele is unless you have a clear use for it. Most beginners buy these thinking they'll use them all the time, but they end up just sitting in the bag.

I'm not sure what websites you have in the uk, but keh.com is usually the best for used stuff here in the states.

If you're just learning the basics, my recommendation is actually to pick up an old film slr. It needs to be something completely manual. Pentax K1000 is what most people recommend to students, but there's good ones on any system. What this does is forces you to actually think about what you're doing when taking the photo, instead of just letting the camera do it for you. Also, since the only electronic thing in the camera is the meter, you'll tend to think more about the image itself, and less about the camera. It also discourages the "shotgun technique" that many digital users have grown accustemed to, so you'll set up the photo correctly the first time instead of taking it thirty or forty times until you get one that looks good.


I also recommend you pick up a copy of "The Camera" by Ansel Adams. The book is extremely dated, but the concepts all still apply.Make sure you read the entire thing, even if it seems the section shouldn't apply to you at all.

EDIT: Oh, one more thing. Get a tripod. I mean a good tripod, not one of those $20 things with braces between the legs.
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: First Digital SLR

i have the nikon d3100 and i love it. you can get it with the standard 18-55mm lens for 300-340, then u can spend the extra cash on a case and other lens (short macro or long distance)
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: First Digital SLR

I've had a snoop around and found the Nikon D3200 which I understand is the model to replace the D3100 so in theory better?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B007VBGTX8

That's alot cheaper than I was expecting and whilst I'm not foolish enough to be blinded by the high MP number, it does had some very good reviews on the beginner SLR world and you guys are recommending the D3100 so it seems like a good place to start?

The main pictures I take are going to be of people (friends and family).
The photo styles I love (whilst I'm sure I will discover many others) are the people in focus and background "blurred" effect.
Think I read it was called Bokeh or something?

Is this lense that comes with it in the link suitable for my needs?
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: First Digital SLR

I had a Pentax years back and loved it. I got it third hand with some lenses for it and no clue how it worked. I scored several rolls of some cheap film and figured it out. The guy at the camera shop was very helpful. Plus he liked me buying film and getting it developed there. Eventually I took it to a race at Talladega loaded with 1000 speed film.
The trick was leading the car I wanted to take a pic of. You had to guess where the car would be when the mirror dropped in the camera. Got a lot of empty track shots but got some real keepers too.
You'll get the hang of it eventually. Take your time and have fun with it. You should see how many pics I take just to get the one or two I'll post online.
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: First Digital SLR

yeah the lens that comes with it is a great all rounder.

The technique you mentioned is Aperture priority. Its quite easy, you just turn off auto focus and just focus on what ypou want to photo ie people and then any a different distance will blur..
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: First Digital SLR

and get one of these to stop you damaging the lens and keep it clean and dust free..
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:28 PM   #8
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Yeah it's a neutral filter. Knocks off some the glare also.
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: First Digital SLR

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssc456 View Post
I've had a snoop around and found the Nikon D3200 which I understand is the model to replace the D3100 so in theory better?

Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit - Black (24.2MP) 3 inch LCD:Amazon:Camera & Photo

That's alot cheaper than I was expecting and whilst I'm not foolish enough to be blinded by the high MP number, it does had some very good reviews on the beginner SLR world and you guys are recommending the D3100 so it seems like a good pl/ace to start?

The main pictures I take are going to be of people (friends and family).
The photo styles I love (whilst I'm sure I will discover many others) are the people in focus and background "blurred" effect.
Think I read it was called Bokeh or something?

Is this lense that comes with it in the link suitable for my needs?
No, that lens won't be what you want. The bokeh effect requires a large aperture or a long focal length (or both.) If you want to get it without being really far away from your subject, you need a wide aperture lens. The 35mm f1.8 I mentioned earlier would be your best bet. You could also pick up a 50 1.8, which should be reasonably cheap (especially used, but make sure it can focus on your body.) The 50 will give a thinner depth of field, but the focal length makes it awkward as a general use lens. Only get this if you already have the 35, or if you're shooting film.

The d3200 is a good camera, but as I said before, lenses come first. If you're shooting a kit lens, the difference in IQ will be quite minimal between bodies, except for low light situations (though faster lenses do way better here too.) My suggestions would be a 35mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8, and an 18-55 (the included one in that link) just to get the wider end. The body you get really isn't all that important. For the price, the 3200 really is a good deal, but make sure you consider lenses in the total cost.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: First Digital SLR

Quote:
Originally Posted by ja6on View Post
yeah the lens that comes with it is a great all rounder.

The technique you mentioned is Aperture priority. Its quite easy, you just turn off auto focus and just focus on what ypou want to photo ie people and then any a different distance will blur..
Quote:
Originally Posted by foothead View Post
No, that lens won't be what you want. The bokeh effect requires a large aperture or a long focal length (or both.) If you want to get it without being really far away from your subject, you need a wide aperture lens. The 35mm f1.8 I mentioned earlier would be your best bet. You could also pick up a 50 1.8, which should be reasonably cheap (especially used, but make sure it can focus on your body.) The 50 will give a thinner depth of field, but the focal length makes it awkward as a general use lens. Only get this if you already have the 35, or if you're shooting film.

The d3200 is a good camera, but as I said before, lenses come first. If you're shooting a kit lens, the difference in IQ will be quite minimal between bodies, except for low light situations (though faster lenses do way better here too.) My suggestions would be a 35mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8, and an 18-55 (the included one in that link) just to get the wider end. The body you get really isn't all that important. For the price, the 3200 really is a good deal, but make sure you consider lenses in the total cost.

Could someone clear up if I could re-create this effect with that lense? http://static.photo.net/attachments/...Y-50059584.jpg

Probably nowhere near as contrasting as that image as that is major clarity on the person and ridiculous blur on the background, but that general idea.

I've been playing with some raw images from my wedding recent in Adobe Light Room and you can create some nice Bokeh effects in that by turning the clarity and sharpness of the background down but as I understand the best way is to capture it right in the first place and do minimal if any work in software afterwards, and not capture images that require a lot of work.
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