Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Members' Lounge (General Discussion) › Getting into photography
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Getting into photography

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I constantly find myself in a situation thinking "Gosh, I wish I could take a picture of that and capture it forever". At times I've tried, with a digital snapshot camera or with my cell-phone. The results are never satisfactory, especially if it's of the sky or the forest or anything far away or too intricate. Or anything that passes by too quickly. For a while, I experimented with my brother's Nikon and I think I took some very nice shots. I wouldn't know for sure though as I have never been able to get them developed. It's just too expensive, I have too much film and I don't know what's what!

I don't mean to write an unnecessarily long prologue here but.. for a long time I have felt the desire to do something expressive, artistic. Not so much to paint as to capture. I thought the pen was my tool of choice and, even then, when I would write it felt more like I was capturing truth, life and sealing it in a jar. With airholes of course, lol. But writing doesn't come as easy lately. I'm just too mixed up inside to know what I want to say anymore and I find myself saying a lot of things I don't like. Capturing the dark side of life and having it there on my desk every day to remind me just how far I've come is not likely to help me get past it. Which is why I need to be out in the world. Be a part of it. Experience it. And make it a part of me. Photography is how I would like to do that.

I know next to nothing about the art. I mean, I understand contrast and juxtaposition and angle and focus and such a bit. But there is a lot I don't know. It most likely fills books. So pretend I am an open and blank book. I want you guys to just pour all your knowledge on me as if I know nothing. Both professional advice as well as your personal experience. Just a few things I wanna say.

1) I would REALLY like to use digital equipment. Something that can rival a decent standard SLR camera but without breaking the bank. It would just be much more likely that my pictures would actually see the light of day if I used this method. Even printing them is cheaper. I'm not trying to destroy the ancient art of development, it's just not possible for me right now. Building a dark room also wouldn't work with my current living situation.

2) I have a birthday coming up so my budget is a tad greater than it would be. Still... I should try not to exceed $600. Is that even possible? I could always go all-out and replenish my savings later since this IS important to me. But I also don't want to dive into the deep end right off either.

3) Most of what I have shot so far has been nature and landscapes mostly. I have done some ghetto photography with my webcam using myself as a model which sounds not only narcissistic but kind of trifling, I know. Still, I am attracted and intrigued by the human form. Sadly, it's something that is best caught in the moment and off guard, so taking pictures of myself has little benefit aside from boosting my ego. :P I'm just not sure exactly how to go about doing this without coming off as a creep, as I don't really live in a city...

Well, I think that's everything. Muchos gracias to anyone that actually took the time to read it all. Hope you guys can lead me in the right direction.
post #2 of 26
You seem to be looking for a compact camera, one yo can grab and carry along during a normal day.

I'm in the process of saving up for a sigma DP2, it might be a little too inflexible for your needs, but if you want a digital compact camera, there are no real rivals to the DP2.

If zoom is something you value highly, panasonic (LX3) and ricoh (GX100/200, CX1) might be worth looking into.

For education there are a lot of nice sites, like dprevew.com, photozone.de, luminous-landscape.com and photoethnography.com
post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by limpidglitch View Post

If zoom is something you value highly, panasonic (LX3) and ricoh (GX100/200, CX1) might be worth looking into.
The zoom on the LX3 is not a strong point. It only has a 1.5x zoom range from 24mm - 60mm.

If you are a fan of zoom, something like a "bridge" camera with an 18X zoom is what you're looking for.
post #4 of 26
lx 3 has 2.5x zoom not 1.5

60/24=2.5
post #5 of 26
If I were in your position I'd take the Canon G10 and Sigma DP2 into consideration. The latter has a considerably larger sensor and offers more professional results, but is much slower and more finicky. The G10 is a good intro.. it has many options and is generally well-regarded as a compact compromise from DSLR users do to its sheer versatility and feature set (it possesses a very fleshed-out manual exposure control, among others).

Or you can set yourself up with a DSLR kit for $600 very easily. Incidentally, I got my Nikon D200 and 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor for about $500 total.
post #6 of 26
You might be a good candidate for a soon to be released Olympus EP1. It's a bit over your budget, but at least it is very good in image quality and also small enough for you to take everywhere unlike DSLRs.

Don't worry so much about skills and all that, you will improve as you take more pictures.
What I can recommend you is try different brand and system and see which one suits you best and also invest in at least a basic software like Photoshop Element.

PS 3XO - D200 + 50mm 1.8 for $500 is a bloody steal.
post #7 of 26
Wonderwall, I'd recommend using the camera you have. Learn its weaknesses and strong points, and work within that. You'll learn the basics of photographic composition and also become more facile in using that camera. You're better off being good with mediocre equipment than being clumsy with great equipment.

For now, spend your time and money going to places that inspire you. Take a close look. Photographs are everywhere but you need to look through all the stereotypes we see every day. Look for unusual things in commonplace areas. Look close, look far, and watch things develop through time. None of us really knows how to see until we take the time to learn.

Then, if your interest continues to grow, consider new machinery. Any digital camera made in the last 4 years will do a good job.

I started with a Kodak Instamatic. This went a little beyond the basics but was still a point-and-shoot using square-format Instamatic film cartridges. Having minimal control I had to figure out the limitations. Having square format meant I didn't need to think about horizontal or vertical. So, the only thing I could control was composition. I learned a lot with that simple camera.
post #8 of 26
For $600, look for a used Nikon D70 or D70s. Prices are way down on these and they're terrific cameras. I've had a D70s for a few years and have been able to resist upgrading so far. It might not have as many features as the newer models, but they do everything you want and make images you'll be proud of.

The batteries are cheap and last for at least a thousand snaps, and you can get cheap CF cards now, too. I recently got a 16GB card for something like $35 and it holds over 4,000 photos! On Father's Day, I had a day out with the family. I was able to keep shooting and shooting and shooting. As much as I want. I just love it.

The kit lens (18-70mm) is pretty good, but the f/1.8 50mm prime is awfully good for about $100. There's also an inexpensive 70-300mm zoom that I've found hugely useful. It's the mostly plastic one, but it's held up well and has marvelous bokeh - wonderful for portraits.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post
If I were in your position I'd take the Canon G10 and Sigma DP2 into consideration. The latter has a considerably larger sensor and offers more professional results, but is much slower and more finicky. The G10 is a good intro.. it has many options and is generally well-regarded as a compact compromise from DSLR users do to its sheer versatility and feature set (it possesses a very fleshed-out manual exposure control, among others).

Or you can set yourself up with a DSLR kit for $600 very easily. Incidentally, I got my Nikon D200 and 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor for about $500 total.
I think that's what I want to go for. Some of the reviews I read for the DP2 worried me a bit. Mostly focus issues when lighting wasn't great and I love taking night photos.

I've read everyone else's input and I'm currently digesting.

Edit: It's definitely not going for that price on Amazon right now. O_O
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by john53 View Post
lx 3 has 2.5x zoom not 1.5

60/24=2.5
You're right, dang typo.
That's what I get for posting before my morning coffee is finished.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderwall View Post
I think that's what I want to go for. Some of the reviews I read for the DP2 worried me a bit. Mostly focus issues when lighting wasn't great and I love taking night photos.

I've read everyone else's input and I'm currently digesting.

Edit: It's definitely not going for that price on Amazon right now. O_O
I'd say if you want to stay within your budget look for a used D200 or D80
post #12 of 26
If you care about image quality avoid point and shoot digitals. Some are pretty good but they are for the casual "picture taker". Don't get me wrong, some great shots have been taken with P&S's, but they are just not as advanced a tool as a DSLR, and really suffer where noise is concerned.

Uncle Eric's advice of finding a well cared for D70(s) is good. I've been using a D50 (which has some of the lowest noise of that generation of DSLR) and about $800 worth of lenses and I've not felt at all constrained by these tools.


If you decide to go DSLR, you should choose Nikon or Cannon. Both "systems" give great performance for the pro or enthusiast. I went with Nikon, because I read a lot that they are a bit more user-friendly (easier to learn) and I think they represent a little better value.

If you go Nikon, get a 50mm f/1.8 for about $100. This lens is will let you do a whole lot on the cheap. It's fast and sharp, but you have to use the "sneaker zoom" since it's a prime (fixed focal length) lens. This is actually a good thing because it really makes you pay closer attention to composition.

For walking around I use my 18-70mm It has a very usable focal range and is fairly inexpensive. For wildlife I use my 70-300mm VR. It's Vibration Reduction is good for getting a decent shutter speed but it's not a good lens when the light is low. But then, as far as long zooms go, if you want speed and good low light performance, your looking at a couple grand at least.

D50's & D70's can be had for pretty little layout. It's the lenses that are the real investment. I don't recommend the D40 and D60 because they are only compatible with AF-S lenses (lenses with an auto focus motor built in). I couldn't use my 50mm F/1.8 with these cameras and for that alone I'd stay away.

Good luck.


Edit: Also, 6 mega pixels is plenty unless you plan to make poster sized prints. I'll eventually upgrade my camera (probably to a D90) but I'll still shoot at 6mp or so, because 8x10 is as large as I print and I don't want ginormous image files hogging hard disk space.
post #13 of 26
I'd like to add that most writers don't spend too much time sweating the details of the word processor they use. There are a massive amount of photographers who have been making images that you can learn from, with the internet you have unprecedented access to a mind boggling amount of photography to look at. Try to find a few photographers you admire and see what they have created and what they find important. I think it's equally important to think about what's interesting and important to you as the gear involved. Too many times we fall into the trap of thinking about the materials and ignore the subject (this is note to myself as well).
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JadeEast View Post
I'd like to add that most writers don't spend too much time sweating the details of the word processor they use. There are a massive amount of photographers who have been making images that you can learn from, with the internet you have unprecedented access to a mind boggling amount of photography to look at. Try to find a few photographers you admire and see what they have created and what they find important. I think it's equally important to think about what's interesting and important to you as the gear involved. Too many times we fall into the trap of thinking about the materials and ignore the subject (this is note to myself as well).
So very true. And that goes for audio as well. I sometimes have to force myself to stop analyzing the way my gear sounds and just enjoy the music.

What you take pictures with, is far less important that what you take pictures of.
post #15 of 26
I'd be very careful with acquiring a used D70. I have read many problems with D70 shutters giving out very early in their lifetimes.. so you will have to be extremely careful with looking into this particular model.

You may want to consider an entry-level rather than a used prosumer model. I have some regrets with my D200 (certainly not for the price, though!) as it is somewhat challenging (and heavy) to use for a first camera. A Nikon D40 or a newer Canon Digital Rebel would probably do very well for learning the basics of handling while taking very good images. They can be found as little as $400-450 bundled with an 18-55mm "kit lens" which will be very suitable for wide-angle and landscape photography that you might be interested in. They are very good to learn the ins and outs of composition and exposure, are relatively lightweight and handle well.

If you're going to be serious about this, go to a shop and physically handle the camera bodies of a Nikon or Canon (or other options) and see what is ergonomically best for you. Many lenses between the two are comparable and once you decide the camp you're in, it becomes difficult to change.. you buy into a system. You want a camera that will be comfortable for you to use and make your composition come as easily as possible, with as little between you and the image as possible.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Members' Lounge (General Discussion) › Getting into photography