Advice for a novice? cmera/courses?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by vera979, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. vera979

    vera979 TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone!!!
    I am really new to photography. But I would want to try myself.
    What advice would you give an absolute beginner.
    What camera should I buy and why?
    Should I first go for a digital or film camera?
    What features should the first camera have?
    Should I take classes or one can learn by taking an online course or reading literature?
    Would appreciate any general advice.
    Thanks a million!!.
    Vera
     
  2. Unimaxium

    Unimaxium TPF Noob!

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    The first steps you should take are to read and learn about the basic aspects of photography. Read around this forum. Get a book on photography (I personally recommend the textbook Photography (8th edition) from Prentice Hall publishers. It's a really good book for beginners and intermediates). Read through this thread. Search Google. Google is always your good friend for when you don't understand something. Basically, you should start off by familiarizing yourself with as much of photography as you can. Get to know how cameras work, and how to work one. Classes help, but I don't think they're totally necessary. Basically just try to learn as much as you can. The more you know, the better.

    To get serious or even semi-serious about photography you will want an SLR (single lens reflex) camera that allows you to control exposure and focus manually. Which specific camera you should get depends on what you like, and what features you will want to have, and how much you have to spend. Thus, you should study up a bit before going out and grabbing a camera. However, as a beginner I found it very useful to have my Pentax K1000 with just a simple 50mm lens. This model is fully manual -- manual focus, manual shutter speed, manual aperture, manual everything, with just a simple light meter in the view finder to help you expose. That's really all you need, and the fact that it is totally manual really helps to force you to think carefully about each shot instead of relying on the auto-exposure and auto-focus of modern electronic cameras. Any other features on other cameras are arguably only for the purpose of making photography more convenient, rather than producing better pictures. The most important piece of equipment is by far the photographer him- or herself. The K1000 is a great learner's tool. However, in the year since I seriously begun photography, I have moved up to a more feature-filled Canon Elan 7n. Its auto-exposure and auto-focus and other gadgets and doodads help to make it more convenient to take photos, but does not enable me to do anything that I couldn't do with my pentax.

    Of course, you can always go the digital route. Digital SLR cameras and Film cameras these days are both capable of producing great quality images, and both have their ups and downs. Digital cameras are naturally much more expensive than their film counterparts. But I think a good way to go as a beginner is to start off with a simple film SLR like the K1000 and then decide where to go when you think you have 'outgrown' your camera. Now would not be the time to take the plunge into an expensive camera to discover later it isn't everything you want.

    So read up, learn, ask questions, and hang around Thephotoforum. Then decide what camera you want (it's never an easy decision), and go out and shoot. If you're really itching to get a camera right away, go for something simple and inexpensive like the K1000 or similar. Then you can always move up later.
     
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  3. vera979

    vera979 TPF Noob!

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    What a thourough overview!! Thank you!
    I read online they stopped producing Pentax K1000 .I would want a new one. I doubt I can get a new Pentax K1000 .
    Do I HAVE to get a new one though.? I"m not sure. Please advise.
     
  4. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Get a second hand camera. Buy it for small money from eBay or preferably your local shop.

    Here's a few I would say are likely contenders:

    Pentax K1000
    Nikon FM2
    Canon AE-1
    Contax 137, 167
    Olympus OM1

    They are virtually indestructible in normal usage and survive the odd knock and splash much better than plastic constructed modern cameras.

    Things to look out for on a second hand camera include:
    Scratches on the lens (fatal if affecting picture quality)
    Mould in the lens (possibly serious, buy a different one)
    Dodgy, sticky shutter (set it on 1s exposure and listen closely)
    Dents/Cracks/Body damage (generally not a good thing)

    * http://cgi.ebay.com/PENTAX-K1000-SE-CAMERA_W0QQitemZ7575127315QQcategoryZ15240QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    * http://cgi.ebay.com/NIKON-FM2-SILVER-35MM-SLR-CAMERA-BODY-W-MANUAL_W0QQitemZ7575305753QQcategoryZ107925QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    You'll be much better off with a fully manual SLR with a 50mm lens than with a compact or a cheapo zoom. They are a very versatile tool and are capable of world-class results. Try and get a camera like those listed above in mint condition with an original 50mm lens (rather than a 3rd party one). Try and get the whole lot with some accessories for under $100 - the digital market has crucified the value of 35mm film cameras.

    Good luck

    Rob

    * disclaimer - I'm not actually recommending these sellers or these items, they are for information purposes.
     
  5. Unimaxium

    Unimaxium TPF Noob!

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    The K1000 was made up until 1997 I think. The version I have is actually my parents' which they bought in the 80's. It is still in awesome shape. Don't be too afraid of buying an old camera; they can still produce great results. But any of the cameras Rob suggested should work well too.
     
  6. BobSaget

    BobSaget TPF Noob!

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    Definitely K1000. They can be had on ebay for around $50-$70 with the standard 50mm lens. I learned the basics of photography with the K1000 in one hand and Ansel Adams book "The Camera" in in the other.
     
  7. thetrue

    thetrue TPF Noob!

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    Please note, this thread is nearly 7 years old.....
     
  8. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Please leave zombie thread to rest in peace!
     
  9. BobSaget

    BobSaget TPF Noob!

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    My Apologies, Should have gone to sleep earlier last night.
     
  10. JSER

    JSER TPF Noob!

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    Join a camera club
     
  11. rambler

    rambler TPF Noob!

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    What is a film camera?
     
  12. charlieclimber

    charlieclimber TPF Noob!

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    You have 2 choices for a good entry level camera. These are Point and Shoot and dSLR. The main difference is in how they function and what the pros/cons of each are. Without getting into technical details, a point and shoot has a lens already attached and cannot be changed. The problem is that you do not have much manual control. The good part is that they are compact and cheap (less than $200). dSLRs, on the other had are higher end cameras. You can chose what lens you want for every occasion. The only factor limiting what kind of lens you can get is money. A good entry level dSLR will cost about $500 (including a starter lens). These cameras give you more control while still offering an automatic mode. The image quality is generally better on a dSLR .The canon T3i is a great choice for beginners. dSLRs are a little pricey, but are much better cameras.
     

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