Advice on DSLR Set-up and/or Lenses

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ~Stella~, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    3
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Most of my shots are portraits of children/babies and kids in their natural habitats. I consider myself an intermediate beginner and honestly I adore my camera and wonder if I can get more out of it or whether I should upgrade.

    I have this one: [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-FZ50-Digital-Optical-Stabilized/dp/B000GHVZQ0/ref=sr_1_44?ie=UTF8&s=photo&qid=1236635903&sr=1-44"]10.1-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50[/ame]. Not for that price, obviously...that's insane.

    I don't want to be a professional, but I would like to take really nice photos of children for our family and of friends' babies as a gift to them more than anything.

    1) What lenses would you suggest to get more out of my current camera for infant/child portraits?

    and/or

    2) If you think an upgrade is in order, please suggest camera and lenses for a decent beginner who won't want to buy another camera in the next few years.


    This is the type of shot I'm getting out of the current camera:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    3
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I'm reading other threads on this (yes, I know how to search!) but I'm just getting more conflicted. Off to read.....
     
  3. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe your Lumix is a 'bridge' camera so you can't get extra lenses for it.

    Bridge cameras aren't bad by any means but they are a compromise design. In your case it's not a terrible spec but if you want to move on with photography and enjoy it then I think you'll find it increasingly restrictive.

    Therefore I think you should look at an upgrade. Some people here will reccomend Nikon and Canon but I think your best choice is Pentax.

    Nikons are poor at the lower end, poor specs, lot of compromises to try and make them competitive at price. As your looking for a camera to last I can't reccomend it. Nikons are good for those expecting to go up toward pro level gear but for enthusiasts.. not a good choice.

    Canon unfortunatly aren't much better in the value for money stakes. Their cameras have less compromises at the lower end but still miss features I couldn't do without.

    That leaves Pentax, why pentax?

    1) Best Value for money of any of the big four ( sony is the other one ).
    2) Build quality is general the best for the price.
    3) 50 years of lenses will work without issues ( of which first 25 years need a pentax approved adapter).

    So what would I reccomend?

    Pentax K200D, it's the second model up in the Pentax range. It is built like a preverbial tank, has a top mounted LCD display ( that I find invaluable ), in body Shake Reduction ( thus works on all lenses) and very good image quality ( at least as good as it's competition and a lot better than your lumix despite the same number of megapixels).

    Then add to it a 50mm f1.4 ( or 1.7 ), Pentax KA fit ( K fit is fine but not as automatic a lens as the KA ) lens and you've got a lovely setup for portraits.

    If you want some flexibility too you could get a 70-300 zoom for outdoor shots and maybe a 28mm or the 'kit' lens to give a wide angle option.
     
  4. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    3
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks so much. I'll read this in detail later once I have everyone in bed. The Lumix will fit lenses - I have a polarizing lens that I forget to use and something else that came with it and I have a UV lens on it as protection against scratches/little children, but I don't know if what I need is even available for it. Especially since I'm not sure what I need, heh.
     
  5. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    13,601
    Likes Received:
    1,929
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Hey Stella, I did a quick scan of the link you provided and I think Katier is correct. It seems to be a bridge camera. The bridge camera is a bit more robust than a P&S and has the look of a dSLR, but has a fixed lens. I also think you are confusing "lens" with "filter". UV's and Polarizer's are filters with a purpose.

    I've seen some really nice photos by you, so if you give a budget you have in mind, the upgrade to a dSLR will give a better response. Personally, I too, would forgo any of the entry level cameras by Nikon or Canon, but something along the line of a Nikon D80 or better is a good starting point. The used section of craigslist is a place to start as well. I'm selling my D80 that is in perfect condition soon, but haven't put a price on the kit. Canon has similar candidates, it's just that I shoot Nikon. Actually, you should look at the D200 or Canon equivalent. They are more prosumer in build and features, but will not have the latest bells and whistles.

    Oh, one more thing....... my first SLR was a Pentax and they are good cameras too. It's just been years since I've looked at them.

    Good luck.
     
  6. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    3
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You know you are right - I wasn't even thinking when I typed that. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Thanks also for the encouraging comments.

    I didn't have a budget in mind, per se. I just figured I'd pay what I needed to to get what I needed, if that makes sense. What can I get for $1k give or take a few hundred?
     
  7. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    13,601
    Likes Received:
    1,929
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I just read that Best Buy is selling the D200 body for $600. I don't know if you have a preference for primes or zooms, but for portrait work that you exampled in this thread, primes are a good choice. I like the 35-50-85mm combinations, but that may be more than you want to invest for the lot.

    Again, I shoot Nikon, so a slight bias is to be expected. :) Give each brand a test drive to see which feels best in your hands and the menu navigation.

    $1K is really a good base to get a reliable camera and something other than a kit lens. Meaning, forget a kit lens.
     
  8. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    0
    1K would easilly get you the kit I described, possibly even the better K20D at a push.
     
  9. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    3
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
  10. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    0
    Limited range which doesn't really help sadly. Unfortunatly I'm from the UK so don't know US retailers to guide you on that front.

    However What I would look for is probably to buy something like :-

    Pentax K20D Digital SLR Camera with Pentax 18-55mm II & Pentax 50-200mm Lenses - Only £659.00 - SRS Microsystems

    (that's a UK retailer but I'm sure somewhere in the US has a similar deal)

    then add a second hand 50mm f1.4 or f1.7 Pentax KA fit, manual focus lens. (or if you can stretch the budget the AF equivelent)

    The reason for the last lens is that for portraits a fast fixed focal length lens is best. On film cameras 100mm was often the lens of choice but for Digital lenses slightly shorter is just as good, 50mm gives the equivelent of 75mm so it is a good choice.
     
  11. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Messages:
    7,274
    Likes Received:
    406
    Location:
    Shepherdsturd, WV / Almost, MD
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The D200 would be an excellent choice. That way you could buy a cheap, but effective prime and then spend some money on a light. Lighting is what makes portraiture and Nikon has the Creative Lighting System (CLS) in their higher end cameras that is a really robust wireless TTL system.
     
  12. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    3
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thank you so much for your input. In an amazing coincidence, I got a check today for $1000 that I wasn't really expecting, so I'm incredibly tempted.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

6ave