Beginner seeking advice and guidance

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Compaq, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Compaq

    Compaq Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    [n00b] Now.. I have never owned a camera myself, but I have used cameras the way most people have. My interest for photography has increased dramatically lately as I've been introduced to people with a decent knowledge on the amateur-basis, so to speak.

    OK, so I really want a digital SLR. Why? Because I intend to take advantage of the possibilities the manual settings are offering. I intend on using my new camera for many things:

    - taking pics of friends and foes:p
    - taking more artistic photos, such as insects, nature, experiment with DOF, action photos etc etc.

    So, in short, I plan on taking lots and lots of pics:p

    I have been trying to read about the specs of the optic of lenses and such, and I have run into some, erhm, obstacles along the way. For example, the f-number. Apparently this has something to do with the aperture. The lower the f-number, the more light the lens can, erhm, gather. Most cameras come with a lens that's 18mm-55mm. A friend described this lens as a lens that doesn't gather much light. Are there situations when we want a lens that has a porr light-gathering ability? Or should one aim for a high light-gathering ability at all times? How does this apply to the depth of field? As I understand it, using a big aperture will result in a very small focus point, and everything much behind this point will be out of focus. What I think is this: if one has a lens that gathers little light, is it possible for the aperture to be big enough to have a real DOF effect? Will a "standard" 18mm-55mm lens have that effect that's worth writing home about?

    Hmm, that was a lot of chaotic thoughts. Please bear with me. How do one, erhm, decide that a lens gathers much light out of the specs provided?

    And then there's the world of wide-angle and tele-lenses. Tele-lenses, as I understand it, brings subjects that's far away closer, without having to zoom. What practical uses do these two types of lenses actually serve? And then there's macro lenses (which I think I'd need, if I want to take pics of small things:p). How do one decided that "OK, this lens is a macro lens"?

    I think that was all - for now:lol: Over and out.

    Compaq [/n00b]
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Most of your, erhm, speculations and questions are accurate. The majority of d-slr cameras in the lower price ranges come with 18-55mm f/3.5 to f/5.6 zoom lenses which do not admit a lot of light, compared with the pricier 16-50,17-50,or 18-50mm f/2.8 constant maximum aperture models from Tokina, Tamron,and Sigma, respectively.

    Indoors in poorer room light, as well as outdoors in the evenings, the 18-55mm f/3.5~5.6 "kit" zoom lenses do not admit enough light to make all types of photos possible, so flash is often needed for better lighting. In answer to the question, with the 18-55 have an effect that is "worth writing home about", I would say the answer is generally, no...it's usable, but nothing to write home about, under the majority of circumstances.

    Tele-zooms like the 70-300 models are useful for working at distances in the 10 meter to 100 meter range.
     
  3. Raian-san

    Raian-san TPF Noob!

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    This.

    If you're planning to get an entry model DSLR, I would suggest getting the body only and use that money toward lens. For instant, instead of the 18-55mm lens they provide which is crappy, go with Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 lens. If that's a little too expensive, settle for the 50mm 1.8 which is around $120 which I think the best bang for the buck because sooner or later you will need a fast lens to shoot in low light/night condition. It's often better *Money wise* to buy used body and lens. Try craigslist, there are a lot of people in my area selling lens. I check often and jump on it right away if I see it for a good price. Lens last for a long time if it's well taken care of so don't be shy to buy used, many people will tell you the same.

    I'm new myself and before I did not know how lower f/stop work and all kind of lens and the quality of it but now that I have learned and actually owning a fast lens, I now understand why they are so expensive. This forum is a great find for me because without it I wouldn't learned so much already. Hope this help, if you have more question don't be shy to ask. Some people will get pissed off if you ask too many question but there's a lot of great people like Derrel who will reach out to help. :thumbup:
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The 18-55 mm kit lenses provided with today's entry-level dSLR's are not crappy.

    No doubt they have limitations, mainly that they don't perform well in low light. be aware they are also inexpensive lenses.

    When used within their limits, 18-55 mm kit lenses provide very nice photos and are very good for a neophyte to learn with.
     
  5. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You can only make the background really blurred with the kit lens if the subject is really close from the camera and the background is very far. If the background is only a few feet away from your subject you will need a smaller aperture number (f/2.8 or lower). And what Keith said, you can take freaking good photos with the kit lens if you know it's limitation.
     
  6. orb9220

    orb9220 TPF Noob!

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    Yep as Schwettylens mentions. It all has to do with camera to subject and subject to background. And tho the kit lenses are no speed demons in lower light. They are a good start. Until you can define your needs more and zero in on the right lens for you.

    [​IMG]
    March 1st Cherry Blossoms-8 by orb9220, on Flickr

    As you can see shallow depth of field and bokeh is possible but not outstanding.
    .
     
  7. Raian-san

    Raian-san TPF Noob!

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    But why start off with the 18-55mm lens? Unless you're really in a tight budget and won't be able to purchase another lens in awhile. I guess it also depend on much is the body compare to the kit. If it's less than $100 then why not, go with the kit. If you have some money on lens then save that $100 and use it on another lens that will last you through years even after you sell your body and upgrade. He's coming here for advice, I'm just giving him some other option. A lot of people like me go to the store and buy a starter kit and end up regretting it. Luckily I returned it and got a different camera and all together happy since I found this forum. He mentioned he wanted to take pictures of families and friends which a lot of time indoor/low light, action sport, experiment with DoF and the starter kit will limit him to do so often than not. Just saying.

    [​IMG]

    Yes I know I should had focus on the flower instead but this one of a few shot I took when I had the 18-55mm lens kit when I first started a few weeks ago. You could get some good bokeh but before I didn't know why I couldn't get it when subject is further away. GL on your decision, and update us.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  8. mooney101

    mooney101 TPF Noob!

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    Get the 50mm lens don't go with the kit lens. Trust me on this. It will force you to learn and it will give you 10X better results. Repeat go with a 50mm prime not a kit lens.
     
  9. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    if you are planning to go all out.. then ok dont get the kit lens.. but if you are not planning to buy several different lenses.. then get the kit. You could also buy a body only. I see kit lens on craigslist all the time for only $50-$60.
     
  10. AdrianC

    AdrianC TPF Noob!

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    I disagree, a beginner should not start with just a 50mm. On a crop factor that will be a very limiting lens.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  11. Vinny

    Vinny TPF Noob!

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    As a beginner I don't think you will benefit from a prime lens or even a $3000 zoom lens. You need to learn to take photographs, you need to learn about the proper exposure and composition. Zooms are a good choice as you have a variety of lenses at you finger tips right from the start. If you decide that landscape is your thing then a wide angle prime should be thought of but if its portraits then a 85 or 105 mm prime is the way to go. I started 30 years ago with a 50mm prime and it got boring after a while, it's always the same viewing perspective but that is my opinion.

    There is a saying "give a great photographer mediocre equipment and he/she will take great photographs; give a mediocre photographer great equipment and he/she will take mediocre photographs". This pretty much is true. I think too many people dwell on the equipment but forget that a beginner and even some better than beginners don't need "the best", they need to learn how to use the equipment better.
     
  12. Compaq

    Compaq Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've been reading very much on lens choice the last day, and I have made a decision: I will simply take the kit lens that comes with the camera, and learn to take photos with that. I will experiment with the different (or lack of) possibilities it gives me. When I experience these limitations for myself, then am I ready to decide what lens(es) I want. I will simply outgrow the kit lens at some point, and then I'm ready to buy a better lens that suits my needs perfectly. Buying an expensive lens this early in my career is moronic, in my humble opinion - at least that is the opinion I have not.

    But thanks for all the answers!

    I just want to, erhm, confirm something: Experience will teach me what aperture/shutter time/ISO goes with the different weathers, right? I should be able to make reasonable judgements on these things when I learn?

    This side has helped me a lot in understanding the different types of lenses, and the fact that I don't really need any ├╝ber lens right now.
     

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