Complete noob... looking for advice of the pro's.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Randi, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. Randi

    Randi TPF Noob!

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    So, at the risk of being hated for being yet another newbie to show up and have a "which camera is better" type of question, I really would like to have the advice of people who actually know what they're talking about, since the people I ask have no background to be able to give an educated opinion.

    So, I am a complete newbie at photography, and I like to take pictures of my animals. I'm looking for a camera where I can take pictures of all my little fast moving kiddos where they will not be completely blurred, or washed out if I use flash. I have only used point and shoot cameras and I'm finding that either the pictures are blurred if I don't use flash, and if I do use flash, they are washed out. So, I want to try a DSLR camera.

    I have harrowed it down to three that I found on the Best Buy website:

    Nikon - 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera - Black - D60
    Canon - EOS Digital Rebel XS 10.1-Megapixel Digital SLR Camera - Black - Rebel XS Black
    Canon - EOS Digital Rebel XSi 12.2-Megapixel Digital SLR Camera - Silver - Rebel XSi Silver Body Only

    Again, I literally know *nothing* so I am sorry if I am a nuisance. I, in turn, become annoyed when people come on my animal forums and ask stupid questions, so I can understand your frustration. I appreciate your help and patience in advance.
     
  2. Jaszek

    Jaszek No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's not that easy. First you have to understand why the pictures are blurry and washed out. Getting a dSLR might solve that problem and might not if you dont know how to solve it.
     
  3. Bad Andy

    Bad Andy TPF Noob!

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    First off, I am not a pro, but am a hobbiest that enjoys photography.

    Without seeing your pictures, it sounds like you are getting a blurry picture from a slow shutter speed. When you use a flash, it speeds up the shutter speed (more light is available) but the camera you are using isn't balancing the output of the flash with the exposure, so it is receiving to much light (creating overblown images).

    Essentially you want a camera where you have control over some settings. There are many good point and shoot cameras that are advanced enough that you can control shutter speed, aperture, and ISO (image sensor sensativity). Almost all DSLR's have control over these features. The advantage of a DSLR is that you can change and choose from a wide variety of lenses. You will want to look for "fast" lenses, meaning they have a very large aperture opening (small f#), thus letting in more light. However, fast lenses usually cost more than most lenses.

    As far as brands, all of the top brands make good equipment. Nikon and Canon are the industry leaders, but Sony, Pentax, and Olympus, also make good equipment.

    I wouldn't be so concerned with megapixels, but instead look at units that will provide better iSO performance. Pushing the ISO up on a camera allows you to use a faster shutter speed to "stop" more of the action. I would go to a photo store and try a bunch of cameras and see what feels best in your hands.

    Welcome to the forum, and be sure to post your pictures on here when you get your camera. There are many great people that will have you taking good pictures in no time.

    -Andy
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    In low light the shutter has to be open much longer so the image sensor can gather enough light to make a properly lit exposure. Without flash, you're getting motion blur. With flash you're stopping the motion but because the flash is on the camera the light doesn't look soft and natural. It looks hard and harsh.

    The problem is the lens on a P&S, not the camera itself. It's to small, and can't open wide enough to let in enough light to allow a fast enough shutter speed to make a sharp image in low light.

    The DSLR's advantage is interchangeable lenses. But, you still need a lens that can open wide to let in a lot of light. Those kinds of lens cost money. Pretty serious money. They tend to be the most expensive of the DSLR lenses.

    Fortunately, there are a couple of exceptions from both Canon and Nikon. Those exceptions are the 50mm f/1.8, nifty-fity, lenses (about $100, new). They are prime lenses though (no zoom).

    By comparison Nikon's 85mm f/1.4D lens is $1230, new. A Nikon 17-55 mm f/2.8G zoom lens is $1260.

    Of the cameras you have listed Canon XSi and the Nikon D60 are equivalent. But, you can't buy either of those cameas without a kit lens. The kit lenses can't open up wide enough for low light situations. I would say the 50mm Nikon lens has a better build quality than the 50mm Canon lens.

    Once you get a DSLR using flash becomes a whole new ball game. There are technical factors that you would have to learn about to use flash effectively. Getting the flash off the camera is a goal.

    I hope that helps you decide the right course of action for you.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Nikon D60 = Wendy's 1/2 Pound Double Burger with Cheese
    Rebel XS=Burger King's Double whopper
    Rebel XSi=Carl's Jr.'s Big Carl

    All are roughly 1/2 pound of beef in two patties, on buns, with lettuce, and some rich, fatty sauce. All have too much fat for your heart,all have too much sodium for your blood pressure, all are available everywhere, and all are roughly equivalent.

    If you can, drive or ride the bus to Best Buy,walk in,and look at,handle, and examine these three cameras. As far as getting better photos, any one of these entry-level d-slrs WILL focus faster and shoot with less shutter lag than any point and shoot camera. You WILL be able to take a picture much,much closer to when you SEE the picture--since that "digicam lag" will be removed.

    My preference would be the Wendy's 1/2 Pound Double, since I think it offers the best french fries...err, I mean, the best accessory flash at prices a beginner wants to pay (SB 400 or SB 600, with the 600 being vastly preferrable for longer-range or more-creative flash applications).
     
  6. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    Another advantage to an SLR is the physical size of the sensor and, as a result, the physical size of the pixels.
     

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