For very beginners, does the camera matter?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Larissa238, Mar 31, 2007.

  1. Larissa238

    Larissa238 TPF Noob!

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    I have a friend who is thinking about trying photography. He wants to invest in a decently-priced camera ($500USD), but he does not know if he would enjoy photography or if he has talent. He does have a 2 megapixel digital camera, and my advice to him was to start out with that and see if he shows talent. His argument is that nobody can judge his talent if he is just using a simple point-and-shoot camera. I want him to make sure this is something he likes before investing.

    So what would your advice be to this person? If he discovers that he does not like photography, he can re-sell the camera, but probably at much less than he bought it for.

    Thanks for any advice :D

    ~Rissa
     
  2. shorty6049

    shorty6049 TPF Noob!

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    My advice is this- I have heard time and time again, its the photographer, not the camera. Although i agree with this to some extent, there are a few exceptions in my opinion. You cant just put on a different lens if you want somemthing different with a point and shoot. that is assuming that he is thinking of getting a dSLR. I personally would think its best to stick with the 2mp camera till he decides if he likes photography or not. its not worth buying an expensive one if he decides he doesnt even like it. i see too many bad photos taken with the canon rebel xt/i becasue people just go out to the camera store and the salesperson tells them that "this camera will last you a lot longer" so they buy it and dont even know the fundamentals of photography....
     
  3. tempra

    tempra TPF Noob!

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    Tell him to buy a film SLR from ebay - an old Praktica wouldn't cost that much - maybe $20 with a 50mm lens - then he could make a decision with the added cost of developing a few films.

    That way, he could resell the camera for the same money, and have some good (or bad) photos as a reminder.
     
  4. blackdoglab

    blackdoglab yeah I'm easy.... but I'm not cheap

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    The camera matters only as much as you are comfortable with it. Besides, cameras don't take pictures, you do. Heck, some folks get some great shots using toy cameras. Personally i use a Zenit 12, which is about the simplest SLR you can find. Do some research, borrow a few cameras until ya find the one you are most comfortable with. If you want to go manual, try a Praktica, Zenit, Pentax K1000, or Olympus Om-1. If i've learned one thing about cameras, it's that they all get the job done, but some just are flashier than others.
     
  5. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    As I've said elsewhere, if he lives in a big city, he can probably *rent* a DSLR for a few days.

    I tend to agree that if he isn't having fun and/or demonstrating aptitude with the point and shoot, getting a DSLR probably won't change things much (except make him that much more poorer $$$). The one great advantage that DSLRs *do* have for someone just starting out, is the ability to snap a picture moments after turning the camera on. Most point and shoots take soooooo loonnnngggg to power up, and when they do, there is still a delay from the time you press the shutter release until the time the actual picture is taken. SO FRUSTRATING.

    Keep in mind that your friend might have some cash to burn, and may be in love with the idea of having a "cool" DSLR. Otherwise, why not do what tempra suggests, and get a 35mm film body instead, and play with that? Sure you don't get the instant feedback, but hey, if that was so important, just use the digital point-and-shoot.

    The upshot is don't spend too much time trying to convince him, it's really his choice. If he wants to spend the money, he will. Let him know your opinion once, then let it go.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The camera does not make a photographer. The photographer makes the camera. I know a good example of someone who takes nicer photos than I do except they are working with a point and shoot cam.

    My advice is if he does not already have a camera, start with a point and shoot. Something cheap, but something which allows the photographer to be in control. The fujifilm finepix S3??? I think is an example. It's like a mini-SLR type except not an SLR, and without interchangeable lenses. It still has manual focus, aperature priority, shutter priority, manual whitebalance, and would be great for learning.
     
  7. panocho

    panocho TPF Noob!

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    even a cheapish point-and-shoot can show whether there is talent or not. but on the other hand, you can have no talent at all and yet enjoy photography. and in this case, of course, you still are allowed to get into photography!

    if your friend enjoys taking pictures and also feels that he would like to participate in them with more than just pressing a buttom; if he feels curiosity about using a camera in which you have to do things, take decisions, etc -then he needs a SLR, which is a camera for people who want to TAKE photos, not just to HAVE photos made

    since you're talking about digital photography and dSLR's are expensive, my advice would be, as suggested, to get a film SLR for no money, try it out with a few rolls of film and see whether he really enjoys it or not. in case he does, then start saving for a dSLR (unless he falls in love with film, which might very easily happen!). he will have expent very little money and, besides, will always keep that cheap-but-quality nice camera as a wonderful memory of his falling in love with photography. in case he does not, he will have lost no money, and the little he might have expent he will recover very easily selling the camera again.

    i would never start from the end, expending already a lot of money on a nice new camera. one has to begin from the beginning -that's obvious!
     
  8. Paul Ron

    Paul Ron TPF Noob!

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    If you are looking for a decent film camera to start, I have a K1000 with a lens I'd ship (USA) for $100.

    Now the question... is your friend interested in film photography or digital? The difference is darkroom, film development, chemicals paper, enlarger, steeper learning curve vs computer, darkroom software and a printer with ink n papers, easier learning curve.
     
  9. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Interesting question as I just finished reading this months Shutterbug magazine. George Schaub, editorial director of Shutterbug, had an article about a digital camera wish list. One of the three things on his list was a beginners K1000 type dslr. Raw format only, so the student would have to learn to use a digital dark room. Manual focus, only two exposeure modes, program with shift and manual, and only center weighted and spot metering. It would include a DOF preview, all within a $300 price range.

    As many questions like this one that pops up on the forum, you would think that one of the camera makers would jump on board. The D40 seems like a step in that direction, but not enough IMHO.
     
  10. mjsneddon

    mjsneddon TPF Noob!

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    Tell you friend to do a little research, talk to people, try out a few cameras and then decide, using whatever criteria he wishes, which camera he wants.

    It's ok even if your friend discovers that he has no talent. If he enjoys it, that is great. I am living proof that one can enjoy photography without having talent.

    I might suggest also that the lens makes no difference either for the beginner. My first SLR came with one lens - a 50mm prime. That one lens served me well for a year or more. The important thing, in my opinion, is to enjoy the experience of photography (not place too much importance on the equipment).

    That's it for me.

    Have a good day.
     
  11. ironsidephoto

    ironsidephoto TPF Noob!

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    i started out with a p&s canon, then went to 35mm slr, then dslr. weird, i know.
     
  12. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    I started too with a Canon P&S too but felt very restricted by it. Wish i'd gone straight for the dSLR and taken the time to learn back then.

    I honestly believe that talent is not only something that comes naturally but it is also something you can learn. Reading a lot and asking questions will allow people to more freely understand the rules of photography and why a particular image looks good.

    i used to take image i liked but then when I posted they got rip[ped to shreds (well not quite that bad) but sloping horizons, centred subjects, busy backgrounds, harsh shadows and a host of other things but as time goes on I learn more about photography and light every day and I feel my photography has improved a lot.

    Using a compact for me was too restricting and although great for quick shots or friends and family it's not got the quality that I wanted. A dSLR has me enjoying photography a lot more and I know that when I shoot I'm getting the control I wanted.

    Sure it's expensive right enough!! But great fun.

    Buy the dSLR. If you decide you don't like it you won't lose too much. get a decent first lens though.
     

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