Let's Play Help the Newbie

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by eminart, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. eminart

    eminart TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    and answer all the same questions that I'm sure get asked all the time here. ;)

    But here goes:

    I'm really wanting to take the plunge and get into digital photography. I know very little about photography, but I have played around with an old Minolta x700 that I bought 10 years ago quite a bit.

    I've been looking around and researching online and what I THINK I'd like to get is a Nikon D80. I can't afford the REALLY nice cameras but I do want something that will produce good results. What do you guys think about the D80?

    I understand that the most important factor is lenses. I have a wide range of interests as far as subject matter and I'm pretty sure I can't afford lenses for all of them right now. So, could I get a VERY basic summary of which kinds of lenses are good for what purpose?

    For example; What would I need to take photos of insects? What for Landscapes? What for nude figure? What for more distant things, such as bald eagles?

    I know these are very basic questions and the answers are out there, but it can be a bit overwhelming for a newbie such as myself to read through all the tech info on the internet. Especially, when I don't understand all of the jargon associated with the hobby yet.

    Also, I see a WIDE range of prices for the same cameras online. I'm assuming all of the "great" deals are not so great. Is B&H Photo the best place to buy new? I'll probably shop around locally and see if I can find a deal on a used camera, but if that fails I'll probably order online.

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,817
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Welcome to the forum.

    The Nikon D80 is certainly a good camera...is it still in production, or has it been replaced by the D300? Nikon's entry level model is the D40 (D40X) which is also good but does have some limitations with some lenses.
    Other good choices would be the Canon Rebel XTi (or the yet to be released XSi), or an entry level DSLR from Sony (the new Minolta) or Pentax.
    Actually, if you have a Minolta lens, it will most likely work on a Sony DSLR camera.

    As for lenses, the first thing to look at is the focal length/range. The shorter the focal length, the wider the view...a wide view would be good for landscape or shooting where you don't have space to back up. A longer focal length gives you more reach or magnification...which would be good for shooting things that are far away.
    To shoot insects or small objects, you will want a lens that can focus very closely...a Macro lens.
    Then next thing to look at with lenses is the maximum aperture. That is represented by the F number in the name of the lens. F3.5-5.6 or F2.8 for example. It's a ratio, so a larger F number means a larger aperture. A larger aperture is good because it allows you to get a faster shutter speed, which is good for stopping moving subject (sports or action) of for preventing blur when shooting in lower light. Also, a larger aperture can give you a shallow Depth of Field (DOF). This is good for things like portraits, so that you can make the background blurry while keeping the subject sharp.
    Also, lenses are made with varying build and image quality. Some are built like tanks and can give you very sharp & vivid shots while some are just made to be inexpensive. Price is usually a good rough indicator of quality...you get what you pay for.

    As for the wide range of prices...if it looks too good to be true...it probably is. B&H is a great place to buy cameras online...but don't forget about local shops. Sometimes it pays to have face to face contact and information.

    As always, I would suggest that you go into a store to hold and feel the different camera models. The one that feels best in your hands, may be the best one for you.
     
  3. Happy Hour

    Happy Hour TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chicago IL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I 100% agree with big Mike on everything he said. Especially going to the store and holding each camera in your price range. That makes a huge difference! Also If in your budget I would recommend trying to keep in your budget enough for 2 lenses to start with. Something like a 17-80mm range for everyday shooting and a 70-300mm for distance and portrait shots. something to those ranges would get a great start for majority of your shots. ig your budget allows for it.
     
  4. nicfargo

    nicfargo TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Messages:
    369
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Mike pretty much answered it all. If you have huge gorilla hands like I do, most of the cameras will feel small to you. Ask if you can feel each camera with their respected battery grip. This made all the difference for me personally. It really made the DSLR I got at the time (Canon 30D) comfortable for me. Just see what you like best. I can't recommend one for you because I think in the Canon line the equivalent camera to the D80 is the XTi...which is completely different then the 30D, but I could be wrong and it could be the 30D (or the newer D40) equivalent. I personally hate the XTi, but love the 30D.
     
  5. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Paul, MN, USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Ooops! Mike you meant to say a larger F number means a smaller aperture, right? Not trying to call you out, but I just wanted to clarify for the OP since she's a newbie and apertures can be confusing.
     
  6. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    544
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Nikon D40, D40x = Canon XT, XTi
    Nikon D80 = Canon 30D, 40D
    Something like that.

    Unless you are looking at a 5D/1D (Canon) or whatever it is on Nikon's side (D3? sorry, I'm Canon person ;)), the D80 is plenty "nice".

    I was in same shoe as you (last year) - since then I've learnt that "camera < lens < knowledge". Your lens will run you much more then the DSLR itself. If you know what you are doing, you can take great pictures even with mediocre lens.
     
  7. Applefanboy

    Applefanboy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The D80 is a very good camera... but you might want to consider the D40x and a nice lens like the 18-200mm VR or 18-135mm.
     
  8. lifeafter2am

    lifeafter2am TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,317
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Nikon D3/D300. ;)
     
  9. eminart

    eminart TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Thanks for the help! I REALLY want to get started in this, but I'm broke so it might be a little while. I think my plan is to pick up a D80 and one decent lens as soon as possible and then beg Santa, the easter bunny, my wife, and all my neighbors for more lenses in the future. ;)

    Thanks again.
     
  10. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,078
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chelmsford, UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    A lot of people are saying that a fantastic lens will get you fantastic results. While this might be true up to an extent, being a "natural" at photography outclasses this by a mile.

    I have a Nikon D40 with the kit 18-55mm lens & a Sigma 55-200mm lens, and I get fantastic results every time. Sure, they might be even better with a five hundred-odd pound lens, but I simply figured it wasn't worth it. I might upgrade in the future, sure, but I don't see it as all that worth it.

    Basically, try practising your photography skills first (not saying that you're bad or anything) before splashing out on a ton of kit.
     
  11. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,240
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Western NJ
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    If you're set on the D80, get a Nikon 50mm to start with, either the f1.4 or the f1.8. It's great for low light photography, light weight, sharpness, and on the D80, it will make a nice portrait lens. You'll never be sorry, and you can work in zooms or other focal lengths when you budget allows.
     
  12. eminart

    eminart TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Thanks again for all the help.

    I was just looking around and came across this http://cgi.ebay.com/USA-Nikon-D80-D...yZ147174QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    seller on ebay. Has anybody had any experience with them? They have a 100% positive feedback with thousands of sales. I'm not saying I will buy from them or even that I want this particular package. Just wondering if anybody has any experience. I know the general advice is to stay away from ebay, but it seems like their buyers have been happy. Anyway, I'm just researching. I'm still in penny-saving mode for the time being.
     

Share This Page