need a camera for class - clueless

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by kevindosi, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. kevindosi

    kevindosi TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone -
    I'm a college student and I just signed up for a photography class, but I don't know anything about cameras (aside from which ones are pretty). Under the course description, it says this:
    "STUDENTS MUST PROVIDE THEIR OWN 35-MM SINGLE-LENS REFLEX OR DIGITAL CAME RA THAT CAN BE OPERATED UNDER MANUAL MODE AND WITH OFF-CAMERA FLASH."
    I really don't know what my options are. Obviously, I don't need a camera for a professional... but I don't exactly want a toy either. I love to travel and hope to travel a lot once I graduate, so I'd like to take this along with me. This is something I'd like to become good at, and I figure I'll have this camera for a while. That being said, I'm still a college student living off ramen, so I need something affordable (under $400). Can anyone give me some recommendations? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Jestev

    Jestev TPF Noob!

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    Well if you want something that's under $400 you're probably looking at a new film SLR or a used DSLR. Do you have a preference between the two?
     
  3. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    I'd recommend wahtever you do go digital...easier to learn from your mistakes that way. pentax is a good choice for budget...and off camera flash..well...that's not likely to happen for your budget. Maybe your teacher can help you out. they usually are lenient on what you need.
     
  4. itoncool

    itoncool TPF Noob!

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    Any DSLR will do fine, and any DSLR is not a toy. Some probably have smaller size than the others but all are capable of producing good picture, you still can receive great versatile learning curve even from the cheapest DSLR on market.

    Now, an SLR camera body probably cheaper than a DSLR, but you still have to buy films to produce pictures, in the long run you'll end up spending much more than a nice memory card, maybe over the price of the Camera itself. I agree you should go with a DSLR first.
     
  5. peppies

    peppies TPF Noob!

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    Why don't you go directly to your teacher and ask to help you out. He/she might introduce you to DSLR tell you about pros and cons, answer all your questions. I do photography courses and this is something we do regularly all the time.
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't discount a film SLR entirely. In some ways a simple mechanical SLR is easier to learn the principles of photography with because everything is so simple and direct. You can see the film plane and handle the film, you can watch the shutter operate, you can look through the back of the camera as the shutter fires - everything that happens is easy to connect with, there is no mystery. Learning photography with a simple film camera is not at all difficult.

    A lot depends on the individual's preference, of course. I'm not suggesting that one is better than the other, only that they both have their advantages. There are interesting explorations to be had with each medium - one is chemical and has a physical presence, and the other is digital with a less tangible presence. I use plenty of both film and digital, by the way, and I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to play around with film when learning photography.

    Good luck,
    Helen
     
  7. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    I know of three people who gave their old 35mm film SLR cameras to students. There really isn't a market for them. Check with a local camera clubs and you'll probably get one to use and might even be given one. Since you may or may not ever use a camera once the class ends, a purchase would be best avoided. If you do have to buy a camera, get a digital so there is some chance of selling it.
     
  8. Jestev

    Jestev TPF Noob!

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    Exactly the same feeling I have. I learned using a fully manual Minolta XG-7 SLR and B&W film and I wouldn't replace that experience with anything. I feel it was the best way to learn the basics of the art especially exposure and how aperture and shutter speed change the final image.
     
  9. seafoxfla

    seafoxfla TPF Noob!

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    If they have a dark room for your use then I would highly recommend you get a film camera, a Nikon FM 10, F 100. if you really want to get into photography this is the a great learning experience.
    Good luck and have fun.
     
  10. itoncool

    itoncool TPF Noob!

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    Don't get me wrong, I shoot them both (film and digital), I started with film camera (many years ago), I still love film, understanding both will be perfect. :)

    But, if you start it today where computer is easier to find than good films, on budget ($400), new to photography (trial and error), love to travel (shoot a lot), then going photoshop vs having a darkroom. Which one will be your OWN purchase first?

    You are going to own only one camera now (still using this camera even after graduate), and you can always borrow other cameras if you want to understand how the other works...
    But, in the end it's the OP choice, I really don't mind which route he is taking, because both are excellent ;)
     
  11. nossie

    nossie TPF Noob!

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    Canon Rebel XT 8 megapixels is $438 on Adorama now
     

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