New to Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by PJ5000, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. PJ5000

    PJ5000 TPF Noob!

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    I have loved photography all my life, and now have the time and money to pursue it. I do not even know how to get started though and need any advice you can offer. I pretty much just point and shoot and then edit the photos using Photoshop. This has been fine for my own personal use, but someday I would like to do it professionally.

    My camera is digital, old and pretty basic, a Olympus D-560, its ok for family photos, but I want to upgrade without spending a fortune, although I do want a good camera. I like a digital camera since I don't know the first thing about developing film. I prefer black and white photos, but that also depends on the subject.

    Thanks a lot for your help.
     
  2. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Hey! Good aspirations! :)

    I can't recommend the Canon line of Digital Rebels more highly. A refurbished or used digital Rebel from a couple models ago with a lens will probably cost you less than $500 (there's really no good reason to spring for the latest and greatest--don't get fooled by the hype). It's an excellent place to start without really killing yourself on cost.

    Buy a camera, memorize the manual, learn the basics of shutter speed and aperture and take tons of pictures. There's really no substitute for the last one.
     
  3. syedakm

    syedakm TPF Noob!

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    I would say start off with a prime lens, like a 50mm or 25mm. I am not a big fan of zoom lenses as the f-stops are very small. Among the zoom lenses I particularly like the Tamron 17-55mm with f/1.8. It comes for all platforms. I am using it on a Nikon.
     
  4. PJ5000

    PJ5000 TPF Noob!

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    $500 seems really cheap I thought I would have to spend aroud $2000. As far as lenses, do I need to buy a separate lenses? And what is the difference in mm? And what is an f stop? Told you new and I don't know much.
     
  5. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    Great! Photography will definitely suck you in as you garner more experience.

    I am not sure if your Olympus is a "point and shoot" but definitely upgrade to a DSLR so you can change out your lenses and have MUCH MORE creative control.

    Really, you shouldnt have to spend much more than $500.00 on a decent body, but it's the glass that will cost you. Definitely purchase an inexpensive 50mm prime lens (about $100.00), as it is a truly worth every penny. I cannot suggest any other lenses since that is the only one I have that is worthwhile.

    To answer the "f-stop" question, this refers to depth of field (or the amount of depth in your photo that is in focus). This is influenced by the amount of light gathered. As you increase the f-stop, more of your image will be in focus, from foreground to background. I suggest taking a class or buying a few books from Amazon just to brush up on basics, you will be happy you did!
     
  6. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Agreed. One of the best purchases you can make is a Canon 50mm f/1.8. It will cost you less than $100. Even without zoom, it will quickly become your favorite lens. But, if you take my advice and purchase a used Canon Digital Rebel from a couple models ago (i.e., XT or XTi), $500 will probably get you the body and a basic zoom lens--usually a 16-55mm.

    This is not exactly right. Depth of field is really a side effect of your f-stop adjustments. F-Stop refers to "aperture", which is actually the size of the opening in the lens. The larger your aperture (or lens opening), the more shallow your depth of field (there will be less in focus all at once). But aperture is actually one of the primary ways to adjust the amount of light allowed into your camera.

    When you hit the shutter, light is exposed to the film. Or, in the case of digital, the sensor. That's why it's called "exposing" a picture; or when the light in a photograph is correct, it's called good "exposure". Three main things affect proper exposure. Shutter speed (how long the film is exposed), the aperture (how large the opening for light is, or how much light is allowed in all at once), and how sensitive the film is (on digital cameras, this is called the ISO).

    Adjusting these various exposure settings will have different side effects on the end result of your image. The side effect of adjusting your aperture is a change in depth of field, as the previous poster described.

    But aside from all of that technical mumbo jumbo, you need a camera! Here's a great deal on a used Canon Digital Rebel XT with a kit lens for $350:
    0209B003 Canon Rebel XT Black 8.0 Megapixels Digital SLR Camera Body With EFS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Black Lens

    It will accept all of the current Canon lenses and it will get you started right away. Of course it will lack a few of the bells and whistles of the newer models, but that's really what they are. Bells and whistles and you really don't need them to start out. Besides, by the time you're ready to upgrade, you won't want to be in the Digital Rebel line anymore anyways.

    And, an excellent second lens for about $100:
    2514A002 Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Standard AutoFocus Lens - USA

    A camera body and two lenses for under $500. Not a bad place to start. Plus, you'll have a few bucks left over to buy a camera bag and some UV filters.
     
  7. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, I forgot to respond to this one.

    There's a long technical answer for this. But it's kind of unimportant at this point. Very basically speaking, large numbers (numbers roughly above 35mm) mean telephoto (or zoomed in), and smaller numbers (numbers roughly below 35mm) mean wide (or zoomed out). When a lens is wide, it distorts the image to show more. The difference between telephoto and wide is kind of like the difference between looking at your reflection in a spoon. On the inside of the spoon, your reflection is huge (telephoto), but on the outside, your reflection is smaller (wide). So, if you have a lens that goes from 18-55mm, that means it will zoom from wide, distorting the image and showing more of the scene, to telephoto, zooming in and including less in the scene.
     
  8. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for correcting my explanation as mine was indeed faulty. I explained the result of adjusting aperture without actually explaining what it is... lol.

    I can certainly attest that Canon's Rebel line is a good place to start. I purchased the 450D as my first DSLR and it just seems so intuitive. It is extremely user-friendly and your images will not indicate you spent less. It is about knowing how to use the equipment and buying a couple of quality lenses. The great part is you will not need to part with the lenses as you upgrade the body (assuming you stay in the same family of product).

    All I can say is have fun with it. Maybe its just me, but learning about photography is not such a chore, its actually quite fun. Good luck!
     
  9. MonicaEvansPhoto

    MonicaEvansPhoto TPF Noob!

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    Canon is a great choice, all my cameras have been canons and i have never had any problems. they are all easy to use but they can get pricey depending on where you get them :)
     
  10. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Pretty much the best advice you could possible give the ultra new.
     
  11. PJ5000

    PJ5000 TPF Noob!

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    Since I really don't know much about cameras and lens, I am taking your advice and I have ordered the Canon Rebel XT Black 8.0 Megapixels Digital SLR Camera Body With EFS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Black Lens. I did not order the second lens you suggested yet but I will. I can not wait for it to arrive. I plan to take lots and lots of pictures and see what happens. I love taking photos. I like working with them in Photoshop too. Is it ok to touch up photos? Or should they be natural? Most of the photos I have taken are touched up because there is always something I don't care for in the original. Is that because of having an inferior camera?

    Thanks to all of you also for the explanations about f/stops and apertures and mm and all. It cleared that up for me, mostly. Are there any books you recommend for me to read that will help, with that and photography in general? I have read that lighting is important. I am guessing that has to do with aperture. I have a lot to learn, but I am very eager.
     
  12. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Congratulations! I think you're really going to love the camera when it arrives. I hope that you'll post some of your first shots for us to see!

    Cameras are not responsible for good pictures, photographers are. Neither is photoshop responsible for good pictures. These are only tools in the hands of artists, and nothing more. You're free to use whatever tools you want in whatever way you want.

    When it comes to touching photographs up in Photoshop, it's really the norm rather than the exception among photographers. However, I think that a skilled photographer will try their best, all things considered, to get as close as they can to what they want right in the camera, then go as much farther as they like in Photoshop. The ability to produce a cool looking picture is good, but knowing how you got there and why is better--it's the only way to grow as a photographer and an artist.

    So, in short, my advice would be to do your best to become proficient with your camera and take the best possible pictures, right in the camera. Then, if you still feel you haven't quite acheived what you want, you shouldn't feel any guilt in using Photoshop. It's an outstanding tool and almost all of us use it.

    As for books, I don't have very much first hand experience. But there are lots of other threads talking about that. Do a quick search, I'm certain you'll get plenty of results and find just whant you're looking for. I've always found it helpful to just head into the library and look up some of the older books about photography. The basics of shutter speed, aperture and lighting haven't really changed at all since the switch over from film. Old manuals will do just as well as new manuals. I might even argue they do better.
     

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