What do I need to know as a newbie?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by arishia, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. arishia

    arishia TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey,
    I'm new to this site, and to photography for that matter. I love photography and I love everything that you can do with it, but I really know nothing about cameras or anything else. I know the difference between digital and 35mm, I know that you can't expose film to light, I know more or less how to take a picture, but that is pretty much it. I am planning to get a decent camera sometime soon but I really have no idea what I should be looking for. What kind of camera should I try to get as a beginner, and what else should I know when just starting out in photography? Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Messages:
    6,217
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    London
    Hi Arishia and a big welcome to the friendliest forum around!

    Start by reading the beginners FAQ at the top here as this contains some fundamentals, a number of more advanced things and many interesting snippets. Then if you want people to expand or clarify an area, then just ask - nobody will be "above" listening and helping.

    As far as kit goes, there are essentially (arguably!) three main types of people here - purist film types, digital advocates and people who use both. I fall into the first category and I would say that you should start with something with a limited number of features using 35mm film which will help you grasp the basic relationship of picture speed, depth-of-field and amount of light. To do this, I'd recommend buying a big brand camera which is totally manual. A 1960's or 1970's Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus with a 50mm lens would be ideal. This type of camera can produce world-class photographs and you'll probably keep it forever! Manual SLR's can be had very cheaply - here's an example of a couple of cameras I use regularly:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=30035&item=7529489907&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=30035&item=7528148102&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW


    Conversely, a digital camera can help you learn composition and focussing more quickly and cheaply as you can snap away. Some (myself included) might say that this does not promote as thorough a thinking process and that you'll get reasonable results through luck very quickly, but the road to understanding may be longer. Also, a digital SLR is really the only way to get the best results and control - many compacts do not let you set things as easily (or at all) and this is an essential part of capturing the image you visualise. Digital SLRs are much more expensive than manual SLRs and devalue in a different way.

    Books are great - there are literally hundreds like this one which may help you before you spend your hard earned cash.

    [ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0817433139/qid=1120909713/sr=1-4/ref=sr_1_10_4/026-2107087-7881253"]http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0817433139/qid=1120909713/sr=1-4/ref=sr_1_10_4/026-2107087-7881253[/ame]

    Courses are quite expensive and usually require you to have a camera before starting, but check out your local adult education centres and colleges for good value education, but possibly save this option until you're started.

    This site! It's great - just ask a question, post your results and get feedback (read the critique rules first though!).

    Good luck and a warm welcome again.

    Rob
     
  3. hobbes28

    hobbes28 Incredible Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Messages:
    4,807
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    at work...
    Welcome to the forum arisha! I don't think there is anything I could possibly add to what Rob has already said but I do have one specific book to recommend that I always do. It's John Hedgecoe's New Manual of Photography. Of all the books I've looked at, it is one of the most informative books to people that are new at photography.
     
  4. ThatCameraThingy

    ThatCameraThingy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Bloemfontein, South Africa
    Rob has done it all.

    I'll just say "welcome" go get your camera , and let's play !!!!

    Hanno
     
  5. arishia

    arishia TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow, thank you everyone. All of this will be a big help. I'll probably be asking alot of questions for a while. I actually have one now... What does SLR mean? Is that what all cameras are? I actually have a camera that my mom gave to me, it used to be hers. It's a... Canon AE-1. The light meter doesn't work, and now for some reason it won't even wind to take a picture. It seems like the winder(probably incorrect term) is jammed or something. Is this a common problem? And would it be worth the money to get it repaired or should I just look for a new camera? Thank you again for all the help.
     
  6. mygrain

    mygrain Friend to nose goblins everywhere

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Messages:
    3,660
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    in a cool dry place
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    SLR means single lens reflex. A single lens reflex (SLR) is a camera in which the same lens is used for viewing and taking pictures.Your Canon that is broken is a SLR...most professional 35mm are SLR. BTW is there film still in the camera...if so it might just be jammed...cut the film and carefully remove it. Sending it in to have a repair person could be pretty expensive and you might simply shop around on ebay for th esame camera to see if the price is worth having it repaired or just get a new one...if you have a lens for it from the old one go with the same camera..it's a good one.

    Rob's the man and he's right...learn the manual side of photography before jumping to automatic anything. And an "indeed" to hobbes- Hedgecoe's is a guru of photography and this book is the "new testament" of photography. I've also found the books by the great Ansel Adams had made me understand not necessarily the mechanics of photography even thoug there is plenty of it there as much as the asthetics of photography. He has, IMO, the best understanding in what to look for in photography.

    Also, this place, with all of it's excellent photographers and camera nuts, probably houses more information than most could ever digest...so you've come to the right place to begin your trek with the camera.

    Welcome, study hard, and most importantly have fun!!!
     
  7. mygrain

    mygrain Friend to nose goblins everywhere

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Messages:
    3,660
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    in a cool dry place
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I think the most important thing to know is that most of what makes a photograph great, lousy, or somewhere in between is lighting, and what's between the photog's ears. Good tools can make the job easier, but most cameras, simple or fancy, expensive or cheap, new or old, can handle the requirements of many photographic situations.
     
  9. wharrison

    wharrison TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northwestern Michigan
    arishia:

    Welcome to the forum!

    The AE-1 is a very good camera and you can currently find a wealth of Canon FD lenses in excellent to mint condition on Ebay - should you wish to add to your range of photographic explorations.

    As for the repair of your camera, I would recommend that you either contact Canon camera and they will provide you with a list of authorized repair facilities that will repair your AE-1 or you can contact Karl Aimo, whose email address is given below.

    Karl is a former Canon technician (retired) and recently repaired my wife's Canon AE-1 for around $85.00 which included return shipping. In addition to thoroughly going over Sue's camera, he provided us with the results of a shutter speed test and an exposure range test and, in addition, spent more than a few minutes discussing the repair of Sue's AE-1 and other subject matter. More than a nice added touch - in fact, excellent customer service - something which is rare these days.

    Here's his email address:

    AE1REPAIR@aol.com

    Hope this is useful in your new endeavors!!!

    Bill
     

Share This Page