When to upgrade?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by A.S.H.rimp, May 19, 2008.

  1. A.S.H.rimp

    A.S.H.rimp TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,
    First off, I want to thank everyone here who has posted so much valuable input for the noobs like me. Believe it or not, it actually helps us. :)

    I have a Kodak z712 IS (http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=10689&pq-locale=en_US) I bought around July last year. At the time I simply wanted a "good" camera, as well as a good zoom. My main photo interests are nature shots - landscapes, wildlife, etc... Although I do take some "people shots" occasionally. At the time I knew *very little* about photography, and the "little green camera" mode was my friend. ;)

    Now I have begun to learn about real photography. I have been reading books, browsing the net, and of course, spending lots of time on here. I have learned a ton of information, and now I am shooting fully manual. While my Kodak is a great advanced P&S, my biggest problem is the manual focus: You focus manually by moving the left/right arrows. It is not very accurate at all, although I can get some good shots. Otherwise I am pretty much content - although at times I would like the ability to switch lenses, crank up ISO (I keep it on 64 almost all the time), etc... ;)

    So, my question is: When should I upgrade to a DSLR?
    I know that a lot of people say: "It is not the camera, but the photographer." To what extent should I follow that advice? I could follow that advice and downsize to a cell phone camera - I could always use a couple hundred dollars. (*sarcasm*)

    A couple of shots I've taken:
    1. Got Milk?
    [​IMG]
    2. Night skyline/Fire
    [​IMG]
    3. [​IMG]
    4.[​IMG]
    5. (Edited to something better.)
    [​IMG]

    Thanks,
    Andrew
     
  2. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    Upgrade when you want to upgrade. Looks like you're still having fun with your kodak. I have an SLR but I still use our kodak 5mp easy share.

    Upgrade when you want and can afford to. If you find yourself going from 10 shots a month all of the sudden to 100 shots a month or even 100 shots a day that's a good sign as well. If you start seeing limitations with your easy share a lot of times that's another good reason to upgrade as changing a lense is not an option you have now.

    For me I use my SLR when I know I'm going to be taking a lot of shots. I always have the easy share with me though.

    Not the camera its the photographer is true but you still want the ability to not be limited by 1 fps, long camera startup, low lit situations, etc.
     
  3. DWS

    DWS TPF Noob!

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    what asfixiate said, plus you will know (inside) when the time to move up is right....keep on shooting! :cheers:
     
  4. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Judging from your images and your story y should have upgraded a long time ago. From what I can see you have pretty much mastered the capabilities of the camera you already own.
     
  5. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    Agreed. Although that last photo – the flower – is unsharp, and your composition skills could still use some attention, imo.

    In real life the situation is usually the other way around: most dSLR owners haven't got the foggiest idea what they can do with their camera and take only snapshots...
     
  6. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    Composition problem yes with 5 but the unsharpness I think is due to focusing on the grass and not the flower.
     
  7. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I just posted on this in another thread, but to make a much simpler version: if you're asking the question, it's probably time to upgrade.

    Your shots are really solid. I'm amazed what people can do with a P+S when they have the mind.

    Were I you, I would be looking to determine not IF I should be upgrading, but what I should be upgrading to.
     
  8. A.S.H.rimp

    A.S.H.rimp TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your opinions, they were helpful.
    As for #5, that picture was a total failure - I forgot to check that it was the right one before posting it. I removed that picture for a shot I took last night of the moon.

    It seems pretty clear that I should get a DSLR, but then there is the money issue. I'm a highschool student, and although I do have a job, I still have limited funds. I have been researching SLR's for a little while, and I am thinking about the Nikon D40. Judging from my pictures, do you think that this will be enough "jump?" I have the money for a D60 or D80, but after reading some reviews, It seems that I am better off getting a D40 with good glass, and then waiting a few years to upgrade to something much more expensive. And I do want to have some cash leftover when I am done getting a kit together. So I am pretty much looking for something $1000 dollars or under.

    So, I am hijacking my own thread to turn it into one of the ones you all dread. ;)
    What camera do you think I should get?
     
  9. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    I have the D80 and I'm thrilled with it. However, it has features that you probably won't use for several years and, by then, you'll be thinking about an upgrade anyway. There is also a concern about the many many settings on the D80. I had to train myself to check everything whenever I power up just in case the settings for yesterday's shoot are not applicable for today's shots. The D40 with good glass is certainly the biggest bang for the buck today.
     
  10. RubyMagic

    RubyMagic TPF Noob!

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    No matter WHAT skill level you are, youre still going to take unuseable photo's. You can master all you want. I know pro's that have been in the business for 50 years and STILL make unuseable shots every few frames.

    That has nothing to do with this guys question. I think it is for sure time for an upgrade.


    I, myself, have a D40 and find it is enough camera for just about anyone (sports photographers being the exception). With a great piece of Nikon glass, you can take AMAZING photo's and make prints up to poster size.

    Another few set up's you should look into are as follows: Canon 20D or 30D (You can get them used on the web for 450-600 bucks), Pentax K100D Super, or a Pentax K10D.
     
  11. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    As with all of these things, it kinda depends on who you are and what you do. I use a D300 with three essentially garbage lenses. (ok they're "fine", but nowhere near the class of lens that the camera is in.)

    This is mainly because the glass doesn't affect me nearly as much as the camera does... I need fine optics, but I need lots of MP for my work and generally don't have to have really fast glass because I'm working outdoors and DOF isn't as important. Would better glass be better? Yes. But my needs dictate I spend money on the camera first, glass later.

    That's my situation, so that may not apply to you or anyone else.

    However, consider this...

    The difference between my most commonly used lens and the mid-range quality version is nearly $500.

    The difference between the D40 and the D80 (again, entry level to mid-level) is... about $300.

    The difference in limitations between the entry level lens and the mid-level (particularly for a beginner) is pretty much nothing. (again, circumstances of your picture types will affect this)

    The difference in limitations between a D40 and a D80 is pretty significant.

    The D40 can also only use certain types of lenses... and are those necessarily the ones you want when you upgrade later to something more serious? The D80 is not so limited.

    For my money, I'd buy the better cam with a cheaper lens. When you toss your $150 lens later you won't cry even a second, and that's even if you toss it.
     
  12. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    I agree that an SLR will make your photography easier and more satisfying (the camera itself won't make your pictures better, but it will give you plenty of inspiration to go shoot, which will make you better). Your photos look great and I think there's no question that you "deserve" an SLR based on skill.

    As far as recommendations, you have many options. I am a Pentax man, largely because I am a student like you and have limited funds. Given my college student budget, Pentax offered the best bang for the buck. While my K100D with 18-55, 50-200, and all the accessories came to right around $1000, if I were to do it again now I would do so differently. If you want this to be a one-shot purchase, your best bet is something like a D40 (ick) or K100D/K100D Super/K200D with nice glass. If you are willing to add to your collection over time, I think you would be better served getting a higher-end body (K10D/K20D, D80, etc.) and upgrading your glass collection down the road as money and prefernces allow. Coming from a point and shoot, it may not be easy to tell exactly what sort of glass you want/need at this point. When I bought my K100D, I thought getting a 50-200mm for only $100 more was a great deal. It wasn't because I never use it, and I would trade both my lenses for a half-decent 10-20 or thereabouts. If I could do it all again, I would look for something like a K10D on closeout with the 18-55mm and then use that to figure out what I really want.
     

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