Amatuer photographer would like advice

FIDDLEHEADSTEW

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Hi, new to forum and I got some questions perhaps you guys could help me with. First I'll give you some history about myself, a few years back I got a sony cyber shot as a gift and started taking pictures..all nature photo's. Some came out ok but the camera is old now and never really had the ability to add accessories. Two names I hear for digital cameras are nikon and canon perhaps nikon being better. What I need to know is what would be best for a beginner on a budget but one that I could grow into, get years of use out of and has plenty of different lenses, accessories etc. Next would be what is some of the better names for photo editing software that is very user friendly but produces great results when one learns how to use it to it's fullest, and would be for a pc. Also since photo equipment in general is so expensive where would be good places to look for used equipment in good condition? And lastly what text books or other literature on the subject for beginner digital photography would be considered a must have.
 
There are literally thousands of tutorials on the internet pertaining to photography. A good place to start is Cambridge In Colour.

Nikon and Canon are probably the two best camera makers, and they are probably both pretty much even in capabilities and quality. The difference is going to be the person behind the camera more than the camera itself the vast majority of the time. Decide on your budget, decide on what you want to photograph in general, and then your choices will be more easily defined. A lens for shooting the grandkids and a lens for shooting a bird can be vastly different.

Personally if I were just getting into photography I'd have to take a long, hard look at the new Nikon P510. It's a "Bridge" camera but has some really good features.

For used equipment, or new for that matter, I would look at either B&H Photo Video or Adorama. They are where I purchase 90% of my gear.
 
A Good, Solid Beginner Camera is the Canon T2i or T3i (550D or 600D). Also, VERY affordable.
I'd go with the T2i and spend the remaining money on better glass, a 50mm f/1.8.
 
A Good, Solid Beginner Camera is the Canon T2i or T3i (550D or 600D). Also, VERY affordable.
I'd go with the T2i and spend the remaining money on better glass, a 50mm f/1.8.

I agree. The Rebel series is great for beginners on a budget. The lens the camera comes with is not so great so buy the older (but not all that different) version and get a better lens. The lens will make all the difference really.
 
First of all, welcome to the forum - you have come to the right place for someone just starting out. I will try and give you some advice, or suggestions/ideas based on my years of both film and digital photography.

First - Canon and Nikon are not really cameras in the sense that they are a system of cameras, lenses, flashes, etc. that once you decide which "system" to follow you are probably committed for life, unless you have bags of money and can afford to switch every few years. Personally, I am a Canon guy, but don't let that influence you - my decision to go with Canon goes back to my days shooting film, you know - the dark ages of photography.:lol: They (Canon and Nikon) are, however, felt to be the "leaders" in the digital world. although those who shoot Sony or Pentax might argue with me, nevertheless if you stick with either one, Canon or Nikon, you cannot go too far wrong. If I were you, I would start with a lower end digital, in Canon, something in the T3, T2i, T3i range, or Nikon, something in the D3100 or the D5100 - not a Nikon guy, so maybe Nikon guy would give you different ideas - don't know. If you are looking for second hand, then B&H or Adorama both have used equipment for sale, as well, try your local camera store or the likes of e-bay. The key is to go to a camera store and compare them, try some of these units out in your hand to see how they feel and to test out the "ergonomics", i.e., are the buttons and dials laid out to your liking - have a look at this site and maybe you will get some more of your questions answered - Canon EOS Beginners' FAQ

As far as editing software, there is Photoshop Elements - it has a lot of the features of its big brother Photoshop CS5, but costs about $100 compared to $700± for CS5. Alternatively, if you buy a camera new, it will come with post-processing software that should get you going for at least 6 months or a year (my opinion). There are also a number of "free" programs such as Gimp, Picassa and others - here's a list that will keep you going - Free Photo Editors for Windows - Top Picks

For text books and other literature to get you going - too numerous to mention as a lot depends on the type of photography that you want to get into - so many of the books available are slanted towards a specific type of photogrpahy, e.g., wildlife, landscape, macro, portraits, weddings, etc. The real aspect that you need to understand are what could be called "elements of composition". To that end, two books by Bryan Peterson are worth looking at - Understanding Exposure - 3rd Edition/Revised and Updated - Amazon.com: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (9780817439392): Bryan Peterson: Books and Learning to see Creatively, Revised Edition - Amazon.com: Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography (Updated Edition) (9780817441814): Bryan Peterson: Books . Make sure that you get the latest editions of each book.

On the web, I would suggest Ron Bigelow's web sites. The first one is here, Advanced Composition -- Part I and the link to the following ones are located at the bottom of each site - there are three altogether. Also, I would suggest you look at this one for additional links - Photography Composition Articles Library . There are literally thousands of sites that cover some aspect of photography on the web - I am sure you knew that already - you just have to "Google away" until you find what you are looking for.

I trust that this will answer some of your questions - any more, post back and I am sure you will get a response.

Cheers,

WesternGuy
 
I would just like to add to the above, for software, LIGHTROOM.

[childlike wonder] OH. EM. GEE. Lightroom! Since I got Lightroom 3, I have barely touched PS, except for smaller retouches (getting rid of a dust mark (then cleaning my sensor), etc). Lightroom can very easily take a so-so picture and make it into a winner. [/childlike wonder]

Also, always, always, ALWAYS shoot RAW. (RAW + JPEG)
 
I would just like to add to the above, for software, LIGHTROOM.

[childlike wonder] OH. EM. GEE. Lightroom! Since I got Lightroom 3, I have barely touched PS, except for smaller retouches (getting rid of a dust mark (then cleaning my sensor), etc). Lightroom can very easily take a so-so picture and make it into a winner. [/childlike wonder]

Also, always, always, ALWAYS shoot RAW. (RAW + JPEG)

Seriously...spot on with the Lightroom. I only use Photoshop for cloning out tiny defects, otherwise I find Photoshop tedious. Lightroom is my homeboy when it comes to editing. It's love.
 
Seriously...spot on with the Lightroom. I only use Photoshop for cloning out tiny defects, otherwise I find Photoshop tedious. Lightroom is my homeboy when it comes to editing. It's love.

YOU! Where have you been all my life!? :lol:

Midwest USA eh?

Very well then. -_-
 
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I would just like to add to the above, for software, LIGHTROOM.

[childlike wonder] OH. EM. GEE. Lightroom! Since I got Lightroom 3, I have barely touched PS, except for smaller retouches (getting rid of a dust mark (then cleaning my sensor), etc). Lightroom can very easily take a so-so picture and make it into a winner. [/childlike wonder]

Also, always, always, ALWAYS shoot RAW. (RAW + JPEG)

I am with you on this - I went to LR from Elements a year or so ago and have never looked back. The reason I did not mention it is that I think you need some basic understanding of the "post-processing" workflow before you go to LR or even CS5. He would get this by working with Elements, in my opinion, because there is so much "stuff" around that you can get started on it a bit more easily than you can in LR. Now this is just my opinion, but I do think the learning curve for someone starting in LR is a bit longer and maybe steeper than for someone starting in Elements. This is the only reason I did not mention it. Regardless of which one he chooses, assuming he does choose one, I would strongly recommend that he get a copy of Kelby's corresponding book and work through the exercises - I recommend Kelby's books, not because I am gung-ho on them, but because they are the only "introductory level" books that I know of that will allow you to download some of the "examples" in the book and work along with the text in the book. If there are others at an introductory level that do that, I would really like to know about them.

I also agree - SHOOT RAW - always SHOOT RAW - I'm not biased or anything - :sexywink:

Cheers,

WesternGuy
 
Just thought I'd join the other Lightroom fanboys...big thumbs up!
 
I recommend starting off with free imaging editing software like Photoscape : Free Photo Editing Software (Photo Editor) Download or www.GIMP.org.

Photoshop Elements 10 is the consumer version of Photoshop and is about $60. Photoshop Lightroom 4 will likely be released next month (about $299, full retail). Photoshop Lightroom 3 is $130. The professional version - Photoshop CS5 is $699 retail. (the release of CS6 is also eminent)

Lightroom's main function is image catalog management, not image editing.

Adobe has an Education store, where they offer students and teachers up to 80% off the retail price of their software - Products

Adobe Photoshop Elements 10

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3
 
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