Need your advice...


TPF Noob!
Jan 20, 2008
Reaction score
Hi! I am new to the forum. I have been interested in photography for several years but have not been able to pursue it like I want to because my life has been filled with accomplishing other goals. (nursing school, having kids...) Anyway, I'm at the point where I'm ready to go to the next step with my photography. There are a couple reasons for this. Mainly, because I have done everything I can do with my Nikon coolpix 5200 and I'm bored with it. It's time for me to progress into a digital SLR. I take many pictures (of my family and scenery mostly) and am becoming disappointed in how they turn out. I am doing everything right, but the camera is just so limited in what you can do with it. I want professional looking pictures, not just good pictures. When I tap in to my creative side and take really cool looking shots, the camera doesn't do them justice. Also, this is something I would like to do professionally in the future. I'm at the point now where it's time to get the ball rolling...

So I need some advice. What camera do you recommend for me? Should I start with a cheap one and upgrade later? Or just take the plunge now and buy the camera I ultimately will need? What other things should I be considering at this point? Do I buy anything else now?? (lights, etc...) Or just get a camera and start experimenting? Please let me know any advice you have. Also, any resources you think would be helpful to me... Thanks!!
Hi welcome to the forum! There are 5 major brands: Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, and Sony that offer dSLRs. I'm sure each person here can tell you a little about each. People have their brand preference in cameras. The camera body is only half the battle if you will, the other half is the lens or the glass as they are referred to. First off, in order to recommend anything we will need to know what your budget is?
I would take the plunge and get one that's worth it! You should consider learning photoshop. And no I wouldn't buy anything until you can effectively work a dslr w a simple lens
From what I've researched (and from owning a Nikon coolpix 5200) I would really like to get a Nikon. Would you agree that it is one of the more expensive brands? Is it worth it to pay more? If I buy a cheaper brand, will I get what I pay for?? Adolan20, you asked what my budget is... I'm willing to spend up to $2000 if needed. But my question is, is that really needed? Can I get away with spending less than $1000?? I've seen the Nikon D40 priced at about $600. Would a Nikon D40 be a good start?
itsanaddiction, How do I go about learning photoshop? Where is the best place to buy it?? How much does it cost? Thanks for all the help so far! I know I have a lot of questions but I've been learning a lot lately!
Welcome to the forum.

I think the important thing would be to purchase something that will allow you to learn photography and also allow your gear to expand and grow along with your knowledge of photography.

For this reason, I think a DSLR is the way to go. Besides, any DSLR will be much, much better than a slightly cheaper non-DSLR camera.

Nikon (as well as other brands) have a few levels of DLSR...from 'entry level' up to top-of-the-line professional models. The D40 is Nikon's entry level model and would be fine, in terms of image quality. It's actually priced very well compared to other DSLR cameras. There is one issue, in that the D40 does not have an auto focus it can't auto focus with many of Nikon's lenses. This may not be an issue at first, but it may come up in a while when you want to start buying other lenses.

Canon's lens compatibility doesn't go back as far as Nikon...but every Canon Auto Focus (EF) lens will work with every Canon EOS SLR camera.

Any of the entry level DSLR cameras would probably be a good start. They should start at around $600. You may want to consider an upgrade to the lens, because the cheap lens that usually comes in the cheapest kit...isn't the best choice. Maybe consider about $400-$600 for a good lens or two.
You will need memory cards and I might recommend a good flash, which might be another couple hundred dollars.
How do I go about learning photoshop? Where is the best place to buy it?? How much does it cost? Thanks for all the help so far! I know I have a lot of questions but I've been learning a lot lately!
Practice, practice & practice. :er:
There are plenty of good books to help and there is plenty of stuff to read on the internet. A lot of colleges also offer classes in Photoshop. The full version of Photoshop (currently version CS3) is very expensive. You might want to start with Photoshop Elements...which is like Photoshop 'Lite'. It's much less expensive.
In my opinion, the D40/D40x is a limiting camera because it will only auto focus with lenses that have a focusing motor AF-S. You shouldn't go out and buy a $2000 camera just to find out its not really what you want. I would suggest starting out slow, maybe look at the Nikon D80, it's got good reviews, and with your remaining budget you can buy more lenses
Damn too slow, thanks Big Mike :) Yes Adobe has a free 30 day trial of Elements, which would be a good opportunity to try before you buy.
Thanks Big Mike! What books/resources would you suggest for learning more of the basics??
There are a lot of tutorials online for photoshop, YouTube has a few good ones. As for photography, look at the book Understanding Exposure, it's a great book. Also for an online reference:
What books/resources would you suggest for learning more of the basics??
I guess it depends on what level you are at. There are some 'For Dummies' books on the subject...they are fairly simplistic for an advanced user...but they may be great for a beginner. A Google search for 'Photoshop Turorial' will turn up a million good there is no shortage of things to read. :er:

'Understanding Exposure' is a good might also want to check out 'The Digital Photographer's Handbook'
If you want a decent image editor and you're short on cash, take a look at GIMP. I've used Photoshop before and it is probably better but don't overlook GIMP. It can do a lot of the same stuff Photoshop does. A lot of the tools are very similar as well.

I've never used Elements so I can't say how that compares to GIMP.

Most reactions