Newbie needs some advice


TPF Noob!
Apr 25, 2009
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Hi all,

I really love taking pictures of just about everything. Lately, I have become more and more interested in photography (well developing it as a side gig).

I would like to take picture sessions or portraits of children, families, models,music artists, birthday pics, graduations, etc... (things like that). What type of camera is a good beginner camera that I should start off with? I really don't have a budget but I don't want to spend too much money to begin with as I need to practice first and then later invest in the really expensive stuff.

I've been hearing alot about Nikon D40 or 60 something. Can I use this type of camera to take shoots? I don't want to ask too many questions, but besides the camera itself what lens or anything else I will need?

Or if you can direct me to a beginners start up guide or something....any help is greatly appreciated.

btw...this will be the purchase of my first dslr
I have a D60 and although it is a good camera for learning, you may find some of the options rather limiting. Both the D40 and the D60 need AF-S lenses to auto-focus, so one of the most popular Nikon lenses (especially for portraits), the 50mm 1.8d AF, doesn't auto focus on these bodies due to their lack of a built in internal motor. So if you want to use AF, you have to find AF-S lenses. The other rather limiting thing I feel is a big problem is the 3 point AF system. The D90 has 11 points which give you a lot of options for choosing focus points. The 3 point system makes you use AF lock a lot and is really inconvenient. If you want a simple camera to use that can take good pictures, these are good, but your money is well spent by moving into the mid-range models like the D80 or D90 (trust me, I've learned the hard way).
I'm a noob also @ the photography scene...i recommend you first gather info and to know the basics of SLR Cameras that's the type of camera you are going to buy(so you know if you dont already) after that it's really about the budget really because once you know the basics you'll know what you'll want; even so people will mostly recommend Nikon D40; D60 or Cannon XS; Browse Around i Ultimately was Considering a Sony a200 and ended up buying an Olympus E-510 (2 Lens Outfit) can't be happier with it! so dont look around also look @ reviews and when you narrow it down to a few choices ask again!
In my humble opinion if you are just starting out you would be just fine with any DSLR and you'll learn a ton. I was in the same position about a month ago when I was shopping for my first camera. I got really bogged down in the technical aspects of the different cameras, technical aspects that I didn't fully understand. I didn't want to get the D40 because it has a lower megapixil count. I know most people say megapixil counts don't matter unless your blowing a picture up to very large sizes but my roomate works at a printing shop that does large prints and blueprints. I was concerned with megapixils because I was very interested in printing large prints eventually and I can get it done for almost nothing. It eventually just came down to me going to a local store and holding all the cameras I was considering in my hands for an extended period of time. I found the D60 felt best in my hands and ordered that one on amazon. I'm not sure how helpful this is but in my opinion for a beginer getting an entry level DSLR it really just comes down to which one feels right. Good luck!
Thanks so much for yall input. Yes, I've researched and read upon the basics of SLR cameras...and currently still researching, lol.

I've read quite a few reviews on the D40/D60, that's why I asked about it. Is there a big difference between the D80 & D90? (I'm going research the D90 right quick)

I think I may need to take a trip to the store and get the feel of it before I order it online.

I'm just so anxious to get started, but I don't want to make a mistake and purchase one that cannot do a good job.

No matter which one I buy, its going to be a learning curve anyway. I know I am not going to know what to do when I get it (LOL), practice makes perfect though.
D90- 12 megapixels, 11-AF points, Lens motor built into the body, 3" screen, CMOS sensor, more options to customize shots, and it shoots video if you need it to. Also controls Nikon flashes wirelessly, which is a big reason I want to upgrade.

So, I need a camera kit with lens? Which lens do I need to look for? Is there anything else I need to look for? or need to buy -dealing with the operation of the camera? Just need to know everything that I need so I can search it and total up my price. (I'll worry about the other equipment backdrops/lighting all that after I find out everything I need as for the camera goes)

I see some listings say camera body kit. (so thats the camera itself with nothing else - no lens or nothing)

Sorry dont mean to be asking dumb questions, just trying to get an understanding of things.
Well two things you need for sure are a camera body and lens. Whether you choose to buy them together or not is up to you, but you often see better pricing for the "kits". The listings/ads for body kits are probably just the body, bag, memory card and some other stuff which may not be of much use. Most of the consumer level DSLR's have typical kits you get them in, ex: D40 w/ 18-55mm lens. D60 w/ 18-55mm VR lens, D90 w/ 18-105mm VR lens. Canon, Pentax and Sony do too, but I am only really familiar with Nikon.

I don't know where you've been searching, but the D90 kit is around 1100 at J&R when you search using's cashback search engine. The discounts using this are only 2-5% for most of the retailers, but if you find stuff on Ebay, you get 14% off which is pretty significant. You'd have to read up on the details but that's what I've been using to price stuff lately.
Thanks alot you've been very helpful.

1100?? looks like I could get one for about $800 or $900 price range.

Is there a certain type of lens I should get? Most likely Im going to get the kit so.
$1100 was for the kit w/ the 18-105mm. The body you can get around $800 or so, but then you need to find a good lens to pair with it. I can't testify to the quality of the 18-105, but it covers a decent focal range and most of the newer Nikon lenses are pretty nice. Hope you find something that suits you well though!
Do take time to consider what it is that you have in mind. Your IP suggested that you wish to enter the business of 'studio' photography. If that is your goal take a bit of time to look at the work put out by the 'Mall' studios.

Be aware that their work is what your efforts will be judged against. Their work will be your minimum standard if you are to compete effectively.

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