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Wants to learn

Dave Maciak

No longer a newbie, moving up!
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The other day a neighbor who knows I've been a life long devotee and active photographer told me his daughter, 19, college freshman, wanted to learn the craft. Her and her dad came over and asked what the best, and least expensive digital to learn with. I made my recommendation and the room went dead silent. I said "Start with film, not digital". What???? I told them what. Get a manual, 2nd hand 35mm. No "whiz bang loaded model. Just a TTL meter. Learn exposure, f stops, shutter speed, ISO,
(ASA?) How to compensate for brightness, darkness, and on and on.
It's more expensive these days but it will teach you so when you move up to a digital you'll be way ahead, through simple understanding. What you get in your images is what you get! And, don't be discouraged because you get a few "misses". That's how you learn.

PS She bought an old Pentax at a bargain price.
 
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I would have said go digital
You can play and learn . Still make the same errors worth out the cost of film an develop and printing
 
I would have said go digital
You can play and learn . Still make the same errors worth out the cost of film an develop and printing

Absolutely. There is no substitute for immediate feedback, make a change and again immediate feedback. Learning with a digital camera accelerates the learning process immensely. I speak from years of in-the-field direct experience. Digital cameras have shutters -- they do the same thing. Digital camera lenses have apertures -- they do the same thing. Digital cameras have internal light meters -- they do the same thing. ISO on digital cameras is different than film. Why learn film only to have to re-learn later with digital.
 
Actually I am going to agree to a point.
The film aspect is a good idea because though there is more in a wait and cost factor, its like teaching someone on a slide rule over that of a smart phone calculator app.
yeah its current and all, but you have to apply thought into film.
 
.............. I said "Start with film, not digital". What???? I told them what. Get a manual, 2nd hand 35mm. No "whiz bang loaded model. ........What you get in your images is what you get! And, don't be discouraged because you get a few "misses". That's how you learn.

PS She bought an old Pentax at a bargain price.
I respectfully disagree.

I learned computing on MS DOS without a graphical interface. I would never suggest to anyone that's the way everyone should learn about computers.
They will get into bad habits being limited by the number of exposures they can produce. How do they process the images?
How do they learn what autofocus is?
How can they post an image on a forum to get feedback?

The suggestion to start from film is just not practical.
 
They still teach it in high school with film cameras. IMO that is outdated. I don't have anything against film but it's expensive as a learning tool. I would have recommended a used Nikon 5000 series to start off with and the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Pederson as a great beginner's guide.
 
Actually I am going to agree to a point.
The film aspect is a good idea because though there is more in a wait and cost factor, its like teaching someone on a slide rule over that of a smart phone calculator app.
yeah its current and all, but you have to apply thought into film.

I went to the park yesterday and took photos with a digital camera. I didn't apply any less thought into what I did yesterday than I used to when I used film. I had to set an exposure just like I used to with film and I had to get accurate focus just like I used to with film. Concerns for shutter speed/movement were the same and concerns for DOF were the same; same amount of thought.
 
I come from a film background and I still apply the same care as I would film however as said digital means I can play with an idea some thing I could never do with film because of the cost
 
Too bad they don't make a manual only digital, would be the perfect student camera. The only way anyone will learn well is on a manual only camera. Humans are basically lazy and will flip that switch to auto all to often. And won't learn a thing that they need to know about the craft.
 
Were all film cameras all manual
I Can use my canon 600d in manual mode. When doing desktop I use all manual settings
 
Too bad they don't make a manual only digital, would be the perfect student camera. The only way anyone will learn well is on a manual only camera. Humans are basically lazy and will flip that switch to auto all to often. And won't learn a thing that they need to know about the craft.
That's the: it's not my fault I'm not grown up and can't control myself argument. And the premise is wrong. I teach beginners to use a camera set in Program mode in order to make sure they have full control over the camera exposure settings and the outcome.
 
And as soon as they leave the class and go out into the world, click, auto it is. I've tried to teach a few, but they just can't help themselves.
 
And as soon as they leave the class and go out into the world, click, auto it is. I've tried to teach a few, but they just can't help themselves.
I've taught many thousands and I know better.
I use my cameras in Program mode most of the time. That's because I insist on being in total control of the exposure parameters and I like efficiency.
 
Compromise:

Buy a DSLR. Set exposure mode to manual. Set white balance to manual. Turn off auto-focus. Turn off image preview.

You now have a digital 'film' camera from the 1970's.

Don't look at any of the images on the card until you get home to the computer.
 

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