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  1. #31
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    Default Re: DSLR camera recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by dmccarty View Post
    Since she is trying to upgrade her photo skills, think seriously of buying a used camera. I am lucky in that there are still a couple of camera stores locally, well, 30-60 minutes drive local , and I would buy used equipment from them. That is saying something because I do NOT like buying used anything. I try to stay behind the technology curve as much as possible but with camera equipment, Nikon keeps figuring ways to get money out of my pocket. However, inexpensive DSLRs can do things that were simply not possible in the film days...

    By buying used you reduce your costs and it won't be painful if the camera is not used or if later she decides to buy a more expensive camera. The key thing with used cameras is the shutter count aka how many photos have been taken. The D700 shutter is rated for 150,000 photos and I had taken over 20,000. There was quite a bit of life left in the camera but the D800 had a couple of features I really really really wanted/needed so I traded up. Besides the shutter count, the problems to look for in a used camera are pretty much visible. Does the LCD have hot spots? Are there bad/hot pixels when taking a photo? Is the body in good condition? The camera store can tell you the shutter count and the camera might tell you somewhere in the menu system. On the latest Nikon's I have owned the shutter count can be found in the photo data.

    There are two types of lenses today that she needs to know about. There are lenses designed to work on the APS film sized sensors, or as Nikon calls them, DX sized sensors. Then there are lenses for the full frame aka 35mm sized sensors aka FX in Nikon language. Old 35mm lenses will work on both FX and DX DSLRs. DX lenses can be problematic on FX DSLRs. My guess is that more and more DSLRs are going to move to full frame/FX as the sensor technology gets cheaper.

    The DX vs FX sensor size is important not only because of the different lens types out there but also because the same lens works a bit differently on the different sensors. I have three prime lenses, a 24mm/F2.8, 50mm/F1.4, and a 105mm/F2.8. I would suggest getting a 24mm and 50mm lens to go with the camera. These lenses are very good for walking around type photography and landscapes, they provide danged good image quality and they are very inexpensive lenses. However, using those lenses on a DX camera gives a field of view of a 35mm, 75mm, and 150mm. I use the 24mm and 50mm lenses quite often and especially when travelling because they are small, light and I can carry the two lenses with a camera holster bag.

    Wildlife photography is a different critter, pun intended. To get quality images you have to fill up the camera frame which usually requires a long lens and/or the ability to get close to the animal(s). It ain't easy. I have been renting a 300mm/F4.0 lens to use with a teleconverter to get a 420mm/F5.6 lens. This is sorta hand hold able. Sorta. For awhile. That is a small and light lens compared to a 300mm/F2.8 or 400mm/F2.8 lens much less the 500mm and 600mm lenses. These other lenses are much heavier and require excellent tripods and tripod heads which are very expensive.

    I got a series of images with the 300mm/F4.0 and a 1.4 teleconverter last spring. I stood still, moving very little, for six hours to get a series of Osprey photos. The camera was setup on a tripod with a remote shutter release. Patience was a requirement.

    Attachment 296219

    The other extreme from wildlife photography is closeup photography which is why I have the 105mm lens. With a macro/micro lens there are quite a few images that people simply do not see because the subjects are small. Macro/Micro photography will require a remote shutter release and a decent tripod though. But it opens up a very large number of photo opportunities that are all over the place. It ain't easy getting photos of birds that move around. Flowers don't move that much unless it is windy.

    A great place to learn photography, get reviews and advice is Photography community, including forums, reviews, and galleries from Photo.net. The website was one of the first websites on the web. It is ancient in Internet Time and has very active forum areas. The general photography information is very good as well. There are other sites out there but this is the best all around photo website I have found. The site can be a bit slow though. Digital Photography Review is another decent site. There is a guy name Ken Rockwell who has a site which I would use carefully. If looking for just specifications on equipment he is fine but he is a bit of an odd ball. The Hogan site I linked previously is much better for hands on reviews though it is mostly Nikon based.

    Later,
    Dan
    Quote Originally Posted by JBourquin View Post
    I wont write you a book but I see noone has mentioned Ken Rockwell yet. One of the best/most informational sites I've found. He really brings it down to a level even I can understand.

    Oh, and I love my Nikons..
    Ken Rockwell is quite criticized for some reason among "professional" photographers. I am not sure exactly why, but I have heard his name quite a bit (usually in a negative way) on another photography forum that I go on sometimes. I haven't been there for a while, and am quite surprised at the amount of others on here that are into photography. I thought I would have been more of an oddball here. I won't beat a dead horse, as you have been given a lot of good advice. I am a canon guy (probably because my dad was and that is what I learned on and what I am used to) but reading on that other forum www.thephotoforum.com, has really opened my mind that Nikon, as well as some others are also out there and should not be discounted.

    Be careful on that forum as a newbie, I have seen people get pummeled for asking the wrong question. A lot of ego over there and some (not all) don't always respond well to "newbies". Some are receptive, but others think that they are the best in the art and no one new could possibly have the capacity to learn. I was lucky enough to tread lightly and word questions/responses carefully. Don't ask the dreaded "I am an amateur and need advice on doing my cousins wedding" question.

    The question you asked here is similar to a "I want a tractor, what should I buy?" on this forum... it depends on what you want to do with it, how much you want to spend, and what your experience level is. It is not however always responded to in the mature, helpful fashion that it usually is here. Just warning you.

  2. #32
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    Default Re: DSLR camera recommendations

    I have a Canon T3i that I really enjoy. I'm not a true "professional" but I do use mine to document my son's football games and make a little (ie: miniscule) income by selling them at the end of the year to all the parents/grandparents of the players. These videos are a mixture of stills and video that I take throughout the year then edit together. I've worked hard to achieve the camera skills I have and I am still severely lacking in that area but these new cameras seem really good to me. I know a guy that used to take the team photos for my older son and he swore he would NEVER switch to digital. Last time I spoke with him he had and was really enjoying it.

    While I think I'm partial to Canon's, I might very well try a Nikon the next time I get a camera. I shot some with my Brother-in-law's Nikon and was impressed by how well it handled. I also was very impressed with the quality of the screen on the back of that camera. WOW! The photos I took looked STUNNING on that little screen, but I don't know how they translated to a real monitor or prints because I didn't obtain finals of them.

    Photography is not just about taking a picture anymore though. There are so many things that can be done after you take a photo to 'tweak' it so that it looks much better than it did originally, but then that is a whole different skill set that needs to be learned!!!

    Ol' Dad was right again, you never, ever stop learning, that's for sure!!!

    Mike
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  3. #33
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    Default Re: DSLR camera recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by mikehaugen View Post
    Ken Rockwell is quite criticized for some reason among "professional" photographers. I am not sure exactly why, but I have heard his name quite a bit (usually in a negative way) on another photography forum that I go on sometimes....
    Put simply, Ken is a nut. If you poke around on his website you will find, or at least you could find in the past, that Rockwell has some interesting beliefs. Now that does not mean his camera advice is wrong but I seen him say things about equipment that was wrong. Rockwell makes a living from his website, nothing wrong with that of course, I wish I could, but he begs people for money by using his family and he also seems to say things about camera's that are not true to drive traffic to his site. People have said that he seems to write is reviews based on what will make him the most money. I have not seen this but I don't visit his website that much since there are better sources for reviews and specifications on the web.

    Having said all of the above, I surfed into some new to me photo websites and I was a bit shocked at how much dislike there is for Rockwell.

    Later,
    Dan

  4. #34
    Gold Member Pine Strip's Avatar
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    Default Re: DSLR camera recommendations

    Not trying to change the subject, What's your thoughts on this ('Code of Conduct') ?

    A Reprint;

    " Seems that the good old U.S.A. that I once knew and the freedoms that I have enjoyed for most of my many years are coming to an end is this country. Yesterday we were shopping in Cool Springs Galleria in Franklin. I was wandering around, because I'm not much on shopping, while the others were in the stores. I had my camera and was taking some photos of the central area where Christmas decorations ...were still in place and just enjoying my photographic passion. A Security Officer approached me and told me I could not take photographs inside the mall. I supposed I looked dumfounded at first, then said "you gotta be s!@#$@! me". He said that it was the Mall regulatiions and that he was just doing what he was told to do. After venting on the poor guys a minute, I apologized and told him I knew he was just doing his job. I asked where the Mall office was, he gave me directions, and I proceeded there.

    I asked the lady at one of desks for a copy of the Mall regulations and she replied that they are on their website but asked if I would like to talk to the Mall General Manager. I replied "yes". During my discussion with him I was told that the mall was private property and that they did not allow photography for security and privacy issues. I told him that I thought that was wrong and that I believe the our U.S. Constitution protected my rights to do what I was doing in a place open to the public. He was rather short with me in saying that the mall was open to the public however it was still private property and they had rules. He said that the 'Code of Conduct' was posted on signs at the Mall entrances and on the Mall's website. I put the camera away and left the mall. On the way out I stopped to read the sign the manager had told me about. Nowhere on this sign is any mention of photography. When I got home I looked up the Cool Spring's Galleria website and the link to the 'Code of Conduct'. Again, no mention about any restrictions on photography.


    I googled 'is photography in malls illegal' and got a lot of hits. Seems as if this has happened to many others in various places in the country. Some say that the malls don't have the authority to enforce this and others say they do because, although its open to the public, its private property.
    Well, in a follow-up email to the mall manager, I again told him why that I thought such rules were completely out of place in a 'free society'. I also mentioned that I would not be back taking any photographs nor be back for any other reason. I really wanted to tell him to 'stick his mall' , but I didn't. I'm sure high society Franklin will miss my meager contribution the their economy.
    I feel sorry for our young people that have many more years to live in what used to be a great country. Politics. laws, political correctness, unchecked illegal immigration, and a declining economy mostly affecting the middle class are ruining America. And commenting again on my mall experience I guess we are becoming more like China or Russia as time goes by."

  5. #35
    Veteran Member troutsqueezer's Avatar
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    Default Re: DSLR camera recommendations

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  6. #36
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    Default Re: DSLR camera recommendations

    The mall is private property and they can do pretty much as they wish. Do you think you can limit what someone does on your property?

    My understanding as to WHY malls have these rules is because their tenants don't want their store fronts photographed. Seems very dumb to me but the stores try to limit photographs of their window displays. How they think they can prevent images being taken with so many people carrying smart phones is beyond me. I was using my phone to take photos at Lowes the other day of the prices of lumber and I know I am not the only person to use the smart phone camera this way.

    I don't buy the security argument for a variety of reasons but I have heard it mentioned.

    Charlotte, NC is supposed to have some streets near banks that appear to be public but are actually owned by the bank(s). Generally, you take take photos of anyone in a public space, but supposedly security at these bank(s) can legally chase away photographers because the road is private.

    While the mall can forbid taking photos, once the images has been taken, it is yours. The nonsense of being forced to give up your film, while it has happened in the US, is not legal. If someone wants the images they have to go to court. The only exception is certain government facilities.

    Disney World is very open to photographers but I have heard that Universal is NOT. Universal will not let you in the gate if you have "professional' equipment. The rationalization I have heard for this ban is because they have so many copyrighted images here and there in the park. Course, Disney has the same copyrighted images yet they allow and encourage photographers. HOW the images can be used is protected by law and Disney and Universal certainly have the legal ability and money to protect their copyright. Universal's ban makes no sense to me either.

    Later,
    Dan

  7. #37
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    Default Re: DSLR camera recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Fossil Farm View Post
    She may want to pick up a film SLR to practice with also, since they are so cheap now, just to get a better feel of how an SLR works and what can be done with it.
    I realize that this is just a matter of opinion, but I could not disagree more. Film cameras are the last thing for a budding photographer to use. The instant feedback of digital really makes the learning curve a lot shorter. The ability to make settings, including ISO, and instantly see the result, then change settings, take the photo again, and see the difference, cannot be matched by film. Also, you can take hundreds of shots without processing costs. Also, you don't have the inconsistency of a processing lab "fixing" your photos for you, making it impossible to tell whether what you did in the camera worked or not.

    I would recommend a quality digital point-and-shoot before I would recommend a film SLR.

    Final thought regarding cost: If a film SLR costs $100 and a digital SLR costs $400, how many rolls of film (including processing) does it take before you break even? I did a little looking around, and it looks like film costs between 8 and 12 cents per frame, and processing is about 45 cents per frame. So let's say 55 cents per frame is the price for film, developed. For the cost of 800 film photos, you can buy a new DSLR. 800 photos might sound like a lot, but I know some enthusiastic photographers who will crank out that many over a single family vacation.

  8. #38
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    Default Re: DSLR camera recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuabardwell View Post
    I realize that this is just a matter of opinion, but I could not disagree more. Film cameras are the last thing for a budding photographer to use. The instant feedback of digital really makes the learning curve a lot shorter. The ability to make settings, including ISO, and instantly see the result, then change settings, take the photo again, and see the difference, cannot be matched by film. Also, you can take hundreds of shots without processing costs. Also, you don't have the inconsistency of a processing lab "fixing" your photos for you, making it impossible to tell whether what you did in the camera worked or not.

    I would recommend a quality digital point-and-shoot before I would recommend a film SLR.

    Final thought regarding cost: If a film SLR costs $100 and a digital SLR costs $400, how many rolls of film (including processing) does it take before you break even? I did a little looking around, and it looks like film costs between 8 and 12 cents per frame, and processing is about 45 cents per frame. So let's say 55 cents per frame is the price for film, developed. For the cost of 800 film photos, you can buy a new DSLR. 800 photos might sound like a lot, but I know some enthusiastic photographers who will crank out that many over a single family vacation.
    I agree with your film and developing costs. The good thing about digital is that you can process your own images without needing a dark room. Being able to simply crop an image is so simple and can drastically change the image. You just can't do that easily with film.

    I have heard of people taking 2,000 images on a vacation and I have done around a 1,000. A bad thing about digital is that one can pray and spray and hope they get a good image. When a photograph was costing .50 to $1 you took photos a bit more carefully. On the other hand, one can try out things with digital and it does not really cost. A HUGE advantage of a DSLR over an SLR is you can change the ISO from image to image. With film you are stuck with the ISO on the roll until you use all of the frames. My DSLR allows me to set the ISO to provide me a given shutter speed which is just so danged helpful. This is just impossible with film.

    I was very sad when Kodachrome left the market but film has too many limitations.

    Later,
    Dan

  9. #39
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    Default Re: DSLR camera recommendations

    I have taken pictures like that, just to come up with with 10-30 great ones. But, that was with a lot of bracketing, and a lot of action. Any with exposure not perfect, focus perfect, depth of field etc, where just tossed.

    Seen people take tons of pictures, that may be great memories. But, they had tons of mediocre pictures. Quantity does not equal quality.

    Key is to learn the basics, whether using film or digital. Rule of thirds, depth of filed, braketing etc.

    The trip to Alaska my wife and I took in 2001, that I provided link to earlier(our guides site...). This was before digital, but we took 3200 frames of slide, and another 400 or so print film. We tossed out soooo many, because of not quite focused, dark, bright etc. We have a presentation of about 120 frames, with another 40 or so that are really good(120 slides is really a lot for; most lose their audience before that).

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuabardwell View Post
    For the cost of 800 film photos, you can buy a new DSLR. 800 photos might sound like a lot, but I know some enthusiastic photographers who will crank out that many over a single family vacation.
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  10. #40
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    Default Re: DSLR camera recommendations

    For anyone getting serious, I always advise a photo class, even at the local JC. Good composition, rule of thirds , and sorting your photo's(ie tossing the ones that are not good; that was hard for me).

    I learned photography initially in 8th grade. Was in 1st of the new photo class and lab. Learned on a Pentax K1000 full manual camera, shooting black and white.

    I still think the best thing a new photographer can do, is set their camera to manual mode and start with the basics.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmccarty View Post
    I agree with your film and developing costs. The good thing about digital is that you can process your own images without needing a dark room. Being able to simply crop an image is so simple and can drastically change the image. You just can't do that easily with film.

    I have heard of people taking 2,000 images on a vacation and I have done around a 1,000. A bad thing about digital is that one can pray and spray and hope they get a good image. When a photograph was costing .50 to $1 you took photos a bit more carefully. On the other hand, one can try out things with digital and it does not really cost.
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

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