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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to get into photography
Hey there. Ive always been amazed with some of the pictures people take and have been very interested in starting to take pictures of my own.

Im just curious what a decent beginners D SLR camera is. The local BestBuy has the Nikon D60 Kit with 18-55mm Lens on sale for $549.
Also are there any good websites for tutorials or books.

I read the article that Transcend wrote on the RM. Just looking for some more info.
Thanks guys.
 

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EDR
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I'm no expert but I bought a Rebel XTi a while back. Camera bodies in this price range imo are about equal. You can debate the fine points forever. The real picture taking quality comes from the lens. The Canon 50mm 1.8 is cheap as heck and makes a wonderful starting point. From there you can easily spend 2 or 3 times the cost of your camera body on good lenses. I'd suggest getting what feels best in your hand. For me it was the Rebel over the Nikon. FWIW Canon is more known for it's high speed lenses that work well with action pics and Nikon more respected for it's still picture prowess. As a newbie I don't think it really matters but again...... your choice now dictates what choices you have in the future. Lenses are too expensive for me (or most) to carry two different types of camera bodies.
 

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eatdrinkride said:
FWIW Canon is more known for it's high speed lenses that work well with action pics and Nikon more respected for it's still picture prowess. .
Yea I have never seen any nikons on the sidelines of any sporting events.:confused:
 

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senna said:
Yea I have never seen any nikons on the sidelines of any sporting events.:confused:
Don't be butt hurt. My statement was an broad general comparison of the two brands. It by no means was meant to imply that one or the other can only do one thing well. If you have some helpful info for the OP please share. I'm sure he/she would appreciate it.

It's not uncommon to see a flood of Canon 'L' type lenses on the sidelines of a baseball game.......and it's just as common to see a wedding photographer with a full kit of Nikon stuff. Of course you can use one for the other........jeesh.
 

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eatdrinkride said:
Don't be butt hurt. My statement was an broad general comparison of the two brands. It by no means was meant to imply that one or the other can only do one thing well. If you have some helpful info for the OP please share. I'm sure he/she would appreciate it.

It's not uncommon to see a flood of Canon 'L' type lenses on the sidelines of a baseball game.......and it's just as common to see a wedding photographer with a full kit of Nikon stuff. Of course you can use one for the other........jeesh.
You're rite I guess I am a little cranky, lets not get side track from the OP's question.


XJman note that the D40 and D60 both only can auto focus with AFS lens. they will not auto focus with screw drive type lens's
 

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IMO, a new camera isn't going to make you a good photographer. Composition is extremely important. Learn the basics of composition and lighting, then move to a higher quality camera. It's cheaper this way too...
 

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nachomc said:
IMO, a new camera isn't going to make you a good photographer. Composition is extremely important. Learn the basics of composition and lighting, then move to a higher quality camera. It's cheaper this way too...
I agree that a better camera is not going to make you a better photographer, but it is much easier to learn on a DSLR these days. Instead of having to wait and see how your photographs turn out, you can check them immediately. Also, film is very expensive to develop these days, especially if you don't develop your own.

I don't think you can go wrong with the Nikon or Canon offerings.
 

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ncfisherman said:
I agree that a better camera is not going to make you a better photographer, but it is much easier to learn on a DSLR these days. Instead of having to wait and see how your photographs turn out, you can check them immediately. Also, film is very expensive to develop these days, especially if you don't develop your own.

I don't think you can go wrong with the Nikon or Canon offerings.
What I was getting at, as opposed to film, is a less expensive digital camera that offers many manually adjustable features and good quality at a lower price-point than the DSLR cameras. My camera is a small Sony that takes pretty nice pictures, has full manual setting capabilities, but it doesn't cost in the $600+ range.
 

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I bought a Canon Rebel XTi a couple years ago and love it. I've learned a lot about technique and Photoshop.

If you do decide to go with the Canon route, here is a great forum:

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/

They have been a lot of help to me. You can ask just about any question and you are sure to get it answered. Photography is a fun hobby, and you can carry it over to any other you have (ie. mountain biking). If you are familiar with Photoshop, be sure to set your picture format to "RAW" so in photoshop you can edit a lot more things from your picture.
 

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It's much easier to learn how to operate a camera effectively when you have a DSLR... the controls are set up for efficiency of use when shooting in manual mode.

P&S are set up so it is easy to.... point... and shoot. You can go manual but generally speaking the controls are tiny and often buried through a lot of excessive clicking in the menus.

You don't need to spend tons of cash.

I bought a used Canon XTI last year with kit lens for $350 and it was essentially brand new. No, it wasn't hot. Just got lucky with a deal on CL. I sold my old Rebel for $300 the next week. Which I think I remember purchasing for $350 (used) a couple years earlier.

I have a decent lens that was a little over 3 bills, but kept that.

Shop around, do lots of reading, those articles on RM are good.

People say you can take good photos with a p&s and that is true. You can also ride trails on a huffy with a coaster brake and have a good time.
 

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I currently shoot all Canon (have a Rebel XT, 1D, 1D2, and 1Ds2), and I would suggest you either go with Nikon or Canon because both companies give the biggest selection of high quality lenses and have photo processors that are (slightly) superior to other brands.

Choosing the camera body is like choosing a bike frame - it's the central component, and dictates what kind of performance you're going to get with all the other components. If you choose the wrong kind of camera body for what you want to shoot, you're always going to be at a disadvantage regardless of what components you add to it.

Just as a bike frame could be good for AM, XC, FR, Road, etc, the camera body can be good for landscapes, action, dark scenes, compactness, ruggedness, etc. The same holds true for components such as lenses, flashes, etc. In order to choose the right camera body you first have to describe what kind of shooting you think you'll mainly do.

Some differences between Nikon and Canon, in general:

Nikon:
- better wide angle lenses
- better flash system
- lenses tend to be more expensive
- ergonomics are quicker to learn
- colours tend to be a little warmer

Canon:
- better telephoto lenses (telephoto is the opposite of a wide lens)
- lenses are a little less expensive
- more lenses are available with weather sealing (but are expensive)
- more options for strange/niche lenses
- colours tend to be a little cooler
- better compatibility with Photoshop when using RAW files (with jpeg files there is no difference Canon or Nikon)

DPReview is a popular website with reviews of most of the cameras you could consider buying. I suggest that you read up on some of the reviews and learn what the terminology is. Doing so will help you a lot in finding out what's important to you. All camera systems are full of compromises, so it's just a matter of finding out which compromises you can't tolerate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
nachomc said:
IMO, a new camera isn't going to make you a good photographer. Composition is extremely important. Learn the basics of composition and lighting, then move to a higher quality camera. It's cheaper this way too...
Yeah sorry it sounded like I said by buy a nice camera I would be able to take amazing pictures. Thats not what I meant. I just want to get into the hobby and would love to be able to eventually take picture like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OneTimeCRX said:
In order to choose the right camera body you first have to describe what kind of shooting you think you'll mainly do.
I think that most of what I would shoot would be action sports and landscapes in nature. MTB, snowboarding, skate/longboarding. Hills, mountians, lakes. I love to backpack and hike and would take it with me wherever I went too.
 

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Pete Fagerlin said:
Please elaborate.

I've been editing NEFs for years using Photoshop and I've never had compatibility issues.
I remember a time when Adobe RAW wasn't compatible with NEF because Nikon decided to close up (and possibly encrypt) their format. I think this was around the time of Photoshop CS1. Has this problem been fixed now? If so, I retract my statement about compatibility.

Also, Canon includes for free their own photo editing software which is quite good. Does Nikon still charge for their software?
 

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XJman07 said:
I think that most of what I would shoot would be action sports and landscapes in nature. MTB, snowboarding, skate/longboarding. Hills, mountians, lakes. I love to backpack and hike and would take it with me wherever I went too.
Assuming that you don't mean sports that involve a ball, it sounds like you're going to be shooting mainly with wider angles (so look for zoom lenses that cover 18-55mm to begin with). Anything with movement/action also dictates that the camera must have little delay between pressing the shutter button and the camera taking the photo. This means that DSLR's are the right tool, not point-n-shoots.

You'll be wanting to take the camera with you on hikes etc, so the camera needs to be light and small too. The entry level cameras by Nikon and Canon are quite small, and have plastic shells which are lighter than metal. Don't worry about durability of metal versus plastic, since if you hit the camera hard enough to break the plastic you probably would have broken a metal camera too (the internal parts are much more fragile than the plastic outer shell).

None of the entry-level cameras from Nikon or Canon are weather sealed, so you'll have to be careful about rain and mud. There might be other brands that have weather sealed entry level cameras (Olympus perhaps) but the lens selection won't be as good.

You'll also want a camera that shoots in dark conditions well, so look carefully at the camera's highest ISO rating. Being able to shoot at ISO 1600 or 3200 is almost a necessity. Most importantly, look at sample photos taken at such high ISO settings. Some cameras have so much noise at high ISO's that the photos are not usable.

Finally, don't get fixated on megapixels. My highest megapixel camera is the 1Ds2, which shoots at 16.7MP. However, my favourite camera to shoot with is the 1D, which only has 4.5MP. A camera 6MP will be plenty for most needs. Also remember that less megapixels means less computing requirements (faster computer, more storage space).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
OneTimeCRX...Thanks. Ton of great information.

I found a Canon Rebel Xti with zoom lens EF-S 18-55mm, lens cover, wide strap EW-100DBII, USB interface cable IFC-400PCU, NB-2LH battery, and SanDisk 1 GB Ultra II memory card all less than a year old on Craigslist for $380. Im thinking about picking it up this weekend. Would that be a good camera to start out with.
 

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XJman07 said:
OneTimeCRX...Thanks. Ton of great information.

I found a Canon Rebel Xti with zoom lens EF-S 18-55mm, lens cover, wide strap EW-100DBII, USB interface cable IFC-400PCU, NB-2LH battery, and SanDisk 1 GB Ultra II memory card all less than a year old on Craigslist for $380. Im thinking about picking it up this weekend. Would that be a good camera to start out with.
The XTi is a great camera to get. The price looks good too, though with craigslist you'll always have to be careful. I mostly buy used camera gear, and when I do I almost always buy from the Fred Miranda Forum's buy & sell board.

The EF-S 18-55 lens is a good one to start with, and is often under-rated and under-appreciated since it's so inexpensive. The first few shots you take will probably look horrible, but with some practice the picture quality will start to look better.

Make sure that you also get the battery charger, software cd, rear lens cap, and camera lens mount cap.

Some things to check:

- Make sure that the built-in flash works.
- Make sure that autofocus works: take photos of nearby objects then far away objects. Review the photos to make sure that the objects that you focussed on are not blurry.
- Check that the battery charger works.
- Check for dust on the sensor: Take a photo completely of the sky, then review the photo. Zoom in as far as you can, and scroll around to see if you can find any dark specks in the photo. Dark specks are dust on the sensor. A little bit of dust is normal and can be cleaned. Dark streaks and smears are more worrisome.
- Take the memory card out and check that the pins inside the card slot are straight and not damaged.
- Check that there are no scratches on the front or rear glass of the lens.
- Check for hot pixels: take a photo with the lens cap on. Review the photo, which should be black. Zoom in and scroll around, looking for bright spots in the photo. Very bright spots indicate hot pixels, which is a fault in the sensor. A couple hot pixels is common, but if you see many of them you should definitely not buy the camera.
- Take the lens off, and take a quick look at the mirror box. Make sure that there are no scratches or dust on the mirror. Do this quick so that you don't get dust inside there.
- Zoom the lens in and out. Make sure that the zoom ring moves smoothly and functions properly.
 
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