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First time DSLR recommendation


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Showing 76-100 of 136 posts in this discussion
Posted on 9 Jan 2013 22:22:22 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Feb 2013 23:19:23 GMT
Zelazowa says:
Helpful advice but I think that "DSLR" photography has confused a lot of people new to photography and then ironically there is the "auto" button!
The DSLR can distance people from a better understanding of photography with its all singing, all dancing complicated array of menu options.
"You'll get better by taking plenty of shots"... not sure about that though it worked for Bobby Charlton!
To get started in photography you can't beat a quality manual film SLR... Nikon, Olympus, Canon... even Praktica... later if you do go for a DSLR you'll be able to see through all the cobblers in their menus and use the camera with more understanding.

As you warn... "DSLR photography is expensive" so just one suggestion:

Praktica MTL5 + 50mm lens
Rolls of 35mm film and develop
Michael Langford's 35mm handbook!... all at an absolute fraction of the cost of the excellent D3100 or any other DSLR

Any beginner photographer will learn so much and more quickly with the simplest of SLR 35mm manual film cameras.

If by now Mr Skywasher has left the building I totally understand!

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 23:09:22 GMT
Neill says:
Zelazowa, you deserve to be spoken to rudely because you are rude. You pick fights with people which is what you did by quoting everybody and adding sneering remarks at the end. You're picking an argument with people and deliberately misinterpreting what they say so you can patronise them.....maybe you should grow up a little.

If you don't understand something maybe you should think about it before rushing in to typing a response.

Rage-quoting is when a particularly self absorbed person starts quoting everybody in an online discussion in an attempt to dominate other people....like you just did in your last comment. I guess it turns you on or something.

Hysterical punctuation is one of your favourite things. It involves using multiple exclamation marks. Using a single exclamation mark at the end of every sentence is a sign somebody is over excited. Using three means they are hysterical....I don't think you're very well versed in human communication.

I encounter a lot of people like you on the internet, normally activists and others like yourself with personality issues.

Photomontage is just a creative method, not an illusion. Op art is illusory.

Something you've never explained is why you think that a beginner will develop a better understanding from using film when the learning process is immediate using DSLR and the techniques are the same"!!!"

So please amuse me by explaining your theory as to why learning to do the same thing and using the same control methods on film and waiting for the results is somehow likely to be a better training method than doing it where the results can be seen on the LCD instantly.

Clearly you struggle with technology in the same way you struggle with social skills.

TJSs request was not for advice on a first time camera, was it? It was for advice on a first time DSLR. It helps if you read questions before commenting.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013 23:59:47 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2013 11:14:47 GMT
Neill says:
You're welcome.

The methods of D/SLR photography are a bit more organic than a lot of technology. Remember to look primarily for how to control ISO, aperture, shutter speed and how to adjust metering. If you shoot RAW, you won't have to worry about whether you shoot in whatever style as that and countless other things can be adjusted including white balance.

I believe SDXC is listed as compatible but if you don't do this normally, format the card in the device you are using it in. They always work quicker and are less likely to corrupt files.

Found this which will be useful for you. You can learn a fair bit by watching it with your camera in your hands. He disagrees with people like me who say you should shoot manual all the time which made me laugh but he explains the basics pretty well and for your camera. You'll find there's a bit of snobbery in photography but by beginning shooting in manual and RAW you'll learn more and a have more credibility with other photographers because you're doing it properly. A lot of us cringe at the people buying really high end DSLRs and only using auto...I facepalm when I hear it. As soon as you put your first shooting session on your computer and play around with the RAW/NEFs, you'll see what I mean...and if you shot full manual, it's your creation totally and you'll feel the accomplishment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laKpF-el_ak

Reservoirs are good places and water corrodes stuff so you'll find some interesting rusty chains and dried out wood, probably. Decrepit objects always look good if you get the lighting right. That's where the real learning happens. When you learn the theory and how to operate the camera, that's the beginning but it's actually in taking the pictures that you learn and then by looking at other images that you learn what you like and start to get creative and expressive with your shots.

Documentary shooting at weddings and events are great for learning and it's best that people don't know they are being photographed. They look natural and real and you capture great moments.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jan 2013 23:35:24 GMT
PhilD says:
Just spent a very enjoyable half hour reading through this thread. The film vs. digital debate never fails to make me smile. It seems to crop up very frequently even when the thread started out having nothing to do with it. Here's a random selection of my views on the subject:

D3100 - superb choice. Beginner or pro, it takes brilliant photos. I have one. For the money, unbeatable.

The best photos I've ever taken are all on film. In the last couple of years since I started using it again. For portraits, a fast 50mm lens on a SLR loaded with Fuji 400CN is unbeatable.

The best DIGITAL photos I've ever taken were on an old Canon D30. 3 megapixels. For consistency its not great, but when it (or I) get it right, its amazing.

I have a Sony Nex-5. Its terrible. By which I mean, the images it produces are terrible.

I have only ever printed about 5 photos larger than A4. I've no doubt that my dear old 3MP D30 would suffer if subjected to an A3 enlargement, but up to A4, its as good as modern 'high' resolution cameras. With the right lens.

Film photography has reminded me just how important a good lens is. The tones & sharpness show off a bad lens much more than with a digital camera. I can clearly see the difference between my (very good) Tokina 28mm and my (exceptionally sharp) Zuiko 28mm when viewing film images from my OM2N, but cannot see much difference when they are mounted on my Nex-5.

I love the purity of taking a film image which is fixed at the moment I press the shutter, and I also enjoy fooling around with HDR images in Photoshop. They are different things to me.

If you've never felt the smooth wind-on of a well tuned Pentax Spotmatic, you haven't lived. Its a sensual experience.

But again, congratulations on the D3100. You will love it.

Phil
Nikon D3100
Canon 10D
Canon D30
Sony Nex-5 (it's my wife's, I deny ownership of the horrible little thing)
Nikon F50
Nikon FM
Olympus OM1
Olympus OM2N
Pentax Spotmatic
Pentax P30
Pentax ME Super
Pentax MV1
Zorki 4

Posted on 24 Jan 2013 15:58:07 GMT
Having learned using a 2nd hand OM-1, then picking up a TLR and now using a Canon 600D with a Tamron 17-50mm 2.8F I can get great shots quickly, see if my settings are working or not and then carry on, I'm more than happy with some of my results as a novice DSLR user, but my best shots were taken using a TLR shooting 120 into a setting sun using a lightmeter. But there's no way I would have shot my sisters wedding on film, far too risky, digital offers us security and piece of mind.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013 18:20:12 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
So, Phil, it's cameras at dawn. Already as I type, my Seconds are in touch with yours for the shoot out. Your Pentax Spotmatic against my Leica R7, or even my 1961 Contax IIIa for smoothness of wind-on. OK, the IIIa is a knob wind, but you should see the counter rotating dial in the centre of the knob, with the frame counter always, always, coming to rest against the indicator mark. Even with this extra gearing it is remarkably smooth. Then you will realise that you haven't lived. :-)

I'm with you on the less than satisfactory performance of the Sony Nex5, although I wouldn't go as far as saying it was terrible. Not the best APS-C sensor performer, yes, but certainly not terrible. But using a Nex5 to judge lens performance in the film world would be the equivalent of using lower quality film. Now, only a slight change of name in the 5N, but a completely different beast and with the right glass mounted on it, it will give any DSLR a run for its money in pure imaging terms, albeit not to the stratospheric high ISO settings that Canon and Nikon like. I own both versions of the Nex 5, so can comment with confidence, but I am not alone in my praise for the 5N, dpreview and stevehuffphoto amongst others, also praise it.

Surprisingly, the few Olympus optics I own, the f1.2/50, the f1.8/50 and the f4/35-70 zoom work remarkably well coupled to the 5N.

Posted on 24 Jan 2013 19:46:18 GMT
PhilD says:
Stop it T.J., your Contax talk is making me moist. My Spotmatic is feeling inadequate now.

But seriously, I'm very interested in your comments about the Nex-5N compared to the original Nex-5. Obviously I already have the relevant adapters to use most of my old lenses with the Nex system, and the Sony lenses, so a body to go with them with superb image quality would be great, and the Nex-5N body only is quite reasonably priced secondhand now.
My issues with my Nex-5 are as follows; I'd be interested to hear your views, and particularly, how the Nex-5N addresses these issues:

Autofocus very poor, particularly with portraits, particularly when using the centre spot (which is my preference). Around 60% of shots out of focus. This improves significantly when using the area autofocus, but then I can't choose where it focuses, obviously. This has occurred with both the 18-55mm lens and the 16mm lens, so its a body issue. I almost always use manual focus now, which is very good on the Nex-5, but I need autofocus too.

Weird, 'digital' look to printed images. I can't explain it any better than that, but the Panasonic GF2 that I used for a while had a much, much more natural look. Different league.

Lack of sharpness. Again, the GF2 blew it out of the water in this respect.

I realise it's possible I have a duff Nex-5, but I have read reviews that highlight these issues to a greater or lesser extent, so I'd be very interested to hear any comments.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013 21:39:41 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
Phil,

Yes, the Contax is a beaut, and the meter works!

Generally speaking, all the issues you raise with the 5 are established, although to be honest, I never had an autofocus error, even with the kit lenses, 16mm and the 18-55 zoom. As you, I much prefer the spot focus and with a half depression on the shutter button to hold focus and re-compose if necessary. This is the digital equivalent of focusing using my manual focus cameras; I never owned an auto-focusing film camera. A 60% miss rate clearly points to a fault, IMO.

I believe we all differ in our approach to technical image quality, be it a "digital" or film-like look, and I must confess my initial disappointment with the images from my 5 were more to do with the average performance of the kit zoom, and moving up to my second APS-C sensor camera (the first is my Sony R1 bridge camera - and believe me that is something else entirely) and an anticipation and expectation that were not completely fulfilled. Compared to my preferred travel camera at the time, my Lumix LX3, I could see where the Nex5 did have some advantages, in the area of noise particularly, but still I felt something was missing. So when the 5N came out I bought it straight away as it had a big advantage over the 5, and one that I knew would improve my percentage of successfully sharp images as I could hold it like a proper camera - it could take an add-on EVF, and at 2.3m dots, what an EVF.

I don't know what they did at Sony, but the 5N was revelation. Images with the right optics are superb, but bizarrely, the performance even of the standard kit lenses was, or certainly appears to be improved. And noise is well controlled, and I don't mean testing to 12,800 ISO, but within the range mere mortals tend to use on a regular basis. Unless you are already used to good DSLR noise levels, 800 ISO, for example, is superb and could surprise you. I use a variety of legacy 35mm lenses via cheap adapters, but by choice I prefer my Leica R lenses which are a lucky match. I also make a lot of use of the cheap Sigma f2.8/30mm lens, which is quite simply, superb. On tests carried out by a US lens hire company (they have to test all lenses going out and being returned for performance/damage) this bettered a Leica Summilux up to f4.

I was recently at the National Motorcycle Museum and set the 5N to 800 ISO for the indoors shots. It was sunny outside, so this help a little with the indoor lighting. I have to keep checking the exif data to confirm I was shooting at 800. If I were to describe the image quality I would say it veers towards the silky/creamy smoothness of 120 FP4; it has less of that digital look that one often sees.

I use the EVF almost exlusively, it is superb but it is not cheap. It currently retails for around £220. With it, manual focusing legacy lenses becomes almost a doddle using the focus peaking function. Manually focusing precisely using the screen only is not easy to judge, especially used outdoors. With the EVF I would argue it is easier than with an APS dslr as the electronic image is so large and sharp. And, despite a slight image lag, I would say it is far superior indoors as the camera boosts image brightness, which of course, the optical system of a dslr can't do.

As you have spotted, 5N's can be bought quite reasonably second hand now, and so if you like the form factor, I would seriously suggest you seek one out. Apart from a very similar body, in performance the 5 and 5N are like chalk and cheese. And, hey, you can even use you Canon and Oly lenses on it!

Posted on 24 Jan 2013 22:11:05 GMT
PhilD says:
T. J.,
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I have had a look at some of the sample shots on review sites using the standard 18-55mm zoom and they do look far superior to the Nex-5. And I love the look of the little Sigma 30mm; its a focal length I like on APS-C sensor cameras.

Once again my poor Spotmatic is humiliated by the Contax; the meter is long dead. Sunny 11 rule only for me.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013 22:23:13 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
Hi, Phil.

Does anything actually work on your Spotmatic? :-) My Contax is German. Ooops, just shot myself in the foot.

The little Sigma gives an equivalent angle of view of 45mm in film terms, which I rather like. It has recently seen a significant reduction in price. I bought mine here, for £148.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Sigma-30mm-f2-8-EX-DN-Sony-E-Mount-NEX-Fit-/400359186158?pt=UK_Lenses_Filters_Lenses&hash=item5d37445eee

Posted on 24 Jan 2013 22:35:44 GMT
PhilD says:
T.J.,
Now you're just insulting the poor old thing! Everything works except the meter. Its almost mint, and due to a poorly written and photographed ebay listing and a little risk from myself, I got it for pennies. It even came with a mint original case with it. Kinda makes up a little for the £400 I wasted on the Nex-5!

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013 22:54:33 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
Phil,

On behalf of my Contax, I apologise.

Functioning meter or not, looks like you got a bargain. Is the meter beyond redemption?

Does this help?

http://www.flickr.com/groups/spotmatic/discuss/72157603635944896/

Posted on 25 Jan 2013 12:50:17 GMT
PhilD says:
T.J.,
I haven't bothered to investigate to be honest, because I found I quite enjoy estimating the exposure, and I get pretty good results. The Zorki is even more fun; I wear glasses so can only see about 10% of the viewfinder, just enough to see & use the rangefinder. So exposure and composition are estimated. Focus is always spot on though!

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jan 2013 00:56:50 GMT
Neill says:
This was just a cunning ruse to turn the thread back to film...start a new thread ffs.

Posted on 26 Jan 2013 01:16:30 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Jan 2013 01:18:34 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
It just goes to show how easy it is for photographers who have no definite bias towards film or digital and who, in fact, get pleasure from using both form factors, can happily discuss their hobby without taking sides. I don't see a plot.

And can you explain to a 67 year old what ffs means, please?

Posted on 26 Jan 2013 01:34:40 GMT
Neill says:
If you're polite, you probably don't want to know what ffs but it's the more obscene cousin of "for Christ's sake" which clearly prefers to not blaspheme.

And for what it's worth I am impartial, I like both film and digital but film is so much more expensive and impractical for me that I hardly use it.

Posted on 26 Jan 2013 11:11:23 GMT
PhilD says:
The cost is higher, but its a leisure pursuit. I also keep marine fish as a leisure pursuit, which costs many times more each month than a few rolls of film. I don't drink or smoke (any more!) and in comparison to such things the cost is small.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 03:46:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Feb 2013 23:23:18 GMT
Zelazowa says:
Helpful advice but I think that "DSLR" photography has confused a lot of people new to photography and then ironically there is the "auto" button!
The DSLR can distance people from a better understanding of photography with its all singing, all dancing complicated array of menu options.
"You'll get better by taking plenty of shots"... not sure about that though it worked for Bobby Charlton!
To get started in photography you can't beat a quality manual film SLR... Nikon, Olympus, Canon... even Praktica... later if you do go for a DSLR you'll be able to see through all the cobblers in their menus and use the camera with more understanding.

As you warn... "DSLR photography is expensive" so just one suggestion:

Praktica MTL5 + 50mm lens
Rolls of 35mm film and develop
Michael Langford's 35mm handbook!... all at an absolute fraction of the cost of the excellent D3100 or any other DSLR

Any beginner photographer will learn so much and more quickly with the simplest of SLR 35mm manual film cameras.
If you also buy yourself a DSLR then one camera can compliment the other!

If by now Mr Skywasher has left the building I totally understand!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 11:13:46 GMT
Neill says:
Zelazowa,

What you still don't grasp is that you chose to ridicule other people. When you talk down to people as you did, you may well be humoured by most but if you do it long enough, you will inevitably encounter people, like me who will not put up with it.

It was really your post on the 7th of January which was the peak of uncalled for, rude, patronising obnoxiousness. Sadly you can't see that you have been rude to so many in that post.

Your snide jibes at others are personal and uncalled for. If you control your lack of manners, others will have no need to control their responses.

Finally, I encounter many people with your lack of manners because that is the nature of the internet and sadly society.

Read back your post on the 7th and consider seriously whether you would be happy being spoken to by anybody the way you spoke to myself and others...and I wasn't the only one to pick you up on your deliberate misinterpretation of what we had said.

So now you can stop playing the victim, you were the aggressor.

You chose to be rude to myself and others, by doing so you consent to others taking the same tone in reply...or you could choose to be polite, the way that society has learned is more civilised and unproblematic.

And trust me when I say this, I've been more polite to you than you deserve. You'll notice I continued an ordinary conversation with others because that's what this is supposed to be, a conversation, not a tantrum space for you.

Posted on 4 Feb 2013 11:18:37 GMT
Neill says:
Zelazowa, this was your post of the 7th January, re-read it. You should be embarrassed by what you wrote.

Posted on 7 Jan 2013 15:55:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Jan 2013 15:58:10 GMT

Zelazowa says:
" I am a complete newbie to photography so don't know a thing about shutter speeds, apertures, ISO, all the technical differences between lenses, etc. So would love to learn all the technical stuff and how it relates to actually using the camera and taking photos" from TJS' last post.

Mr Skywasher has now bought his camera and it looks very good but clearly the DSLR camera in itself is not enough as TJS does not have an understanding of cameras and photography.

"So would love to learn all the technical stuff and how it relates to actually using the camera and taking photos" Most of the advice above seems to suggest that once you have the DSLR you're up and away? Clearly for Mr Skywasher having an excellent Nikon DSLR he still feels at a loss photographically.

Neal... you may have an understanding of "Exif" data... in your next post explain that to TJS who is a newbie..... and specifically how that relates to photography?
And Neal... " I remember a lot of frustration and the bad points" [concerning film]... so there are none with the digitals??!!

James... "I can't see it being that appealing to someone new to photography." ? Based on that logic photography would have died out in the "film" era...

GEH... "but I now prefer film for anything important".....
Neal ... " For me, I see no reason to use film now".....
GEH... "I'd go with Neal on this one"...

Neal... " As soon as digital hit 10 megapixels and I saw some superb images, it was like being set free."
Don't confuse mega megapixels with quality images and why had you felt incarcerated?!

Doc... are all the contributors to the "Film Corner... JUST film, not digital"... "guilty of nostalgia"?! ....and if there is nostalgia why feel guilty?!

GEH..."But the DSLR experience has given me the confidence to do things properly with film."... was this during your digital sickness or after?!!!
I think also a film SLR would have given you the confidence and much more to do things "properly" and just think, you'd have avoided that "sick of digital" feeling too!!!

My point isn't film over digital but that using a simple manual good film SLR [Nikon!/Olympus!] will really help Mr Skywasher develop a better understanding of photography.

Nice to see you are still in the building, TJS! and that you have bought an excellent Nikon.
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Posted on 4 Feb 2013 12:04:17 GMT
Neill says:
And Zelazowa so I can correct you on the subject of learning by 35mm side by side with DSLR, read up:

http://londonschoolofphotography.com/id30.html

"For all our photography courses you need a Digital Camera with Fully Manual Exposure Mode, (DSLR or Pro-User/Compact/Bridge Camera).
We do recommend learning photography with your own camera."

"10) Which camera do you recommend buying?
We recommend the following cameras kits on an entry level:
CANON 600D body + 18-200mm lens (Canon or Sigma) or Standard 18 to 55mm lens.
NIKON D5100 body + 18-200mm lens (Nikon or Sigma) or Standard 18 to 55mm lens. "

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 12:58:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2013 12:59:08 GMT
I'd say to all parties - let it go. Offence probably wasn't meant and sometimes points can end up sounding patronising or whatever unintentionally.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 14:51:06 GMT
Neill says:
It was let gone.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Feb 2013 15:22:07 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Feb 2013 15:22:26 GMT
Hi Neal,
On a different subject - I note you have used GIMP. How does it compare with the stuff bundled by the manufacturer? I really do need to start using RAW a lot more.

Posted on 4 Feb 2013 16:31:23 GMT
Neill says:
Gimp has it's good points and bad points really depending on what you need it to do.

I use Canon's Digital Photo Professional for dealing with the RAW files and occasionally still regret not having shot a different angle, shutter speed or whatever but it does the trick OK.

Whereas Gimp is for constructing a complete image out of components in my work. It's much like an older release of Photoshop. It doesn't have PSs niftier tools such a quick select though.

Canon bundled a couple of other software tools, some of which I find pointless; but PhotoStitch is a superb tool for making panoramic shots or in my case they allow me to make a higher resolution image of an object. It can be done on gimp but it's a little laborious. I think it's free to anybody though on the Canon site.

If anybody is new to digital photography and wants a basic free image manipulator program, gimp is very good. But for me, I may be in need of photoshop elements if I can't manually improve the brushes, they produce an effect similar to hammered metal which is often not visible on textured images but it can be devastating on areas with very smooth tone transition. I'm exploring other gimp brushes now.
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