My first digital SLR... Advice please :)
I have had cameras of various kinds for years now, and have normally only been interested in snapping occasions and events with friends (they don't call me Paparazzi Pete for nothing!), but recently I have become more interested in photography and seeing how far I can progress and what I can explore in the vast world there is. I knowledge so far is fairly basic, but I am keen to learn more when and where I can. I currently have a compact Panasonic DMC-TZ5 (please visit my gallery to see a slection of photos I have taken with this, and please, give me some feedback), but whilst knowledge can take you so far, I also know you need to ahve good equipemnt...
So now that there's a brief introduction, here's my pitch; I feel it is time to upgrade to a digital SLR and see where I can go from there. I am interested in all kinds of photogaphy, landscapes, nature, portraits, extreme sports (more skateboarding and bmxing than football and rugby, but wouldn't rule anything out), macro, arty, experimental, pretty much everything. I have yet to find what I would like to specialise in, and so I am currently looking to try my hand at pretty much anything. I have about Â£1000 to spend, and I have looked at the Canon EOS D1000 and D450 so far, but i would like to know what the photgraphy veterans here would recommend. I am thinking mainly about a Canon or Nikon camera, along with a lens or two, and any kind of extras that I would benefit from as a beginner who is currently interested in just about anything. I am also considering going travelling next year and taking my camera with me (which my friend thinks would be a bad idea due to security reasons), so any other bits to suggest for that would help.
I know it's a pretty broad spectrum, but anything any of you can help me with would be much appreciated.
Thanks a lot, and apologies for the long message!
Nothing wrong with either of those cameras but for nature and extremes sports you need long lenses and fast glass. 300mm and a F2.8 is what you need but your budget isn't enough. I'm a Nikon user, and the lens I use most for wildlife is the 70-200mm F2.8 VR with either a 1.4 or 2x converter to give me a 98-280mm at F4 or 140-400mm F5.6, but the lens alone cost about £1,500.
You could get a Canon EF 200mm f2.8 L USM MKII Lens at about £624 but it doesn't have IS but would allow you to use extenders with it.
Also, check out the second-hand market where you live as you may get a better deal. :)
[B]My advice would be - save your money - especially if you intend a lot of travelling - you already have a high quality compact in the DCM-TZ5 - but if you must go down the DSLR route - why not consider the Panasonic Lumix G1 or the Olympus E410 - both are much less "obvious" from the security considerations point of view than the overpriced Nikon and Canon "big boys" - also the excessive weight has to be a major problem too when travelling - so think wisely about YOUR needs - don't be dragged into the "big boys with toys" mind set - as many amateurs have been before you by both advertising campaigns and professional comments and considerations. ;)
I can only speak for myself - but I am sticking with the good quality "compact" option - but it is all a matter of personal choice. :)
PS Had a brief look at your gallery by the way - no time to post comments - but will try and return to do so another time - but at first glance - it appears to be of fine quality - so why change your equipment - it is the eye of the photographer that composes the image - a good photographer could still use a Kodak Brownie camera to good effect - remember that - if nothing else on your quest to further your skills in this - our common hobby. :cool:[/B]
You've got a lot of options open to you with £1,000!
You're never going to get a definitive answer to the "which camera should I buy" question as everyone has different preferences. If you've got access to any older lenses that you could use that may well sway your decision towards brand. If not you've got a huge market to choose from.
If you're not sure what sort of photography you're interested in (and there is nothing wrong with being interested in lots of forms!) then I would suggest you start with a good range of lenses and see where you're interests take you. I learnt more from my first camera than I ever did from magazines, forums and reviews put together (and they're pretty helpful!).
For example, for your £1000 budget you can get the Canon EOS 450D with the 18-55 IS, 55-250 IS and the Sigma 10-20. The camera, 18-55 and 55-200 come as a twin lens kit ([url=http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-canon-eos-450d-with-ef-s-18-55mm-is-and-55-250mm-is-double-zoom-kit/p1025953]here[/url]) for £683 and the Sigma is £389 ([url=http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-sigma-10-20mm-f4-5-6-ex-dc-hsm-lens-canon-fit/p1007710]here[/url]).
Thats a lot of kit but it covers a [I]lot[/I] of focal length! You could make it cheaper by going for the EOS 1000D.
For completeness (and to try to give you all the options in 1 simple go) you could also do the equivalent ranges from other manufacturers...
Nikon D3000 with an 18-55 VR (£394 [url=http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-nikon-d3000-digital-slr-with-18-55mm-vr-lens/p1032941]here[/url]), the 55-200 VR (£234 [url=http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-nikon-55-200mm-f4-5-6-g-af-s-dx-vr-if-ed-lens/p1018071]here[/url]) and the Sigma again (£389 [url=http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-sigma-10-20mm-f4-5-6-ex-dc-hsm-lens-nikon-fit/p1007711]here[/url]).
Olympus... E-520 (the 400 series don't have image stabilisation built in so I personally believe the 500 or 600 series are worth the extra money) comes with either the 14-42 & 40-150 (£441 [url=http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-olympus-e-520-14-42mm-40-150mm-lens-kit/p1026833]here[/url]) or with the 14-42 and 70-300 (£614 [url=http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-olympus-e-520-14-42mm-70-300mm-lens-kit/p1026834]here[/url]) both of which leave you with enough money for the Olympus 9-18mm (£444 [url=http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-olympus-9-18mm-ed-f4-5-6-zuiko-digital-lens/p1028353]here[/url]).
Sony a380 with the 18-55 and 55-200 (£624 [url=http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-sony-alpha-380-digital-slr-with-18-55-and-55-200/p1032070]here[/url]) and the Sigma 10-20 again (£389 [url=http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-sigma-10-20mm-f4-5-6-ex-dc-lens-sony-minolta-fit/p1011784]here[/url]).
All of these ranges are around £1,000 and, with the lenses, cover a huge range. Personally I am a fan of the Olympus system - I used to use it myself. The Sony and the Olympus certainly offer the best value for money of these 4 systems. They also have their image stabilisation methods built into the camera body, rather than in the lens like Canon & Nikon).
The Nikon is the most expensive system for what you get but it is the newest camera.
There has also been much debate about handling cameras. Personally, I would suggest it. If you're stuck between 2 or more systems then the ergonomics, handling, layout and even looks of the system might help you decide (there is nothing wrong with liking a camera simply because it looks nicer!).
Ultimately there isn't a whole lot to choose between them. Canon and the Nikon have the largest range of accessories but Olympus are constantly updating their products and Sony have pretty much the whole of the Minolta range of lenses to fall back on. If you buy the one you like the most you'll use it more.
I have one piece of advise for you and that is don't go buying loads and loads of equipment until you know what type and style of photography you are going to pursue. You see for taking landscapes you often need wide angle lenses and a tripod, for wildlife you need telephoto lenses, for portraits you need a prime lens with a focal length ideally between 50mm - 100mm and a flashgun, for macro work you may need another prime lens or reversing ring and before you know it you're lugging around a ton of equipment and you may end up not using half of it. So you see, what subjects you want to photograph really decides what kit you'll need and if you fancy doing arty stuff, you'll also need a decent calibrated monitor, printer and image editing software.
So decide first what you really want to photograph and what you like to photograph and then choose what equipment you'll need to best capture it with and produce the final finished image, otherwise you'll waste money like you wouldn't believe!
I'm afraid I disagree with Ian (unusually ;))
I don't see why you have to pick a style of photography and then stick to it. Having a range of focal lengths gives you the opportunity to shoot everything. It also gives you the opportunity to learn.
Ian makes a fair point about lugging round loads of kit and not using half of it but that's only true if you suddenly find you're only shooting wide landscapes or telephoto sports & wildlife. I've been shooting for 3 years now and all I know about what I like to photograph is that I like to shoot anything I can be it landscapes, abstracts, wildlife etc...
Your first SLR teaches you so much. I when I bought mine I'd read every review, every tech spec sheet, every opinion and every hint and tip and I still learnt more from my camera in 1 month than I did from 6 months of reading.
My Advice would be to start with the twin lens kit so you have a good stating focal length and support this with tripod, filters and a bag. Then use them as often as you can and you can then see what is missing, ie "if only I could go wider or longer" (that didn't sound as bad in my head!!! Then make a decision.
Finally try you hands on each system (not just Cannon & Nikon) and find what fits you hands and feels good!
Thanks for the advice everyone! :-)
I went on a composition day course yesterday, and out of teh seven people in the group (small groups), only two of us had compacts, but I got the chance to see the others with their SLRs and what they can do, and the gap between compacts and SLRs first hand. I realised that it's not the camera that takes good pictures, its the photographer, but the amount of things you can do is limited by compacts, and is huge with an SLR. I also learnt how little i know about lenses! I think I need to go away and really learn about them, any suggestions a good site where I can learn and get informed about everything? Feel a right dullard! :-S
Have you heard of that phrase, don't try to run before you can walk? Take things one step at a time and learn by trying things with your camera.
You mention that you feel you need to learn more about lenses, but what specifically? I agree that using a compact has its limitations and some compacts are more limited than others. Do you understand the basic relationships between ISO, Aperture and Shutter speeds? Are you aware that a wide angle lens will exagerate the perspective and a telephoto lens will compress perspective? Do you know how the aperture and focal length can effect the depth of field? If not, I found that by attending a course that taught me all the basics helped me get to grips with these fundamental rules and how by adjusting one setting it effects all the rest. The course only lasted six hours, with the morning spent going through all the theory and then the afternoon was spent putting it all into practice with your camera.
The next step is to hone your ability to see a shot, be able to study the scene and clear away any unwanted elements from it that could spoil the end result. You can then identify what your subject is more clearly and compose your shot in away that will make it the main focus of attention. You also have to improve both your knowledge and skills of editing, so when you see a potential shot you want to capture, you can envisage how the final image will look before you've even pressed the shutter release.
In actual fact, with photography you never ever stop learning.
[QUOTE=peteallen84;7698]Thanks for the advice everyone! :-)
I went on a composition day course yesterday, and out of teh seven people in the group (small groups), only two of us had compacts, but I got the chance to see the others with their SLRs and what they can do, and the gap between compacts and SLRs first hand. I realised that it's not the camera that takes good pictures, its the photographer, but the amount of things you can do is limited by compacts, and is huge with an SLR. I also learnt how little i know about lenses! I think I need to go away and really learn about them, any suggestions a good site where I can learn and get informed about everything? Feel a right dullard! :-S[/QUOTE]
You don't need to know much about lenses except that a F2.8 is better than a F4 as it lets more light in, so ideal for fast action and low light. For landscapes you need wide angle so a 10-20mm range is ideal. For sports action and wildlife you need a telephoto upto 300mm and with a F2.8 or F4 would cover you for most occasions. For macro you need a macro lens like 60mm, 90mm or 105mm all of which are F2.8 and will cover you for portrait shots as well. The quickest way to learn is to buy a camera and lens and get out and take shots, you will soon pick-up what works best for you, and also what lenses you may need to get in the future. I've spent over £10,000 on lenses alone to cover all areas I require, but it's something you build up over the years. :D
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