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Author Topic: buying my first DSLR  (Read 8899 times)

bliq

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2009, 12:38:19 PM »

Actually if you shoot (still life) studio shots then live view is an absolute must. You get much better focus results when you can see what is in focus on a big screen and don't rely on autofocus. Fortunately I already have another camera for that, so I don't care for this purchase.

I will not be buying any lenses in the future once I buy the camera, at least for a couple of years, due to cost. Whatever I buy now is what I use for at least that long. Unless I win the lottery, which I don't play.

If you're not buying lenses in the forseeable future, then definitely get a camera with an IS lens, XSi or D60.  Canon/Nikon is like IBM for cameras- "no one ever got fired for buying Canon/Nikon"
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urgannagru

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2009, 01:14:22 PM »

I found a good article that explains a bit on how to chose lenses
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understanding-mtf.shtml

I still haven't decided on what to buy, though I do like the nobody got fired for buying Canon/Nikon argument.
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BalefireX

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2009, 11:29:55 PM »

Of course, Michael Reichmann (author of Luminous Landscape) is now shooting with an A900 in addition to his medium format digital systems...

I think the questions to consider are:
1) How much can you spend?
2) What do you want to shoot?

You haven't answered either of those questions, so it's hard to be of much assistance.




Sony a700 w/ Carl Zeiss 135/1.8, @ f/2, 1/400sec, ISO800
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urgannagru

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2009, 12:10:51 AM »

~$650 total is my budget

I want to shoot everything, which I know isn't much of a help, but since I don't have a DSLR of my own right now it should be flexible. I would mostly use it to shoot events, but not sports or anything like that.

I'm trying to start taking more people pictures, as there are very few in my portfolio and I have little experience with it.

PS: My photoblog link is in my forum signature if you want to see the kind of stuff I have taken so far.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 12:14:01 AM by urgannagru »
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BalefireX

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2009, 10:04:50 AM »

After looking through your portfolio, I think that you're probably right in considering Sony.  The low end stuff is pretty similar across most of the brands, but you seem to be on the landscape/fine art/macro track and, with the addition of portraiture, these are really the strengths of the Alpha system. 

If you wanted to shoot photojournalism, stock, architecture, birds/animals, or sports, I'd say that you should strongly consider a Canon or a Nikon as these brands have much greater acceptance in the first two fields and have the lenses and bodies required for high-end work in the last three, but your work doesn't seem to lean that way at all.

If you get into photography, glass is going to be the major expense.  I'd say that it makes up 2/3 of what I've spent.  For what it's worth, I wouldn't pay extra for more megapixels over 10-12 if I wasn't expecting to print larger than 16x20 on a regular basis. (I'd consider 30x20 to be the max size for decent prints from the 12.4mp images out of my a700 - this is very big)

I know that a lot of people are excited about live-view, but I think it's a bit of a gimmick in 90% of scenarios.  I personally compose shots better when I have the camera to my eye, and there's no way that you're going to be as stable with a two point grip (left and right hands) on the camera as with a three point grip (both hands and forehead).  I wouldn't spend extra money to get this unless you are constantly using the articulated screen to take shots from waist level or way above your head.

Used lenses are a great way to save between 25 and 50% of MSRP and still get great stuff.  I buy from reputable sellers like B&H, KEH, Adorama, and established members of the Alpha mount forum at www.dyxum.com, and all but the last one have return policies if the lens doesn't meet with your approval.  Some people are braver than I am, but I only buy lenses rated Excellent or better, and I've never had a problem that wasn't immediately rectified.  Many of the lenses I've bought from people on Dyxum are like new. 

If you want one lens to do everything, I suggest a Tamron 18-250 (Sony makes a rebranded version of this lens, but it's more money and not really worth it - although it does have an upgraded focus path and better lens coatings).  Beyond that, I'd suggest a Macro lens, as, from looking at your pictures, you tend to lean that way in your work.  Either the Tamron 90/2.8 Macro or the Sigma 70/2.8 Macro is a good choice for someone on a budget and will double as a portrait lens. 

You're going to be hard pressed to do what you want for $650, especially buying new, but I think if you shop wisely, and consider used equipment, you'll be able to get gear to move your photography to the next level for ~$1000.


ps.  High end point and shoot cameras often provide better results than low end DSLRs matched with low end glass, particularly at low ISOs where the large-sensor advantage doesn't come into play.  I'm not up on the prosumer P&S stuff, but you might want to look there if you are only going to get one lens, since the whole point of a DSLR is that you can change the lens to fit the situation.
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RaDragon

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2009, 10:20:40 AM »

Plenty of excellent information here! I'm actually thinking of 'upgrading' my Panasonic Lumix FZ1 to something newer so I'm glad I found this thread. Keep in mind, I already have a Canon XTi (though, if I come across some dosh next year, I might upgrade that, too) but I found it easier to travel with the Panasonic (especially when I go by air). If it's ground travelling, I don't mind lugging the dSLR and lenses about.
 
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urgannagru

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2009, 11:09:07 AM »

If you want to stay with a compact camera there are new micro four thirds cameras coming out "soon" that will be more compact with SLR-like lens swapping. There is already at least one micro four thirds camera out but its still pretty bulky and almost SLR sized.



Samsung is also developing its own SLR style micro-mount which should be out "soon".

http://www.seriouscompacts.com/2009/03/samsung-nx-series-smaller-than.html


« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 11:14:50 AM by urgannagru »
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BalefireX

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2009, 12:10:52 PM »

I'm keeping my eye on what Olympus does with m4/3... if they come out with a pro-level rangefinder-sized model and some fast, small primes I'll be very happy.
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urgannagru

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2009, 11:06:55 PM »

FYI after some googling, I found that e*** (of all places) has great lens buying guides.
for example http://reviews.****.com/Top-Minolta-Lens-Picks-for-a-New-Sony-Alpha-Enthusiast_W0QQugidZ10000000007572656

I am still debating which camera to get. I think I shall stop by the local camera shops this weekend and see what lenses they have available.
I'm also 80% sure I'm going to go waaay over-budget and buy some good lenses (yay great credit).

PS: I just read the PS of Bale's comment about high end P&S cameras. I have plenty of those lying around my house already, heh (too many actually. I gave a couple away to family members already.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2009, 11:49:05 PM by urgannagru »
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BalefireX

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Re: buying my first DSLR
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2009, 05:02:19 PM »

For what it's worth, local camera shops are a terrible place to buy lenses and accessories.  Buying online gives you much better selection and prices, as local camera shops typically inventory only what they can expect to sell to uninformed customers as part of a package (i.e. crappy, cheap glass).  Good glass is an investment, and you need to decide what you want to shoot and then pick the best tool for that job - not grab the closest available lens.
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