1. Post #1
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,898 Posts
    So, you're a budding photographer, or will be taking a class soon and the teacher is a jerk and won't let you rent from the school. Now what? There is a wild world out there full of things to be pic-tu-fied, and seemingly just as many things to take the pictures with, all at horrifyingly different prices.

    Where do you start?

    First off, know why you need the camera, and what you'll be doing with it for the next few years. There are several levels of camera to think about, each level having its own levels of performance, features, and things you won't need. The next three sections will be based off of three groups: "I Wanna Camera", "High-End Casual", and "Prosumer". The "Professional" category will be left out, because if you were there, you wouldn't be here.

    [release]
    "I Wanna Camera", $50-200 range


    [Samsung SL30, $75, Example]

    So, you don't have a camera and want one. Chances are, you really don't need much, mostly because you don't have any reason to take pictures larger than 500 pixels tall because your random photobucket collection, myspace and facebook compress them down that far anyways.

    Most of the cameras you will find in the low price range are more than adequate, pushing out from 6 to 12 megapixels in size. This does not mean that the massive 3000x4000 picture you just took will be of any useful quality at full size. You are more likely than not to get bad picture noise, from grain to color splotches, and all the horrors of digital zoom.

    Honestly, cameras of this range are meant only for snapshots, and the more expensive ones are filled to the brim with useless gimmicks and such to trick soccer moms into spending an extra chunk of cash. The most money you really need to spend on a little snap'n'shoot is around $125.[/release]

    [release]
    "High-End Casual", $200-600


    [Canon Powershot SX1 IS, $500, Example]

    This is considered "the aspiring young student", or "I want my pictures to look good, but I'll have to start rationing cans of soup to buy something worthwhile". Personally, I'm a bit iffy about this mid-range selection of cameras. It's a strange world of snapshot-meets-SLR hybrids and trickster lookalikes.

    For the time being, I'm going to leave the description on this section at this, because the only experience I've had with this particular camera was fixing one (similar to the powershot pictured above) that had a jammed lens. It was so common of a malfunction that it was in the product's FAQs, and the best "advice" others could give was smacking it against a table or a wall.

    seriously. :raise:

    Anyone with helpful information on these types of cameras feel free to chime in with a comment or a PM, and it will be added.
    [/release]

    [release]
    "Lower-End 'Prosumer'", $600-1500


    [Nikon D5000, $750-850 Kit (body + Lens) Example]

    the Professional Consumer is someone who is seriously looking into doing photography for a living, or at least as a very serious hobby. The cameras you focus on in this grouping are D-SLRs, which are a camera body and detachable lens. This is the kind of camera you will likely learn about and be told to buy when taking a college course on digital photography. If you're getting one of these cameras and aren't in a class for it, I suggest you find a community college and take the class, you will learn a lot (depending on your teacher).

    These cameras are meant to be controlled manually, but have all of the fancy features you would find on the average point and click, including a variety of different "modes" for taking pictures. We're going to pretend these modes are there only for when your mom is trying to take family photos but wants you in the picture.

    The best part is RAW format images. Taking photos in this format collects all the data as possible, and utilizing photoshop's RAW editor (or another program such as Lightroom), you can fine-tune a photo MUCH more efficiently, productively, and artistically than with editing a flat ol' JPG.

    These are highly customizable to your needs, allowing for different lenses, flashes, and random doohickeys to be slapped on for your every need...


    what I need is for my neighbors to open their curtains up again.

    DaveP adds: the Key advantage of DSLR's and why they're touted as the best even though cameras like Rangefinders also have removable lenses; the Single Lens Reflex means that what you see in the viewfinder is exactly how the shot is going to look through exactly the same glass; compared to a viewfinder that can be the crucial difference between a fantastic picture and a blurry mess

    LeYang adds this nice guide to different levels of DSLRs.
    Entry
    Nikon D3000, D5000 (D40 is being killed off in retail market)
    Canon XS(1000D), XSi(450D), T1i(500D) (1000D is also being killed off)

    ProConsumers
    Nikon D90
    Canon 40D, 50D

    ProConsumer+Semi-Professional mixture
    Nikon D300, D300s, D700
    Canon 7D, Canon 5D MK II

    Professional
    Nikon D3s
    Canon 1Ds MK III
    Canon 1D MK IV (1.3x Crop)
    [/release]

    OK, now that you [somewhat] know what camera type and money range you're looking into, you need to start thinking about specifics... Here's a few FAQs and general thoughts to look over:

    Q: What brand is 'better'?
    A: None.

    Brand makes very little difference in the camera aside from aesthetic. Decide on the brand, if you're that picky, based on how a camera looks, feels, and behaves in your hands. It may sound trivial or extremely picky, but I personally can't stand the trigger button on Canons, nor do I like their circular scrolly wheel on the back, so I ended up rolling Nikon.

    Q: What are megapixels, and why shouldn't I get the biggest number possible?
    A: it refers to how many pixels there are, times a million.

    my old OLD 1.3 megapixel camera took pictures that were somewhere around 1280x1024, which is about as much as your average point-and-shooter really ever sees when dumping things to their online galleries or keeping stacked up in their 'My Pictures' folder.

    Larger mp means you have a bigger picture, and there are two reasons this is useful- cropping out smaller parts of a picture and blowing them up, and printing. The larger the picture, the larger you can print at a set DPI. Refer to the below image for mp needed for different print sizes at 300dpi.



    it's telling you that if you don't have a photo printer that prints on something bigger than normal 8.5x11 paper, you will never need more than 8 mp. Here's a sample of the 12.1 mp put out by my D5000, ask yourself if you need this much detail, ever.

    (2848x4288, click the thumbnail... Try and figure out her name looking at this, I dare you)

    Q: This cheap-ass point-and-shoot says it does 12.1 pixels. Why should I spend $900 on a camera like yours if $100 will get the same size photo?
    A: QUALITY.

    Why should I waste two minutes slowly toasting toast in my toaster, when soaking it in kerosene and tossing a match on it gets it crispy in seconds flat?

    because the result is NOT the same, despite it being the same size of toast... er, image. The sensors are not big, the lenses are not so fine-tuned, no exposure controls, ISO levels (sensor's light sensitivity) are so high that you get grain and discoloration out the rectum... and aperture? Good luck.


    it isn't the camera it's the artist
    Artistic talent is necessary for art, yes... but bringing a portfolio of cameraphone or point-and-shooter snapshots to a job interview at the local studio will get you nowhere... likewise, if you take emo self-portraits of yourself in the bathroom mirror or at arm's length NOW, not much will change when you dump the better portion of a thousand dollars on an SLR, except now it's hard to hold it at arm's length and take a picture at the same time.

    [release]Helpful Links in deciding on what you want
    Perry Mason posted:
    reviews.cnet.com
    dpreview.com
    I also recommend reading Consumer Reports magazine. They're really reliable in their reviews for well, anything. Online access costs money so if you're cheap you might just want to borrow it from a library or read it at a book store.
    [/release]

    [release]If your questions have not been answered, you haven't asked them yet. ASK.

    This thread is a work in progress and is to be treated as a collaborative knowledgebase from all the different level photographers here at Facepunch. PM me with any additions/revisions you would like made and I'll take care of it in a timely manner.[/release]
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  2. Post #2
    Facepunch iSeries!
    rieda1589's Avatar
    November 2007
    4,363 Posts
    Used Rebels are perfectly respectable
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  3. Post #3
    hyper-articulate
    Roll_Program's Avatar
    October 2007
    12,673 Posts
    It might be worth updating the op for modern times, just replace each model with the newer model of the same line.
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  4. Post #4
     
    ijyt's Avatar
    May 2006
    9,040 Posts
    Are there any non-bank-breaking wide-angle lenses that are decently sharp? I'm going to Spain in September for fieldwork and I'll need to take shots of beds and shit.

    On a 60D crop I think I'd want something a little wider than 18mm.

    Edited:

    dumb question
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  5. Post #5
    Gold Member
    MisterM's Avatar
    August 2005
    3,229 Posts
    I've heard the Tokina 11-16 2.8 is a ruddy good lens. Users of it can't seem to decide if it or the 12-24 2.8 Tokina is better. About 450 best price for the 11-16. Is that non bank breaking?

    noobtip:
    DON'T GET A USED D3000 WORSE CAMERA EVER FOR NO APPARENT REASON LOL
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  6. Post #6
     
    ijyt's Avatar
    May 2006
    9,040 Posts
    Wow 450 is rad. I could totally use my bursary on that! Thanks!
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  7. Post #7
    hyper-articulate
    Roll_Program's Avatar
    October 2007
    12,673 Posts
    Sigma 10-20mm.

    Go from wide to ultra wide.
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  8. Post #8
     
    ijyt's Avatar
    May 2006
    9,040 Posts
    I'm guessing these are all for crop bodies only? (Not that I plan to afford a full frame in the next 10 years).

    Edited:

    Oh yeah that sigma's a tad cheaper, pity about the varying f stop.

    Edited:

    though actually i probably wont be shooting wide

    Edited:

    wide open fuck
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  9. Post #9
    hyper-articulate
    Roll_Program's Avatar
    October 2007
    12,673 Posts
    There's an f/3.5 constant aperture variant.
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  10. Post #10
     
    ijyt's Avatar
    May 2006
    9,040 Posts
    Saw that, 500 isn't bad but I guess I'll see where I stand in a few months time. Thanks for the recommendations.
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  11. Post #11
    hyper-articulate
    Roll_Program's Avatar
    October 2007
    12,673 Posts
    To be honest, the speed doesn't matter if you're using it in the day.
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  12. Post #12
    Gold Member
    MrEndangered's Avatar
    October 2006
    4,836 Posts
    I did a lot of research on bridge cameras when looking for my first camera. I'll write a section on those and micro 4/3rds and PM you, OP.
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  13. Post #13
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,898 Posts
    I did a lot of research on bridge cameras when looking for my first camera. I'll write a section on those and micro 4/3rds and PM you, OP.
    be prepared to have it edited
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  14. Post #14
    Gold Member
    MrEndangered's Avatar
    October 2006
    4,836 Posts
    be prepared to have it edited
    I AM PREPARED.
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  15. Post #15
    hyper-articulate
    Roll_Program's Avatar
    October 2007
    12,673 Posts
    It's going to be edited to all Canons.
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  16. Post #16
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,898 Posts
    not that much
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  17. Post #17
    hyper-articulate
    Roll_Program's Avatar
    October 2007
    12,673 Posts
    not that much
    Not that much? How about someone without biases writes this thread .
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  18. Post #18
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,898 Posts
    im only gonna edit it if he says bridge cameras are good
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  19. Post #19
    Gold Member
    Bigboy855's Avatar
    January 2008
    834 Posts
    -snip- wrong thread
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  20. Post #20
    Facepunch iSeries!
    rieda1589's Avatar
    November 2007
    4,363 Posts
    im only gonna edit it if he says bridge cameras are good
    A bridge camera is better than no camera.
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  21. Post #21
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,898 Posts
    A bridge camera is better than no camera.
    i'd rather have a good compact than a bridge, because i'd get a smaller camera with comparable image quality
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  22. Post #22
    RESIDENT ASBESTOS OBSESSIVE
    B-hazard's Avatar
    July 2008
    5,507 Posts
    Bridge cameras are useless in my opinion, either get a good point and shoot or a cheap DSLR.
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  23. Post #23
    Facepunch iSeries!
    rieda1589's Avatar
    November 2007
    4,363 Posts
    i'd rather have a good compact than a bridge, because i'd get a smaller camera with comparable image quality
    Maybe for snapshots, but if you're wanting to get into photography as a hobby then a bridge camera is a suitable choice if you cannot afford a DSLR and lenses. They offer more flexibility than a point and shoot plus a a bigger sensor, albeit smaller than an APS-C.
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  24. Post #24
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,898 Posts
    Maybe for snapshots, but if you're wanting to get into photography as a hobby then a bridge camera is a suitable choice if you cannot afford a DSLR and lenses. They offer more flexibility than a point and shoot plus a a bigger sensor, albeit smaller than an APS-C.
    the sensor size in a bridge makes little difference, get a compact, if you want to take it to the next level, save cash and get a DSLR
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  25. Post #25
    Gold Member
    Pickwickian-'s Avatar
    January 2007
    5,245 Posts
    Maybe for snapshots, but if you're wanting to get into photography as a hobby then a bridge camera is a suitable choice if you cannot afford a DSLR and lenses. They offer more flexibility than a point and shoot plus a a bigger sensor, albeit smaller than an APS-C.
    Yeah, but I find that they disconnect the user from the actual functions of the camera. It's hard to relate to what aperture, iso, shutter speed are etc. if they're not so obviously mechanical in the way they are on an slr.
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  26. Post #26
    Gold Member
    MrEndangered's Avatar
    October 2006
    4,836 Posts
    Wow, don't go crazy guys.
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  27. Post #27
    Antichristian Heathen Icelandic Bastard
    Nonikai's Avatar
    June 2008
    5,700 Posts
    Camera wars

    Stop this nonsense. We've gone through this before and what rieda said, yes, bridge camera is better than no camera.
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  28. Post #28
    soy un perdedor
    bopie's Avatar
    July 2010
    4,455 Posts
    I love jake avatars.
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  29. Post #29
    Antichristian Heathen Icelandic Bastard
    Nonikai's Avatar
    June 2008
    5,700 Posts
    So do I

    that's why I have one
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  30. Post #30
    Hi Jo
    Jo The Shmo's Avatar
    February 2009
    22,914 Posts
    You can't click on the thumbnail for more detail!
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  31. Post #31
    Killerelf12's Avatar
    January 2008
    1,840 Posts
    Does anyone have an opinion on the Pentax K-x? I probably asked this in another version of this thread months ago, but forgot the responses I got. The reason I ask about it is because I have a lot of old Pentax (M42) screw mount lenses that I know I'd be able to use with an adapter. But if it's really not that great of a camera, I'll just keep those lenses for my film SLR.
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  32. Post #32
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,898 Posts
    its a good camera, the cheapest with video. only problem with it is that it uses AA batteries
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  33. Post #33
    provides mlp plot free of charge
    Oicani Gonzales's Avatar
    February 2011
    18,059 Posts
    What's the usual macro distance on 18-55 lenses?
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  34. Post #34
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,898 Posts
    0.25m on my canon
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  35. Post #35
    hyper-articulate
    Roll_Program's Avatar
    October 2007
    12,673 Posts
    What's the usual macro distance on 18-55 lenses?
    You can get cheap macro lenses for similar prices as 18-55mm kit lenses, if you're wanting that sort of thing.
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  36. Post #36
    We're made of star-stuff
    LarparNar's Avatar
    February 2009
    10,255 Posts
    Or you could hold up your lens backwards towards the camera

    Not gonna guarantee any particularly sharp images though.
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  37. Post #37
    DD's 10 year old
    /B/rother's Avatar
    April 2010
    17,355 Posts
    I think I'm going to save up, and then get a Sony A850.

    FULL'FUCKING'FRAME!
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  38. Post #38
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,898 Posts
    I think I'm going to save up, and then get a Sony A850.

    FULL'FUCKING'FRAME!
    why the 850 and not a camera like the Nikon d700 or 5D II

    Edited:

    don't you just have the 18-55 and the 35mm?
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  39. Post #39
    DD's 10 year old
    /B/rother's Avatar
    April 2010
    17,355 Posts
    Yes, and a 300mm
    Should I sell my junk, and go get a canon?

    Edited:

    The 5d II is like 350 pounds more
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  40. Post #40
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,898 Posts
    Yes, and a 300mm
    Should I sell my junk, and go get a canon?

    Edited:

    The 5d II is like 350 pounds more
    300mm what?
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