View Full Version : Help me with Photography

February 11th, 2007, 02:19 PM
I am moving to LIC in march, and with all the views, and construction, I am been interested in getting a decent digital SLR.

I am one of those Point and Shoot kind of people who just takes random pictures, but it would be nice to have a good camera couples of lens, to be able to capture pictures from LIC.

So I am looking for advice on where to start. My budget is about $1000 for a camera, maybe 2 lens. What is some advice you would give a newbie interested in dabbling in photography?

Which Camera? Perhaps a good book to learn about photography?


February 11th, 2007, 04:32 PM
I am not a photog, but I have certainly spent my previous career (in publishing, as an editor) working with many, many of them.

So what I would tell you is that it takes a lot of careful planning to get the results you see. For outdoor architectural shots, we would wait for days for perfect weather, and send photogs out at different times of day to get the shadow effects we wanted. (As a result of all this schooling, I scheduled a late afternoon wedding, to get the "golden hour" light for my outdoor photos).

Then, throw a lot of stuff out: expect only one shot per roll to be a keeper.

Finally, there's Photoshop. Most building shots you see have had sky and shadow work done. It sounds like you are not that interested in portraiture, but be aware that by the time you see a photo of a person published, their skin tone has been evened, wrinkles have been removed, and teeth have been whitened. Celebrity photos have been manipulated beyond belief. Don't despair if what comes out of your camera doesn't match what you see in a magazine.

ali r.
{downtown broker}

February 11th, 2007, 05:02 PM
I am looking to do this more as a pass time, instead of sitting down and watching tv. As for PS, I have been using PS for over 7 years now, I am not worried should I have to touch up a picture.

February 11th, 2007, 05:09 PM
a decent digital SLR

Take a look at the Nikon D80 + a good zoom lens, though it's a bit more than your target price. The D80 includes some features found in the pricier D200, which is what I'm using these days. Also think about the older D70s, which goes for about $300 less than the D80 and predates the D200.

February 11th, 2007, 05:43 PM
I have the Nikon D70, and I bought it with the "kit" lens - a good 18-70mm wide angle lens. As far as zoom goes, I cheaped out and got a Tamron 70-300mm which ran about $130. when I got it.

Don't forget all the other things that usually go with it - memory card, bag, tripod, remote. I'm a customer of B&H and you can see their digital SLR's here, there are even some packages: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=search&Q=&ci=6222

You can't really go wrong with a Canon or a Nikon. I tried out the Canon 20D but the grip wasn't comfortable with my long fingers. I'd suggest doing your research online as to the differences between them, features, etc. and then going to a brick-and-mortar store to hold them and take pictures with them. Check out the controls on the back, size of the screen.

Whatever you decide, good luck with the search.

Gregory Tenenbaum
February 15th, 2007, 04:54 PM
$ 1000 for a body and 2 lenses?

Hmm. Let me think.

You can do that second hand. PM me if you want a reputable 2nd hand dealer,

Brand new? There are some amazing new DSLRS out there just now.

Here are some that I would consider:

Pentax K10D
Canon Rebel Xti (400D)
Nikon D40/50/80

If you want great glass (lens quality), go for the Nikons. If you want cheaper but still great glass, go for the Canon. The Pentax is also a great choice, but less choices in getting second hand lenses - one of the greatest new cameras though I must say.

If you are doing any serious flash photography go for the Canon or the Nikon D40/50 or even a D70 or D70s. Why? 1/500 flash sync - that means more options when taking photos with flash.

This is personally what I would do:

1. Buy a flash/incident light meter (don't use the in camera meter) - $ 100
2. Buy a good MANUAL flash - get a Metz - Second hand $ 100
3. Buy a used D70 Nikon - you dont need 10 MP - 6 MP is plenty - $ 450
4. Buy a 24-120 VR Nikkor lens - $ 450
TOTAL $ 1,100.00 + storage medium (compact flash, Xd whatever)

I've blown your budget by $ 100.00. Really, the meter is optional unless you are doing pro shooting.

By the way, what kind of photography are you thinking of doing? This is critical for the choice of lens more than any other component.

Remember, the body is not important, neither is the brand. Sony (Minolta), Olympus, Fujifilm, Cosina (Voigtlander), Mamiya, and Contax all make great cameras and glass to boot. So do Nikon and Canon, the two kings (at the moment).

What is important:

1. Your eyes
2. Your brain
3. The subject of the photo
4. The lens quality
5. The light that you use/natural light
6. Your ability to get a good exposure (using handheld or built in light meter)
7. Practice, etc
8. Passion

No mention of the body there. Its not important. Make a choice, go for it.

February 16th, 2007, 01:24 PM
I agree that too much focus (ha!) is put on the camera and not the skill of the person holding it. But there are some manufacturers (I believe Konica/Minolta) that are dialing back their digital camera divisions and the options are getting slimmer in terms of lenses. I know a read an article to this affect some time ago, I can't recall where though.

Also, you asked for book recommendations. I like Bryan Peterson's books for beginner to intermediate subjects:


Gregory Tenenbaum
February 16th, 2007, 06:13 PM
Yes Meer, Konica Minolta a company with a great history in making cameras has sold its photographic division to Sony.

Just so everyone knows, the Sony Alpha 100 is basically Sony taking all of the Minolta technology (lenses, bodies, autofocus) and putting a Sony digital sensor in it.

Remember, all of Nikon's cameras use digital sensors made by Sony.

Its important to remember that all of the brands out there have great equipment (Minolta had some of the best, John Glenn use a Minolta in space, in 1985 the Minolta a 7000 Maxxum was the first autofocus 35mm camera (something we all now take for granted)), and dont forget Minolta makes GREAT GLASS (lenses). Remember, the LENS that someone bought in 1970 for their Minolta can still be used on the brand new 2006 Alpha 100. Great news!

The benefit of buying a Nikon or Canon over Pentax Olympus and Minolta and those over the other brands is really just one thing - there are more second hand lenses and accessories available with the bigger brands as more people use them and then sell them. Thats about it.

There is a lot of snobbery when it comes to cameras ("mines better than yours" kind of thing) and believe me, photographers are some of the worst at this. But it makes absolutely no difference to the end result what camera you are using. Trust me.

Let me make a suggestion that WNY members should do with your 35mm and DSLR cameras:

1. Buy roll of gaffers tape
2. Cut 1/2 inch lengths
3. Place gaffer tape over all and any brand markings on your camera so that even to the close observer - you have a " " brand camera.

Thats what I and many professionals do.

4. Get on with shooting.
5. When in Europe, dont worry too much about pickpockets stealing your "no name" camera when there ones with Nikon and Canon and Sony/Minolta and Pentax and other logos emblazoned all over them to steal.

February 16th, 2007, 08:30 PM
in 1985 the Minolta a 7000 Maxxum was the first autofocus 35mm camera (something we all now take for granted)), and dont forget Minolta makes GREAT GLASS (lenses). Remember, the LENS that someone bought in 1970 for their Minolta can still be used on the brand new 2006 Alpha 100. Great news!

Dad bought that exact model back then, and gave me his old Yashica. That's how I got into photography.

A few years ago, Dad gave me that same Minolta and it works just as well now as it did then. I bequeathed it to my nephew when I got my Nikon but I don't know that he can appreciate it as much as I can. They just know digital and don't understand the concept of film and actually waiting (gasp!) to see the results of your efforts.

Yes, I've been treated to snide comments by complete strangers with Canons hanging around their necks more than once. These are clearly people who throw money at a hobby, hoping to stroke their ego. Instead, I prefer to throw my time and enjoyment into my hobbies. I actually had a guy follow me around while I took pictures, spouting off why his camera was better than mine.


The benefit of buying a Nikon or Canon over Pentax Olympus and Minolta and those over the other brands is really just one thing - there are more second hand lenses and accessories available with the bigger brands as more people use them and then sell them. Thats about it.

Was exactly my point.

February 17th, 2007, 02:39 PM
Gregory and Meer, thanks for the feedback.

I am a complete newbie when it comes to Cameras, I honestly know nothing, which is why i posted this questions. Right now I am thinking the Canon Rebel XT (350D). I would like a wide angle lens and 1 other lens, not sure what exactly.

I am still doing research on what the lens are like, what is needed for what.

I see myself taking a lot of NYC shots, since I will be in LIC. I also see myself taking shots of family friends at events. I would also like to be able to take good pictures of moving objects specifically cars. Most will be daytime, except the NYC Skyline shots.

Gregory Tenenbaum
February 17th, 2007, 04:41 PM
The Canon 350 is a good choice.

Here's why the Nikons I mentioned and the 400D are better:

1/500th flash sync as opposed to the 350D's 1/200th flash sync.

Its not the end of the world but it means this: If you are using any flash equipment, and want to light your near subject, while keeping the background cityscape properly exposed, you have greater flexibility with the 1/500th flash sync in capturing sunsets/sunrises, and generally keeping the sky blue etc (instead of white as people often shoot it). The 1/200th flash sync is a little more restrictive. I wouldn't worry about it if you aren't shooting people/things near your camera - that's all flash is good for.

Otherwise the 350 is a great little camera. A little light for me (but Im used to big medium format clunkers). You'll appreciate that it's light when you walk up and down stairs and around Manhattan after a while.

February 18th, 2007, 06:44 PM
I know I have been asking about SLRs, but someone suggested I look into the Canon Powershot S2, since I am really just trying to have a little fun with pictures. They felt this would be a cost effective solution for what I want.

Anyone have any feedback to this idea?

Gregory Tenenbaum
February 19th, 2007, 04:12 PM
Nothing wrong with a fixed lens camera. The S2 wouldnt be my choice - but there is nothing wrong with it for 95% of what most people do.

I would however get a interchangeable lens one - a DSLR.

Seriously, you can use the same body for the next 5 or 10 years (presuming the shutter doesn't give up).

But when you have some cash in the next few years, you will want to upgrade your lens. Thats where SLRs have an advantage.

I would recommend spending as much on a good lens and as little as possible on a good second hand body.

Remember also that with a fixed lens camera you often have bad flash sync, no hotshoe for flash (its built in), and limited system options - what does that mean?

It means you cant build on your system, by adding lenses, flashes, flash equipment, filters etc.

Remember, you think that 6 megapixels or even 10 megapixels wont be enough in 5 years - trust me - it will (unless you are doing those huge cosmetics headshot or product ads you see at Prada, the Airport or Macys).

If you did want a fixed lens point and shoot, I would look into the Fujifilms. They have a great sensor.

If you want a GREAT DSLR, get the Fujifilm S2 Pro (not the Canon S2). The Fuji S2 is one of the greatest DSLRS ever made, you can get it for 300 bucks and its got a great sensor.

You can mount any Nikon lens on that thing, with VR (vibration reduction).

Fuji Sensor
Nikon Glass (lenses)
= one of the best combinations I know of.

Of course if you have dough, you can buy this one, with a really big (medium format) version of the Fuji S2 sensor. It's definitely going to be my next purchase.


Translation here:

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Ffujifilm.jp%2Fpersonal%2F filmcamera%2Fmediumformat%2Fdbp%2Ffeature.html&langpair=ja%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools