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      06-23-2009, 11:17 AM   #1
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Help a photo noob

i've seen so many great pics here on the forum and basically all are taken with those cannon head cameras (DSLR?). i have personally only held a point and shoot camera before only.
i really want to try something out like that.
i have seen a Nikon D40 around a local store here on sale and was wondering if i should make a step forward to the new world.

what is the main difference between a 12.1 MP point and shoot and a 6MP DSLR? isn't higher MP the clearer?

also, if i do get a DSLR and its accessories etc, do i still need something like photoshop or photoshop is just something that will help but not 'need to have'?

sorry for the noob q's but i really like the looking at pics and decide maybe i could take good quality pics myself like members on this forum.
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      06-23-2009, 12:54 PM   #2
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you can make a good photograph with any camera, it doesn't have to be a DSLR. a bad photographer using a DSLR will still make a bad photograph. a good photographer using a cheap point-and-shoot can still make a good photograph.

megapixels/MP do not have anything to do with the quality of a photograph.

do not waste your money on a DSLR if you only intend to use the entry-level lenses that come with it. if you do, you might as well buy an advanced point-and-shoot that has manual controls. the lenses will be comparable.
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      06-23-2009, 01:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodi View Post
you can make a good photograph with any camera, it doesn't have to be a DSLR. a bad photographer using a DSLR will still make a bad photograph. a good photographer using a cheap point-and-shoot can still make a good photograph.

megapixels/MP do not have anything to do with the quality of a photograph.

do not waste your money on a DSLR if you only intend to use the entry-level lenses that come with it. if you do, you might as well buy an advanced point-and-shoot that has manual controls. the lenses will be comparable.
+1.

However, the kit lens it comes with is/should be much more sharper if you take a lot of photos inside or in low-light situations. Most of P/S cant do low light photos. even at f3.5, DSLR take sharper photos than P/S.

I'd highly recommend a DSLR, if you just want to explore the new world. Trust me, you wont regret it. (the only thing you will regret is how deep this hole is for your money).

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      06-23-2009, 01:50 PM   #4
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also because i have seen how you guys can take pics with low light or night time pics and i find it really hard with a P/S camera. i like taking pics and keeping on them and going back from time to time but once i do that i notice the quality of pics are totally different from teh DSLRs. i know after getting the initial machine i will be getting more and more upgrades but i am willing to go there to have good quality pics.

all i need now is to know what may be a good entry-level user firendly DSLR for a first time use like me.
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      06-23-2009, 04:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wuufer001 View Post
also because i have seen how you guys can take pics with low light or night time pics and i find it really hard with a P/S camera. i like taking pics and keeping on them and going back from time to time but once i do that i notice the quality of pics are totally different from teh DSLRs. i know after getting the initial machine i will be getting more and more upgrades but i am willing to go there to have good quality pics.

all i need now is to know what may be a good entry-level user firendly DSLR for a first time use like me.
what would be your budget?

If your budget is tight, I'd go for Nikon D40x kit (should be with 18-55 and 55-200mm).. I have had the camera for about 2 years until I sold it recently.

Its an excellent camera and I took a lot of great shots with that camera.

On ebay, for the entire kit, should be only around $550 shipped. (but it doesnt include everything else, such as UV protecotr, CPL etc). Also, D40 is limited, because the camera does not have the auto focus motor, so it is not compatible with a lot of higher end lens.

OR

$900, get the Canon T1i. All I hear/read are good review for the camera. I have never used it myself though.

OR $2000 budget

get Canon 50D + a nicer lens, (18-200mm f3.5 is an excellent lens for its focal length and performance and f3.5 is wide enough for most of the shoot)

So, depends on how much you want to spend?

(I'm a Canon user, so I can only speak for/recommend Canon lens/camera myself)
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      06-24-2009, 09:37 AM   #6
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You can take good pictures with a P&S. I would recommend practicing with the manual mode of your P&S take tons of shots working on your exposure, composition, focusing and white balance. If you can see some improvement in your shots just with that and are still eager to do more - by all means move up to DSLR, but I wouldn't assume that a more expensive camera = great shots. A good photographer = great shots.
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      06-24-2009, 11:05 AM   #7
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What is your P&S? Have you switched it to manual mode when you tried to take pictures in low light? Do you know how to adjust it to take into account strong backlight with the subject in shadow?

Like with a P&S a great DSLR will still require that you understand the principals of exposure and focus to get better and better shots.

If you buy from any of the big, mail order, photo specialty retailers, you can be pretty confident with either Nikon and Canon that you're getting good value for whatever your budget. They keep each other honest. We could argue and argue about which is best, but it would come down to how you plan to use it. Since you really don't know yet, I'd suggest just staying in the low to medium price range.

If you get serious you can upgrade lenses and camera bodies. I'd suggest taking a community college course. Some good reading is suggested in several other threads in this forum.

Dave
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      06-26-2009, 11:39 AM   #8
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all in all,
my GF just happened to lose my P&S couple days back. left it in a public restroom and later was nowhere to be found.

yesterday we went and bought a Sony Cyber-Shot W290
specs below:
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665775608
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      06-26-2009, 12:11 PM   #9
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That Sony should work. Try improving your images by learning to override the fully automatic functions. Know when to turn the flash off and use aperature priority to control depth of field.

Good thing that you didn't lose an expensive DSLR. Work on that part.

Dave
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      06-26-2009, 02:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodi View Post
you can make a good photograph with any camera, it doesn't have to be a DSLR. a bad photographer using a DSLR will still make a bad photograph. a good photographer using a cheap point-and-shoot can still make a good photograph.

megapixels/MP do not have anything to do with the quality of a photograph.

do not waste your money on a DSLR if you only intend to use the entry-level lenses that come with it. if you do, you might as well buy an advanced point-and-shoot that has manual controls. the lenses will be comparable.
I agree with most of this except the comment about kit lenses. The lenses that Nikon or Canon put in the kits are perfectly capable lenses, especially for a noob. As you improve your shooting skills you may decide to upgrade, but there is nothing "wrong" with the kit lenses these days. The only way I could get a D200 when I got mine was to buy the kit with an 18-70 AFs lens. I thought I'd sell it, but its turned out to be a great lens, one with which I've made many excellent images.

The most important thing for a new DSLR owner to do is learn to use your new camera, not to be a gear snob.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wuufer001 View Post
also because i have seen how you guys can take pics with low light or night time pics and i find it really hard with a P/S camera. i like taking pics and keeping on them and going back from time to time but once i do that i notice the quality of pics are totally different from teh DSLRs. i know after getting the initial machine i will be getting more and more upgrades but i am willing to go there to have good quality pics.

all i need now is to know what may be a good entry-level user firendly DSLR for a first time use like me.
If your goal is to take great night shots, you'll need a DSLR with a lens that has a very low aperture number, 2.8 or less. It also helps if you spend the $$$ for a prosumer camera like a Nikon D300 or Canon 50D which has a more usable ISO range.

If you don't know what ISO ranges and aperture (or f/ stop) mean, stick with an XSi or D60 and have a blast learning to use the camera. Take a couple classes too, it'll greatly shorten your learning curve. Then you can add the more expensive lenses with fast apertures (low f/stop number), and then some day upgrade to a new body that will still use the lenses you own.

As far as getting hung up on equipment, don't. I have over $10,000 in current camera gear, and thousands more in obsolete crap, and I can make 90% of the same images I do now with a $500 setup (you can't do much wide angle shallow DOF with a cheap lens, and you can't zoom in tight at dawn or dusk with a cheap lens). The difference is my yield on a given shoot, the speed at which I can compose, etc etc. If you've spent $4000 to go on a safari or other remote location to shoot, you want to maximize your yield. Money spent on better camera bodies usually buys you a faster image processor and a larger / faster buffer, as well as a better sensor with a wider exposure limit and deeper tonal saturation. However, you can't really make much use of these until you master the basics, and by then anything you buy will be obsolete. So until you master the basics, don't sweat the $2000+ body and $1000+ ($10,000 anyone?) lenses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcstep View Post
...Try improving your images by learning to override the fully automatic functions. Know when to turn the flash off and use aperature priority to control depth of field.

Dave
I'd go even one step further and say put the camera in full manual for the first few thousand images, and figure out how shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance all work together. If you want it in PhD mode (push here dummy, or full auto), consider just getting a high end point and shoot.
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      06-26-2009, 03:38 PM   #11
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problem with kit lens is that once you use something a little better, you start seeing all the flaws in your kit lens and then the photo hobbies gets expensive....
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      06-26-2009, 03:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFan View Post
... If you want it in PhD mode (push here dummy, or full auto), consider just getting a high end point and shoot.
He went mid-range P&S.

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      06-26-2009, 03:46 PM   #13
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problem with kit lens is that once you use something a little better, you start seeing all the flaws in your kit lens and then the photo hobbies gets expensive....
true dat, but I've yet to see a kit lens that wasn't better than a point and shoot. For a noob, they're a great way to learn the camera.
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      06-26-2009, 04:41 PM   #14
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any high end P&S recommendations?
i actually want to compare the specs and actually see how all different they are compared to the normal P&S
thanks again guys
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      06-26-2009, 09:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
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any high end P&S recommendations?
i actually want to compare the specs and actually see how all different they are compared to the normal P&S
thanks again guys
Canon G9 or G10.

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      06-27-2009, 02:01 AM   #16
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G10 is a helluva piece of hardware. Very well received, but the same guts as a much smaller and cheaper SD880. I haven't handled or shot the G10, but I have used the A880, and it's great.

No point and shoot is going to be much good for moving objects. Low light is so-so. Lens aperture is too small.
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      06-27-2009, 08:29 AM   #17
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In compaing the G9 and G10, notice that the G9 has longer lens focal length. In good light, latency isn't too big an issue for shouting at high speeds, but latency, as with all point and shoots, becomes a problem in lower light. Latency is where you push the shutter release and the shutter doesn't react for maybe a second. Most DSLRs will fire the shutter immediately.

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      06-27-2009, 09:07 AM   #18
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G9 is longer, G10 goes wider. The SD880 is the same focal lengths as the G10. My feeling, especially with 10mp, is I'd rather have the wider low end. You can crop a "zoom" if needed. No point and shoot is going to come close to a good 300-400mm zoom.
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      06-27-2009, 11:41 AM   #19
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Quote:
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No point and shoot is going to come close to a good 300-400mm zoom.

Apples and oranges. No 300-400mm zoom comes close to a 35-210mm effective zoom of these P&S cameras. Most DSLR owners don't own or use a 300-400 zoom.

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      06-27-2009, 03:09 PM   #20
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My point is the g10 and sd880 have a shorter focal length, allowing a wide angle shot for which these cameras are best. Anything over about 120mm (35mm equiv) is useless. You can crop a 10mp image in this case with better results. The wider angle offering in the g10 is a better option.
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      06-27-2009, 08:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
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My point is the g10 and sd880 have a shorter focal length, allowing a wide angle shot for which these cameras are best. Anything over about 120mm (35mm equiv) is useless. You can crop a 10mp image in this case with better results. The wider angle offering in the g10 is a better option.
35mm is true wide angle. Saying anything over 120mm "is useless" is silly. That little sensor has it's limits, particularly when you start pressing above ISO 200 and more than a 1/4 crop. I used the 210mm equivalent often when I used my G9 as my main camera.

Today in Rocky Mountain National Park, shooting full frame with a 200mm lens with a 1.4 extender yielded a 25MB RAW image that I still cropped 500% to get the image I wanted of the young moose feeding. Cropping that much with an SD880 would have yielded pure mush.

Did I enjoy my walk around 24-105 lens at 24mm today? You bet your ass, but a 35mm would have yielded some nice images. Which end of the zoom range you prefer to favor will depend on your usage of the camera. BTW, I had to switch back and forth between the 24-105 and the 70-200 mm several times, which is a bit of a hassle. Going 35-210 with no switching is really nice. Yes, there are limitations, but there are pluses also.

There's no right or wrong answer, but the potential buyer needs to understand that zoom ranges are different on the G9 and G10.

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      06-27-2009, 11:13 PM   #22
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When you zoom those little lenses out to 210, I don't think the results are that good. I think they are very good at 24mm however. You are correct its a matter of personal preference on which end of the zoom one would favor, but if someone is thinking the 210mm zoom on the G9 is going to be anywhere near as good as a 200mm f/2.8 Nikkor, they will be very disappointed. However, the 24mm wide angle is almost as good as my 12-24 f/4, and will yield an outstanding result.

With the 10mp sensor you can crop that the image from that little lens for 95% of the same result, which even at 100% is still far inferior to a DSLR zoom. But at 24mm, I've seen results that are just as good as my DSLR and 24mm lens.

Shooting in Yellowstone a couple weeks ago, I was using my 80-200 f/2.8. My wife was using the point and shoot, at full zoom, and while the composition was similar, the limits of the lens were glaring.
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