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Lizzard[MPE]
24th November 2004, 07:10
I've just had a friend shot me with an email about cameras..you guys seem to know whats up. want to answer his questions? i'd be nice to get all kinds of different answers. ive answered him and i'm a beginner with him, so it would be good to get the older answers..

Cheers, Lizzie


congrats on beating the sars ;)

lindsay, my friend that i was asking on behalf for, has gotten me interested
in this as well now. we went camera shopping (really simple shopping) and i
learnt a few things and got excited about it. im now thinking of getting an
SLR camera (film, not digital) for xmas instead of an ipod/music player. i
had the guy at the store with 5-6 different cameras on the counter trying
them all out and just loving it. the only thing that bothered me was the
fact that i didnt quite understand all the technical things about the
cameras...so ive been on the net for a bit looking up different things
trying to gain some knowledge for when i go back to talk to the guy :)

anyways, this email is more than just to rave to you about my evening, but
more about me asking you a couple of questions that might help me for the
next time i head into a store and talk about cameras (which will hopefully
be sooner than later!)

1. what kind of camera(s) do you own?
2. what are the main specs of a camera should i be focusing on when buying
for a beginner?
3. can 400-500 dollars be enough to buy a decent camera??

the kind of photography that ive been turned on to for a while now is still
life. i enjoy taking pictures of nature. but i also like candid/action
shots. now, ive learnt that one camera can support both of these functions
by having different lenses. this is a nice segue into my next question: how
many and what kind of lenses should a beginner get, if any at all?

VJ
24th November 2004, 08:13
Originally posted by Lizzard[MPE]
im now thinking of getting an SLR camera (film, not digital)

Hmm, analog...
I'm mostly familiar with the Nikon range though...
The most important things to look out for are the AF speed, and the metering system.
That being said, for all Nikon models lower than an F100, the AF module is Multicam900. The F100 and F5 use Multicam1300, the F6 uses Multicam2000. The difference is mainly in the type of focus zones and the number of them:
Multicam900: 1 central zone (senstive for horizontal and vertical), 2 side zones (sensitive for vertical), 2 other zones (top/bottom, sensitive for horizontal).
Multicam1300: 5 zones (sensitive for horizontal and vertical)
Multicam2000: 9 central zones (sensitve for horizontal and vertical), 2 side zones (for vertical)
To a lesser extent, they differ in speed.

Of the analog camera's, only the F5 and F6 have the superb 3D color matrix metering.

I just read up on the price. The F100 will be too expesive (as we need to take lenses into account), so chances are he'll have to go for an F80 or F65. (if he goes with Nikon)

Commonly, the cheaper models have some program modes (nature, action, ...). (yes, they are on the cheaper models, this is not a mistake) On the more expensive models, these are omitted (you can accomplish the same by adjusting aperture and shutterspeed). Depending on you knowledge of photography, it could be interesting to have these program modes.

More important than the body, is the lens. What you'd like is a nice allround zoom lens. It will depend if he likes wideangle better (then there is a nice 24-85), or if he is more into zooms.

Most lenses have additional features, I'll list some that are important.
D-type: lens has a CPU, this helps metering and focus
G-type: same as D-type, but has no aperture dial (not needed on modern cameras)
AFS: lens has its own focus motors. This allows for faster focussing (esp. with lower ranged cameras).
VR: vibration reduction. Helps to stabilize the image (usefull in long zooms)
M/A-switch: allows switching from autofocus to manual focus using a button on the lens. Can be convenient at times (i.e. focus automatically, then take over).
macro-switch: allows the lens to be used for macro shots (close up photography

Lenses which have a fixed aperture are interesting, but they will be too expensive.



2. what are the main specs of a camera should i be focusing on when buying
for a beginner?
3. can 400-500 dollars be enough to buy a decent camera??

You should have a good combination of body and lens.
It is hard to situate 400-500 dollars over here (due to taxes, ...), but I think you would get a nice starter kit for that.
A starter kit usually comes bundled with a lens. If that lens doesn't really suit your purpose, opt for a body alone, with a lens of your choice.



life. i enjoy taking pictures of nature. but i also like candid/action
shots. now, ive learnt that one camera can support both of these functions
by having different lenses. this is a nice segue into my next question: how
many and what kind of lenses should a beginner get, if any at all?
At least one lens....
Initially: I would go for a nice allround zoom lens. It will allow you both nature and action shots.
Nature photography commonly implies wide-angle (<28mm), action photography is commonly associated with zoom (>70mm).
On an SLR, you can just change the lenses as desired. But bear in mind that you also have to carry the lenses (so buying great, heavy lenses is not always interesting).

Hope this helps somewhat...
I've mention Nikon terminology, but while Canon differs in terminology, the concepts are similar.


Jörg

degrub
24th November 2004, 22:59
For a beginner : 1) enroll in a local school that teaches photography basics. Many times they have equipment to loan as part of the class. 2) Then if he is still "in to it", find a reputable used dealer that will let him try out a body and some lenses. A good starting point would be an older manual/ semiauto body such as a Canon A1 or the like, a 28-70 or 35-80 mm zoom lens, and a 80 - 200 mm zoom lens. More likely to fit his budget and still be able shoot what he wants.


It's not so much the camera equipment (although that can make it more difficult to make really bad shots) as it is learning how to see as the film does and learning how to compose the image.

Frank

chaoliang
2nd December 2004, 03:57
Second-hand analog camras are dirt cheap. It might be the best deal for a beginner. He has to play with his first equipments before he can really decide what is best suitable for him. IMO the first equipments fit seldom individual demands. If he sticks to analog after trying it out, he probably will expand his arsenal anyway.

I would suggest him to find a trustable local dealer and buy one from the most famous marks (I prefer Nikon or Canon) with an original standard zoom lens (28-85mm). Also: It must not be autofocus. Then just take pictures and study them. It won't take much time till he finds out, what he really needs.
It will cost about 200 dollars or even less, I'd say.

az
2nd December 2004, 04:32
I would also suggest some used analog stuff; GuchiGuh uses an old Canon AE-1, I believe...

It depends on what your friend wants to shoot, but nothing beats the feeling and the learning effect like using an old full manual SLR (where you have to set aperture, focus, shutter time, and advance the film all with your own hands), one with a built-in light meter preferably. These cams are DIRT CHEAP and the lenses for them are too, just get one from a known manufacturer like canon, nikon, minolta... I think minolta is cheapest from these since their name isn't so well-known anymore as it was back then. The most important thing: Take different cams in your hands and try them out; only then will you be able to choose the one that fits you best.

You can get lots of old photo gear for cheap on ebay, but for trying the cam out, go to the flea market or a used camera dealer.

AZ