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Thread: Any recommendations on getting started with photography?

  1. #1
    Member whitewolf2025's Avatar
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    Default Any recommendations on getting started with photography?

    I am going to be working up on the North Slope for the next two summers doing caribou habitat work. I've always been intrigued by outdoors photography and have wanted to try my hand at it, but the cost has been prohibitive. It still is, but I actually have more of an excuse now to spring for a camera (I need to have pictures to show for what I've been doing). I would like to buy a used camera/lens kit, but I am not sure what would be a good one to buy. My budget is pretty puny, $300, $400 absolute tops. I realize this cuts out on virtually all cameras, but I am not looking for anything super fancy, just a starter camera to play around with, and learn what features I'd like for future cameras and whatnot. I already have a little point-and-shoot camera but it's dying and I would like to try out a DSLR camera.

    I also know like absolutely nothing about the terminology, specifications, etc... so can anyone recommend any good books, websites, or workshops in the Fairbanks area?

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Hey Wolf, I have a Nikon D50 outfit that I bought new in 2005, thinking about upgrading. Have a 20mm wide-angle manual focus lens and a Sigma 70-300mm telephoto autofocus lens, some filters and a LowePro "PhotoRunner" bag. Paid over $1,000 new, would let it go for $400. Also have a Sigma 400mm autofocus lens, but that would probably be out of your budget. Camera and lenses are in perfect working condition. Took these photos with this rig:







    " the stars, the snow, and the fire. These are the books he reads most of all." ~John Haines

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    Member EMoss#83's Avatar
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    I would look at the bridge cameras like the cannon G12, it packs quite a punch and allows you to grow into manual operations, but for a while i would leave it in P mode and concentrate on lighting, composition and the art of seeing.
    "f/64 and be there"

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    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    I will second the recommendation for the g12! My wife has that camera and it is great for learning as you have as much control over it as a dslr. The second reason is its size. You are much more likely to carry it with you on more trips than a dslr because of its size, meanining you will get more pictures!
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    Member whitewolf2025's Avatar
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    What are the advantages of a higher-end point-and-shoot over a dslr?

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whitewolf2025 View Post
    What are the advantages of a higher-end point-and-shoot over a dslr?
    Here's a link with some basic info:
    http://manofthehouse.com/gadgets/cam...al-differences

    I use 'em both, depending on the situation. For strictly "nature" photography (wildlife, landscapes, macro) you can't beat the SLR for versatility. There's a reason pros use them almost exclusively: professional results. They are bulky, awkward, and slow to get into action, though. When I'm out hunting, I like a little point and shoot for shots of camp life, trail, kill shots and meat care. I've had a couple of tiny Sony Cybershots, and they are great for these applications. It all boils down to what your personal vision is; will probably have to try each style to truly decide what works best for you.
    " the stars, the snow, and the fire. These are the books he reads most of all." ~John Haines

  7. #7

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    A quick check on fred miranda and potn shows these prices to be very fair (even for lower 48). I know nothing of the condition of this equipment but appears to be something to consider. 20mm for landscape and the zoom for wildlife. the extras of filters and bag add up fast. My wife has the canon g12 and likes it. it is a point and shoot that allows you to shoot raw and control things manually.

    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    Hey Wolf, I have a Nikon D50 outfit that I bought new in 2005, thinking about upgrading. Have a 20mm wide-angle manual focus lens and a Sigma 70-300mm telephoto autofocus lens, some filters and a LowePro "PhotoRunner" bag. Paid over $1,000 new, would let it go for $400.
    There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.

  8. #8
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olga1913 View Post
    A quick check on fred miranda and potn shows these prices to be very fair (even for lower 48). I know nothing of the condition of this equipment but appears to be something to consider. 20mm for landscape and the zoom for wildlife. the extras of filters and bag add up fast. My wife has the canon g12 and likes it. it is a point and shoot that allows you to shoot raw and control things manually.
    Yeah, she'd be hard to part with, been everywhere in western North America with me, but I simply don't do as much shooting anymore and if someone could use it to learn on, well, there's a lot of life left in her! The main filters I use are a "Moose Petersen" warming polarizer and a "Galen Rowell" split-neutral-density with holder; filters and bag alone ran over $200. Nothing like expensive hobbies!
    P.S. You guys might have me sold on that G12, BTW
    " the stars, the snow, and the fire. These are the books he reads most of all." ~John Haines

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    As far as I am concerned, the best entry level DSLR ever is the Nikon D40...one is for sale on CL for like $250...with a good lense. If I was in the market I would be looking at that
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  10. #10

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    The $300-$400 budget is extremely limiting, but I've had great success with a little Panasonic "point-and-shoot": the DMC-FZ28. I bet one can be easily had on Ebay for around $200. I got mine brand-new a couple years ago for only $238. It has been super-ceded by newer models such as the DMC-FZ47, but they are still very reasonable in cost. The user and professional reviews have been very good on this model series. Check here to see what $282 will buy: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=REG&A=details

    If it weren't for the low budget I would otherwise be recommending an entry-level DSLR, like either the Nikon D3100 or D5100, or the Canon T2i or T3i, with "kit" lens. A point-n-shoot has the advantages of much lower cost, smaller size, and lighter weight, but loses out in almost all the other parameters, compared to a DSLR. But still...LOTS of good photos come from point-n-shoot cameras...get one!
    "I love my country...it's the government I'm scared of"

  11. #11
    Member muzzyman87's Avatar
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    Default G12

    The G12 is the perfect beginner camera..

    I have fun with my G12...

    I am not against the flippin kenai, since I cannot but suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering every other stream... ~Paul O'Neil~/~Wyo2AK~

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    I also use a Panasonic point & shoot and find it adequate for most situations I want to shoot. Point & shoot cameras can provide great images and a good experience for the photographer. But they are also miserably inadequate for most low light situations. The digital noise is excessive when using these small format sensors in dim lighting.

    Also, P&S cameras use contrast detect autofocus, which is much slower than the phase detection AF used in DSLRs. This isn't a simple matter of waiting a few milliseconds for the cheaper camera. The slower AF often means no picture at all when either the subject or shooter is moving, or for some other reason the camera cannot find focus in time to capture the moment. This is the biggest frustration for me when using a P&S.

    Also, more expensive cameras usually come with more and better features, and quicker and easier ways to access these features. There's plenty of really good reasons to spend more money on a better camera.

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