DSLR Camera help

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DSLR Camera help

Postby Defence21 on Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:27 am

My wife is becoming more and more interested in photography as my daughter gets older. She's been taking a lot of photos of late and has begun talking about getting a DSLR camera to upgrade our Canon Powershot. Personally, I feel like the Powershot is a very good camera for the amateur with no background and can't justify spending the money to upgrade to a DSLR.

Can someone with some experience explain the pros and cons of getting a DSLR, and recommend a few that are affordable, but functional (IE: For beginners)?

I don't want to drop $600 on a camera only to find out this is a passing phase that she grows tired of.

One more quick question. One of the big things she is wanting to accomplish with the camera is taking photos with one subject in clear focus, with everything else blurry and out of focus. She's grown frustrated with the Powershot, as she can't seem to accomplish this. As a guy who points and shoots, this is way out of my league, so I'll ask: is this an effect that can only be achieved with a high-end camera, or is she/are we just missing something/doing something incorrectly? Also, I realize Photoshop does amazing things with photos, and that's an avenue we plan to explore, but she wants the option of taking good/great unedited photos.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby pittsoccer33 on Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:49 am

you can easily blur the background with a dslr.

as you go up from model to model you typically pay for two main things, more megapixels and more auto focus points. those points are what help you focus on your subject and blur the rest.

i have a canon rebel xs. its a slightly older discontinued model. i think id recommend a t2i these days for an entry camera.

the auto settings are the same as your powershot but once you dig into the manual a bit you can start with the manual settings.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby HockeyDaddy on Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:51 am

I would stick with Canon. I love my Canon T3i. Awesome camera that has all the automatic functions that your wife would need to capture great images while she learns to use the manual functions to have more artistic control over the image (if that is what she wants). Canon is actually releasing an updated version (T4i), so you might be able to find a T3i cheaper than they used to be.

The effect of separating the background from the foreground is called "bokeh". Depending on the kind of camera that you get (Canon or Nikon), you can purchase lenses that are designed to create that effect. The "kit lens" that will come with your camera will allow you to create the same effect, just not to the same degree as a specialized lens.

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-T3i-Processor-3-0-Inch-Vari-Angle/dp/B004J3V90Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344257355&sr=8-1&keywords=t3i
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby Letang Is The Truth on Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:04 am

defence i am/was in the same position as you. i purchased a canon t3 (http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Rebel-T3-Di ... s=canon+t3) which is not as nice as the t2i or the t3i in terms of MPs and features but i didnt think i needed much more for my first DSLR. you can easily blur the background with it and i am starting to figure things out a little with the other functions. looking to take one of the photography classes at ccac
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby Pitts on Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:03 am

I use a Canon Powershot. I love it. Eventually I want to go DSLR, when my budget opens up. With the DSLR, you will become bored with the standard lens pretty quickly, at least if you're into macro or landscape type photos. Then, you end up paying a fortune for various lenses.

Also, most "amateurs" don't realize that the secret to a great photo isn't so much in the actual taking of the image (although you need a good eye for cropping and subject matter), but in the processing of the image in an imaging software package. I use Photoshop to correct lighting, shadow, depth, blur, etc. But, there are many packages available from free, to cheap, to expensive.

Also, if she really, really likes photography and wants to learn from others, get her on Google+ -- my photography has taken off since being on there. Millions of great photograhers of all levels, all willing to share their knowledge and work.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby mac5155 on Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:21 am

I too am in a similar situation, I'd like to get a DSLR before our honeymoon next year, in fact I think that's going to be our only christmas gift this year to each other is a nice DSLR.

What kind of lenses are "must haves" aside from the stock lens that comes with the body?

Also, I have a 16MP point and shoot. Why is a 16MP DSLR better than that? I'm just trying to understand the technology here.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby DelPen on Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:27 am

Waiting for schmenguin to chime in...
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby pittsoccer33 on Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:32 am

the sensors on good cameras are much larger than on compact point and shoots or cellphones. the larger sensor makes a huge difference.

you probably would want a more powerful zoom lense for landscapes and perhaps a macro lense for closeups. i rent mine online when im going on a trip. makes much more sense for me.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby beerman on Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:54 am

mac5155 wrote:I too am in a similar situation, I'd like to get a DSLR before our honeymoon next year, in fact I think that's going to be our only christmas gift this year to each other is a nice DSLR.

What kind of lenses are "must haves" aside from the stock lens that comes with the body?

Also, I have a 16MP point and shoot. Why is a 16MP DSLR better than that? I'm just trying to understand the technology here.



It's the sensor that makes a huge difference. That's basically what my fiancée and I did this year we wanted a better camera for the upcoming honeymoon and just made it a gift.

We also picked up a 55-250mm zoom lens so that we can vary the amount of shots.

We love the camera we've got so far (Canon T3) it has a lot of functionality that we can grow into as we get more advanced with it but it's still easy enough to use that you don't have to be a pro right away. There's also lots of great websites and things out there that will teach you how to take some much better more interesting shots and it's not very difficult. Especially like the one the OP mentioned with blurring the background, I always wanted to be able to do that and was able to figure it out in just a couple shots with the new camera.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby Letang Is The Truth on Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:10 am

which sites did you check out beerman?
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby count2infinity on Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:17 am

I ebayed a canon EOS rebel xt. picked it up for $200 with the stock lens and 2 gig memory card and pretty much all original packaging. have taken some good photos with it.

Spoiler:
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


and i'm a newb with it. i'm sure i can get better.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby beerman on Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:00 pm

Letang Is The Truth wrote:which sites did you check out beerman?


I can't remember off the top of my head, I have them all bookmarked on my computer at home.. It'll be a couple days but I'll post them once I get to them.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby shmenguin on Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:38 pm

pittsoccer33 wrote:as you go up from model to model you typically pay for two main things, more megapixels and more auto focus points. those points are what help you focus on your subject and blur the rest.

paying extra just for a few more focus points is bad value, IMO. with just a little bit of technique, you can do a lot with only a few points. i think the difference between a $600 DSLR and a $1,000 DSLR is just the aggregate total of all the extra (non-essential) features. the difference between a $1,000 DSLR and a $2,500 DSLR is a bit more complicated.

Pitts wrote:Also, most "amateurs" don't realize that the secret to a great photo isn't so much in the actual taking of the image (although you need a good eye for cropping and subject matter), but in the processing of the image in an imaging software package. I use Photoshop to correct lighting, shadow, depth, blur, etc. But, there are many packages available from free, to cheap, to expensive.


adobe lightroom is great for this, but i only use it to punch up what's already there - adjust exposure/highlights/shadows, boost the contrast, correct lens distortion and change my white balance. i don't really do any "special effects" or anything. if you do post-processing like this, you should always shoot in RAW.

mac5155 wrote:What kind of lenses are "must haves" aside from the stock lens that comes with the body?


if don't want to spend a ton on lenses, but you want to have something that is good for all situations, get one of those superzooms. nikon makes an 18-200mm lens that will cover all your bases

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-18-200mm-3- ... B000BY52NU

this is cheap (believe it or not), and can to landscapes, portraits and parties. however, the image quality isn't great compared to other lenses (but you may not notice the difference) and it doesn't have a very wide aperture - so you need a lot of light to shoot with it.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby shmenguin on Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:42 pm

...and also, the secret to a great photo is one thing: light

learning about lighting is ridiculously important, IMO
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby mac5155 on Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:46 pm

Yeah no way I can justify $1,000 for a lens lol.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby shmenguin on Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:54 pm

mac5155 wrote:Yeah no way I can justify $1,000 for a lens lol.


oops...i thought it was cheaper. give me a sec for something more affordable
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby shmenguin on Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:57 pm

ok...stick with the "kit" lens that's included (which should be like 18-55mm) and then get one of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-55-200mm-4- ... kon+55-200

that will cover the entire range you'll need. i used that 55-200 for a while. got some really great pics out of it.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby tifosi77 on Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:10 pm

Don't get bogged down in megapixels; the quality of the sensor trumps pixel count. Sure, you might have 12 million pixels of picture data..... but it's crap data.

I have a Nikon D90 that came with a 18-105 mm lens, and a 70-300 mm telephoto that I added on. I'm only just starting to scratch the surface of what can be done with that thing, but overall I'm pleased with it.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby Pitts on Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:38 pm

shmenguin wrote:
Pitts wrote:Also, most "amateurs" don't realize that the secret to a great photo isn't so much in the actual taking of the image (although you need a good eye for cropping and subject matter), but in the processing of the image in an imaging software package. I use Photoshop to correct lighting, shadow, depth, blur, etc. But, there are many packages available from free, to cheap, to expensive.


adobe lightroom is great for this, but i only use it to punch up what's already there - adjust exposure/highlights/shadows, boost the contrast, correct lens distortion and change my white balance. i don't really do any "special effects" or anything. if you do post-processing like this, you should always shoot in RAW.

I agree. I was always one to not over-process my images. I like a punch up the saturation and work the lights and darks, but over-produced "HD" photos really don;t excite me.

Unfortunately, my current Powershot doesn't seem to shoot in RAW. I get (kinda crappy really) JPG from it.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby count2infinity on Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:36 pm

you like photoshop for touch ups, pitts? I don't have a photo processing program yet, so I'm open to suggestions.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby shmenguin on Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:39 pm

count2infinity wrote:you like photoshop for touch ups, pitts? I don't have a photo processing program yet, so I'm open to suggestions.


lightroom has a good touch up tool for blemishes. extremely simple. i think you'd only need something more heavy duty like photoshop if you're going to get really in depth with editing.

if you want something that's free for touch ups, i'd go get gimp. but it doesn't give you a lot of photo options
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby Pitts on Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:10 pm

shmenguin wrote:
count2infinity wrote:you like photoshop for touch ups, pitts? I don't have a photo processing program yet, so I'm open to suggestions.


lightroom has a good touch up tool for blemishes. extremely simple. i think you'd only need something more heavy duty like photoshop if you're going to get really in depth with editing.

if you want something that's free for touch ups, i'd go get gimp. but it doesn't give you a lot of photo options

I use photoshop because I have it for work and have been using it for 20 some years. There are many options out there, and many much more easy on the pocketbook. I think Photoshop would run about $900 about now.

GIMP is the freeware (opensource) answer to Photoshop. It has all the same tools, and does pretty much all the same stuff.
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby count2infinity on Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:47 pm

I can get photoshop and illustrator for $200
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby Letang Is The Truth on Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:51 pm

How does one do that
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Re: DSLR Camera help

Postby count2infinity on Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:52 pm

There are benefits to being a graduate student.
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