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Old Aug 22, 2006, 10:54 AM   #1
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I'm saving to purchase my first DSLR and wondered what other accessories (which lenses, light meter, tripod?) I should try to include to get me started. I'm guessing that at first I'll photograph my daughter and nature. I haven't decided on a DSLR, but am doing my research.

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Old Aug 22, 2006, 11:47 AM   #2
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1) Lens, obviously. Most DSLR's make available a low-cost "kit" lens which is normally a short-range zoom (slightly wide-angle to slightly telephoto) to get you started. Good for general-purpose shots. Many are included with the camera in an entry-level package.

2) UV filter for lens. In addition to UV filtering it will protect the vulnerablefront element.

3) Memory Card. Sounds obvious but most DSLR's don't come with one. You wouldn't buy a regular camera without film, right?

4) A case of some sort. You're making a financial investment...PROTECT IT. Spills, dust and the occasional "oops" can be costly.

5) Flash unit. Most (not all) DSLR's have some sort of built-in flash but I have found them to lack the punch needed for good shots, especially "people pictures". You may not need a monster unit to start, but an add-on will make indoor shots much more appreciated.

That's my starter pack, FWIW.
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Old Aug 22, 2006, 1:52 PM   #3
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Most are mentioned previosly, but here's my take:

You can probably live without a light meter. DSLRs have pretty good built-in metering system.

If buying a kit lens, I suggest you get one with lens starting around 28mm focal length on 35mm format. So that's the 18-55mm kit lens on most Canon, Nikon and other DSLR with APS-C sensor.

In general, you want to cover 18-200mm or 18-300 mm for walk around. If you really want wide to shoot landscapes that you normally see on calendars, you'll need something that starts at 10mm or 12mm.

If you want to shoot birds, then you'll need something longer, probably 400mm or 500mm.

For filters, you'll get mixed opinions on UV filters. But if you find yourself shooting water or glass a lot and need to cut the reflections, then you'll need circular polarizers. If you shoot sunsets or sunrise and have problems with huge light contrast between the sky and ground, then you'll need Split ND or Grad ND filters. If you want to get a nice smooth effect on waterfalls and waves, you'll need regular ND filters. I suggest you worry with them, as you need them.

A good indoor/portrait lens is nice to have. Nikon has a 50mm F/1.8 for around $100. The Canon version is around $80. These lens of course are also usable outside, and are pretty good for their price.

Sensor dust can be an issue on DSLR. You must have a blower, the rocket blower is popular. At some point you'll encounter dusts that can't be blown, you'll have to either wipe the sensor or have it cleaned for you. Note that this is not the actual sensor, but a filter in front of the sensor.

You'll also need a camera bag. I have a shoulder bag that fits all my stuff, as well as a compact one that fits what I'll need on a long hike.

Another minor thing is if the camera you buy do not come with LCD protector, you can find them online. A good one that I wish I found out about before buying mine is from http://www.daproducts.com/

that's all I can think of right now...

Good Luck!

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Old Aug 22, 2006, 5:32 PM   #4
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Your starter kit depends on what type of shooting you'll do. For the style you mention, a tripod, hotshoe flash (if going the DSLR route), carrying case, memory and remote should get you started. Anyone who has been here awhile knows how I feel about protective UV or haze filters. They soften the image and increase chances of flare, especially cheap ones. Use a lens hood instead. In addition, most digital sensors are not as sensitive to UV light as film was, so they do nothing for the final image. Save your money unless you'll be shooting in poor conditions, such as at the beach. Don't forget some kind of image editing software and some way to back up your images such as a DVD-R drive, or extra hardrive.
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