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Old Jul 14, 2011, 8:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by VTphotog View Post
Let us not discourage a new photographer. Much of my own kit is made up of gear that was enthusiastically purchased in the heat of new camera frenzy, then sold used.

You recognize, correctly, that your camera is likely to get better pictures than you can on your own. Learning why, and when to override the camera, takes time and patience. Your photography course is a very good start.
As the flight instructor said -"You now have a license to learn to fly. The rest of the process will take the rest of your life."

brian

Hi Brian,

I wasn't so much trying to dampen enthusiasm as much as I was hoping to save Outhouse from doing the same thing what so many of us who have travelled that road have done, I surely was one of those that ran out and bought up a whole bunch of stuff that I now, gladly no longer have.

EBay is full of cameras and accessories being sold by people who went down that road. It ends up costing money-sometimes a whole lot.

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Old Jul 14, 2011, 9:48 PM   #12
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Zig, I was just making a little funny. For most of us, the best advice is to take it slow and find out our needs before spending a lot of money on things we may not really need. Some people start hobbies, though as a way of disposing of some of their disposable income, and that is what I was getting at.

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Old Jul 14, 2011, 9:51 PM   #13
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I had a blast tonight in my second class. The teacher seems extremely knowledgable and has given the class her home phone number and email address and encourages us to contact her with our questions. All this for a $200, 6 session class.

I'm exploring an exploring an inexpensive tripod. While I'm watching a couple of used Minolta 50mm 1.8 lenses in eBay, I'm going to use the balance of the summer figuring the limitations of my current setup.
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Old Jul 15, 2011, 9:22 AM   #14
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I'm another person like JohnG when it comes to fast 50mm lenses. I have 2 of them and the only reason I still have one of them is that I use it reversed for macro. Otherwise, they are absolutely my LEAST used lenses, on a dSLR I find the focal length very awkward. It's not that I have anything against prime or fast lenses (I have a number of both and prefer primes) but I do think that its important to be cautious when buying lenses. Only buy a lens when you really feel a need for something specific, when you've gotten frustrated with what your current equipment can't do. Buying a lens because someone says you should have that lens isn't a good enough reason to get one, and will either end up in a cupboard collecting dust or, like others have said, get sold on ebay.

You don't want to buy a lens when some legendary lens is just calling your name. One where you keep looking at other people's pictures taken with it and drool because of something unique in the way it renders pictures. You should actively try to resist buying it, especially when you don't really NEED it. That's not the time to buy a lens at all (of course, when you finally give in and get it, the lens pretty much stays glued to your camera, but that's another story).

I find that a lot of fine photos can be taken with more modest equipment - using aluminum foil to control/add some light makes a huge difference in certain conditions. While I don't understand much about flash and really struggle with the whole topic of artificial lighting, it can add a huge amount of capability (problem is using it effectively, something I haven't yet figured out), depending on the type of photography you are doing it could offer a lot more benefit than a fast prime lens.

I'm not a big fan of cheap tripods - they can be a frustrating experience. If you can pick up one at a yard sale or other place for very little then it's a good buy simply so you can learn what it is you like/dislike about it and tripods in general, and will shop much smarter later on (and know where you will be willing to compromise and still be happy). For a long time I avoided tripods completely because of a variety of problems I had with a cheap one. Finally I did a lot of research and bought one I love that suits me and my equipment, but it wasn't cheap. The right tripod can be a joy to use and add an extra dimension to your photography but it's definitely NOT something I would run out and buy right away.

Have a great time in your class and enjoy getting to know the equipment you have, learning some tricks how to get the most out of it. That way you'll be investing your money wisely and won't have to re-do/re-buy something later (like spending $100 on a tripod with leg locks you hate or has a head that's inappropriate for your equipment, then later spending $500 on the one you should have bought in the first place, if you had only known).
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Old Jul 15, 2011, 4:23 PM   #15
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I love all of the responses. I thought a 50mm fast lens was considered a "prime" lens?
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Old Jul 15, 2011, 7:19 PM   #16
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A single focal length lens is 'prime', (whether fast or not). 50mm is the 'normal' focal length for 35 mm film (or 'full frame' digital) cameras, but due to the crop factor, is not as universally useful for APS-C models. (at least in some of our opinions) For the same angle of view, we need a 30 to 35mm lens. 50mm becomes closer to 'portrait length' for these cameras.

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Old Jul 17, 2011, 7:41 PM   #17
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hello outhouse
a fairly good sturdy tripod is very important asp as you progress towards macro and long exposures
dont buy lenses till you know what you want to shoot then save money and buy the best that you can afford not what is affordable or cheaper
i too like many others bought stuff and eventually sold'em all
dont go there we already have and thats why we give the advice that we do, not to discourage but to encourage a different train of thought
this can become an expensive hobby so hold your horses and use da 'noggin'
it'll save ya oodles of cash and frustration
cheers
pete
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Old Jul 18, 2011, 1:00 PM   #18
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In doing my homework for my next class, there is so much I don't know about my camera that I need to really focus on learning my gear. It is so much smarter than I am at this point. I had to take some casual pics over the weekend and ended up with some good ones and many not so good, but I guess that is true with everyone. I had a surprise photo. I was snapping a pic of a purple finch that was hidden in a flowering bush. Well, another bird started to fly just as I snapped the pic. At the time, I said "crap" and figured I would delete that photo later on. Funny, it turned out to be a neat photo. I get a bird with his wings fully out and it was just a neat photo. I realized another thing, all of my job worries were forgotten as I was snapping pics in my backyard. A cheap form of stress relief, at least until I start buyign new gear! Thanks guys for the advice and encouragement.
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Old Jul 18, 2011, 4:53 PM   #19
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Yes, there are always good ones and lots of so so ones.
One thing is for sure: Get to know Your Camera...what it can do, AND How. Look in the Manual..you know that little itty bitty booklet which came with it...(have mostly sony's so know) and follow it page by page. Even doing each option one at a time. Sounds boring but it is a way to find out where things are, button wise, and what it does.
Like said, own several cameras, and have to relearn them when I pick them again to use them. It is a challenge...one has night shot, one doesn't. One the video can zoom, one can't...

Try different things like close up, landscape and see what happens.
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Old Jul 25, 2011, 1:08 AM   #20
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I agree with everyone else about the lenses... Don't buy one unless you know you need it. Lenses aren't cheap, so make sure it's something that you'll really use.

I also agree that your first purchase should be a tripod. The type will depend on where you're using your gear.

I bought the heaviest tripod I could find on eBay. It weighs 13 lbs and has a crank on it that raises the head to seven feet in the air. I needed it because I lived in a windy area, and I've had no problems with it (the height has worked out great for taking group portraits, too!) I also have a smaller, aluminum one that works just fine for indoors, or outside in nicer weather.

Glad to hear you're enjoying your class! Photography is an addiction, isn't it..?
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