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Old Jul 13, 2011, 10:02 PM   #1
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Default Basic Photographers kit

I just completed my first class in photography and I'm excited. It's a continuing Ed class at our local arts school. Teacher has challenged us to use our DSLR's as more than a fancy point and shoot. She urged us to pretend that the little green automatic button doesn't exist.

Completing my homework assignment has caused me to ponder what other gear I might need. I know I need a tripod of some sort. Playing with speeds and aperture settings really opens up a world of questions and possibilities. Tomorrow night is class 2 of 6!
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Old Jul 13, 2011, 10:08 PM   #2
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depends on what type of photography you are getting deeper into. If you like more background blur a fast prime might do the trick in that department. A good external flash is another good thing to have, if you want to get into good indoor photography where you can direct the light.

Filters I would not to deep into just yet, but a cpl and some ND filters can really help get creative with movement blurs. But I would hold off on that till you get a little further along.
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Old Jul 13, 2011, 10:11 PM   #3
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Not sure what you're using but a good flash is always on the list. A remote shutter if you can swing it is also beneficial in getting sharper images in preventing camera shake. A good bag to ensure your gear is secure. The basics like extra batteries, SD/CF cards are always good to have on hand. Software for post processing/storage assistance, is also something to think about and a good pair of running shoes that you don't mind getting dirty

Other things sort of depend on what you plan on shooting going forward.
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Old Jul 13, 2011, 10:23 PM   #4
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I have basic. I've always like Sony products but that's not totally why I bought a Sony Alpha 200. I bought the camera and kit lens (18-70) for $399. This camera is better than I am at this point. I figured a flash is also in my future and probably a better prime lens. But Rome wasn't built in a day! More tips will fuel my craze!

I have a Kata bag but it's going to get too small soon. I bought a used Sony 55-200 lens on eBay for less than $100. I also have a circular polarizer and UV filters on each of my lenses.

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Old Jul 13, 2011, 10:33 PM   #5
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With what you have now, a fast prime would really be the next thing to add. The sony 50 1.8 would be a good buy. And not to expensive. Or you may even find an old minolta 50 1.7 on ebay for even cheaper. The will really open up the background blur effects letting you get more creative.
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Old Jul 13, 2011, 11:21 PM   #6
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A small, inexpensive item that can add quite a bit to some shots is a reflector (should have used one today as a matter of fact, didn't think about it until I saw the shot on the monitor). You can use aluminum foil for a silver one, then buy a commercial one with white on one side and gold on the other. I bought mine for $12 a couple of years ago and it makes a difference both with light quality (depending on which side you use) as well as amount of light (can fill in shadows gracefully).
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 9:56 AM   #7
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The best advice I can give you is to slow down on the notion of "building your kit". For example, several items have been brought up: external flash, fast prime lens, tripod (and others). Which of those items you actually need depends on what and how you shoot. And, buying cheap items just to check it off the list leads to wasted money. You are infinitely better off waiting until you identify a specific need - then understand what all your purchase options are for that specific need. You can then do your own cost-benefit. For example, I have a 50mm 1.8 lens. Hasn't been used in 5 years. Other people use a 50mm lens every day. Others use a 28mm or 85mm. The point there is - 50mm is not necessarily the best focal length. It's just often the cheapest.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 10:14 AM   #8
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I would have to echo John's sage advise.

Altogether too often, when we're all excited about our new camera, we tend to "want" to get everything NOW. Trouble is most of us don't know what 'everything' actually is.

I would suggest that your first priority is to read your manual from front to back. Get to know your camera intimately. What it can do, what you may need help with.
Continue with your camera club. Last but not least, take a lot of pictures. Explore the different types of photography that your drawn to. Look, examine and find out how the those images that you like so much were made.
Then, after 6months, take an assessment and see - if your interests are the same, changed, and what you're missing.

Only then, would you be making a wise investment in gear.

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Old Jul 14, 2011, 5:28 PM   #9
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At this very moment of your learning process i guess you may need a cheap tripod. Period.
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Old Jul 14, 2011, 5:44 PM   #10
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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."

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