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Old Jul 21, 2004, 6:46 PM   #1
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I know I am going to get a lot of flack for this post, but here goes...

Is it me or does it seem like over the past six months the Newbie Help section has turned into the "What do I buy" or "What should I buy" section?

Now there is nothing wrong with this, but I remember back in 2003 when I used to browse the site before I signed up, the Newbie Help section was all about helping beginners use their camera and what some of the features did.It was a section to allow new users to digital photography to ask questions and get help from the "pros." Say somebody wanted to know how to use the stitching feature on their Canon, this is where they would post.

I would think with such a growing population of "What do I buy" questions, a lot of the more knowledgeable posters now skip the Newbie Help section because they don't with to read these posts. This could be bad for the people who actually have questions about digital photography and their cameras.

Maybe there should be a "What should I buy" section. This way the people looking for advise on what camera to buy could get help, and so can those just looking for beginner digital photography help.

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Old Jul 21, 2004, 7:22 PM   #2
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Ryan:

I'm relatively new to the forums here (well, this time around). I did visit the forums about 4 years ago (prior to all of the newer forum engines), but I didn't frequent it more than a few times. I don't recall what the posts were even like at that time.

Since I rejoined the forums here last year, the Newbie sectiondoes seem to be filled with the"What shouldI buy posts". For that matter, all sections seem to be that way (even the individual camera sections have their share of "which one of these is best for me" type questions).

You see the same thing on other digicam forums, too - - usually not in a "Newbie Help" section, but in a main forum (General, etc.).

I guess I'm a "sucker for punishment" because I do spend a LOT of time answering posts of this type (on more than one forum). I really need to "get a life". :-)

I guess in some ways, I want to help out the users shopping for a digicam, to prevent them from making a big mistake, depending on their desired use for a camera. After all, the "marketing hype" is getting pretty outrageous at times.

Sometimes new users think thatshouldbe able toget great photos, in any conditions, with any digital camera -- without knowing anything about photography. Of course, the higher the resolution, the better the expected results.

But, in other ways, it's more trouble than it's worth. Also, if you recommend one camera choice over another to a new user, and they are unhappy with the choice, guess who'll they'll blame? :sad:

So, I try to help set user expectations, so they are not too dissapointed with their new camera choice, to try and make them more aware of potential limitations. Although, some of my posts about manufacturers claims "stretching the truth" a little have been called negative.

Of course, you also have to be careful when discussing pros and cons of different models (because you'll end up offending someone that thinks their camera is always the best choice).

So, I do like responding to the questions from users asking for helpsetting their camera to take a certain photo better, etc.; and I think you're right about the need for a dedicated section for the "what camera should I buy" questions.


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Old Jul 21, 2004, 9:41 PM   #3
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Personally, I can't understand why people are asking what camera to buy, especially when you can go to a camera store and try them out. I understand if it's something like a monitor where most stores only have the best selling rather than the best quality.

There should be a locked message at the top of each forum with frequently ask questions, and one message should be a FAQ titled, "Which camera should I buy, shopping for a camera". It would answer a lot of repeat questions.

But we're not the only ones suffering...I was at a camera store yesterday and someone wanted to buy both equipment for a film camera they were given, and their first digital camera...and they were leaving for a year long trip to Europe on FRIDAY!
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 11:29 PM   #4
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I don't mind people asking the "What do I buy" question. I just think that the Newbie Help section is getting so over-run with them that the people who have a question about how to shoot portrait depth of field, or what a panoramic picture is, etc... may be over looked because of the WDIB posts.

I know people post these questions to get a response from people who actually own the camera and can give them a good amount of review/advise. I also think people tend to use it as their only and deciding factors when choosing a camera. They need to narrow it down to the cameras they like, and head off to the local electronics store to "play" with them. Then when they find a camera they like, shoot a post here on Steve's asking about it. You would not buy a car without test driving it would you? You would not buy a big screen TV without viewing it first would you? Honestly, the same should go for your camera. You should hold it, shoot with it, and "play" with it to see if it fits you.

Maybe Steve should create another board section for just these types of questions. Or maybe create another board for "Beginner Photography Help"


I guess my over-all point is that out of the 40 posts that show per page when I created this, 1 was Steve's locked post at the top, 1 was this one, 4 were posts where the user hit send twice, 8 were newbie questions, and 26 were "what do I buy". With 26 different WDIB posts, it kind of makes me want to skip this area instead of weeding through them to find the newbie questions.

Again, I am not against the WDIB posts, I just think there are a ton of them.
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Old Jul 22, 2004, 2:17 AM   #5
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Yes, friends - You are all right that there should be an exclusive section for WDIB. But if you were in the shoes of the beginners who seek help in choosing the best digicam, you would appreciate the beginners who post their queries on multiple forums and multiple sections. Thier objective is only to get possible help from the members.

One member rightly said, that anybody can go to the store and check the various cameras. You would not be surprised to know that the sellers would ask questions like - what you want to buy, what is your budget etc. Once you tell them your budget they only show you cameras in that range. Many times you cannot ask them to show various other models. Not always the cameras are loaded with batteries etc to click a photo and see. Even if one had a chance to click a photo, he can do it in Auto mode or so. He cannot compare other modes and with other models of the cameras. Many sellers do not keep all the makes of cameras. They only keep few best selling brands.

Also many beginners do not know which button to operate to click photos etc. They are new to digital. If one had experience with one model then it is OK becoz he knew what is optical, what is digital etc..

For example you will not know how a movie mode works when you connect to your TV. You cannot do this in a Store.

If members help the beginners in some direction, they can read reviews and find prices on the net and finally decide what amount is required for their choice cameras. Also some have doubts on the review sites also as to the sample pictures are run through some Software for good quality. They think that the picture are taken in good lighting etc. This is why they want FIRST HAND information from the Users.

Sorry for the Long message. Hope this clarifies.

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Old Jul 22, 2004, 2:48 AM   #6
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hari wrote:
Quote:
One member rightly said, that anybody can go to the store and check the various cameras.*

Not always the cameras are loaded with batteries etc to click a photo and see.
The places I deal with, if there's no batteries in the camera you want to try they pop in a set. Even when I went to buy a flash they popped in a set of CR2 batteries into the flash for me to try it:



When I was thinking about a new lens, I got to take a few pictures with the lens on my camera in the store, and I then looked at the memory card at home overnight to see if I liked the lens.
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Old Jul 22, 2004, 12:51 PM   #7
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hari wrote:
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Also some have doubts on the review sites also as to the sample pictures are run through some Software for good quality. They think that the picture are taken in good lighting etc. This is why they want FIRST HAND information from the Users.
Well, I sometimes suggest users compare photos from cameras they are considering at photo sharing web sites. That way, they'll get a better idea of what "real world" samples look like, in a greater variety of conditions. Here is some advise I gave a user looking for a new camera yesterday in another forum thread:

Quote:
Nobodycan decide for you. You'll need to make the decision. Hopefully, you'll get some more opinions on this model. However, take these opinions with a "grain of salt", because each users opinion will likely be biased, including mine.

You're better off reading theopinions from a Professional Reviewer (like the ones here at Steves-Digicams), paying close attention to each review's conclusion section for the strengths and weaknesses of a given model.

Then, compare images from the cameras you are considering, letting your own eyes decide which model does better. However, most digital cameras do great in good light, at lower ISO speeds (which is the way most review's sample images are shot).

In lower light and/or higher ISO speeds, it's "anotherballgame", where some models do MUCH better than others.

I'dalso make use of aphoto sharing site like pbase.com. They have a camera database, that lets you see sample photos from users of most popular camera models, taken by their subscribers. So, theseare"real world" images from camera users, taken in a greater variety of conditions, compared to the samplesyou'll find in the reviews (where photos tend to be taken in very good light, under optimal conditions).

Go to http://www.pbase.com/cameras and selecta camera model to see user albums. Then, look forphotos that are taken in the conditions you'll want to take them in with your camera.


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Old Jul 22, 2004, 2:21 PM   #8
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My advise is to read Steve's reviews for some camera's that are in your price range. Once you choose two or three, go to your local electronics store (Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, etc...) and hold those camera's. When you have narrowed it down, take another look on these boards as well as Steve's reviews. Then think about the pros and cons of each camera. You should be able to narrow down your decision this way.

If the sales guy asks you what your price range is, just tell him you are looking right now and that you will find him when you need help. This will get the sales person off of your back and let you explore in peace. If the camera you wish to shoot demo pics with does not have batteries, ask for some, ask for a memory card. That is the sales persons job. Remember, they want to sell you that camera because they will get a kick back.

I totally agree with JimC. Don't let anyone on this board make the decision for you. This is your decision. Yes, use these boards to do some research and read the reviews that Steve has worked hard at putting together, and allow these to assist you with your decision.

My mom has a small Kodak EasyShare camera that takes great pics, but it is very small. Now if I saw these pics online and purchased this camera based on the pic quality and had never held the camera, I would have been upset. The camera is way too small for my hands and does not feel good for me to hold.

Happy posting everyone.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 7:29 PM   #9
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Thanks for the WSIB section Steve.

Now watch the Newb section doesn't get any posts.... :-)
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 9:50 PM   #10
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Or any replies anyway.
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