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Old Jul 23, 2004, 7:21 PM   #1
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Hi.

This is yet-another-post concerning buying a digital camera. However, I made a dig under other ppl's posts, trying to find someone in the same situation as me, but couldnt find any - so I chose to start one.

I have no experience at all on photography. Ok, I take my pictures as mostly everyone does, on parties, holidays, etc. But on a point-and-shoot way, without any concern xcept making sure everything I want is on the photo.

I don't need a camera, but I want one. Why? Because I want to learn, to improve. I don't aim on becoming a photo professional (well one never knows what life brings up, but at least not at the moment..) but I want to take it as a hobby, and make some photos I can feel happy and proud about.

Taking all my boring rant in account, I want to buy a digital cam that doesn't tie me up into automatic modes and point-and-shoot addict. I want a cam that allows me to control what I'm doing, so I can actually *learn* about what I am doing, and get better and better photos. Not a fully professional XPTO cam, but something in the mid-term. Something in the learning curve, with room for improvement, not just an automatic shooter. I think I made my point? So if anyone can help me and give me some hints on what to choose, or even how to choose/start, it would be extremely appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
ZuCa
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Old Jul 23, 2004, 7:38 PM   #2
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There are many cameras that allow you to start with point & shoot fully automatic, and then migrate to scene modes (things like landscape, portrait, night, sports), and then to Program (P), and Aperture (A), Shutter (S), and finally Manual (M).

Look with a camera with a mode dial with those options, they are usually more SLR-like cameras the way their body is shaped, like the Olympus C-series (7xx, x0x0) not that I'm suggesting them, just that I know them; there are many more from Nikon, Panasonic, Minolta, etc. etc. etc.
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Old Jul 23, 2004, 7:51 PM   #3
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ZuCa wrote:
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... So if anyone can help me and give me some hints on what to choose, or even how to choose/start, it would be extremely appreciated.
Get a digital camera. Any camera. Get one at a price that you would consider fair for tution, and remember that you can give it to your niece/son/... for Christmas/birthday/... when you have figured out enough to know what you want. Even a BarbieCam or any of the $29.95 digital "cameras" you can find at WallyWorld.

Go to the library and get some books by the masters: Adams, Weston, ... The quality of the photos in a good book is much better than you will find on the web. Visit some galleries that show photos.

Between dinging about with a cheap digital camera and looking at some of the best photos ever made, you will learn a great deal and be much better able to pick a better camera that will suit your needs.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 8:10 AM   #4
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Which books you'd advise me to get Bill?

I'm considering the chance of getting a Canon Powershot A80 (special deal on a local store near home). It seems to work both as a point-and-shoot and a more customizable cam for intermediate users - which means it can do the role of the 29.95 crap cam and still be trustful later - at least that's what Canon calls the cam.

Another chance would be perhaps the Olympus C-740? 3MP and a nice optical zoom, but I'm not sure if it as a overall decent quality and enough options to be able to be creative on the photos?
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 9:49 AM   #5
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Well, I have found this book to be helpful for many of my students.

"Digital Photography for Dummies" by Julie Adair King

It takes you through the various camera modes, compositional tips, post processing via digital darkroom software. In short, a nice crash course that is super easy to read and understand. If you crave more, then graduate to other books.

As for a camera. I would not get anything less then 3 megapixels. This is a good starting point to learn digital photography without breaking the bank and getting good photo quality at the same time. You can make 8x10s or 8 1/2x11s that are fantastic with the right photo printer.


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Old Jul 24, 2004, 6:35 PM   #6
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Great post.

I would say if you are serious about wanting to get into digital photography and wanting to learn some of the advanced features while still having the point-and-shoot option available, I would go with Canon.

The Canon PowerShot Axx series camera are pretty good. They are small in size, have auto and manual control settings, have movie mode, and take great pictures. The PowerShot G3 (if you can find it) and G5 are great cameras too. These have more manual settings, while still retaining the auto features you are used to. These also let you add external flashes if you want, as well as different telephoto and wide angle lenses.

This is just my humble opinion, take it for what it is worth.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 7:32 PM   #7
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ZuCa wrote:
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Which books you'd advise me to get Bill?
...
Being an old f*rt, I keep re-reading Ansel Adams' trilogy ("The Camera", "The Negative", "The Print"). Pre digital, and only talks about black & white photography using some of the best photos ever made as examples. Those should be read to understand the problems of photography, not the solutions with digital. But it is the photographs themselves that should be the main thing to look for in books - not technique or technical tricks, those can easily be found on the web.

My main point is that the camera is only part of getting a good photo, and probably not the most important part. Issues like composition, lighting, timing, ... are likely to be more important. Spend your time thinking about those issues. As you do, you will figure out what you want in a camera and will be much better prepared to buy your second digicam. Like computers, they will be better and cheaper as time goes on.
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