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Old Oct 10, 2008, 11:02 AM   #1
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Hi all,

I made up my mind and am going to get a Sony A300. Sooo, I am a complete noob when it comes to the DSLR world and want to make up a 'starter noob kit'.

I don't want to go 'broke' here; I'm just getting started and not sure if I'll even be any good, but want enough on hand so I can explore.

So I'm thinking 3 basic lens's? An all-around, tele, and wide. Need a tripod. Not sure if I need a light meter, and it sound like a may need a flash.

I am totally out of my element here and could use some help on how to choose lens's. I'm not out for 'top-of-the-line' yet, but I want to get something decent. I'm mainly taking pictures of my animals, my family, my mom's garden, some scenery. Things that would help me for indoor shots would be nice.

If I need a light meter, is there a huge difference in quality? and how about the kind of flash I may need?

I have also been looking on Betterphoto.com If anyone has taken any of the classes I would love to know what you thought of it. If anyone has any suggestion on what class might be best to start with I'd appreciate that as well. I really want to learn to take better pictures. You can visit http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AaMmbdm2ZMWTlA and see some of the pics I have taken with my Oly 3040. I need help lol.

Thanks for any noob advice,

Maggie
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Old Oct 10, 2008, 11:15 AM   #2
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Welcome.

I've moved your thread down to our Sony Alpha dSLR / Konica Minolta dSLR Forum, where you'll be more likely to get suggestions from Sony dSLR owners.

I'd let members know what kind of budget you have for best responses.

As for a flash, the Sony HVL-F36AM, HVL-F42AM, HVL-F56AM and HVL-F58AM are all compatible with the A300. For most uses in typical home environments, the HVL-F42AM would probably make a good choice.


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Old Oct 10, 2008, 12:23 PM   #3
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Thanks Jim.

Well I'd soo like to stay under the 1g mark, but will invest more if I need to.Some of the stores offer the camera with lenses, but I'm just don't know enough. At Broadway photo I can buy the camerawith a DT 18-70mm and DT 55-200mm lens for $621. Of course I have no idea what those lenses are. And.... something tells me they are probably not the way to go.

I just want to get started. Could I start with two lens's? Something like the Sal-50F14Zoom 50mm f/1.4 AF and a Sal 16105 Zoom Super wide-tele AF DT 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6

Again, thanks for any help.
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Old Oct 10, 2008, 12:37 PM   #4
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"At Broadway..."

Scroll down and read the customer reviews:

http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Broadway_Photo

When you see prices that are much lower than you find at http://www.buydig.com or http://www.bhphotovideo.com (both reputable dealers) on major brand gear, there is usually going to be a catch. ;-)

Most of the scammers will call you to confirm the order. Then, you'll also find out that they'll want to sell you high priced batteries, extended warranties, stuff that normally comes with the camera anyway, inflated shipping and insurance charges (sometimes unauthorized). Anything to increase their profit (since they can't sell the camera alone at the advertised prices without losing money).

If you don't buy enough of the outrageously priced extras, your camera will suddenly go to backorder status (of course, the web sites still show them in stock and your credit card has often been charged). They'll often sell gray market gear, too (not intended for sale in the country you live in with a store versus manufacturers warranty).

This has been going on for years. It's a racket.

Do yourself a favor and stick with a reputable dealer.

Make sure to check out any vendor you consider using http://www.resellerratings.com
(they're a bit better about filtering out fake customer reviews compared to most store ratings sites)

If they are not listed, I'd avoid them (these guys tend to start up new web sites often under a variety of names). If they have a small number of customer reviews there, I'd avoid them (they tend to try and get away with padding their own ratings with glowing "customer" reviews). Some even seem to have their own ratings sites now (with all of the stores listed being same old scammers, with the reviews unbelievably good).

Suggested Reading:

How to buy a Digital Camera without being robbed

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Old Oct 10, 2008, 12:40 PM   #5
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Here you go (low price from a reputable vendor on that two lens kit). buydig.com has it for $689 with free shipping right now:

http://www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=SNDSLRA300X

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Old Oct 10, 2008, 12:46 PM   #6
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Mahgie wrote:
Quote:
I just want to get started. Could I start with two lens's? Something like the Sal-50F14Zoom 50mm f/1.4 AF and a Sal 16105 Zoom Super wide-tele AF DT 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6
Sure. That sounds like a very good kit to get started with.

You'd have a lens with decent range from wide to long for "walk around" purposes, and a lens capable of better photos for portraits, low light and more with the 50mm.

Just make sure to buy it from a reputable vendor. ;-)

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Old Oct 10, 2008, 8:36 PM   #7
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JimC covered things well. I'd like to add a few things.

Light meter: not needed, but you do need to learn how to use the histogram and other exposure functions of the camera. You didn't say if you are used to dealing with the exchange between ISO, shutter speed, and f/stop. If you are not, figure on spending some time learning. If you are not willing to spend the time to learn, IMHO you should not get a dSLR. And it will take some time.

Tripod: get one, get a good one. Spend some serious money. A good tripod will outlast several cameras. A poor tripod will just clutter up the back of your closet unless it fails and drops your camera lens first onto a rock. I don't think you have to go quite as far as http://www.bythom.com/support.htm suggests, but his basic point is dead on.

I consider that one of the main advantages of a tripod is that it slows you down and forces you think about what you are doing. A real advantage, esp when you are learning.

Kit lens: Never the best, but almost always the best for the price. Unless you are going to spend some serious money for a much better lens of about the same focal length fairly soon, get the kit lens(s).
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Old Oct 10, 2008, 9:15 PM   #8
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Your Olympus C-3040 has a 7.1–21.3mm f/1.8-2.6 lens. Because of the smaller image sensor, it's hard to relate what that means, but it has an angle of view equivalent to 35-105mm on a 35mm film camera. The Sony A300 has a larger image sensor, so a lens that would have about the same angle of view as your C-3040 would have a focal length of 23-70mm. (Don't worry about all this conversion. Once we get past this discussion, you won't ever have to worry about it again.) The kit 18-70mm lens is that and more on the wide end.

You initially mentioned that you were considering three lenses. "An all-around, tele, and wide." Have you found the angle of view you have with your C-3040 to be limiting? The kit lens would provide a wider view when you wanted it, but nota longer one. After looking at the photos you posted (very nice, btw.) you've done quite well.

One thing your C-3040 has that is extraordinary is the large aperture. f/1.8-2.6 is quite fast (lets in a lot of light), whereas the kit 18-70 only has a maximum aperture of /3.5-5.6, which lets in less than1/4 the light, requiring longer shutter speeds or higher ISO settings. For low light shots like some of the ones you posted, the 50mm f/1.4 would be a good choice, but if you don't mind buying a used lens, there are lots of used 50mm f/1.7 Minolta lens available for 1/3 the price of a new Sony 50mm f/1.4. Since you're not anxious to go 'top-of-the-line' yet, the kit lens and a used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 will get you started with enough to cover what you've got now, and if you want to go wider and/or longer, you can revisit that another time.
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Old Oct 11, 2008, 12:25 AM   #9
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Thanks Jim for the 'heads up' I will be sure to avoid those scam vendors and buy from one you mentioned. That's the last thing I need.

And thanks Jim, Bill and TCav for the other info.

Yes I am somewhat used to playing with the settings on my camera (but very basic knowledge). That is why I was looking at some of those on-line courses to get me going; and which is why I want to upgrade to DSLR.

I did read the forum on tripods and was looking at the Manfrotto 190XDB. I don't think I'll have any huge tele lens's that will tip it just yet; but the last thing I want is for a stupid cheap tripod to break my nice camera.

So TCav brought something up I didn't even think about.... used lens's. Where is the best place to fish for those? This is getting fun, a little mind boggling, but fun. Maybe they have used flashes too?

But from what I understand it does sound like if I get the kit lens's and find a nice bright lens (maybe used) for my low light stuff; I'll be happy for a while since it will be quite a bit more than what my current camera is giving me And from there I can go wider or longer depending on where it takes me (lol .. to the poor house if I'm not careful).

Thanks Steve-digicam for these forums!!!
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Old Oct 11, 2008, 12:56 AM   #10
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There are great deals still to be had on good used Minolta glass. Personally, I've been staying away from e-bay and found craigslist to be a great place to bargain hunt. Buying from here means I get to meet the person face to face and actually get a chance to inspect the product. I found a number of good deals in the past 4 or 5 months, including a minty 35-70 f4 macro for $20, a 50mm f2.8 macro for free (!) - the guy didn't want to charge me for it because of some mold growing in the lens, and a very good condition 70-210 f4 beercan for $120.

My novice 2 cents is pretty much in line with what was already posted... I was in your shoes not very long ago, and opted for the 18-70 kit lens, found a great deal on a 75-300 4.5-5.6D and picked up a Minolta 3600 HS-D (equivalent to the HVL-36 AM flash). This basic kit was all that I needed (and probably is all I still need)... but, every new photographer (myself included) goes through a lens buying streak....

One small bit of advice I can offer is if you do decide to invest in a flash, pass up the 36 and spend the extra on the 42... it's a great flash and the swivel opens up a whole new range of versatility.

Have fun, do your research, and have fun :lol:

~aloha~
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