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Old Oct 20, 2007, 7:20 AM   #1
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I'm thinking about making the switch to a dslr camera and really in need of a bit of a beginners guide in terms of what to buy. I'm not so much bothered about advice on which manufacturer to go with, more as what kit I need to get started. I'm trying to work out what my initial outlay and want to make sure I haven't forgotten something critical.

I think I need:
The camera (obviously!), I'm looking at the budget models from Sony, Canon, Nikon etc.
Lenses (initially I want a standard lens, plus a telephoto lens)
Memory card, at least 1 gigabyte
Case, batteries

What have I forgotten? Anyone seen any articles on the web aimed at people in my position?
Thanks in advance for any advice.

Matt.
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Old Oct 20, 2007, 9:07 AM   #2
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Perhaps an External Flash if you're going to shoot a lot indoors (so you can bounce it for more even lighting + get more range compared to the camera's built in flash). A tripod and/or monopod would be more accessories to consider.
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Old Oct 20, 2007, 9:12 AM   #3
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Of course, you don't have to buy everything at once, and the types of subjects and conditions you want to shoot in are going to come into the equation (especially for lens choices).

For example, you may need brighter lenses if you plan on shooting indoors without a flash or sports at night under the lights, etc.
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Old Oct 20, 2007, 10:28 AM   #4
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I can think of all kinds of things the well-equipped photographer needs that I don't have. Some are critical to others but aren't important to me, so your list really depends on what you plan on using your camera for to begin with.

- Camera (all the budget models are good and will take excellent photos)
- Kit lens (the only one I've heard that's somewhat lacking is the Canon, but I can't verify that - I have a Pentax and still happily use my kit lens)
- Memory card - I'd get two if I were planning a trip anytime soon. Memory has gotten inexpensive enough to make this not a big deal
- Bag (I suggest getting a small, inexpensive one right away. I've been through several bags as my needs havechanged, and still use that first, small one when I want to go light, even though I now routinely use a bigger one)
- Batteries if the camera uses AA batteries. Then I'd get two sets of good rechargeables and a recharger. If it uses a proprietary battery and comes with a charger, I'd put the extra battery into the "later" category (still haven't gotten one for a camera I bought almost a year ago).

The other lenses and accessoriesreally depend on you personally (there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to photography). It all depends on what you want to take and what your previous experience is. I often think some people start buying lots of lenses right away, and are doing it because of what they think they might need, rather than playing with the kit lens for a while and discovering where its limitations lie, and whether that affects your use/enjoyment of the camera. They then find themselves having spent money on lenses they rarely use, money they find they would rather have spent on a tripod or a flash or circular polarizer or a couple of other filters that some people find very useful.
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Old Oct 20, 2007, 11:01 AM   #5
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Thanks for those replies guys. I'd say they tell me that I'd have most things covered.

Most of my photo's tend to be outdoors, so the flash gun can wait, and I take quite a few photo's at motor sport events so the zoom lens is more or less essential to me.

As for my experience I would say that I'm very much an amateur who has been experimenting with a 'bridge' digital camera (fuji s5500) and am starting to get frustrated with it. It's too bulky to slip in my pocket and too limited when size isn't a problem. I plan to pick up a cheap compact to complement the dslr for those times when you don't want a load of camera gear with you.


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Old Oct 20, 2007, 12:10 PM   #6
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MattSwain wrote:
Quote:
...they tell me that I'd have most things covered.
The one thing I'd add about any digicam is to get several modestly-sized memory cards, rather than be tempted into the huge ones, unless you need really need them.

There are plenty of stories of lost or corrupted cards round here. Folk have lost hundreds of treasured holiday records at once, and it's easily done.

Only you can decide how many images you're willing to lose in an accident, and how much hassle it is changing the cards and keeping them safe, with the write-protect on. I'd make sure I haven't got all my eggs in one basket.
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Old Oct 20, 2007, 12:22 PM   #7
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Fair comment that Alan, especially with memory being so cheap now.
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Old Oct 20, 2007, 1:21 PM   #8
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I dunno. The definition of "huge" seems to be changing at a rapid pace.

I just got a Sony DSLR-A700 recently and I've been shooting raw + jpeg. The last 2 times I used it, I filled up a 2GB card and had to swap cards to keep shooting, and that was just using it while eating dinner taking shots of live music. lol

So, I've been thinking about getting 16GB Cards to replace the 2GB Cards since some of them seem to be coming down in price now. But, I think I'll go with at least 8GB cards.

I also think I'd better start shopping for larger hard disk drives if I continue shooting much using raw + jpeg with it. lol

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Old Oct 20, 2007, 1:32 PM   #9
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In fairness, I was wasting a lot of shots shooting in bursts to try and increase my percentage of keepers in low light. But, 2GB of space isn't what it used to be with a model like this shooting raw + jpeg. Those 12MP images eat up a lot of space fast (especially the raw files).

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Old Oct 20, 2007, 6:06 PM   #10
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How about good lens cleaning kit? Microfiber cloth or lens tissue. Lens cleaning solution. A good blower for blowing dust off the lens or sensor.


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