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Old Dec 8, 2008, 11:55 PM   #11
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mtngal-

As a professional digital camera instructor who teaches at her local Community College. I happen to believe that in a class room situation where there is a free back and forth discussion, as well as actual picture taking opportunities with an instructor present and co-operating that somebody actually learns more and progreses faster in that environment.

Its just my opinion, and it may not mean anything at all. However, over the years I have instructed over 10,000 camera users.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 9, 2008, 5:43 AM   #12
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mtngal wrote:
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The good thing about it is that you don't have to buy all your lenses at once - buy the camera and kit lens at first, use it for a while until you decide what it's limitations are and then use the rest of the money for a second lens.

A good place to start learning about photography is your local library. Basic photography principles (aperture, shutter speed, etc.) haven't changed since film days. You can also find quite a bit of information on the web. The other thing to do is read the camera's manual, then go out and play with all the settings (make sure you know how to reset the camera to the default settings in case you change something and can't figure out how to change it back). You'll quickly pick it up if you spend the time to play with it.
Great advice here. I agree completely. While dedicated classes would be ideal they aren't always practical. Forums like Steve's and others also offer a wealth of knowledge for getting feedback and questions answered as well. With the added benefit of getting feedback & opinions from multiple sources.

In the end though Sarah's advice about you getting out what you put into it is absolutely true as well. A DSLR isn't a magic point and shoot camera. If your expectation is your shots will improve a great deal just by using a DSLR you're in for a rude awakening. They won't. A DSLR offers the ability to shoot in more varied and difficult situations. And, because you have the ability to swap lenses you can get lenses customized for certain situations. But right out of the box with 1 or 2 lenses you really won't see a huge improvement over what today's digicams offer WITHOUT learning photographic principles. A poorly composed shot with a DSLR looks just as bad as a poorly composed shot with a digicam. Same goes for focus and exposure - all of which the camera will not do correctly on it's own all the time.
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Old Dec 9, 2008, 7:52 AM   #13
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There may be photography clubs and courses at your university. You could also join the school paper as a photographer. Which university are you going to?
I will most likely be going to Trent University. I can check in their book but I think that photography is a college course. However I am pretty sure they have a photography club that I could look into.

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Up until last year no dSLR cameras had "live view" where you could see the image on the LCD before it was taken. Without live view you use the viewfinder to shoot pictures. Sony is the only dSLR that uses a moveable LCD screen. Just my experience but I don't find Live View all that useful - I have the Pentax K20 and have only used it a couple of times. The LCD is hard to see in the bright sunlight. Imagine holding a two pound rock (or can of beans) out at arm's length, then fiddling with something on the far side of it (simulating using a zoom) while using your other hand to press a button on top for 5 minutes. If live view is a priority then Sony has the best system.
Oh, I guess I should have explained the reasoning for a live-view screen. I wanted a screen that moved out and such so I would be able to easily take pictures (lets say) upside down if necessary. However that is just a preference, it is the furthest thing from the priority for camera.

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In the end though Sarah's advice about you getting out what you put into it is absolutely true as well. A DSLR isn't a magic point and shoot camera. If your expectation is your shots will improve a great deal just by using a DSLR you're in for a rude awakening. They won't. A DSLR offers the ability to shoot in more varied and difficult situations. And, because you have the ability to swap lenses you can get lenses customized for certain situations. But right out of the box with 1 or 2 lenses you really won't see a huge improvement over what today's digicams offer WITHOUT learning photographic principles. A poorly composed shot with a DSLR looks just as bad as a poorly composed shot with a digicam. Same goes for focus and exposure - all of which the camera will not do correctly on it's own all the time.
Aye she is right, it is the level of knowledge behind the hardware that will make most of the difference. However a dSLR does right off the bat have the ability to take higher quality images, in comparison to a standard digital camera. What I mean is if I took two pictures of the exact same thing, with the exact same settings on a DSLR and a digital camera; the DSLR one is going to look better (I know this from actual testing because I've been swiping my friend's DSLR camera for the past year).

I'm not quite sure if i'm quite explaining myself properly. So for example, while I was in France this summer I took a picture out of the window of our hotel room with my digital camera. It really didn't work out well at all. So I switched my camera for my friend's and took the picture again. Since I don't have the original digital camera picture, this is the one I took with the DSLR: http://fc50.deviantart.com/fs32/i/20...heBoxNinja.jpg. I know it's not super great quality or anything, but it was a vast improvement.
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Old Dec 9, 2008, 7:55 AM   #14
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I'd also like to point out that I very much appreciate all your help and offered considerations, from all of you.

I generally avoid posting questions on forums because I either feel that I am being slightly annoying (which might be the case here) or generally get unhelpful, unproductive responses. So far everyone has genuinely helped, and its awesome.

Thank You
(same goes for any comments after this)
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Old Dec 9, 2008, 3:27 PM   #15
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Before you get to enthusiastic about dSLRS, you should spend a day with a brick hanging on a strap around your neck - half or 3/4 brick if you are thinking of the Oly. And a good sized pack with a brick or two in it on your back to mimic the extra lenses, flash, battery, ... The extra quality that comes with a dSLR is not paid just in money.

I suggest that you look at the compact/subcompact cameras. The ones that can fit in a pocket. Even if you get a dSLR later, you will find that it is nice to have a camera that you can take everywhere.
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Old Dec 9, 2008, 4:00 PM   #16
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BillDrew wrote:
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Before you get to enthusiastic about dSLRS, you should spend a day with a brick hanging on a strap around your neck - half or 3/4 brick if you are thinking of the Oly. And a good sized pack with a brick or two in it on your back to mimic the extra lenses, flash, battery, ... The extra quality that comes with a dSLR is not paid just in money.

I suggest that you look at the compact/subcompact cameras. The ones that can fit in a pocket. Even if you get a dSLR later, you will find that it is nice to have a camera that you can take everywhere.
I already carry a laptop, mouse, power cable, and extra battery pack, + 2 text books daily, so an added couple of pounds isn't really that big of a deal. Since I would have the bag with it, it would allow me to sling both satchel (laptop bag) and camera diagonally over one shoulder, displacing some of the weight. Either way, I'm pretty used to carrying a lot of weight in bag, so that's not so much a problem at all.

as for compact/subcompact cameras: I own one already, this would be the later that you refer to =P (I hate using faces, but it does show that it was not meant to be a rude comment)
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Old Dec 9, 2008, 9:52 PM   #17
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I don't think weight of the DSLR gear will be a problem for a strong young person type photographer. :-)






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