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Author Topic: Help! Advice needed.  (Read 3547 times)

Offline Reinardina

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Help! Advice needed.
« on: November 27, 2011, 08:48:21 AM »
Because of my eyeproblem, I have never seriously considered a DSLR. Was convinced I would not be able to cope, and buying one would be a costly mistake if I couldn't 'work' it.
Have always been longing to have one though...

I just finished a photography course for beginners/improvers and one of my fellow students is going to New York soon, and will buy a new camera there.

He offered me his present one (also bought in NY) for £150.00
It's a Canon EOS 450. As far as I'm aware, it comes 'ready to use,' with the lens he has been using. Don't know if there are any extra's.

We haven't discussed it seriously yet, as it came up just before we left, and he is going to email me.
For this price, it seems to me, I could have a go, and a mistake would not be too devastating.

During the course, I have discovered I cannot use manual focus, as I can see 'the picture' in the view finder, but not enough detail to focus. I think however, I will be able to get the hang of a DSLR.

Should I go ahead? Is this really a good price? Is there anything I should ask/look for?

I've never bought anything, without at least some research, but here I am diving into the deep end, not knowing what I'm letting myself in for.

I trust your experience and would welcome your advice.


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Reinardina.

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Shakespeare. (Love's Labours Lost.)

Offline jinky

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2011, 09:08:07 AM »
Hi Reinardina. I know there are some that say you are not a proper photographer unless you focus and sort exposure in full manual but most of the time I am up for using the technology Nikon and others have spent years perfecting. I do manually expose from time to time but should in aperture mode probably 90% of the time myself and only manually focus for macro work when my macro lens hunts a little. With your eyesight issues the question is whether you can see the focus points in the viewfinder. If you cannot see to manually expose but trust the camera technology to see and use the various focus points there to help then you can make use of AE mode readily and with the right lenses to add to your potential new camera  add to your photography repertoire enormously with a dslr. Check out that the camera works effectively in such modes. I`ve no idea how many focus points / how effective they are in coverage on a Canon- others will know better - but check how old it is, how many clicks it has on the clock (uploading an unaltered jpeg to flickr will show activations in the exif data) and see how it feels in your hands. £150 is still an outlay in these times and you need to know you are comfortable with it in your hands. Let the owner demonstrate the focus points to you or try a canon equivalent in one of your local shops to see if you can see the points enough to use them well.

Offline Alfonso_Frisk

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2011, 09:15:17 AM »
I would go ahead if I were you. From my limited research thats a good a price. MPB have the same camera, body only, for 250 notes so even if you can not get away with it, you would get your money back if you decided to sell on.
Good luck and enjoy.
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Offline greypoint

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2011, 09:31:29 AM »
Firstly a DSLR  is'nt that hard to use. Just let the camera sort out exposure etc. for you and don't get hung up with trying to get too technical immediately. With all the focus points they make available it's amazing how many of us use just the one - single shot, focus, re-compose if necessary then shoot  8) One thing to remember is that the results will probably be a bit softer than those direct from a compact but will take more in the way of sharpening on the pc. If the lens is the old Canon kit 18-55 then it's not the best lens ever - that's the problem with going the DSLR route....you always want to add a bit more to the system! As has been said, at that price you can't really go wrong as someone would no doubt buy it from you if you really hate it  ;)

Offline Reinardina

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2011, 10:07:51 AM »
Thank you for the advice so far.

I have handled the camera, that is to say, I've had it in my hands and looked through the viewfinder. I can see the 'dots' but when I try to concentrate on them to see more detail,  my blind spot covers the lot and that's it. So I can see if the person/scene is in the viewfinder, but not if the picture is sharp.

I haven't asked (yet) how old the camera is, but I remember him saying at the start of the course (ten weeks ago) that it was his first camera and that he'd only just bought it.It certainly looks brand new.

At the moment I am using a bridge camera (Sony DSC-HX100V) that an acquaintance with years of photography experience called 'a dslr in all but name.' I am very happy with it, but, seeing all the things you can do with a proper dslr, and that are not possible with my bridge, I have become more and more convinced I should at least have a go.

I think you have already convinced me I should go ahead, so I probably will. But please keep the advice coming!
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Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye.
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Offline Markulous

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2011, 10:45:41 AM »
I'd say go for it as AF is pretty good these days with most cameras/lenses

I see the 450D has 9 focus points but it would be worth just sticking to the central, more sensitive one. Unfortunately (or not depending on your preference!) there's no AF button, so I reckon you'd have to depend on half press of shutter release to lock the focus (I'm thinking focussing on a subject that isn't central) rather than mess around changing focus points

Personally, I use MF a fair bit but, same as others, mainly macro - very rarely use manual exposure but tend to rely on experience applied to exposure compensation (though, strangely, tend to use exposure lock with the G11 a fair bit - mainly as it's easy to do so with just one hand, the other usually occupied by Dog!)
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Offline Paul Montgomery

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2011, 12:22:41 PM »
Would this person let you borrow the camera for a weekend so you can try it and see ho you get on with it?

Offline Carlj

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2011, 12:49:15 PM »
Trying it would always be the best way. Does the 450 have a magnified liveview mode - makes crucial focussing a lot easier. I use the magnification mode on my A55 in both viewfinder and liveview mode with manual focussing.

Alternatively, would a magnifying eyepiece help? I have one on my A200, as I struggle with entry level viewfinders to see what's in focus.
Carl

Offline Reinardina

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2011, 01:22:24 PM »
I have handled a similar camera during the classes and could cope, and I've taken one shot with his camera, which looked okay.

Haven't got a clue if it has a magnified liveview mode. I'd have to ask that. Not sure if he knows himself, as I had the impression he only just bought it at the start of the course and he hadn't done much with it.
I'd have to look into the possibilties of a magnifying eyepiece; didn't even know they existed!

Hope it has a printed manual, as I'm not too keen on manuals on screen. That's something I also have to ask.

I'm beginning to believe, I should be perfectly all right with it, so I have more or less made up my mind to go for it. Hope he got my email details right! With a name like Reinardina, it can be a bit of a problem!

If I get it, and get on with it, it would solve birthday and Christmas present 'problems' for years to come!

Thank you all for your advice so far. If there's anything else you can think of, please let me know!
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 01:25:48 PM by Reinardina »
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Offline Eileen

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2011, 02:10:06 PM »
Reinardina,

It sounds like a good option to me. The good thing about the AF points is that you don't really need to be able to see them clearly, but if you know roughly that the thing you're most interested in is in a particular place in the shot you can select that focus point (it will light up or brighten or something to show it is selected), or use the focus lock and recompose technique. These would allow you to focus on the thing that most interests you. You don't need to be able to see that clearly as the camera will do that job for you. But if selecting focus is too difficult, either in general or when you're in a rush, you could just select general autofocus mode and let it do its own thing and that will get you home quite often. You'll be no worse off than with your current camera in that respect.

Whatever you decide, I hope it works well for you.


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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2011, 04:13:43 PM »
Here's the thing - if it's being offered to you at a good price - you'll be able to sell it on if you don't get on with, at the same price  :tup:

With that in mind - give it a go, you might just be surprised - and the only person you're trying to please with your pics - is you...

I'm a dedicated AF toggler (that is i keep moving my little joystick thing to select the focus point that will hopefully give me the area i want to be in focus), and Canon really do make that such an easy thing to do - especially with only 9 of them! Frame the pic - toggle the joystick to select what needs to be focused and fire.

If the little red square lights up - you've got your shot... If it doesn't, slightly re-compose until it does. You can nearly always get that AF lock.

When i look at my pics, i always get the system to show where the focus point was - makes people look like they've got a red nose or red eye  ???

Offline Reinardina

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2011, 04:37:41 PM »
Have now reached the point, that I check my email as often, as someone waiting for a reply from a lover!

Definitely going ahead and sort out the 'dot problem' once I've got it. If I get stuck, I know where to go to find help and advice!
Hope he doesn't change his mind (sounds like that lover again!) and has my correct details.

I have already learned that I haven't a clue about the focusing yet; didn't realise you can give certain points priority.

Do you always have to use the viewfinder? Can't you use the LCD screen? On my Sony I sometimes use the viewfinder in bright light, but I cannot see if the object/person is in focus. For that I have to rely on the screen. Can I do that with the Canon?

I think I sound really stupid, not to know these things, but, as I said, I've never seriously looked into the SLR option till now.

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Reinardina.

Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye.
Shakespeare. (Love's Labours Lost.)

Offline greypoint

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2011, 05:46:30 PM »
The simplest way to get in focus pictures with static subjects is to use single shot set to focus priority and single point af set to the central point. Even if you can't see the actual focus point in the viewfinder the shutter should'nt fire until foccus is locked. I tend to find using multiple focus points  generally means the wrong thing is in focus  ::)

Offline Reinardina

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2011, 07:02:17 PM »
Thank you Greypoint, that sounds very reassuring!.
Once I've got the thing, I'll probably have to return regularly to this thread to read all the advice.

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Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye.
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Offline Carlj

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Re: Help! Advice needed.
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2011, 10:40:51 PM »
Have now reached the point, that I check my email as often, as someone waiting for a reply from a lover!

Definitely going ahead and sort out the 'dot problem' once I've got it. If I get stuck, I know where to go to find help and advice!
Hope he doesn't change his mind (sounds like that lover again!) and has my correct details.

I have already learned that I haven't a clue about the focusing yet; didn't realise you can give certain points priority.

Do you always have to use the viewfinder? Can't you use the LCD screen? On my Sony I sometimes use the viewfinder in bright light, but I cannot see if the object/person is in focus. For that I have to rely on the screen. Can I do that with the Canon?

I think I sound really stupid, not to know these things, but, as I said, I've never seriously looked into the SLR option till now.

Live view is a Sony speciality, with the A55, I focus just as quickly with the lcd, as through the viewfinder. Being able to magnify a selectable portion of the shot for critical manual focus is a godsend too. Believe the Canon only has the latter ability.

 

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