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Author Topic: new member, new to dslr  (Read 1716 times)

Offline brynn

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new member, new to dslr
« on: December 22, 2013, 09:34:34 PM »
Hi Friends,
I'm shopping for my first DSLR, and just posted a message in the DSLR board.  But I thought I'd say hello, and ask some non-equipment-related questions here.

I'm wondering whether I want to get some formal training, as a beginner to dslr, like maybe pay for an online class/course.  Since I have some chronic health issues, taking a class at a local college or university isn't really feasible.  I have good and bad days, which are not predictable, so it's likely I wouldn't be able to finish the course.  So if I were to go that route, it would pretty much have to be online.  And I realize the limitations of an online photography course.  But if it's better than self teaching, maybe I should consider it?

Or maybe I could learn just as well on my own, like perhaps buy a good book about it.  Or there may be loads of online resources.  I have seen a few topics in this forum, with links to tutorials and guides.  I wonder if I were diligent, if I could learn just as well that way?

And of course I realize that the best learning will be done with camera in hand.  I found the Canon online simulator from a link in another board.  So I've already started learning, sort of, before I even  have a camera!

I probably will be more interested in nature subjects around my apartment building and local neighborhood parks (birds, flowers, maybe leaves) and also maybe in something like still lifes, indoors.  Lately I seem to be fascinated with the beauty of simple fruits and vegetables, indoors.  Outdoors I've been fascinated with trees in the winter, without leaves, the structure of the branches, etc.  And a million years ago in college, I studied forestry, so trees will probably be a major subject for my new camera   ;)  I've always wanted to do a study of mature tree bark patterns.

So anyway, that's a very little bit about me.  If anyone has any tips or comments or suggestions for how a beginner like me should approach the learning curve, I would very much appreciate it.

Thanks   :)

Offline Oldboy

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Re: new member, new to dslr
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2013, 10:14:14 PM »
Go to a local camera club where most members will be happy to pass on their knowledge.  :tup:

Offline Jediboy

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Re: new member, new to dslr
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2013, 08:21:13 AM »
Welcome brynn.  :tup:
You're right, there is loads of tutorials on line, YouTube etc.......books can be good too and there are plenty of online courses.
Good luck and enjoy.
May the Force be with you.


Offline DigiDiva

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Re: new member, new to dslr
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2013, 09:16:29 AM »
Hi and welcome. I would advise you learn as you go. It's the only way. Buy a second hand bottom range DSLR to start with, and see how you progress. Books and tutorials are great but you can only learn by getting out there, experimenting and asking for feedback on forums like this one. Good luck and be warned, you will get hooked....
Please visit my website @

Offline jinky

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Re: new member, new to dslr
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2013, 09:52:03 AM »
Another one to welcome you and say learn as you go. Best advice I can give is that the lenses are more important than the body in the long run. Avoid buying kit lenses with bodies in any pack deals as they are invariably inferior to the better class lenses whether you go for higher end zooms or prime lenses. Get the best body you can afford looking out for low light performance in particular as this is what separates the wheat from the chaff and maybe get a 50mm 1.8 prime lens or such or a superior zoom to the kit one and just learn by doing and using forum guidance and searches for what to do. The glory of digital is that once the outlay has been made you don`t need to pay for developing / film so can learn by experience.

Re: editing software if what comes with the camera is limited check out free / cheap software like photoscape / others and enjoy the editing too.

Offline brynn

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Re: new member, new to dslr
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2013, 11:47:32 PM »
Thanks for all your welcomes and comments!

I didn't realize there was an arcade here, but glad I found it, lol.  I'll have to check it out soon!

Offline StephenBatey

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Re: new member, new to dslr
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2013, 05:06:32 PM »
I'm self taught, from magazines and books. But back in those far off days, magazines were more weighty and meaty than they are today and aimed to teach principles that you could apply, rather than showcase photos you could attempt to copy.

The technical basics of photography - all you really need to know, apart from how to work your camera - can be taught (or learned) in half an hour. And I mean that quite seriously. The difficult part is knowing why you want to photograph what you want to achieve. Clarify your objectives, learn the full range of photographic possibilities (which are actually greater than a DSLR allows), and practice thoughtfully.

And if you'd like a link to my book (which isn't published and is rather large) let me know and I'll PM one. You can at least grill the author!

Offline Andrew

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Re: new member, new to dslr
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2014, 11:45:18 AM »
Welcome and another to validate local camera club.

As you say, the basic light triangle can be taught in half an hour, but how you use it - that's what takes the time.
Just as importantly is knowing how you want your pictures to look - your style so to speak.

Learning how to use 'your particular piece of kit' can be taught - I used Experience Seminars to learn how to use my Canon kit, and I would happily recommend them again, though now they do DVD's which are equally as good and save you travelling to Huntingdon to get the learning. What I really learned from them was 'how Canon designed the A/F to work and what various menu features were designed to do' - important especially when working with a 5D2 which has one of the less useful AF systems for a camera of such price.

I"ve now swapped to a Fuji X-Pro 1 and this little marvel has the same basic controls, but handles focusing totally differently along with how the sensor processes light. I'm still learning all of this and am a way of being fully 'at one' with my camera.

But why i support the local camera club is the vast wealth of knowledge that exists at a camera club, and all free for the cost of asking. You get to see pictures and ask the tog how they created that 'particular' look you're interested in. Even insturction in the use of LR, PS & PSE seems to be fair game - and I learned a few tricks from a speaker who came and explained how and why he used LR the way he did. This was a person who had a monthly column in a tog magazine explaining how to use LR - and we got his lessons for free  :tup: And finally, the get togethers for a shooting trip - as much as photography is percieved as a solitary occupation, I find that group shoots can be real fun and a great way to learn - seeing how you can all look at the same subject but see it in a totally different way - priceless.
1 body, 1 lens, 1 flash gun, 1 tripod, 1 cable release & 1 filter. Keeping it simple!
(I lied, just got a second lens!)


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