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Discussion Starter #1
Ok guys, I really want to get a new hobby once I move to San Francisco, and I think photography is pretty cool. I want to get a good camera with some good lenses. I went and looked a a Nikon D40 and D80, is that a good beginners camra(s)? Lead me in the right direction!
 

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Go to www.kenrockwell.com and read his stuff. He's an established photographer with an eye toward value. The models you mentioned are among those he owns. He pays for everything he talks about on his own, and gives honest opinions.

I've shot a D80 and it's a fine camera, particularly with the 18-200 mm do-it-all VR lens. I'd probably prefer the D40 or D40x for its lower weight and smaller size; I'm torn on the subject myself but I'm leaning toward one of the 40s instead of the 80, as I know I'd not miss much of the 80s additional features compared to the 40.

Remember, nowadays digital SLRs have a finite lifetime. The lenses are what to look for, as these can be carried on to the next body.

Rockwell also reviews some Canon stuff and lots of other gear.
 

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Canon FTW!

I personally like the Rebel XTi, I have one and it's great. One of my friends has the D80, it's super quite compared to mine.

:cool:
 

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I've also shot the Rebel XTi and it too is a nice camera. I prefer a specific Nikon lens, but other than that, and ergonomic preferences (user interface. button placement etc.) it'd be difficult to decide between Canon or Nikon.

Here's an interesting read, and I found it very inspiring and telling: "Why your camera does not matter."
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm
 

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Save money by not purchasing Photoshop (use GIMP) and put that towards your camera. Buy photoshop in about a year.
 

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I've shot with both a Canon Digital Rebel XT and XTi numerous times and have liked both of them. I agree with the assertion that the camera itself does not matter much, it is the person behind it that counts. Try Canons and Nikons, and whichever interface you prefer would probably be the best choice for you.

I've tried a Nikon D80, and while the pictures were nice, I personally prefer the layout of the Canon ever so slightly over the Nikon. I'm probably going to be picking up an XTi myself after Christmas, but the only other reason besides the interface is that I already have two Canon EF lenses from my 35mm camera.
 

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Don't buy a camera magazine

I'll preface this by saying I don't recommend buying a photo magazine, or taking them seriously. The vast majority simply regurgitate specifications provided by manufacturers, amounting to little more than a large cover-to-cover advertisement collection. Their tests are generally not as informative as the opinions of experienced users.

However, at the supermarket I saw the Dec 07 issue of PCPhoto, and inside there was an article on shooting urban environments. San Francisco was specifically mentioned. If you're shopping for groceries and have a few minutes, look on page 54. It might give you some ideas on subjects, techniques, and so on. Keep in mind that to get wild colours, time of day is crucial, and I'd recommend getting up before dawn and/or being around at dusk so your reds and oranges are BAM!
 

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Save money by not purchasing Photoshop (use GIMP) and put that towards your camera. Buy photoshop in about a year.

Or just download photo shop via torrents...uh I mean just kidding. Yes Cavallino does not endorse illegal downloading.

I'm a big fan of Canon cameras. I don't have a fancy SLR but my Power Shot S2 IS has been great.
 

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I like the Canon pocket digis better than the Nikon counterparts actually. I've used an A40, despite its terrible shutter lag and next picture delay, and despite its tendency to overexpose by a click or so, for years. The thing's been everywhere with me. At some point I'll have to update my pocket camera and get something more modern, but until the existing Canon gives up the ghost it's hard to justify another purchase.

A digital SLR does away with power on delay, shutter lag, and next picture lag, and for those reasons alone it's worth looking into IMO. I'd still want a smaller pocket-sized digital cam though, and for that I'd go with Canon (or maybe Panasonic/Leica) rather than Nikon (ergonomics). This is the opposite of what I'd chose for an SLR. Go figure...
 

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Dont use gimp, get photoshop, its pretty easy to find for free.

Kenrockwell.com is a nice collection of tips for just starting but half the things on there are quite misleading, he doesn't really know that much and he is a bit full of himself so take it with a grain of salt.

all DSLRs take good photos. its the photographer and lens that makes them great. Nikon and Canon are the best brands hands down but Canon has better colors and lenses(don't argue with me on this, i assist 2 photographers one shoots canon and the other nikon). unless your pro the brand you shoot wont matter, just see what works best for you.

look at the highest ranked or most favorited photos on deviantart.com for inspiration and really study them and try to figure out how you can take a similar picture.

Shoot MANUAL. find good light, good compositions, and good moments.
 

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Kenrockwell.com... is a bit full of himself so take it with a grain of salt.
He has been called the Chuck Norris of photo bloggers, capable of superhuman (non)feats and so on... Still, he's not shy about providing an opinion. I disagree with him on the D40 and the D40x (he prefers one over the other, I prefer the opposite one), but I fully agree with him on the Nikkor 18-200 VR: great lens for the non-pro that wants to shoot anything/everything with no tripod (though it is plastic and it does zoom creep). His book recommendations are worth looking into (free at a good bookstore with a built-in coffee shop).

There's also Bjorn's site (but he's a nature photographer):
http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html
and Thom Hogan (better humour IMO):
http://www.bythom.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Dont use gimp, get photoshop, its pretty easy to find for free.

Kenrockwell.com is a nice collection of tips for just starting but half the things on there are quite misleading, he doesn't really know that much and he is a bit full of himself so take it with a grain of salt.

all DSLRs take good photos. its the photographer and lens that makes them great. Nikon and Canon are the best brands hands down but Canon has better colors and lenses(don't argue with me on this, i assist 2 photographers one shoots canon and the other nikon). unless your pro the brand you shoot wont matter, just see what works best for you.

look at the highest ranked or most favorited photos on deviantart.com for inspiration and really study them and try to figure out how you can take a similar picture.

Shoot MANUAL. find good light, good compositions, and good moments.
Thanks man. I went today and looked at the Rebel XTI(?) and it looks pretty good. I also looked at the Cannon D30 and D40, which I'm probably leaning towards. Ill keep you guys updated. :)
 

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c00lbeans said:
Dont use gimp, get photoshop, its pretty easy to find for free.
http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/index.html

Hmm, they seem to want quite a bit for Photoshop there - hard to believe you can get it free (legally)

I'm not the software piracy police, but this is just my $0.02:
Software design takes a lot of work, and shouldn't be stolen. I doubt you'd want someone to steal something you worked hard for (e.g., your car).

A co-worker of mine has a Canon SLR (don't know the exact model) - it's really nice, and pretty easy to use.
 

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http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/index.html

Hmm, they seem to want quite a bit for Photoshop there - hard to believe you can get it free (legally)

I'm not the software piracy police, but this is just my $0.02:
Software design takes a lot of work, and shouldn't be stolen. I doubt you'd want someone to steal something you worked hard for (e.g., your car).

A co-worker of mine has a Canon SLR (don't know the exact model) - it's really nice, and pretty easy to use.
if you make money off it buy it. I make money off it so I bought the whole cs2 suite for pc and cs3 suite design premium for mac for 199 and 299. If you look around you can find some good deals. Have a nephew or someone you know in college buy the student version for you. Steal er barrow it or use a demo untill you can buy it. if your morals wont let you do that then use gimp
 

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The Legendary Bad Ass (aka; Buzzz)
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I chose Canon for my deal, just because Nikon did not have the speed I needed. But if you are talking about just taking photography for hobbies sake, there are very few digital SLRs that you would not be completely satisfied with. Picture quality, longevity and ease of use. I have seen cameras I have never even thought of as being credible cameras take wonderful shots recently. It comes down to preferences, features, feel and most of all price. No real need to get the 1Ds mark III unless you have the 8 grand to spend on a body. The typical print, internet post, etc will never tell the difference. Read the reviews, take them for what they are worth and go for it.
Definitely let us know what you get, and show off some shots when you get things figured out.
 

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When you say speed do you mean burst speed from the body, or a particular lens you wanted to use in specific light conditions, or? Anything that swayed your decision is interesting, since the options are very competitive.
 

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The options were not that competitive at all when I was preparing for purchase. Nikon has stepped up a little since then, but still not equal. I needed as many fully adjusted shots per second as I could possibly find from the body, and needed 2.8 glass all around. Especially in a telephoto.
Settled for the EOS 1D MarkII N. Without 8.5 frames per second, I really can't do what I want to do.
That was a few years ago. They shoot 10fps now. I won't be stepping up till there is a larger step up above what I now have.
But if you have no need for these quick bursts of speed, the market opens wide up with some great options at great prices.
 
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