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Equipment Entry level DSLR + Books

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by DeadP1xels, 7 Sep 2016.

  1. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Social distancing since 92

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    I went to Berlin this previous weekend to visit a friend and had the opportunity to see some amazing derelict sites and architecture. I spent most of my time a bit peeved i only had my iPhone to capture most of it and even the better apps on my phone wouldn't add the added coolness to my snaps.

    I've been searching for a creative hobby to balance out all the technical boringness of my day to day work, I've been invited to join a photography group with a large group from work so maybe this is what I've been searching for.

    I'm looking for an entry level DSLR camera + Len(s) to get me out of the blocks my ideal figure is around the £300 mark for a refurb and my brick wall is about £500 where i would need serious convincing it was worth the investment as a total noob. My experience of photography previous to this is an iPhone 6S and shoddy filters so lets get realistic.

    I'd like to photograph darker abandoned builders, possibly get into dark photography in general. Derelict sites and spooky areas seem to float my boat generally.

    I'm also happy to take recommendations on books for beginners
     
  2. TheBlackSwordsMan

    TheBlackSwordsMan Far over the misty mountains cold

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    Get a Pentax and you'll have access to 30 years of legacy lenses. *thumbs up
    For dark photography and night photography, you will need a tripod and a remote shutter release because you'll use slow shutter speeds.
     
  3. Pliqu3011

    Pliqu3011 all flowers in time bend towards the sun

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    There are no bad choices really. Pretty much any camera with a decent sized sensor sold today is a good tool to make pictures in most conditions.

    With Canon and Nikon you have access to an enormous selection of lenses, and since they're the most popular brands you'll probably be able to borrow and test lenses from people in your photography group.

    Pentax are great. Their bodies are amazing value for money, you often get a lot of features like weather sealing and a pentaprism Canon and Nikon tend to reserve for more premium cameras. Lots of nice lenses too, and the option of direct compatibility with lots of dirt cheap but excellent quality older manual focus lenses.


    Also don't forget to look into mirrorless cameras. They have the same sensor sizes (and sometimes even the very same sensors) as DSLRs and take just as nice pictures. The advantage is they're often significantly smaller and lighter than a DSLR, and because of technical reasons you're able to adapt pretty much every lens of every camera ever made (if you're interested in that). An obvious disadvantage is that they generally have a smaller grips, which can be less comfortable when using big lenses and for some people with large hands (personally I have pretty big hands and don't mind the smaller grip). Also their autofocus speeds are on average a fraction slower than similarly priced DSLRs, within your budget. (the gap used to be bigger but things have improved massively)

    Sony makes cameras with tons of features in a small package. The lens selection isn't the greatest, but I believe there are now autofocusing adapters for Canon and Nikon lenses available, with good AF speeds. Lots of people love cameras like the a6000.

    I personally like Fujifilm cameras a lot. They're not as feature rich as Sony's, but they have a very nice, comfortable user experience, and an emphasis on manual controls and dials instead of diving in menus. Their lens selection isn't as large as the DSLR brands, but they cover most focal lengths and nearly all of their lenses are of excellent quality (though generally somewhat expensive).
    They're also a very cool company because they keep their cameras up to date with new firmware years after release, adding lots of features of new cameras to their predecessors in the lineup.
    Generally terrible, terrible at video though.


    Given your budget and the fact that you'll be using it a lot in low light conditions, you're probably looking at a camera with an APS-C sized sensor (that's why I didn't mention Olympus and Panasonic).

    For photography in dark locations you'll probably need a tripod, as suggested, and/or a large aperture lens (which lets lots of light through), unless you enjoy noisy pictures (which some people do). A large sensor camera will no doubt be better than your iPhone, but you'll still have to slow down a bit if you want to take sharp, clear photographs in the dark.
    For good prices, look into buying second hand.

    For photographing abandoned buildings etc. specifically, I think a light mirrorless camera with a cheap-ish bright ultra wide angle like the Samyang 12mm f/2 and a compact travel tripod would be a terrific combo, but I'm not sure it'd be well suited to a complete beginner (an UWA lens is already pretty specialized), or if it'd fit within your budget.

    You could do what a lot of people do: just pick up an older DSLR body for cheap, buy the bright "nifty fifty" 50mm f/1.8 lens of the respective brand and experiment.

    Another suggestion: since abandoned buildings aren't exactly hives of activity, you could save money by picking up a very bright manual focus 50mm f/1.4 for a fraction of what a new autofocus lens would cost. Lenses like the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50/1.4 or SMC Pentax 50/1.4 are of excellent quality (even more so for their current price) and can be adapted to all mentioned camera brands but Nikon.


    There are a ton of good tutorials on youtube. For a good understanding of the true basics of photography google "exposure triangle" and watch some videos. Photography is a lot less complicated than it may seem from the surface, unless you get into very specific topics.
    Next to the purely technical stuff you can also look up some rules (or rather: tools) of composition like the golden ratio, rule of 3, drawing the eye with contrast, leading lines etc. etc. etc.
    For digital shooting it's also handy to know something about postprocessing.
     
    Last edited: 7 Sep 2016
  4. TheBlackSwordsMan

    TheBlackSwordsMan Far over the misty mountains cold

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    +1 to all of this.
     
  5. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Social distancing since 92

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    Massive thanks for this, its been a great help!!

    I've been offered a Nikon D5200 from a friend at a good price... i'm really considereding taking the plunge. I'm just keen on getting out and exploring cool places
     
  6. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    Moved to the photos subforum for some more eyes. :)
     
  7. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Social distancing since 92

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    Thanks chap! :thumb:

    I was looking at it like 'I wrote something very similar... best give it a cheeky look for some ideas'
     
  8. Silver51

    Silver51 I cast flare!

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    Two books I always recommend to people starting out with a DSLR.

    Understanding Exposure, Fourth Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
    Bryan Peterson

    The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
    Michael Freeman


    .
     
  9. rak500

    rak500 Minimodder

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    This is full of very good advice and I second all of it whole-heartedly!

    But remember: "The best camera is the one you have with you!" And that's a very, VERY important statement!

    I learned more in landscape composition in a couple of months carrying a Canon G5X all the time than a couple of years with my 6D.
    The 6D is awesome in so many respect, and the 50mm 1.4 is a mighty lens, but I only carried it for weddings, or special occasions and used it mostly for portraits.
    But when I'm going out just for a walk, or commuting to work, or for random shopping trips, I wouldn't take it because it's just so cumbersome. Nowadays, I have my G5X, so I take a lot more street/landscape photography because I can, and I'm far more at ease with landscapes.
     
  10. sonicgroove

    sonicgroove Radical Atheist

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    I could probably sort you out. I currently have 10 cameras for sale from all manufacturers (apart from Canon....*spits*) Drop me a message if you want.
     

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