Digital camera and lens questions and help - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-31-2011, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Digital camera and lens questions and help

I'll start by staying I've only ever used point and shoot cameras. But I've wanted to learn more about "real"photography and have just purchased a used Canon Rebel XTI on eBay. It should be here in the next couple of days!

Now, my main interests and about 90% of my photography is of my pets or (mostly) close-ups of flowers/nature. I don't really do much large scenic portraits or have much interest in photgraphing people.

I don't intend on this to be anything more than a hobby. If I have any shots I really like, I may have them blown up to hang on my walls. I'm not looking to sell anything, etc. Therefore, I have no interest in investing LARGE amounts of money into this.

Any advice on books that can give me basic getting starting information on the different settings and how to understand how to get the most of my pictures? Also, information on lenses that are compatible with this camera will be greatly appreciated. If I can find ONE lens that can serve as a pretty good all purpose (again, pets and flowers!) what type do you think it would be?

Other than craigslist, amazon and ebay any idea where I should look for used lenses?


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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 12:05 PM
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I don't shoot Canon right now, so I'm not really to familiar. I did however, start out with an old Canon 300D before I bought my Nikon D700. It was the best way to start, I didn't have to worry about wrecking an expensive camera! Who knows, you might really enjoy this, and want to take it somewhere.

One suggestion I have, is to put your camera on auto, take the shot, then study the settings the camera chose, and then choose another mode to try and replicate that shot. It's a great way to learn how things work.

I have these two books right now, and they might be a good place to start. The Scott Kelby one is a bit generic, but you are right at the beginning stages, so it's a good place to start. Read the reviews, and see for yourself if it might work for you.

This second one will give you an understanding of how and why the camera works, and how to expose for certain shots. Again, read the reviews, and see if it works for you.

My suggestion when it comes to lenses is to stick with the kit lens until you know what you are doing. I had the 18-55mm kit lens on my 300D, and it took great pics for a cheapie lens. If you want to move up, one lens that comes to mind, and is pretty cost effective, is the "Nifty Fifty" 50mm 1.8 lens. If you look around, you can find it for just over $100. It's versitile, and a great walk around lens.

If you want to step up a bit further, the 50mm also comes in the 1.4 version, which is a bit faster. I have the 1.4, and at least in the Nikon version, it's a nice crisp, and fast focusing lens. It will cost you a bit more though, around $475 depending on where you get it. But this lens will be all you would need for what you want. You wont have any distance though for zooming, but it's a nice lens for in the house too.

Ebay can be a good choice for buying lenses at a reduced price, I've bought a couple there, and a couple flashes, but just be very cautious! Only buy from reliable sellers, and also, make sure you are buying the latest version of that particular lens you want. Check on a site like B and H for the latest version, and then look for it used on ebay if that's what you want to do.

The best thing you can do is practice practice practice!!
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-01-2011, 01:39 PM
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My Nikon D3000 probably puts me somewhere in between you and Geri skill wise, probably closer to you I would agree about the 50mm 1.8. The 50 MM focal length is a nice middle ground. If most of your pet pics are indoors the f1.8 is great. Smaller f numbers means more light gets in, a big help for indoor pics. The great thing abut digital SLR learning curves is that you can take all the pictures you want and not have to worry about wasting film!
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