How I bought my first dSLR


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Sep 8, 2009
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Choa Chu Kang
#1
I am a relative newbie here. Bought my first dSLR about 1 year ago. Had lots of fun shooting with it. Now hoping to give a bit back to the CS community.

This thread aims to describe the processes that went through when I looked for and bought my camera (incidentally a 450d). Not helping for seniors, may perhaps be useful for newbies :)

1. Why do u even need / want an SLR ?
My reason was stupid. I needed to look at a viewfinder. I dont know how to use a liveview screen. This was a result of being too used to film cameras during teenage times.
An SLR is NOT LIGHT AND IS BULKY. if weight might prevent the camera from being brought around, a P&S may be a better option. Image quality from most P&S is good enough for most people in most applications.

2. Decide on a budget and stick to it !
Plan for important additions like cleaning equipment, dry box/ dry cabinet FIRST as no matter what camera you buy, they are ESSENTIALS. Plan $50 to spend on a good book to teach basics. " Understanding exposure" by Bryan Peterson is a nice start.

Only after deducting cost of essential items, then begin hunting around for the new camera.
Realise that camera / lens / accessory buying is ENDLESS. There is always something better, that costs more. Sticking strictly to a budget is the only way of staying comfortable.

3. Go to the shops and look around.
I went to some big name stores to play the cameras on display. I only played with those that I could afford. Dont have a brand restriction at this time. Honestly any camera brand is great ! When handling the camera, check for ease of handling, balance on hand-holding, whether functions are easy to access. Make a checklist of difference in functions at the particular price point you are looking at. (personally i looked and handled about 7-8 models over a 2 month period)

Visit www.dpreview.com, www.fredmiranda.com for some comments regarding each model.

4. Narrow the checklist to 1-2 models
To do this, look at the functions that are available.
For an ABSOLUTE NEWBIE who is clueless about what the functions are, the functions that you dont know about probably will not be critical to have (yet) .

During this time I kept looking at the most ex models with more functions.
Kept my head by going to flickr,
Look at links like
http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikond3000/pool/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kx/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1000d/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/sony_a330/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/e510/

(all photo pools of entry dSLR)
Realised something! No matter what limitations the camera may have, they are all capable of brillant pictures ! Those cameras are all entry level, but the quality of pictures far exceed what i can dream off. A good picture / nice photo is therefore NOT ONLY THE CAMERA, its about how the user optimises the equipment.

After realising that, I then finalised my decision based on ergonomics. No matter how good the camera is, if after holding it for 10min, you get a cramp in the hand, or its too heavy, then its not for you. (For my only 450d passed the 10min handling test)

5. Buy the camera
Look at price guides at CS. Absolute greatness.
I then visited the shops personally or obtained e-quotes.
Looked at big stores like HN, Courts, Best Denki, and small shops like J316, MS color, PS

Bought from the person who was nicest to me during the whole long process :)

6. Enjoy SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT and READ READ READ and LEARN LEARN LEARN
buying the camera is only the start. The most important thing to do next is to learn about how to use all the functions in the camera and optimise them.

Only way is to read the manual, more books and practise more.
Like playing the piano, photography is a skill which takes time, patience energy to acquire, and even much much more to do well.

For myself this process took about 3-4 months, from thinking of buying to actually buying one. Hope that this thread may be useful to just 1 person.

Thanks for anyone who had the patience to read through this long long thread :bsmilie:
 

GreeKo

New Member
Aug 2, 2008
32
0
0
#2
I am a relative newbie here. Bought my first dSLR about 1 year ago. Had lots of fun shooting with it. Now hoping to give a bit back to the CS community.

This thread aims to describe the processes that went through when I looked for and bought my camera (incidentally a 450d). Not helping for seniors, may perhaps be useful for newbies :)

1. Why do u even need / want an SLR ?
My reason was stupid. I needed to look at a viewfinder. I dont know how to use a liveview screen. This was a result of being too used to film cameras during teenage times.
An SLR is NOT LIGHT AND IS BULKY. if weight might prevent the camera from being brought around, a P&S may be a better option. Image quality from most P&S is good enough for most people in most applications.

2. Decide on a budget and stick to it !
Plan for important additions like cleaning equipment, dry box/ dry cabinet FIRST as no matter what camera you buy, they are ESSENTIALS. Plan $50 to spend on a good book to teach basics. " Understanding exposure" by Bryan Peterson is a nice start.

Only after deducting cost of essential items, then begin hunting around for the new camera.
Realise that camera / lens / accessory buying is ENDLESS. There is always something better, that costs more. Sticking strictly to a budget is the only way of staying comfortable.

3. Go to the shops and look around.
I went to some big name stores to play the cameras on display. I only played with those that I could afford. Dont have a brand restriction at this time. Honestly any camera brand is great ! When handling the camera, check for ease of handling, balance on hand-holding, whether functions are easy to access. Make a checklist of difference in functions at the particular price point you are looking at. (personally i looked and handled about 7-8 models over a 2 month period)

Visit www.dpreview.com, www.fredmiranda.com for some comments regarding each model.

4. Narrow the checklist to 1-2 models
To do this, look at the functions that are available.
For an ABSOLUTE NEWBIE who is clueless about what the functions are, the functions that you dont know about probably will not be critical to have (yet) .

During this time I kept looking at the most ex models with more functions.
Kept my head by going to flickr,
Look at links like
http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikond3000/pool/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kx/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1000d/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/sony_a330/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/e510/

(all photo pools of entry dSLR)
Realised something! No matter what limitations the camera may have, they are all capable of brillant pictures ! Those cameras are all entry level, but the quality of pictures far exceed what i can dream off. A good picture / nice photo is therefore NOT ONLY THE CAMERA, its about how the user optimises the equipment.

After realising that, I then finalised my decision based on ergonomics. No matter how good the camera is, if after holding it for 10min, you get a cramp in the hand, or its too heavy, then its not for you. (For my only 450d passed the 10min handling test)

5. Buy the camera
Look at price guides at CS. Absolute greatness.
I then visited the shops personally or obtained e-quotes.
Looked at big stores like HN, Courts, Best Denki, and small shops like J316, MS color, PS

Bought from the person who was nicest to me during the whole long process :)

6. Enjoy SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT and READ READ READ and LEARN LEARN LEARN
buying the camera is only the start. The most important thing to do next is to learn about how to use all the functions in the camera and optimise them.

Only way is to read the manual, more books and practise more.
Like playing the piano, photography is a skill which takes time, patience energy to acquire, and even much much more to do well.

For myself this process took about 3-4 months, from thinking of buying to actually buying one. Hope that this thread may be useful to just 1 person.

Thanks for anyone who had the patience to read through this long long thread :bsmilie:
well written...:thumbsup:
 

hoho85

New Member
Dec 1, 2009
218
0
0
West
#3
wa.. big effort in writting these...

I sticked to my budget when i bought mine too. haha.
 

sin77

New Member
Nov 28, 2004
1,865
3
0
#4
i knew i needed a DSLR, budget $1000, then stepped into the shop, let the salesman conned me into buy D60.
A few months later upgraded to D90.
 

ZerocoolAstra

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2008
9,522
0
0
rainy Singapore
#6
Good thread! :) Honestly if more newbies read this, we wouldn't have so many "what should I buy?" threads.
 

madmartian

Senior Member
May 2, 2009
20,218
11
0
Outer Space
#8
Welcome to CS :) Thank you for taking time to write. All these questions are actually bugging newbies. Trouble is that they don't do it step by step, so whatever questions pops up in their mind, they ask. And they get all kind of answers from all over the place which kinda confuse them. Hope they they read your thread & get a better idea. ;)
 

Jul 24, 2009
38
0
0
Everywhere
#11
Driveanegg

First of all, appreciated very much for your time and effort writing out your past experience.

Encourage all Newbie (Newbie w/o a DSLR) to read and think carefully.

My experience:
I brought my first SLR an OM2 flim camera in the 1985. Then it was in the cupboard (Not dry cab) so fungus grow and sold out later.

Here comes 2005, I jump into buying a DSLR with a Kit Lens but added more lenses to the body like 10-22mm IS USm, 70-300mm IS USM, 50mm 1.4L and 18-200mm DCOS and 17-85mm IS USm etc.

First travel.
Brought all these along and came home only used two particular lens.

Second,third and fourth travelling
Again realised that only one particular lens 17-85mm was the most useful as a walk-around lens where most of the time is too dusty or time constrain to have lenses change along the way, also hugging all these going up hills and long walk is not a joke.

I finally decided to look through all those photos that shot during my 3 years, to my surprise most of the shots are within 35mm to 100mm range.

Conclude and decided. Sold my DSLR body and all lenes away with minimum loss.
Bought a good P&S that have most of the function that a
DSLR has. It is suffucient for normal shooting as a non professional.
But don't forget that in the USA, I have seen professional running
around using a P&S for their bread and butter.


So before you buy a DSLR.

THINK:
1. What are you going to acheive with this DSLR?
2. Are are willing to dump extra fund to buy more glasses, good glass (L) etc.
2. Do you want to be a professional photographer as your career?
3. Will you stick to this interest/hobbby for the next 20 year or so?
4. What have you in mind to photograph?
5. How much nature and wild life for you to shoot locally or just models,
some street shot and little landscrape and what else?

Good Luck,
I jumped in but finally out from DSLR and when on to a high end P&S.

Thanks for reading.

So sorry "Driveanegg" for being rude to jump into your thread.

Happy New year to all of you and Family, good luck 2010.
 

Dream Merchant

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 11, 2007
9,659
6
38
#12
I am a relative newbie here. Bought my first dSLR about 1 year ago. Had lots of fun shooting with it. Now hoping to give a bit back to the CS community.

This thread aims to describe the processes that went through when I looked for and bought my camera (incidentally a 450d). Not helping for seniors, may perhaps be useful for newbies :)

1. Why do u even need / want an SLR ?
My reason was stupid. I needed to look at a viewfinder. I dont know how to use a liveview screen. This was a result of being too used to film cameras during teenage times.
An SLR is NOT LIGHT AND IS BULKY. if weight might prevent the camera from being brought around, a P&S may be a better option. Image quality from most P&S is good enough for most people in most applications.

2. Decide on a budget and stick to it !
Plan for important additions like cleaning equipment, dry box/ dry cabinet FIRST as no matter what camera you buy, they are ESSENTIALS. Plan $50 to spend on a good book to teach basics. " Understanding exposure" by Bryan Peterson is a nice start.

Only after deducting cost of essential items, then begin hunting around for the new camera.
Realise that camera / lens / accessory buying is ENDLESS. There is always something better, that costs more. Sticking strictly to a budget is the only way of staying comfortable.

3. Go to the shops and look around.
I went to some big name stores to play the cameras on display. I only played with those that I could afford. Dont have a brand restriction at this time. Honestly any camera brand is great ! When handling the camera, check for ease of handling, balance on hand-holding, whether functions are easy to access. Make a checklist of difference in functions at the particular price point you are looking at. (personally i looked and handled about 7-8 models over a 2 month period)

Visit www.dpreview.com, www.fredmiranda.com for some comments regarding each model.

4. Narrow the checklist to 1-2 models
To do this, look at the functions that are available.
For an ABSOLUTE NEWBIE who is clueless about what the functions are, the functions that you dont know about probably will not be critical to have (yet) .

During this time I kept looking at the most ex models with more functions.
Kept my head by going to flickr,
Look at links like
http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikond3000/pool/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/kx/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1000d/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/sony_a330/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/e510/

(all photo pools of entry dSLR)
Realised something! No matter what limitations the camera may have, they are all capable of brillant pictures ! Those cameras are all entry level, but the quality of pictures far exceed what i can dream off. A good picture / nice photo is therefore NOT ONLY THE CAMERA, its about how the user optimises the equipment.

After realising that, I then finalised my decision based on ergonomics. No matter how good the camera is, if after holding it for 10min, you get a cramp in the hand, or its too heavy, then its not for you. (For my only 450d passed the 10min handling test)

5. Buy the camera
Look at price guides at CS. Absolute greatness.
I then visited the shops personally or obtained e-quotes.
Looked at big stores like HN, Courts, Best Denki, and small shops like J316, MS color, PS

Bought from the person who was nicest to me during the whole long process :)

6. Enjoy SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT and READ READ READ and LEARN LEARN LEARN
buying the camera is only the start. The most important thing to do next is to learn about how to use all the functions in the camera and optimise them.

Only way is to read the manual, more books and practise more.
Like playing the piano, photography is a skill which takes time, patience energy to acquire, and even much much more to do well.

For myself this process took about 3-4 months, from thinking of buying to actually buying one. Hope that this thread may be useful to just 1 person.

Thanks for anyone who had the patience to read through this long long thread :bsmilie:
Driveanegg

First of all, appreciated very much for your time and effort writing out your past experience.

Encourage all Newbie (Newbie w/o a DSLR) to read and think carefully.

My experience:
I brought my first SLR an OM2 flim camera in the 1985. Then it was in the cupboard (Not dry cab) so fungus grow and sold out later.

Here comes 2005, I jump into buying a DSLR with a Kit Lens but added more lenses to the body like 10-22mm IS USm, 70-300mm IS USM, 50mm 1.4L and 18-200mm DCOS and 17-85mm IS USm etc.

First travel.
Brought all these along and came home only used two particular lens.

Second,third and fourth travelling
Again realised that only one particular lens 17-85mm was the most useful as a walk-around lens where most of the time is too dusty or time constrain to have lenses change along the way, also hugging all these going up hills and long walk is not a joke.

I finally decided to look through all those photos that shot during my 3 years, to my surprise most of the shots are within 35mm to 100mm range.

Conclude and decided. Sold my DSLR body and all lenes away with minimum loss.
Bought a good P&S that have most of the function that a
DSLR has. It is suffucient for normal shooting as a non professional.
But don't forget that in the USA, I have seen professional running
around using a P&S for their bread and butter.


So before you buy a DSLR.

THINK:
1. What are you going to acheive with this DSLR?
2. Are are willing to dump extra fund to buy more glasses, good glass (L) etc.
2. Do you want to be a professional photographer as your career?
3. Will you stick to this interest/hobbby for the next 20 year or so?
4. What have you in mind to photograph?
5. How much nature and wild life for you to shoot locally or just models,
some street shot and little landscrape and what else?

Good Luck,
I jumped in but finally out from DSLR and when on to a high end P&S.

Thanks for reading.

So sorry "Driveanegg" for being rude to jump into your thread.

Happy New year to all of you and Family, good luck 2010.

Great sharing! :thumbsup:
 

iszan

New Member
Nov 24, 2009
278
0
0
Singapore, Farrer Park
#13
:thumbsup: good info.. covers all you need to consider before getting a DSLR.. thanks TS for sharing and contributing back to CS.. mod, can consider to make this thread sticky :)
 

Nov 18, 2009
83
0
6
#14
GOOD Sharing:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
 

sin77

New Member
Nov 28, 2004
1,865
3
0
#15
Btw do not let the salesman psycho you to buy other models which you did not ask for. Buy based on your own research will be better. Because the salesman can quote you a higher price for products which you are not familiar with.

A common scenario is when you called them over the phone, they tell you a low price for certain camera, when you get attracted to their shop there they say no stock, but recommend you another alternative model and charge you high price which you do not realise it.
 

SeAnCoLd

New Member
Nov 10, 2008
585
0
0
#16
IMHO, the feel of the camera's pretty much the most important consideration. I remember at the start of this year, I was rather overwhelmed by the choices of DSLR available in the market. After some deliberation, I decided to get a canon 450D as my first DSLR. But, well... When I got to the shop and handled the camera, I realised it was far too small for my hands. I bought the 40D instead. It's been a year, and my camera's been with me through 2 weddings, mount kinabalu and ladakh. I'm very satisfied with it.

So, instead of looking at specs and reviews only. I would encourage those of you looking to buy your very first dslr to also go down to the shops and test the cameras that you have shortlisted.:)
 

hoho85

New Member
Dec 1, 2009
218
0
0
West
#17
Btw do not let the salesman psycho you to buy other models which you did not ask for. Buy based on your own research will be better. Because the salesman can quote you a higher price for products which you are not familiar with.

A common scenario is when you called them over the phone, they tell you a low price for certain camera, when you get attracted to their shop there they say no stock, but recommend you another alternative model and charge you high price which you do not realise it.
That scenario sounds very 'simlim'. lol

But more experienced camera salesman can really help in deciding which camera to get, when the buyer has problems in deciding between 2 cameras.

Like for me, between 450D and 1000D, i was surprised they didnt psycho me to getting 450D, instead they advised me to save that $200, and get other accessories which are more impt
 

sin77

New Member
Nov 28, 2004
1,865
3
0
#19
That scenario sounds very 'simlim'. lol

But more experienced camera salesman can really help in deciding which camera to get, when the buyer has problems in deciding between 2 cameras.

Like for me, between 450D and 1000D, i was surprised they didnt psycho me to getting 450D, instead they advised me to save that $200, and get other accessories which are more impt
thats very good and heng... normally they wont help you save money. Can you let us know which shop?

TK Photo also good, but you must know who to look for. I think not all staff genuinely helps you.
 

tiger74

New Member
Dec 21, 2009
68
0
0
Little India
#20
I'm absolute newbie too. I bought my 500D last week :bsmilie:
Maybe I can add few items:
1. Ask around your friends who into photography. Well, in my case all of them (5 people) suggested Canon. Personally, I have Nikon in my mind.
2. Based on the above recommendation, start researching the internet for review. Also ask in this forum. But, my conclusion is, since Camera is a high quality product, brand does not really matter. They all have strength and weaknesses. In the end, I chose Canon primarily because all friends that I know use it. The common in brand helps if I want to ask something to them.
3. Lastly, when you finally decide to buy. Ask a good friend who knows camera to accompany you. At least they can help to last minute bargain and check for the condition of the camera. Don't forget to treat him/her pizza as thankful gesture :lovegrin:

The above method applies to lens too. My original intention was Sigma. But read in the forum sometimes it needs calibration, which I encountered during the test in the shop. In the end I chose my backup choice a Tamron with satisfactory result.
 

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