The chicken and Egg problem...?


BBshooter

New Member
Jan 8, 2012
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#1
I'm a total newbie- I've owned like 4 point-and-shoot cameras (one after another) in my lifetime, and had used the auto mode for most part. I've always loved potography, but only from afar because it just seems too intimidating; and my head can never wrap itself around all the facts I need to know and digest in order to proceed. But now I've decided, what the heck, lets just give it a shot and see what happens.

I currently only own a Canon Powershot ELPH300 and I'm looking into getting myself an entry-level DLSR that I will hopefully master and will be able to 'upgrade' by purchasing the right lens for my needs.

Okay, problem is.... I HAVE completed reading ALL the sticky threads above, a few more random newbie threads, in addition to a few borrowed photography-for-beginner books and I still dont quite digest all the facts and info, and cant quite remember half the jargon used.:embrass: I dont know if this is normal or am I just particularly untalented or what, but can someone please tell me, how do I pick a DSLR camera if I dont know exactly what specifications I need (these criteria is based on my personal experience with DSLR cams, which I have none?), am unfamiliar with all the information I've tried to read and digest (cant remember them because currently they are still a bunch of letters and numbers to me)?? :dunno:

I cant be plonking down big bucks on a random DSLR just to try it out and figure out my needs from there, right? The more I try to read, the more demoralising it is because I dont even understand the terms used on some of these newbie threads. Hence I am hoping that some kind souls would help me out a little and point me in the right direction. There are SO MANY brands and types in the market, and I really dont know where to start.

What I know for SURE is, I believe that I'll be shooting mostly people(mostly kids) indoor and outdoors, in lighting conditions of all sorts, and hopefully many candid in-action shots, instead of posed ones.

I also have some questions that I hope I can get help with:

- Is the Canon EOS range a good place to start? (I just happen to like canon better because I love my canon point-n-shoot cams so much more.)

- Does it make sense, or work, to try and understand photography BEFORE I purchase my DSLR, or do most people 'get' photogrpahy and develop their skills only after owning a DSLR?

- How long on the average does it take for most complete newbies to progress from the stage of not knowing what an aperture is (which I am STILL trying to understand), to fully understanding and being able to maximise the manual capabilities of their first DSLR?
Are we talking days, months, or years?

I would love to hear what you guys think, and sorry if the above sounds really dumb, but please help out if you can. :embrass:
 

catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
21,903
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48
Punggol, Singapore
www.foto-u.com
#2
photography is part technical, part arts, if you didn't fail your science and art in secondary level, you shouldn't have any problems in learning photography.

There are tones of photography books in our National Library, from entry to professional level, you can borrow some basic photography books to do some systematic reading, you will learn better this way.
online reading is best you want to focus on certain topics, but you need to have some fundamental knowledge of photography to understand the particular subject better.
So go and pick up a basic photography book from library and start reading.

after you got your first DSLR, there is a basic course for they camera users, at a very low price, they will teach you how to operate your camera, you should able to use your camera to shoot most of the common scenarios.

hope this help.
 

esoeij

Senior Member
Apr 12, 2009
1,992
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#4
There is quite a bit to pick up along the way, but you have to start somewhere. And besides you don't need to know all the technical jargon to be a good photographer.

Instead of worrying about what you don't know, why not bite the bullet and just start? You didn't mention anything about your budget. But since you don't know where to start, a canon Dslr is as good as any. So long as you just stick with the kit lens or one lens, it's relatively easy to change systems if you want to try other brands (including mirrorless systems) to experiment.

Spend some time at a big high street store like courts or HN where they have live sets of many brands on display for you to try out. I know the new courts at upper bukit Timah has a good range on entry level models from all the popular brands.
 

BBshooter

New Member
Jan 8, 2012
9
0
0
#5
photography is part technical, part arts, if you didn't fail your science and art in secondary level, you shouldn't have any problems in learning photography.

There are tones of photography books in our National Library, from entry to professional level, you can borrow some basic photography books to do some systematic reading, you will learn better this way.
online reading is best you want to focus on certain topics, but you need to have some fundamental knowledge of photography to understand the particular subject better.
So go and pick up a basic photography book from library and start reading.

hope this help.


Do you mean that I do not need to own a DSLR first in order to read AND understand what I'm reading?

Thing is, I've already read two books on basic photography, and still find it hard to remember the details and meaning of the jargon even though I do *somewhat* understand it at the point of reading.

So my question is.... Is it kinda dumb and a wase of time to read up in details and try to learn DSLR photography without first buying it?
 

BBshooter

New Member
Jan 8, 2012
9
0
0
#6
There is quite a bit to pick up along the way, but you have to start somewhere. And besides you don't need to know all the technical jargon to be a good photographer.

Instead of worrying about what you don't know, why not bite the bullet and just start? You didn't mention anything about your budget. But since you don't know where to start, a canon Dslr is as good as any. So long as you just stick with the kit lens or one lens, it's relatively easy to change systems if you want to try other brands (including mirrorless systems) to experiment.

Spend some time at a big high street store like courts or HN where they have live sets of many brands on display for you to try out. I know the new courts at upper bukit Timah has a good range on entry level models from all the popular brands.
Did you mean that if I were to get just one lens with say, a Canon Rebel, later on I'll be able to 'upgrade' the quality of my photos just by upgrading my lenses, instead of having to get another dslr PLUS new lenses?

I'm not sure about budget because I am not very confident at this point if I'll love and use a DSLR enough to buy a good one, especially when now I dont even know what would suit my needs, and what would not. It seems like a waste of money to get a very basic one, and then learn later on that it wouldnt serve my needs well enough...
On the other hand, I'd hate to get a more expensive model only to under-utilise it in the long run. (sorry for the rambling!)

Oh, and I did not mention this- I'm not in Singapore right now, I'm actually in the states (yes, Im singaporean) for a year. Its true that DSLRs and other equipment here is cheaper than its being sold in Sg, right? Thats another reason why I'm hopng to buy what I need before returning!
 

j0eb0ng

New Member
Feb 21, 2011
52
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0
#7
Hahaha, untalented? You kinda funny I like you men! Let me share with you when I start photography a month ago. I got my canon 600d, my very first dslr. I was totally lost with so many option, menu and different kind of mode but what the heck just switch to auto mode and start shoot, shoot, shoot till I get sick of the pop up flash and that's when I start playing, switching around different kind of mode until I get rid if the pop up flash. Yes I could have read the instruction manual but that's just me being me. :) And suddenly I found myself using M, Av mode after a while but still Im no pro. Im kinda shy don't really like to post question on newbies corner mostly lurking around seeing others newbies post, learn from there but don't be me, go and ask stupid question be persistent. My newbie advice to you is buy the one you feel best held on your hand, you can't go wrong with an entry dslr be it canon, Nikon, Pentax bla bla bla, for me personally I think canon user friendly maybe idiot proof. Sometimes you need more hands on those dslr rather reading here and forget everything once you hold the cam. Haha! Good luck!
 

BBshooter

New Member
Jan 8, 2012
9
0
0
#8
Hahaha, untalented? You kinda funny I like you men! Let me share with you when I start photography a month ago. I got my canon 600d, my very first dslr. I was totally lost with so many option, menu and different kind of mode but what the heck just switch to auto mode and start shoot, shoot, shoot till I get sick of the pop up flash and that's when I start playing, switching around different kind of mode until I get rid if the pop up flash. Yes I could have read the instruction manual but that's just me being me. :) And suddenly I found myself using M, Av mode after a while but still Im no pro. Im kinda shy don't really like to post question on newbies corner mostly lurking around seeing others newbies post, learn from there but don't be me, go and ask stupid question be persistent. My newbie advice to you is buy the one you feel best held on your hand, you can't go wrong with an entry dslr be it canon, Nikon, Pentax bla bla bla, for me personally I think canon user friendly maybe idiot proof. Sometimes you need more hands on those dslr rather reading here and forget everything once you hold the cam. Haha! Good luck!
Thanks, it really helps to hear from another newbie! I was kinda wondering if its dumb to buy a DSLR just to mess around with especially in auto mode, not knowing how far I'm gonna go, know what I mean? But I like your attitude hahaha, and yes, I supposed I should go and get a feel of it myself in the shops huh.. :)
 

detritus

Senior Member
Sep 12, 2009
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shootingbugs.blogspot.com
#9
Thanks, it really helps to hear from another newbie! I was kinda wondering if its dumb to buy a DSLR just to mess around with especially in auto mode, not knowing how far I'm gonna go, know what I mean? But I like your attitude hahaha, and yes, I supposed I should go and get a feel of it myself in the shops huh.. :)
that is the whole point and is the best way to learn :)
 

j0eb0ng

New Member
Feb 21, 2011
52
0
0
#10
Thanks, it really helps to hear from another newbie! I was kinda wondering if its dumb to buy a DSLR just to mess around with especially in auto mode, not knowing how far I'm gonna go, know what I mean? But I like your attitude hahaha, and yes, I supposed I should go and get a feel of it myself in the shops huh.. :)
Don't worry my friend, no one's born a pro, everyone has their first time in everything. It takes time to absorb everything, aperture, shuttle speed, heck I still don't even know how to meter light stuff. Haha, now I'm leaning towards filters, try to learn everything about filters, very interesting though, din't know filter could make a huge impact on our picture. Btw if you wanna get a feel go courts they got more display for you to molest I think and sometimes they don't bother you like stand beside and try to hard sell you. I remember once I did went to Challenger, the sales guy explain to me canon takes better landscape and nikon better for indoor, screw them. Hahahaa, I remember I post this question somewhere here, old thread though. Another piece of newbie advice, ask your question here. You never knows someone gonna hard sell you something just for their profit.
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
12,491
26
48
Pasir Ris
#11
I cant be plonking down big bucks on a random DSLR just to try it out and figure out my needs from there, right? The more I try to read, the more demoralising it is because I dont even understand the terms used on some of these newbie threads. Hence I am hoping that some kind souls would help me out a little and point me in the right direction. There are SO MANY brands and types in the market, and I really dont know where to start.
Back to the basics: taking a picture is recording of light. Since the light is the same for all cameras it all boils down to the same basic functions in all cameras. Looking at this from the other end we come to the advice given numerous times: go to the shops, feel the cameras. The one that you like most in operating (accessing menus, position of buttons etc.) is the best camera to start with. Unless, of course, you don't mind jumping to something completely new and you are willing to learn different operation concepts and menus.

- Is the Canon EOS range a good place to start? (I just happen to like canon better because I love my canon point-n-shoot cams so much more.)
EOS is the brand name for all Auto Focus cameras from Canon. It ranges from entry level to high end professional level. Any EOS entry level camera is as good as any other entry level camera of any other brand. There are technical differences (features, functions) but they are rather a point of personal preferences, no sharp divider making any camera distinctively better.
- Does it make sense, or work, to try and understand photography BEFORE I purchase my DSLR, or do most people 'get' photogrpahy and develop their skills only after owning a DSLR?
It helps, but it's not a must. Similar to learning all technical stuffs about a car before getting one. All cameras have the green 'Dummy Mode' :)
- How long on the average does it take for most complete newbies to progress from the stage of not knowing what an aperture is (which I am STILL trying to understand), to fully understanding and being able to maximise the manual capabilities of their first DSLR? Are we talking days, months, or years?
Completely irrelevant. You want to take pictures for fun, for personal usage, right? Why bother about certain artificial levels of proficiency? You learn what you need to learn (aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc.), you use the functions that you need to use (exposure compensation, White Balance), you use the modes that support your intentions (Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual). That's it. Whether you use Manual after 5 days, 5 years or never - nobody looking at your pics will give 2 hoots about it if the picture looks great. But if you show us blur pics we might be able to tell you which part of system you don't understand, yet :) (Ok, and some gear freaks will always come and ask "Which camera, which lens?", but hardly ask for the modes and functions used.)

And the chicken end egg problem is solved once you bring the pan into the game :)
 

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photoart

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2009
2,601
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Singapore
www.facebook.com
#12
The first step you need to make, is to just go ahead and buy it. Just keep it to within you budget/means

You need to actually get your hands on a DLSR to understand it.

Just like riding a bicycle or motorcycle, if you are "afraid" or just read a book on how to ride, you will never master it. you need actual practice.

start with a cheap DSLR, once you master the basics, you can upgrade. If you can afford it, go for a middle range DSLR so you don't have to change so soon
 

#13
BBShooter,

There are basically 2 methods of learning (I am generalising). One type learns by reading (those who are able to read from manuals, books, and written materials that says tips and tricks. The other learns by obeservation and asking questions to seek clarifications. There is also another type who is good with both methods. Nevertheless, the third kind will still have a slight preference of one method over the other.

Anyway, you might be the type that prefer to learn from observation - which might explains why you still find that you are heading nowhere with all the materials that you have poured yourself with.

Here's what I will say to you - DSLR has made photography so much easier that almost anyone these days are able to pick up and find himself or herself on the path to better photography after putting in some hours and efforts to grasp the basic technical knowledge of how a SLR function. Technology has make things easier to learn and faster to see the result. If you really see yourself wanting to learn photography and believing that you have a passion for it, then it is time to let go of your point and shoot camera and make the first step into serious photography practice.

Taking the leap is not that difficult as this forum has many talented photographers. My suggestion is that you get yourself an entry level DSLR with a walkaround zoom lens (anything from 17mm to 80mm) and do one of the following:

1) join outings that are being organized in this forum. There are many newbie outings and I am sure you can find like-minded folks and of similar skill level. This will make your learning experience more enjoyable. Who knows, you might even be able to find a photography buddy that both of you are able help one another with.

2) this approach requires you to be a little bit more thick skin. If you want to learn under someone on a personal one-to-one basis (assuming that you are not comfortable with group outing or that you are too shy to ask quetions in front of too many people - you can post on the newbie section to request to see if anyone is generous enough to teach you. I am sure that there are many kind soul out there.

Like many would say, we all start from somewhere and more often than not, we often have someone to mentor us along they way. Therefore, it is never too late to start and ask. Hope this will get you going and hope that you will embark on this wonderful journey creating beautiful memories for you and those around you.

Dan
 

pasay

New Member
May 13, 2010
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#14
or why not rent one first, to see how you like the ergonomics, menu, handling, etc, of a particular camera you're eyeing? certainly cheaper than buying one then later regret and have to sell at a loss. :)

just my 2 cents
 

IsenGrim

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Jan 28, 2008
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#15
Are you a girl? if you are i'm willing to explain over some kopi-o =DDDD:bsmilie::bsmilie:

Canon / Nikon problem:
What I can say is if you're not going in to sports or birding, (to me) both are the same. I chose Canon because of the grip ergonomics. (it feels better to hold la!) quite a few of my friends are with Canon so I can borrow their lenses to play too. This is what I always tell me friends.
The only issue with Nikon they don't have anything above 300mm, while Canon has amazing 400/600/800/1200 lenses. One can argue there are 3rd party lenses, but they will not be as good.

Buy first / Learn first problem:
It depends on how you learn. Some people likes to learn theory first. Some people learns better hands on. Whichever the case, one can never do without either.
Someone who learns every theory available will not know how to react in a new situation.
Someone who has been in every situation will not know enough technicalities to make an image possible.

I am a more theory person. So I read extensively, and knew a whole lot of **** before my first purchase. Then i got my cam, and verified all the theories. Thats how I personally learn.
But that problem is, I finally find out that a lot of **** does not apply to me/new world.
 

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brkit

New Member
Jul 10, 2010
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Bukit Gombak, Singapore
#16
Back to the basics: taking a picture is recording of light. Since the light is the same for all cameras it all boils down to the same basic functions in all cameras. Looking at this from the other end we come to the advice given numerous times: go to the shops, feel the cameras. The one that you like most in operating (accessing menus, position of buttons etc.) is the best camera to start with. Unless, of course, you don't mind jumping to something completely new and you are willing to learn different operation concepts and menus.
Agreed. No need to buy, just go down to Courts/ borrow from a friend and actually HOLD the cameras. Every camera is different, and you may prefer smaller that are lighter, or heavier ones with more weight. Alternatively, you may not even like the bulk and weight of a DSLR at all, and instead prefer using a compact? Photography is limited not only to DSLRs, and there are many compacts out there that are as good, if not better, not to mention a whole lot lighter. :)

The only issue with Nikon they don't have anything above 300mm, while Canon has amazing 400/600/800/1200 lenses. One can argue there are 3rd party lenses, but they will not be as good.
I'm very sure Nikon has lenses above 300mm. :)
 

TWmilkteaTW

Senior Member
May 30, 2011
2,251
1
0
#18
Thanks, it really helps to hear from another newbie! I was kinda wondering if its dumb to buy a DSLR just to mess around with especially in auto mode, not knowing how far I'm gonna go, know what I mean? But I like your attitude hahaha, and yes, I supposed I should go and get a feel of it myself in the shops huh.. :)
Thats why there are entry level DSLR which are really going cheap nowadays..approx. $900-1300 ++??.. if you dont like it. Sell it off. At least you had a taste of it. Its not dumb at all. Some people use professional camera and lens and are shooting in full auto mode too. Some might even buy it just to look cool..Heck..its your camera..as long you are happy..Why bother?
 

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