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 Post subject: Beginning in Sydney
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:21 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:11 am
Posts: 58
Location: Auckland, NZ
Hello all,

I'm based in Sydney and have been pondering about buying my first DSLR for the past few years as I have always enjoyed photography (very cliche I know!)

I would like a few brief pointers on how to start out (keep in short for me, I won't understand all the jargon.

1) Canon or Nikon?

I'm currently considering the Canon EOS 60D as might first purchase, as I have a few friends who started out with this camera and have given nothing but praise. I have heard Nikon have relatively good mid-range SLR's, what is the equivalent model for Nikon? Has anyone had experience using both? What are the pros and cons and what woiuld you choose?

2) Lenses?

Would you recommend buying the standard kit lens and waiting until I work out the types of photography I join and buying lenses to match? If so, what are some affordable but well recommended general/everyday lenses?

3) Software?

Does everyone use photoshop? or is there free software out there that I can download that can assist with editing?

Thoughts, suggestions, opinions, recommendations welcome :)


richie | auckland, NZ

photography by [ fresh ]
beach, travel & street photography

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:28 pm 
Richie_Lyons - Welcome to one of the more "deeply-discussy" Forums around!

1. You say, "Canon or Nikon?" - as if the "main trend" Brands are the only ones around. As when buying your car - you maybe only consider "Holden or Ford?" When there are reasons for looking closely at Toyota, Mitsubishi, Audi and BMW... But yes - if your Professional Career will be Weddings - maybe Canon - and if Sports - perhaps Nikon... Although there are very Pro folk doing Sports with Canons and Weddings with Nikons...

2. Lenses - yes, always useful with a DSLR... Both Canon and Nikon have huge ranges of lenses, from "very Consumer" level - to "borrow Bill-Gates's wallet"...

Of course - as with both Canon and Nikon - there's no "shake stabilising" in their camera bodies, you then have to decide which model of a lens to buy - the one without stabilising, or the more expensive version, with the "shake reduction" built into it...

Sony and Pentax have the "shake reduction" built into the camera body - every lens mounted on those bodies has stabilising. Some will say that Sony and Pentax "don't have much choice of lenses". Sony uses the Minolta type mount, and some lenses are interchangeable. Pentax hasn't mechanically altered the K-mount since the 1970s - later versions do have progressively more electrical contacts and functions, though.

While Pentax might "only" have a hundred or so digital era lenses - plus those from Sigma and other third-party makers - all Pentax Film-SLR lenses, from I think about 1976, the K-Series - mount directly to the current digital bodies - and have shake-reduction. The earlier lenses are full-manual, with later film-era lenses having some electronic functions.

Pre mid-1970s - Pentax bodies can use M42 screw-mount lenses via an adaptor - fully manual, but before dismissing those - particularly the Primes - note that those Takumar / Asahi-Pentax lenses were made when they were competing with Zeiss to be the best lenses in the World. The later model SMC (Super Multi Coated) Takumars are excellent quality optics, now available at modest - but now increasing as folk "find out" about them, prices.

So there are a lot more things to consider - particularly if you're on a budget - than just "Canon or Nikon?"

3. Photoshop is the most widely used editor - along with Lightroom - for RAW post-processing. Here in Sydney, unless you're a Student or Academic - the full version extended, is well over AUD$1,000.00.

Gimp is no-cost, and these days has a huge range of very good functions and plugins. It isn't Photoshop and was never intended to be - Photoshop always was a "Pixel Editor" - Gimp has always been an advanced "Paint" program - a closer comparison to Gimp would be the Corel programs.

That doesn't mean that Gimp isn't an excellent program - it is - just that its methods and functions differ markedly from Photoshop.

If you use Linux - Gimp works in well with DigiKam for RAW post-processing, and if you need an advanced graphics tool, ImageMajick is in the repositories.

There will of course be "a zillion" more opinions - all differing, I hope - and that's a good thing - options-choices are good to have!

Best wishes for your photographic future!

Regards, Dave.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:30 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:01 am
Posts: 1173
Location: bit east of Melbourne
Hi Welcome

Have you handled a Canon and a Nikon, buy what you like using the most?

This is a bit of a generalisation, but I found that its hard to compare like for like as they are usually in different release cycles. Canon`s new body prices seem to come down quicker and offer better value than Nikon`s, similar with lenses. Some Nikon bodies and lenses in turn may offer better build quality. ie Canon 50D was a better body and was cheaper to buy then a D90, at least when I was looking.
Keep in mind you are buying into a lens system.

Is it just me but do a lot more Nikon shooters end up with Sigma and Tamron lenses compared to Canon shooters?

My wife has a preference for how the Canon felt over Nikon, I wasn`t to worried, but found my way around the menu system quicker. The is a lot to say about how a Nikon body feels though. We both had Konica/Minolta previously and then a Sony DSLR. We have changed to Canon now and there is no looking back.

On editing software, Canon provide DPP for free which I use for converting raw files.
I also use xnview, its free, I use it as a picture browser for jpg and its good for working with jpg and more simple tasks.
My wife studied multimedia, so I do have photoshop CS4 mastersuite. But I wouldn`t buy it for editing photos, if it was just me.

The kit lens or the twin lens kits are good value and are a good starting point. But better image quality can be gained by upgrading to something like the 15-85 in Canon or the 16-85 in Nikon. They also both make a 55-250 or 70-300 or similar.

Alternatively really good sharp value twin lens kit could also be the Tamron 17-50 2.8 X Di non VC and the new 70-300 SP Di USD VC lens.

Canon Powershot S95, Canon 6D,7D, Canon 40 2.8 STM, Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC, Canon 17-40 L, Canon 15-85, Canon 85 1.8, Sigma 30 1.4, 50mm 1.8, Canon 100 2.8L Macro, Canon 70-300L +Kenko 1.4 Pro 300DGX, Canon 430EX II and RS 4 Classic

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