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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:21 pm 
Hello newbies to DLSR's! I'm a newbie myself (somewhat), and have been immersed for some weeks now researching, reading, posting, creating shopping carts, deleting shopping carts, scoffing at opinions, wow'd by opinions. I'm sure this is a recognizable story to many of you.

By profession, I am a Production Designer in film in Los Angeles. My primary desire to evolve to a DSLR is to document my design work. Documenting work as a Production Designer means more than just taking snap shots of some flats, props and furniture. My photographs need to tell stories and be compelling all by themselves. They need to tell a story and encourage the viewer to want to see more. As ANY good photograph should.

After the easy decision to purchase Nikon (D200), the chore of finding the right lenses and accessories began... daunting, to say the least. After selecting, in MANY iterations of shopping carts on Amazon and Adorama (and various others, the top of the line Nikon lenses and staring down the barrel at WELL over $8,000(US), I took a long hard swallow and thought, "maybe this isn't the right choice for me." Then I snapped out of it.

Going from a point and shoot, even a slightly more sophisticated SLR-Like Panasonic-Lumix DMC FZ30 (which I've used for a few years), to a top of the line Nikon is not just a little like learning a new language, it's TOTALLY like learning a new language. Imagine plopping yourself in to a foreign country having only read a few pamphlets on the language. That's what most of us do when we make the switch to a DSLR. Have no fear! There's a HUGE learning curve and A LOT of support out there for you. (At Camera Labs Forums, for one.)

What I realized, at least early on in my DLSR journey, was that I am willing to sacrifice a little bit of top-notch quality for flexibility. I had a plan for a bit to ONLY get THE BEST and FASTEST Nikon Lenses (for which there are MANY differing opinions about)... and then about 6 months down the road I would get another one... and maybe a few years down the road, when I can afford what I want, I would have all of the toys to start using my D200 the way I want.

Bad photo's can be taken with GREAT lenses, and FANTASTIC (even award winning) photo's can be taken with so-so lenses. What matters the most, to me at least, is who's behind that lens. Let's face it, these are toys... not to tinker with, but to have a lot of fun with... and for many of us to make a living with. You will ALWAYS see the difference between a photo taken by a photographer (at any level) who truly has joy for what they do and one who feels they are using sub-par equipment and is never satisfied with their work.

Working in film, I have seen some of my favorite films shot on nothing more than shoestring budgets and laughably poor equipment. Conversely, some of the worst films I have seen have wanted for nothing having EVERYTHING at their disposal, including the best camera and grip gear that money can buy. It's all about joy!

Take it easy and have fun. Like being in a foreign country, you will not hit the streets for the first time being totally fluent and fool even the natives. You'll most likely have a few necessary phrases to get by, and after sometime (if you are willing to learn) will know what you need to know... and more importantly, know better what works for you best.

Okay, so all you can afford right now is no wider than a 28mm and no faster than f/4.5. Play with it! Become adept at it... know it. Learn why it is the way it is. Every lens has a purpose, just like every phrase. No one phrase in any language is going to make it possible for you to communicate everything. (Then again, some choice words in most languages can get you pretty far!). In time, you will know why you HAVE to have that 50mm f/1.4, or that 600mm Telephoto. All in good time.

Any good photographer will tell you that every lens has its own personality. They will know when that (crappy by some) lens is AWESOME stopped down to f/11 at ISO200. You wont know everything all at once. Start perfecting those shots on what ever lens you have. Don't like the shots you are getting with the lens you have? Experiment... find what kind of shots that lens wants to take and know your lens.

Well... that was quite a rant! I hope this was helpful to some out there who are feeling like I did.

Looking forward to seeing what you all see!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:08 pm
Posts: 8003
Location: Germany
Miguel, thanks a lot for this "rant". Very informative and thought-provoking.
One of my favorite phrases on the dilemma you talk about is: "Grow!"
B.t.w.: What equipment did you already acquire on your road to DSLR-photography enlightenment?

Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D810+assorted lenses

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 9978
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi Miguel, nice post! It's good to hear people's views and where they're coming from...

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:29 pm 
which lenses did you end up with BTW?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:17 am 
Hello Tom, Gordon and mwahlert! You are most welcome, and thank you for your responses as well.

tom and mwah - I haven't settled on anything yet! UGH... I have been doing information browsing for well over a month... and have to do more as I will not have the funds to get my toys for a few more weeks. Nevertheless, the search goes on.

Here's what I need to do with my camera... maybe your two cent's can help.

Like I said above, I am a Production Designer, and often shoot in VERY uncontrollable situations: on dark sound stages, at night in the desert, in some dark alley way, city streets at noon... you name it. What I am mostly concerned about, and what I would like my new kit (whatever it is) to do for me is behave really well in low light. Also, a lot of my shots consist of "getting the shot" at a moments notice... grabbing one during a rehearsal, sneaking one while the camera's are rolling, that sort of thing. So, I can't take out the tripod and set it all up. I need some kind of Image Stabilizer. Either on the lens or in the body.

While I truly love Nikon, I've had a hard time finding the fast lenses that I need with some kind of anti-shake. Certainly I have found some, and Nikon has some beauties... I just haven't found the right ones yet. 2.8's are what I am looking for, at the very least... at least I think so.

What are your thoughts on lenses that perform the best in low light?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:13 pm 
i am new to photography myself, but have also been doing a good bit of reading/research these past few weeks....

you are definitely going to want a "fast" (large aperture) lens from what i understand as because when the aperture is larger you can run faster shutter speeds.

this is a very nice lens, although pricey.. ... uctNr=2147

i haven't read many reviews on the tamron version..

yeah... canon has nikon beat as they have a 17-55mm w/ IS ... elid=12955

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:00 pm 
Thanks Miguel

Your thoughts are what most of us 'newbies' wants.
Get a good camera - as far as the money can go.
However, I do admit the one you got is more than good ! :D
Some decent lenses to start - get use or bored with it and get something different from basic to telephoto to macro to wide angles - to ultra zoom..
where money permits ! :lol:

In most cases , I say 90% of us are on a tight budget :(
In most cases, we tend to 'conveniently forgets' the later part of the process.

PCs - softwares - Printers - and so forth ! :wink:
Which unfortunately if one does not have one will add to the cost of the
camera (DSLR) as its is from this which started the chain-reactions.

I believe someone has posted some very detailed information..very long but informative ... light=5000


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