Which camera should I get for a beginner learning photography?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Zhou Gong, Nov 29, 2003.

  1. Zhou Gong

    Zhou Gong Guest

    Hello everyone,
    Can anyone tell me which camera I should get for learning
    Also can anyone tell me what is the ideal shutter speed and how to
    estimate the distance the subject is from you. It seems that, whenever
    I take a picture which a glass in front of me (in a zoo or museum for
    example), the flash of light always reflects into the picture, how can
    I go above that? Whenever I take a picture outdoor, it seems that the
    picture come out very blurry, not very detailed and lost of color. I
    hope someone can enlighten me. Thanks in advance.

    Zhou Gong, Nov 29, 2003
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  2. Zhou Gong

    Infinity Guest

    1. You'll have to decide but I would suggest a manual SLR (if you can find

    If you are referring to digital cameras...well, go to a store and tinker with
    a few that allow you to control shutter speed and aperture.

    2. Purchase a good book for beginners or take a basic photography class.

    3. Don't use the flash, unless you have an adjustable one, with very close
    objects. (Oh, buy a tripod for lowlight when not using the flash.) Yes the
    flash will "bounce" and screw up your pictures when shooting very close
    objects and reflectables (glass, metal, etc).

    4. Purchase a tripod or stop moving your arms when you take pictures. The
    biggest cause for blur is the photographer pressing the shutter button with a
    jerky motion instead of a smooth even press.
    Infinity, Nov 30, 2003
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  3. Most zoos and museums don't want you to use a flash, for good reasons. If a
    tripod is allowed, you can avoid using a flash. You can also use a fast

    If a flash is allowed, take the picture at an angle to the glass, instead of
    straingth on.

    Whenever I take a picture outdoor, it seems that the
    The blurring can be lack of focus or moving the camera. You need to develop
    the technique of squeezing the button to take the picture, instead of
    pushing it.

    Lost color can have a lot of reasons. Is the camera film or digital?
    Marvin Margoshes, Nov 30, 2003
  4. Zhou Gong

    Lunaray Guest

    As for blurred pictures, I concur with the other replies to your post. The
    most common mistake a beginner can make is to not hold the camera properly,
    don't hold it with your hands on each side of the lens and your elbows
    hanging out in the air like chicken wings. If you're right handed, rest the
    lens barrel between the thumb and index finger of your left hand and hold
    your elbow close to your chest, this forms a kind of triangle and adds
    support to the camera, plus you can easily adjust the diaphram this way (if
    you're using an SLR). I remember after learning this (a long time ago in my
    first photography class) my picture's sharpness improved dramatically. Also
    pay attention to the shutter speed, 1/30 of a second is about as slow as you
    can go without a tripod, and that's if you're really steady. Hope this

    Have fun!
    Lunaray, Nov 30, 2003
  5. Hi Dan,

    Get any camera that allows you to use it manual mode. You can get older
    manual film SLR's second hand quite cheaply. Good brands are Nikon, Pentax,
    Canon, Ricoh. Since you might not know what to look for, buy it from a
    camera shop or get it checked out by a tech immediatly on purchase.

    Most of the better digitals have a full manual mode. Avoid cameras that
    only have fully auto everthything because you won't learn the fundementals.
    Expect to learn by your mistakes.

    There's no "ideal" shutter speed. Mostly I tend to use 1/125 unless there's
    a reason not to... and there's normally plenty of reasons to use something
    different. :)
    Don't stand right in front of the glass. Stand to one side so the
    reflection is not seen by the camera, however shooting from one side though
    thick glass will distort the image, especially if it's an aquarium. Better
    still, use a fast film, a tripod, and a cable release.

    Blurry could be a focus problem, or camera movement. Get the focus checked
    by someone, and to fix the camera movement use a faster shutter speed, or a
    better technique, or a tripod.

    The quick rule for minimum shutter speed with a hand held 35mm SLR camera
    for an inexperience person is at least twice the focal length. ie if the
    focal length is 50mm then 50 x 2 = 100 therefore use 1/125 of a second. A
    really good operator _might_ be able to use 1/2 the focal length as the
    shutter speed if they have a firm support and good technique.
    Could be lots of reasons. Cheap/poor film, poor processing, under or over
    exposure, flat lighting, cheap lens, or any or all of these. The most
    likely culprits are the exposure and the processing. If you have flat muddy
    prints with no blacks then the print film was under exposed. If you have no
    highlight detail (like the sun shining off a light coloured object) then the
    print film was overexposed.

    Chris Robinson, Dec 2, 2003
  6. Zhou Gong

    Dave Guest

    If you really want to learn photography, you should learn to use an
    all-manual camera where you set focus, aperture (lens opening) and
    shutter speed.

    There are some cheap Russian cameras that are very good for this. The
    Smena 35 is a cheap plastic camera with a good lens where you have to
    make all the settings yourself. You should be able to find one on
    EBay for about $15.

    Or you can get a rangefinder camera like a FED 5 for about $35. This
    is a much higher quality camera that you will probably want to keep
    forever, but it is heavier to carry than the Smena.

    The best kind of 35mm camera is a Single Lens Reflex (SLR) where you
    see the exact picture you are about to take on a groundglass. There
    aren't so many good Russian cameras of this type, but there are good
    Japanese SLRs that you can buy used on EBay for about $50 such as
    Pentax, Yashica, Olympus and Canon. Nikon and Nikkormat are also very
    good, but they cost more. My own favorite is the Canon FT-QL.
    Dave, Dec 7, 2003
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