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11-03-2011, 09:05 AM   #1
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Newbie to DSLR..What to Buy?

I am a teacher and have been told I will teach a digital photography class next year. I know NOTHING about it so I will be taking a class in the spring and probably more in the summer. I have been given the following items and told they have about $500 for me to spend on additional items...

They have already ordered the following:
http://www.amazon.com/Pentax-18-55mm-50-200mm-Black-Accessory/dp/B0061C0MA4/...332959&sr=1-25

This stuff has been shipped, but I haven't put my hands on it....

It includes
1- Pentax K-R 12.4 MP Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and 50-200mm f/4-5.6 Lenses
1- DLI109 Lithium Ion Replacement Rechargeable Battery (Not Original Pentax)
1- 3 Piece Filter Kit Includes: UV, Circular Polarizer and Flourescent Filter and Hard Case
1- 16GB SDHC Secure Digital Memory Card (Memories are Priceless!)
1- 0.45x Wide Angle Lens w/ Pouch and Caps (Capture That View!)
1- 2x Telephoto Lens W/ Pouch and Caps (More Zoom is better!)
1- Full Size 59" Tripod W/Carry Bag (Keep it Steady!)
1- External Digital Slave Flash (Brighten Up Your Memories!)
1- Multi 50 in 1 USB Card Reader(Download your images to your computer quickly!)
1- Padded Carrying Case (Protect your Investment!)
1- Memory Card Wallet (Keep your Memory Cards Organized!)
1- Mini Table Top Tripod
1- Pack of LCD Screen Protectors (Protect your LCD!)
1- Lens/LCD Maintenance Cleaning Kit


I must spend the money soon (before I even know anything about this...you got to love school administrators)...

So...what would you recommend I buy with that $500?

11-03-2011, 09:38 AM   #2
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you've already got a lot of what youll need to start out with in that package already. With $500, you can upgrade your kit lens to the faster Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 variant and also pick up a DA35mm f/2.4
The tamron can be found used here and there for a little over 300ish, the DA35mm can be found new on amazon for a little under 200.

of course, if you're not big on getting new lenses, you could also grab some lighting gear. A yongnuo yn560 manual flash runs for about 65 bucks off amazon, a stand, umbrella , umbrella swivel and set of triggers can be picked up for another 65 or so. You can grab two of these for a little over 270, giving you enough money left over for that DA35mm and maybe a more durable tripod such as the dolica proline (with ballhead)
11-03-2011, 09:39 AM   #3
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I hope this is an elective in junior/high school and not something these students are paying money for. I applaud you for going through the effort to learn as much as possible before the class starts, but it is irresponsible of them to expect you to teach a class on photography. Will the students have their own cameras? Do you already have a computer and projector? What is the scope of the class? Are you allowed to purchase used equipment?
11-03-2011, 09:41 AM   #4
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this deal might be better
OfficeMax: PENTAX K-R W/ 18-55MM & 50-200MM LENSES 12.4 MP DIGITAL SLR Camera - $600 shipped AC -

11-03-2011, 09:45 AM   #5
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here are links to all the things i mentioned that can be had off amazon

DA35mm

YN560 flash

Umbrellas, stands, mounts

triggers

dolica tripod
11-03-2011, 09:46 AM   #6
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A good prime lens is the most glaring omission here, that I can see. What focal length you choose should probably depend on what kind of photography you're teaching.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kimberly Quote
1- 0.45x Wide Angle Lens w/ Pouch and Caps (Capture That View!)
1- 2x Telephoto Lens W/ Pouch and Caps (More Zoom is better!)
These are junk, toss them in a drawer or something.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kimberly Quote
1- Full Size 59" Tripod W/Carry Bag
This is most likely a very cheap and not very stable tripod. You may need a better one, you may not. Again, it depends what you're teaching.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kimberly Quote
1- External Digital Slave Flash
Useful, but not a replacement for a good hotshoe flash.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kimberly Quote
1- Mini Table Top Tripod
Most of these are meant for little point and shoots, and can be tippy with a DSLR, especially with a heavy lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kimberly Quote
1- 3 Piece Filter Kit Includes: UV, Circular Polarizer and Flourescent Filter and Hard Case
UV filters are only useful for blowing sand, salt, snow. Fluorescent filters are for film cameras, as far as I know. When shooting raw you have easy control of white balance in post, so it seems redundant. The circular polarizer is the only really useful thing here, but cheap ones can have unattractive colour casts. You'll have to try it and see.

Really, these all inclusive kits come with a lot of junk. The accessories are generally poor quality, but some of it will be usable.

You have a lot of reading ahead of you. Here's a good author to start with, especially "Understanding Exposure".
11-03-2011, 10:19 AM   #7
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Huh, if you're going to be teaching the class... I would say there's nothing quite like hands on when it comes to working with cameras and digital photography.

What about spending the $500 on two *ist D's or K100D's and a couple of manual focus 28mm A primes for the students to use?
11-03-2011, 11:10 AM   #8
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Thanks for the tips....I'm going to start looking into them now. I went to talk to them some more with fees for the classes and such and they are now willing to spend about 700-750 so I'll keep looking. I just have to give them the list asap. It must be new items.

kenafein - it will be a high school elective, and I don't mind at all really. We are a small school and we try to offer the classes the students are interested in, and we have several that want to take digital photography next year. As the technology teacher, I've been elected. This method works for our elective courses, and I've learned a lot over the years with being flexible and teaching what kids want to learn.

The students will get to use this camera and whatever we buy. We will combine the photography with also teaching photoshop..

11-03-2011, 11:38 AM   #9
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Well the best advice I can give is that the Kr is a great camera and that you will find a lot of help on here so visit often and post your specific fears/queries/problems here for help.

You might want to consider a Eye-Fi card so you can actually send your shots to your computer whilst you are taking them, for instant projection and review to the whole class.
11-03-2011, 11:52 AM   #10
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One camera between several students? Perhaps you can ask for donations/loans from the parents for older DSLRs? I agree that a fast prime should be purchased. The most economical is the DA35/2.4 that was mentioned earlier. A few used pentax camera bodies would also be a good idea. You can get them for ~150.
11-03-2011, 11:54 AM   #11
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Might I also suggest becoming familiar with photography terms? Terms such as ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed and focal length are crucial to understanding proper exposure and field of view. You can do a lot with the K-r and the kit lens. Learn about Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority (or Time Value Priority), fully manual mode. Like you I just started with DSLRs and my first one is the K-r with the 18-55 kit. When you get the camera, read the manual, try each mode, ask questions here.

There are many good online free videos that walk through the basics. One I constantly recommend is Adorama's Digital Photography 1 on 1 Series. Start at the beginning.


Good luck!
11-03-2011, 02:27 PM   #12
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Most of the suggestions above stress the acquisition of more equipment, but what about software to organize and edit the photos? The most used is Photoshop and Lightroom, but there are several others that are quite good. You can get Photoshop "Elements", Lightroom, etc along with quite a lot of educational materials (books, dvd's etc) for the $500. You have all that you need in the equipment department with perhaps the exception of a external flash unit. Hold off on more lenses.
11-03-2011, 02:58 PM   #13
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If it were me I would get several point and shoot digital cameras in addition to the DSLR, that way more kids can get a hands on at the same time. The P&S can be used for composition and the DSLR for exposure lessons

Hans
11-03-2011, 03:13 PM   #14
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QuoteQuote:
This stuff has been shipped, but I haven't put my hands on it....

It includes...
The camera and 2 lenses are fine.

----- > 1- 3 Piece Filter Kit Includes: UV, Circular Polarizer and Flourescent Filter and Hard Case

Only the CPL polarizer has any real use in on digital cameras - though I don't care for the results myself. Cheap filters are not recommended, though. Cameras can adjust to fluorescent lights, and are not affected by UV rays.

---->1- 16GB SDHC Secure Digital Memory Card (Memories are Priceless!)
It depends on brand and speed ...

----->1- 0.45x Wide Angle Lens w/ Pouch and Caps (Capture That View!)
----->1- 2x Telephoto Lens W/ Pouch and Caps (More Zoom is better!)

These two items make excellent paperweights on your desk. Not useful on your camera, however.

----> 1- Full Size 59" Tripod W/Carry Bag (Keep it Steady!)
Might be a bit flimsy.

----->1- External Digital Slave Flash (Brighten Up Your Memories!)
Might be OK. Should be better than the built-in flash. If the head tilts or swivels that would be a bonus.

----> 1- Multi 50 in 1 USB Card Reader(Download your images to your computer quickly!)
Only needed if your computer does not have one or can't read SDHC cards - most do.

---->1- Padded Carrying Case (Protect your Investment!)
These are sort of personal things best chosen hands on. Does it hold everything? Is there an intrusive zipper, etc?

----->1- Memory Card Wallet (Keep your Memory Cards Organized!)
You have one card, in the camera...

--->1- Mini Table Top Tripod
This may actually be handy if it is not the flexible type.

---->1- Pack of LCD Screen Protectors (Protect your LCD!)
You have less chance of scratching the LCD than a lens, and I don't use protective lens filters.

----->1- Lens/LCD Maintenance Cleaning Kit
See below...

QuoteQuote:
So...what would you recommend I buy with that $500?
A Giotti rocket blower - it's a large squeeze bulb to clean off the sensor once in a while.

Some software such as Elements.

Save the remaining $400 for when you really need something, after getting used to what you have.
11-04-2011, 03:37 AM   #15
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Quick question to everyone reading this thread.

What exactly is a 0.45x Wide Angle Lens and a 2x Telephoto Lens? What focal length? Do they have adjustable aperture? I assume they must be autofocus.

I did a quick search and found some websites listing general info but nothing specific that relates to terms I'm used to seeing (i.e. focal length, maximum aperture, etc.)

Like many have said here I think these would be pretty useless and the purchase of say the regular kit lens (DA or DAL 18-55) or the DA 35 F2.4 might be good places to start.

Here is an example of what I found:

MEGAKIT (WIDE ANGLE, MACRO, AND TELEPHOTO KIT) for Pentax K-r
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