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01-04-2014, 03:55 PM   #1
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New to photography, DSLR's and Pentax

HI All

I am Heinno and new to everything photography. Like most, I have snapped a few pics with a point and shoot but never understood what actually was happening in the camera. Just bought a K50 yesterday and played around with it - man there is a lot to learn, but I am looking forward to the journey.

Any advice, tips or tricks for beginners are welcomed!

01-04-2014, 04:41 PM   #2
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Plenty of practice obviously. Asking questions on here and other similar forums. There is a site that will let you watch photography classes live as they happen for free (creativeLIVE: Free Live Video Tutorials & Online Training Courses). I would also suggest watching photography-related videos on Youtube. Reading photography books is also another good way to learn.
01-04-2014, 04:43 PM   #3
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Welcome Heinno. I suggest buying the Pentax 18-135 first. After you discover which focal length is your favorite, buy a Pentax Limited prime in that length, 15mm, 35mm, 40mm, 70mm. Have fun and the 18-135 will always be your rainy or snowy day lens.
01-04-2014, 04:52 PM   #4
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Welcome!

Hello Heinno, Welcome to the forum!
Well, you're in for a fun ride, photography can be a great source of joy and frustration, many times both! You can use it as a part-time hobby, full time obsession or even a profession, if you're talented, dedicated and lucky.
Here's a good starting point;
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/58-pentax-beginners-corner-q/247120-true-...tart-here.html
An overview of the essential basics for capturing images with a DSLR.
As far as advice, I'd say use your camera as often as you can, don't be afraid to experiment with settings, composition, exposure, just be creative. Not everything will work out well, that's usually how we learn.
Always use a lens hood.
Look into a good photo processing app, free ones are Picasa, GIMP, Faststone and others. With these you can organize, catalog, process and store your images, but eventually these apps will become limiting. Then, it's time to try a better program, my recommendation at that point is Lightroom.
Take care of your gear, buy an extra battery and good-quality SD card, I like SanDisk 32GB Ultra class 10's.
Pick up a Rocket Blower from the camera store or online. Google 'DSLR Sensor Cleaning' and watch a couple of tutorials.
Start checking out info on tripods, the photographer's essential piece of gear. Also, a decent camera bag, slightly bigger than what you need. Add a remote shutter release, lens-cleaning pen, circular polarizing filter for your len(s).
I guess I've spent enough of your money! Good luck,
Ron

01-04-2014, 05:34 PM   #5
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Wow, that was a few quick replies! Thanks for all the advice!

I can see I am going to struggle with the K50 focus modes - not sure how to move the focus point or how the camera decides where to focus.

I just uploaded a few of my first few pics in the user album section. Please take a look and critique.

Thanks all

Heinno
01-04-2014, 05:51 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heinno Quote
Wow, that was a few quick replies! Thanks for all the advice!

I can see I am going to struggle with the K50 focus modes - not sure how to move the focus point or how the camera decides where to focus.

I just uploaded a few of my first few pics in the user album section. Please take a look and critique.

Thanks all

Heinno
There are basically three focus modes: auto (11-point, which is the default, or 5-point), select, or center. In the first mode, the camera focuses on what it thinks is the most prominent subject within the active AF area. In select mode, a single user-selected point is used. You use the 4-way pad on the back of the camera to change the point, and a LED will light up in the viewfinder to show you which point is active. In center mode, the point in the middle is always used.

If you're a beginner I'd recommend sticking to auto-11 mode as it's pretty good overall. If you always want to focus on what's in the middle of the frame, use the central af point only, which is what many more advanced users prefer.

Adam
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01-04-2014, 06:07 PM   #7
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Buy a camera bag that's a LOT bigger than your current needs. You'll fill it up all too soon!
01-04-2014, 06:44 PM   #8
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Get off the Auto mode............... :P

01-04-2014, 07:15 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pepe Le Pew Quote
Get off the Auto mode............... :P
I second that.
01-04-2014, 07:38 PM   #10
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I'm relatively new to photography myself - I started experimenting with a Sony NEX last spring and then got a Pentax system (K-3) this fall. You will get lots of varied recommendations about how to learn photography from people on this forum and elsewhere. For myself, I tend to think of the learning process for photography as falling into three streams (sometimes connected to each other):

1) Understanding the basic technical elements of photography that are common across all camera systems: e.g., the exposure triangle (relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO), white balance, dealing with tricky lighting, and also how to process your images after you take them etc.
2) Learning the technology of your camera in particular (which buttons do what and why you'd want to use particular settings). This links back to (1) there is some camera (and model-specific) information to learn.
3) Developing your eye - how to make captivating compositions etc.

Some of us have more natural aptitude for one or more of (1)-(3) above. For example, I'm not very technologically adept (unlike many people on this forum) and I find I learn best in a hands-on classroom (group or one-on-one) setting. So I have taken some introductory photography courses in NYC and they've really helped a lot. Other people find that they can figure a lot of this out on their own by reading manuals, playing with the equipment, watching online tutorials etc.

I'm more comfortable with (3) and I've found that reading some books, looking at photography, and taking some online courses and seminars where I get feedback from professional photographers has been really helpful. You can get feedback through this forum.

It often is helpful to separate, to some extent, your efforts to learn (1)-(2) from (3). When you're trying to learn your camera's controls, for example, don't obsess about making interesting images. It's more like doing a lab or cooking, where you vary one element at a time to see what the effect is. So sometimes I pick up my camera with the goal of getting a better understanding of some aspect of (1) or (2), and sometimes I'm going out to make interesting and compelling images without doing anything too new or challenging in terms of technique. And once I feel like I understand some aspect of technique better than before, then I go out and try and make interesting images that depend on that technique.
01-04-2014, 09:03 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
I'm relatively new to photography myself - I started experimenting with a Sony NEX last spring and then got a Pentax system (K-3) this fall. You will get lots of varied recommendations about how to learn photography from people on this forum and elsewhere. For myself, I tend to think of the learning process for photography as falling into three streams (sometimes connected to each other):

1) Understanding the basic technical elements of photography that are common across all camera systems: e.g., the exposure triangle (relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO), white balance, dealing with tricky lighting, and also how to process your images after you take them etc.
2) Learning the technology of your camera in particular (which buttons do what and why you'd want to use particular settings). This links back to (1) there is some camera (and model-specific) information to learn.
3) Developing your eye - how to make captivating compositions etc.

Some of us have more natural aptitude for one or more of (1)-(3) above. For example, I'm not very technologically adept (unlike many people on this forum) and I find I learn best in a hands-on classroom (group or one-on-one) setting. So I have taken some introductory photography courses in NYC and they've really helped a lot. Other people find that they can figure a lot of this out on their own by reading manuals, playing with the equipment, watching online tutorials etc.

I'm more comfortable with (3) and I've found that reading some books, looking at photography, and taking some online courses and seminars where I get feedback from professional photographers has been really helpful. You can get feedback through this forum.

It often is helpful to separate, to some extent, your efforts to learn (1)-(2) from (3). When you're trying to learn your camera's controls, for example, don't obsess about making interesting images. It's more like doing a lab or cooking, where you vary one element at a time to see what the effect is. So sometimes I pick up my camera with the goal of getting a better understanding of some aspect of (1) or (2), and sometimes I'm going out to make interesting and compelling images without doing anything too new or challenging in terms of technique. And once I feel like I understand some aspect of technique better than before, then I go out and try and make interesting images that depend on that technique.
This is a very insightful response. I personally have never received any formal photography training. I am entirely self-taught. That being said, I would love to be able to take some formal photography classes (such as darkroom process now that I am trying to learn film photography). The reason for this is that with some things, I have some difficulty understanding stuff on my own and it would probably be easier for me to understand by learning from someone else. You are definitely right about one thing. Different people have different ways of learning photography. People can come on here and make recommendations on ways to learn about photography but in the end, it will be up to individual person to decide what recommendations they feel will suit them and what recommendations they can ignore or disregard. Each person must decide what method of learning will be best for them.
01-04-2014, 10:17 PM   #12
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Auto-focus modes

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
There are basically three focus modes: auto (11-point, which is the default, or 5-point), select, or center. In the first mode, the camera focuses on what it thinks is the most prominent subject within the active AF area. In select mode, a single user-selected point is used. You use the 4-way pad on the back of the camera to change the point, and a LED will light up in the viewfinder to show you which point is active. In center mode, the point in the middle is always used.

If you're a beginner I'd recommend sticking to auto-11 mode as it's pretty good overall. If you always want to focus on what's in the middle of the frame, use the central af point only, which is what many more advanced users prefer.
Thanks, yes I got to that part of the menu, but when I select a focus area, the camera pics other random areas each time I hold the shutter button in half way - I think I must be missing a setting or something. What is the AF AE-L button for and how does it impact the settings in the AF menu?
01-04-2014, 10:23 PM   #13
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.... or is it?

QuoteOriginally posted by photographyguy74 Quote
This is a very insightful response. I personally have never received any formal photography training. I am entirely self-taught. That being said, I would love to be able to take some formal photography classes (such as darkroom process now that I am trying to learn film photography). The reason for this is that with some things, I have some difficulty understanding stuff on my own and it would probably be easier for me to understand by learning from someone else. You are definitely right about one thing. Different people have different ways of learning photography. People can come on here and make recommendations on ways to learn about photography but in the end, it will be up to individual person to decide what recommendations they feel will suit them and what recommendations they can ignore or disregard. Each person must decide what method of learning will be best for them.
Knowing that I do not know much about photography, I sometimes wonder why some trained photographers think some pictures are so great - to me how technically correct a picture is, is secondary to the "art" of the picture. I appropriate the skill and challenge that certain pictures would require to take, but if it is not nice to look at it defeats the purpose of the picture in a way - or am I missing the whole point?
01-04-2014, 11:08 PM   #14
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Your response is very insightful. Please do not lose your desire to record artful images. The technology exists to help us all. When in doubt, look at Ansel Adam's pictures.
01-05-2014, 03:55 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heinno Quote
Any advice, tips or tricks for beginners are welcomed!
Welcome, my advice... get out there doing it and enjoy yourself along the way.
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