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07-06-2009, 06:15 PM   #1
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Your first time with your first DSLR?

I am brain dead on DSLR's. My very first DSLR is scheduled to arrive tomorrow by UPS and UPS never misses a scheduled delivery.

I know nothing about shutter speeds, this aperture, this f 1/500, f 1/250, etc. thing and I am just lost! So my first DSLR the Pentax K2000 will arrive tomorrow. I know the first thing I'll do after putting in the batteries and screwing on the lens is download the latest firmware update for my camera.

What was your first time like on your first DSLR? How confused were you? Any tips to better prepare myself?

07-06-2009, 07:22 PM   #2
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Hi LeDave.
Everyone with an SLR cam's been there once.

My suggestion is to go back to the basics (naturally) by researching this concept called the 'exposure triad' - the interplay between shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity.

You should have a good understanding of these terms and how to apply them before you can appreciate how an adequately exposed photo can be taken.

Creativity comes thereafter with the experimentation and subsequent utilisation of particular settings to create the image you picture in your mind from what you see in front of you.

My first dSLR was the K100D, and I'd done some research beforehand, so the terms weren't too foreign, but I did learn a lot by experimenting with the settings, mainly in Av mode.

I've said it a few times here, but feel that it is an invaluable resource: the book 'Understanding Exposure' by Brian Peterson is a goldmine of teaching in the basics and some advanced techniques of photography - getting it right the first time and taking the guess work out of capturing the photo you want to create.

Hope this helps.
07-06-2009, 07:43 PM   #3
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Congratulations on getting your first dslr. The K-m is my first as well. The first thing I did was upgrade the firmware and take some test shots to make sure it works. Since it appears you are not familiar with the "exposure triad" as Ash mentioned, it would behoove you to read the manual. The K-m also has a help button to explain certain functions of the camera. You can later re-map the help button to perform other functions. Knowing your way around your camera will help you take better pictures. People go into buying a dslr from a p&s thinking that a dslr will automatically take great pictures. A dslr won't take great pictures if you don't know how to operate it. Good luck!
07-06-2009, 08:27 PM   #4
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Look excitedly at camera for at least 30 seconds, look at lens for 20 seconds, put lens on camera, turn camera on, put in "P" mode (like green mode, but not considered dumb ), look at screen for 10 seconds (again, excitedly), point camera at something interesting, look into viewfinder, half-press the shutter to let the camera focus, wait for a beep, then press fully, hear the click, look excitedly at the picture. I'm pretty sure this is how it was
The rest will come with time, if there are any problems or anything, this forum helps It's useful to read about triad - but with camera in your hands for the first time - rea-a-a-ally ? I'm sure anyone will just start clicking away

Have fun!

07-06-2009, 09:04 PM   #5
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This is OT, but I just HAD to share this with ya'll! From an Amazon A230 review.

I expected better from Sony...
It blurs even slow moving objects in sports mode. My child was just walking by and his face is blurred...big time....I bought the camera because it focused so quickly..DON'T BUY IT unless all of your subjects will be sitting still.


Your first time with your first DSLR?
I am brain dead on DSLR's. My very first DSLR is scheduled to arrive tomorrow by UPS and UPS never misses a scheduled delivery.

I know nothing about shutter speeds, this aperture, this f 1/500, f 1/250, etc. thing and I am just lost! So my first DSLR the Pentax K2000 will arrive tomorrow. I know the first thing I'll do after putting in the batteries and screwing on the lens is download the latest firmware update for my camera.

What was your first time like on your first DSLR? How confused were you? Any tips to better prepare myself?


Dude, should of done research man. I picked up my GX-10 and started snapping away (yah... right ;-)! Plus, Dad wouldn't let me buy it unless I gave him a 5 page essay (back+front=1 page) of how to use a dSLR and why I should chose Pentax over Canon/Nikon offerings. (I wrote a 6 page essay, 3 of which described why i picked Pentax over Nikon/Canon) But since you haven't done any research, it's best time to start. Should be easier with a dSLR to test it out with.
A big part of photography (maybe 95% of it) is if you can see a good picture. Adjusting shutter speed+aperture is easy, exposure to your preference,etc. will be easy to get used to doing, but finding that perfect angle to take a shot is the hardest part (not to mention the most FUN part). Hope you have fun with your experience with the K200D!
07-06-2009, 09:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
I am brain dead on DSLR's. My very first DSLR is scheduled to arrive tomorrow by UPS and UPS never misses a scheduled delivery.

I know nothing about shutter speeds, this aperture, this f 1/500, f 1/250, etc. thing and I am just lost! So my first DSLR the Pentax K2000 will arrive tomorrow. I know the first thing I'll do after putting in the batteries and screwing on the lens is download the latest firmware update for my camera.

What was your first time like on your first DSLR? How confused were you? Any tips to better prepare myself?
Yes. Stop being a worry-wort.

Oh, and here: Glossary: Learn: Digital Photography Review
07-06-2009, 11:09 PM   #7
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Use protection.

Seriously, k2000 is designed to make it as painless as possible for people like yourself. You should be able to dive straight in with the various modes (after reading the manual of course). Pretty soon (and we're here to help) you'll be getting into more advanced stuff. It's digital, after paying for the memory card, it's free to press the buttons.

Above all, enjoy it.


My first time, I read the manual and started pressing the buttons.
07-07-2009, 12:39 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
I am brain dead on DSLR's. My very first DSLR is scheduled to arrive tomorrow by UPS and UPS never misses a scheduled delivery.

I know nothing about shutter speeds, this aperture, this f 1/500, f 1/250, etc. thing and I am just lost! So my first DSLR the Pentax K2000 will arrive tomorrow. I know the first thing I'll do after putting in the batteries and screwing on the lens is download the latest firmware update for my camera.

What was your first time like on your first DSLR? How confused were you? Any tips to better prepare myself?
First, congrats on the new DSLR...my first true SLR was 30-mumble years ago...but I don't actually have that much experience with them, having taken a 20-yr break from photography as a hobby again. And am I enjoying it now...

One thing I did was add some books which turned out to be a great idea and just what I needed to help me recall what I once knew instantly but now have a vague remembrance that I heard those words somewhere before. So, I suggest adding some nice reference books. Nice that these books are not that spendy.
  • Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson (I give this an emphatic second as a must have reference for a new DSLR/SLR user)
  • Understanding Shutter Speed by Bryan Peterson (this one is more important than it might sound)
  • Understanding Portraiture by Bryan Peterson (just was a 'what the heck' purchase and is actually a nice book, there are lots of others to be had for the topic)
  • Light: Science & Magic 3rd Ed. in paperback by Fil Hunter (and others)
  • Last, read everything you can find online. Look here and other boards even if not dedicated to Pentax. Once ya distance yourself from the brand used, it is all the same subject so the same techniques, for the most part, apply.

I also added some books for Photoshop CS3 Extended cheaply as there are a lot of good PS references on using CS3 being remaindered as a result of the release of CS4.

Anyway, the above books helped me a lot. I enjoy Bryan Peterson's writing style so I am able to take a lot away with me after reading and re-reading them. Also, Scott Kelby is another author people like or hate due, not to the lack of excellent content, but rather they find his writing style annoying. I admit he is not my favorite writer, but his books are excellent.

Light: Science & Magic, 3rd Ed. is a wonderful text to help understand how to manipulate light as well as how to evaluate the lighting in a room and use it to your advantage. I am still working through the text for a 2nd time...but it is not a dry textbook style reference, it's just the subject can feel a bit overwhelming. Fil does a really good job of not dumbing down lighting a subject, rather he conveys the concepts is a very "user friendly" fashion.

Most of all...have FUN...and remember it's not about the gear it's about what you can make that gear do, the photographer makes the gear not the other way around.

07-07-2009, 02:33 AM   #9
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First put it in some auto mode and just have a blast taking some pictures with it.

Then sit down and learn all the other stuff.
07-07-2009, 02:40 AM   #10
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True story: when my K100D arrived 2 years ago, I had only ever held one SLR, so I was TERRIFIED to even take the lens off. I knew somehow I wasn't going to be able to get it back on, or I was going to ruin the sensor somehow....gah, I imagined the worst! I had already sold the lens to a good friend (he couldn't afford a camera + kit, and I wanted to shoot with primes anyway, so I ordered the camera with the kit lens and the 43/1.9). I actually waited until my friend could come over so we could do it together; in case the lens somehow became horribly mutilated during the procedure, he would have at least had some input in the proceedings.

Needless to say, the camera and the lens survived, and now I change lenses sometimes 20 times a day =)

Regarding all the technical aspects, I also had no idea what aperture and shutter speed and ISO and depth of field was. I just picked one thing to try to learn each day or each week. I quickly started a photography project where I had to take a self-portrait every day and post each one on flickr. The pressure to get it right was increased exponentially when you consider that you don't want terrible pictures of yourself floating around

Seriously, there is no reason to rush it. Just pick one thing to work on - aperture, say - and go outside. Put the camera in Aperture Priority mode (I carried my manual with me for the first year of ownership and still have the original handy, even after moving overseas). Shoot some things with an aperture of f/4. Shoot other things with an aperture of f/11. Shoot more things with f/22. Review your pictures. Make sure you look at how changing the aperture affected other settings.

Do this on other days for shutter speed, ISO (although there you're only going to see a real difference by shooting indoors, in bad light, etc), exposure compensation, etc. etc. The best bit is that you can take photos as you learn
07-07-2009, 02:42 AM   #11
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I should have said that while I did use my camera every day and LOVED using it, the only photos I have from the entire first month of usage are like mailboxes and stuff. And I think washing machines. And I have LOTS of photos of my coffee table and the various things on it
07-07-2009, 10:27 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by K McCall Quote
I have LOTS of photos of my coffee table and the various things on it
Been there, done that, except my photos are of my desk at home. I have lots of shots of my coffee cup and various papers -- some are blue, some are golden color, some are sort of dark, and some are really, really dark, some are in focus, and a lot of them are not. But I am learning why they are the color they are, rather than the color they should be, and how not to do the same stuff.
07-07-2009, 10:36 AM   #13
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Haha..the first thing I took a picture of was the stand lamp in my room as didn't want to go outside immediately and take pictures of everything.
I still keep that picture of my room stand lamp..'coz it also has the info of the shutter count of my first DSLR and it was the very first photo I took off the thing..hehe
After that, I have been mostly taking photos of flowers, insects, etc on macro.
I love macro!
07-07-2009, 10:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
I am brain dead on DSLR's. My very first DSLR is scheduled to arrive tomorrow by UPS and UPS never misses a scheduled delivery.
Well? Is it here yet? Is it here yet? Is it here yet? Is it here yet?


QuoteQuote:
Any tips to better prepare myself?
"You're gonna need a bigger drive..." (with apologies to Richard Dreyfus.



Then:
Click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click...
07-07-2009, 11:23 AM   #15
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