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01-13-2007, 09:40 AM   #1
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Impressions from a 2 month newbie

When I decided to buy a DSLR 2 months ago I had a lot of unanswered questions. This might be of help to those people thinking of joining the ranks of us infected photo hobbiest.

Success rate
Discouragingly bad at times. 2,600 images taken, 201 DNG files kept, 77 put on Pbase for viewing, and 8 printed at 14 x11 up to 20 x 16 inches. 5 of them are good enough IMO to hang on my walls which is my goal.

Cropping and megapixels

5 mpx is all you need for a great 20 x 16 print. I haven't printed larger than that yet so how far you can push it is a question I can't answer yet. This gives me a lot of room for cropping with the K10D. This also makes the K100 and K110 great even for large prints.

Printing and framing costs

Wal Mart 1 hour service for prints up to 8 x12 seems to be as good as any lab I have found. For less than $3.50 a print you can't beat the price. Also found a local photo processor that will print up to 24 x 18 for $28.00 and up to 36 X 24 for $44.00. A local framing shop will mount photos on art board for less than a frame, $11.00 for a 12 x 8. This gives me great latitude in printing to the exact size I want and have it mounted ready to hang on the wall.

Lenses

K mount and screw mount lenses are amazing. Easy to use and sharp. I shoot in manual mode with spot metering and find that you need to bump the exposure 3 clicks to get a near perfect histogram every time. If you can live with a little manual control these lenses are a real buy. The FA 43mm LTD is the only expensive lens I have and it is my favorite. The hood and original cap sit on the shelf because of the cost if I lose them. With a standard lens cap on it the appearance is very small.

Ease of use
Still shooting in P mode with the 43mm. The flexibility of being able to change the f stop or shutter speed is nice.

SD cards

Bought a 2 GB Sandisk Ultra II for $80.00 and a 2 GB Sandisk standard speed for $40.00. Darn if I can tell the difference between the two.

PP
IMO PP is a major part of this hobby. I shoot only in DNG and get as much fun out of this as taking the photo but that is just me. Bibble Pro has become my favorite but Lightroom is good also. Silkypix was just to time consuming to learn. For us that are computer challanged this part of the process is the one that will take the most time to learn.

File management

Imatch is the best reasonably priced program I have found but is a long way from perfect. Still looking for something that will put keywords into the EXIF file.

This is great fun. Don't be afraid to post photos here for C&C. People are great in helping you out.

Regards,

01-13-2007, 11:04 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
Success rate
Discouragingly bad at times. 2,600 images taken, 201 DNG files kept, 77 put on Pbase for viewing, and 8 printed at 14 x11 up to 20 x 16 inches. 5 of them are good enough IMO to hang on my walls which is my goal.
That's not so bad. It means you are experimenting and learning and that's a Good Thing (tm).

QuoteQuote:
Cropping and megapixels
5 mpx is all you need for a great 20 x 16 print. I haven't printed larger than that yet so how far you can push it is a question I can't answer yet.
For print media, photo editors generally want 300 dpi in whatever size they are printing. If you go to 8x10x300dpi, you'll find that 6MP is on the shy side. You can always use Photoshop (et.al.) to upsample but there is a limit on how much of that stuff you want to do. I try to avoid upsampling over 25% of the original size.

QuoteQuote:
Printing and framing costs
Wal Mart 1 hour service for prints up to 8 x12 seems to be as good as any lab I have found.
I haven't had good luck with Walmart or Walgreens. I use them for 4x6s and 5x7s, but nothing larger. I know a lot of people on DPR have commented favorably on CostCo. Further, you can get profiles for the CostCo printers from Dry Creek Photo. For big stuff, I send off my files to MPIX.COM. Their prices are reasonable and shipping via USPS Priority only takes an extra day because I'm close to their location in Kansas.

QuoteQuote:
SD cards
Bought a 2 GB Sandisk Ultra II for $80.00 and a 2 GB Sandisk standard speed for $40.00. Darn if I can tell the difference between the two.
I notice a distinct difference between the 60x and 150x cards that I have. I bought a 2GB card that was on sale at Staples or OfficeMax and it is essentially unusable on my DS. But, I do a lot of burst shooting and write speed is the bottleneck.

Sounds like you are having fun. Keep it up.

-E
01-13-2007, 11:17 AM   #3
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Original Poster
Eric,
Did you get your Amvona tripod? If so, which one and what do you think? The print thing. You are an old hand at this a see things I miss. As time goes along I may find the 20x16 prints I now think are great will pass into a catagory of bad.

Regards,
01-13-2007, 11:45 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
Did you get your Amvona tripod? If so, which one and what do you think?
I ended up getting the Manfrotto 785B. It's a lightweight pistol-grip ballhead that I can fit into my packpack. It won't work with my 400mm lens, but it should with everything else.

01-13-2007, 06:18 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=regken;17814]When I decided to buy a DSLR 2 months ago I had a lot of unanswered questions. This might be of help to those people thinking of joining the ranks of us infected photo hobbiest.



Printing and framing costs

Wal Mart 1 hour service for prints up to 8 x12 seems to be as good as any lab I have found. For less than $3.50 a print you can't beat the price. Also found a local photo processor that will print up to 24 x 18 for $28.00 and up to 36 X 24 for $44.00. A local framing shop will mount photos on art board for less than a frame, $11.00 for a 12 x 8. This gives me great latitude in printing to the exact size I want and have it mounted ready to hang on the wall.
[B]

I work in a military graphic shop with two Epson 44" printers. The cost you qoute for 36"x24" print is about spot on. I print 36"x28" or 37"x30" posters for about $44.30 per print after I figure up the costs of ink, and paper. Art Board for me is Elmers FoamCore in 30x40 in sheets, self adheisive.. about $8.30 per sheet.

Large format printing is amazing and costley unless your like Ritz or Inkley's where they can buy in bulk for all their stores. etc.
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