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05-25-2008, 03:24 AM   #1
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Best Advice for a 1st DSLR Owner

Hi All,

Just this weekend I brought my 1st dslr, the K20D with Sigma 17-70...finally! I realize I've jumped into the deep end of the digital photography pool and are looking forward to learning to swim, however at the moment I'm only just keeping my head above water.

What advice/tips can you share to help me on my way? Books, websites, courses, techniques...etc

Cheers
Daz

05-25-2008, 04:02 AM   #2
AML
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Hi Daz, that's a wonderful combination for your first dslr, congrats.

I'd suggest putting the camera in auto or P mode and take lots and lots of pictures, checking what settings (aperture, shutter speed etc, ) the camera has selected . When you have been in P mode for awhile and feel comfortable with the camera, you can then move onto another mode experimenting with those settings. But, the best part of all, enjoy using your new gear and have lots of fun with it. All the technical stuff will come with practice.

In regards to books, i'd suggest looking at Bryan Peterson's- Understanding Exposure or any books by Scott Kelby.

Here's a couple of websites to get you started.
Shutter and Aperture - Beginners Guide to Photography - Photonhead.com
Using Your Digital Camera-Contents

Last edited by AML; 05-25-2008 at 04:18 AM.
05-25-2008, 04:17 AM   #3
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Hi Daz,
Well you certainly did jump into the deep end with the K20D It's one of the best on the market, and So many bells and whistles. Which I'm sure you are finding out. If this is your first DSLR Your going to have a lot of fun. The best I can tell you to do is read and reread the book that came with the camera. Next ask all the questions you can think of even if you think its a stupid question. (There are no stupid questions here.) The only way you are going to learn is to ask questions, and that's what we here on the forum are for.
First and foremost take the camera in hand and try all the bells and whistles shoot in every mode and see what the results are. Change the settings on the menu and see what the different settings do. Get use to the feel of the camera. Shoot in Auto for a while and pay attention to what the settings are in the view finder of the camera. Get to know the everything you can about the camera. Again ASK QUESTIONS.
This is not a camera you can learn in a day, but the more you use it and the more you play with the settings the more you will understand what is going on. Don't think for one minute your pictures are not worthy of posting. the best way to learn is to post the shots and be able to discuss with us what your settings and lenses used were. and then listen to what is being said. No one here will degrade you for what you have done But they will tear your shot apart and tell you where you made your mistakes and where you did the right thing.
Remember EVERYONE HERE HAS BEEN IN THE SAME PLACE YOU ARE AND NO ONE CAN START AT THE TOP AND WORK UP.

ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER BE DISCURAGED. ENFOY THE CAMERA AND ENJOY PHOTOGRAPHY FOR WHAT YOU LIKE IT TO BE, NOT FOR WHAT SOME ONE ELSE LIKES IT TO BE.
05-25-2008, 05:15 AM   #4
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Just one good piece of advise shoot shoot shoot...................................

I love it (shooting that is)


cheers

05-25-2008, 05:47 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by cupic Quote
Just one good piece of advise shoot shoot shoot...................................

I love it (shooting that is)


cheers
I second on that one, it's the best advice so far....
Nothing works better for your pictures than experience! So while you're shooting, try to notice what, how, what ifs and results...
05-25-2008, 06:27 AM   #6
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Take LOTS of pictures. The wonderful thing about DSLR's is that you can shoot like crazy and it doesn't cost 20 bucks a roll. Photo Tramp summed it up pretty good. Make note of what works and what you did and what happened on the bad shots too. The other nice thing about digital is it records all the data for you.
05-25-2008, 07:55 AM   #7
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Photo Me

You may wish to get a copy of the free program, PHOTO ME It tells you the EXIF data stored with each image. You'll see more that you'll ever want to know about the settings used to produce a particular image.

Not only is it useful when analyzing your own photos, but you can use it to explore the settings on other digital photos you may find interesting.

Enjoy...
05-25-2008, 08:29 AM   #8
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Michaelina2

I just downloaded and tried Photome and am psyched. This is a great little piece of software with tremendous utility. Thank you, very much.

Ernest


Last edited by Jewelltrail; 05-25-2008 at 08:36 AM.
05-25-2008, 08:42 AM   #9
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Pick up a book (or web tutorials) about exposure. Then take a book (or web tutorial) about basic lighting (strobist web page, chuck gardner web page...). Then take the book "Light: science and magic" about lighting (I cant recommend this book enough). Even if you are not interested in product-fashion-portraits photography, it helps you a lot to understand why your pictures look as they do. Take also some tutorials about post-processing (i.e: Ron Bigelow web page) but keep shooting as much as you can and watch critically your pictures. If you buy me an advice. Pay much more attention to the people critics than to the compliments. You dont learn too much with the later.
05-25-2008, 04:40 PM   #10
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Dazman, in addition to the camera's manual, you might look into the K20D book (and blog) by Forum member Yvon Bourque: Pentax DSLRs

The best thing you can do with the manual or third-party book? Read a section about camera function or technique with the camera close by. Pick up camera. Try out what you just read. Re-read and re-try if necessary. Move on when the little light bulb comes on over your head! Try out some of what you've just learned sometime when you're out shooting.

There's really nothing like combining instruction with hands-on experience to promote learning, says this teacher.
05-26-2008, 04:34 AM   #11
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Thanks for the replies.

Shoot, shoot, shoot and then shoot some more...I can assure you all I will/am doing that. Since purchase my camera has followed me everywhere, including work, as photo opportunities are everywhere. The modes I have been using are as suggested (auto & P). I'm enjoying using M as well and all the time taking note of the settings used to obtain the given results.

I have the Bryan Peterson and both Scott Kelby books in my amazon shopping cart waiting for me to place my order tmw. I was also considering the Peter K Burian Magic lantern K20d Guide...is this a worth while purchase or would Yvon Bourque's guide be better...or just get both?

I've downloaded the Photo Me program...brilliant!

Have read the manual and are reading it again, lots to take in. Have also been reading/following plenty of web based photography tutorials, including a free online 8 week dslr course. The camera store I purchased the camera from has also invited me to a free "introduction to dslr" course.

Gruoso - I'm VERY interested in lighting and will be adding "Light: science and magic" to my next months amazon purchase.

Once again thanks to all and I look forward to posting some of my photos in the very near future for you to critique.

Regards
Daz

Last edited by dazman; 05-26-2008 at 04:53 AM.
05-26-2008, 05:30 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dazman Quote
Hi All,

Just this weekend I brought my 1st dslr, the K20D with Sigma 17-70...finally! I realize I've jumped into the deep end of the digital photography pool and are looking forward to learning to swim, however at the moment I'm only just keeping my head above water.

What advice/tips can you share to help me on my way? Books, websites, courses, techniques...etc

Cheers
Daz
Daz

Look out or someone will throw you an anchor as opposed to a lifeline

Seriously though, I am glad you are asking about books etc. There are too many to recommend, any good book on photography will take you through the basics of light, exposure focal length and apature.

Similairly, these books will also take you through the basics of composition, what works and what does not.

While you have jumped into the deep end, as you put it, other than recommending reading a good book several times, and your manual, go out and shoot. Read the books again after about 1 month, look back at your photos, and critique them again.
05-26-2008, 09:06 AM   #13
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Daz,

I too am new to DSLRs, having bought a K100D Super in March. My only bit of advise is to be patient. I have seen posts on here and other forums where new camera owners are upset because they can't get the camera to do what they want it to do right away. I had some problems in the beginning (and still do at times), and yes, it can get frustrating, but if you have some patience I think you'll be very satisfied with the results that a DSLR can provide.
05-26-2008, 05:18 PM   #14
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Always carry a spare battery.
05-26-2008, 06:50 PM   #15
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And a spare memory card.
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