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06-03-2008, 02:32 AM   #1
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GREAT Beginner DSLR owner tips

I was looking for advice sites like stobist and found this one for dummies like me.

Digital SLR photography tips for beginners amateurs

I am only gonna list the first 5 tips but this site looks like it was made for 1st time DSLR owners. It answered a bunch of things I already found out and questions I still had.

# Don't throw your camera manual away. It will become your new best friend. Read it as often as possible, especially in the first couple of months after purchasing your DSLR camera. Always store it somewhere handy. For example in your camera bag.

# Buy a UV filter for each lens you own. It's easier to replace a scratched lens filter than it is to replace your actual lens.

# Learn to use all your SLR camera settings. Even those you don't think you'd ever use. Practise changing settings like ISO, aperture and shutter speed, so you know them like the back of your hand. A moving animal won't sit and pose until you work out your settings.

# In addition to UV filters, other important pieces of equipment should include a sturdy tripod and a remote release. They both come in handy for taking photographs that require long shutter speeds. For example night photography or slow motion water.

# You can never have enough SLR / DSLR photography magazines and books to learn from. The best ones will explain what camera settings were used, along with each photograph displayed.

# Don't touch or blow on the mirror inside your camera body when you have the lens off. If you damage the sensor, you may as well buy another camera body, because that's how much it will cost to fix. If you notice spots appearing in your photos, buy a cleaning kit or dust blower from your local camera store. Many now have an inhouse cleaning service which is always a good alternative.

06-03-2008, 05:46 AM   #2
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I would say that regardless of whether or not you are a beginner these tips are good to keep in mind. Even the most experienced photographer can forget the basics when they are busy or caught up in the moment.

Thanks for sharing.
06-03-2008, 06:47 AM   #3
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QuoteQuote:
Buy a UV filter for each lens you own. It's easier to replace a scratched lens filter than it is to replace your actual lens.
This is highly debatable. Extra glass has the potential for extra flare. The hood vs filter debate is ongoing, with no end in sight. (And it's not really easier to replace a filter, is it. But it certainly is a hell of a lot cheaper.)

QuoteQuote:
Don't touch or blow on the mirror inside your camera body when you have the lens off. If you damage the sensor, you may as well buy another camera body, because that's how much it will cost to fix. If you notice spots appearing in your photos, buy a cleaning kit or dust blower from your local camera store. Many now have an inhouse cleaning service which is always a good alternative.
The actual advice is certainly true. Don't touch the mirror. But the second sentence throws me off. How would you damage the sensor by touching the mirror?
06-03-2008, 07:01 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by joefru Quote
This is highly debatable. Extra glass has the potential for extra flare. The hood vs filter debate is ongoing, with no end in sight. (And it's not really easier to replace a filter, is it. But it certainly is a hell of a lot cheaper.)
How are they incompatible? Are you refering to UV filters or to CPL filters?

06-03-2008, 07:36 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gruoso Quote
How are they incompatible? Are you refering to UV filters or to CPL filters?
He didn't say they were incompatible, just that merit of filters for protection is a source of great dibate.

FWIW: I'm pro filter, but then again, I'm not a professional photographer that gets lenses for free.
06-03-2008, 09:04 AM   #6
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Bahh......what's the big concern with the mirror? It just deflects the light to your eye...if it's dirty clean it.....just be careful. I'm with you joefru...how the heck will cleaning the mirror damage the sensor?

I don't like the idea of putting a UV filter on a lens. The lens was designed to perform as is. Seems to me the UV filter will degrade the quality to some degree. I've got lenses that are 15 years old without a mark on them.
06-03-2008, 09:44 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
He didn't say they were incompatible, just that merit of filters for protection is a source of great dibate.

FWIW: I'm pro filter, but then again, I'm not a professional photographer that gets lenses for free.
I misunderstood him then. I thought that he was mixing the polarizer vs hood debate since it is a situation where for the most of the lenses you cant choose both. My bad and my apologies.
06-03-2008, 10:06 AM   #8
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Here are the full 12 tips from the first page and why it helped me.

I don't want to steal credit from the site for posting their stuff so I'll post their URL again (digital slr guide online photography course) and give props for a bunch of good info. They have photography blogs on other info too.

1. Don't throw your camera manual away. It will become your new best friend. Read it as often as possible, especially in the first couple of months after purchasing your DSLR camera. Always store it somewhere handy. For example in your camera bag.
- My manual is in CHINESE . I downloaded the nglish one from the Pentax website though so it's not a total loss.

2. Buy a UV filter for each lens you own. It's easier to replace a scratched lens filter than it is to replace your actual lens.
- I actually asked this in a previous post. Since I'm a beginner I don't know what flare is yet. My only worry is damage and having to spend more $.

3. Learn to use all your SLR camera settings. Even those you don't think you'd ever use. Practise changing settings like ISO, aperture and shutter speed, so you know them like the back of your hand. A moving animal won't sit and pose until you work out your settings.
- Yes this is good advice but also the most time consuming. Also more difficult initially when I don't know what the hell these things do.

4. In addition to UV filters, other important pieces of equipment should include a sturdy tripod and a remote release. They both come in handy for taking photographs that require long shutter speeds. For example night photography or slow motion water.
- I learned this from camera shake. I am on the first stage now of learning how to steady my own hands (I'm not buying a tripod until I get this part right). Tricks like stop breathing, brace your elbows on your chest or another object. Place your camera on an object as a brace like a handrail or wall or pole. Or wrap the strap around your neck and extend the camera until the string is taut.

5. You can never have enough SLR / DSLR photography magazines and books to learn from. The best ones will explain what camera settings were used, along with each photograph displayed.
- I did the magazine and look at photos thing but I have come to realize that they aren't worth much (actually diddly-squat) unless the camera and settings are posted too. Cause without the settings/equipment then I won't know how the hell they got such a great shot.

6. Don't touch or blow on the mirror inside your camera body when you have the lens off. If you damage the sensor, you may as well buy another camera body, because that's how much it will cost to fix. If you notice spots appearing in your photos, buy a cleaning kit or dust blower from your local camera store. Many now have an inhouse cleaning service which is always a good alternative.
- I think the concern here is for clumsy people. Not everyone is dextrous and some amateur may mistake 1 part for another or bump around in there and scratch something. Better to be safe unless you are familiar.

7. Don't change your lens outside if it's windy. Put the main lens on your camera before you leave the house. If you need to change the lens outside, face the camera body downwards. Dust can't fall upward onto the camera's sensor.
- This is good advice. I am going to e using primes and I worry about possible dust getting in.

8. If at first you find your getting a lot of blurred photo's, change to a fast shutter speed. The faster the photograph is taken, the less chance there is of it being effected by camera shake. Holding the camera closer to your body or resting it on a nearby object is also a good tip. If you're taking nature shots, steady yourself by leaning against a tree.
- Yeah, I'm still trying to get the hang of this. The balancing between shutter and light. I am using a flash now to save me the trouble , now if only I can learn how to use the flash properly... lol.

9. When you buy a digital camera bag, think about the future. Many photographers on average own at least 3 lenses. Personally I own 2 camera bags. One holds a camera with a single lens. This is useful for times when I know I'll only be needing one lens. For example, if I'm going out to photograph landscapes I don't need to lug myself down with all 3 lenses. Or if I'm going out to photograph macro's, then I don't need to also carry my landscape lens. My second bag carries my camera and all three lenses. This one is useful for travelling purposes.

10. Learn what RAW file format is. Setting your digital camera to shoot in RAW is particularly useful for beginners to SLR photography. If you have your camera's white balance or picture style set wrong when you take a photograph, you can change this later on with a RAW editor on your computer. There will also be many times when you only get one chance to take the photograph. For example, a bird won't fly past time and time again until you have the cameras white balance set correctly for that specific scene.
- What I need to emphasize is the time required for post processing. Alot of you photographers say it doesn't take that long. LIAR!!! It only doesn't take long if you know what you're doing! OMG I'm still trying to figure out how to get the proper colors in photoshop, what a "layer" is, or heck... what exposure should I set it to for the best look. My eye is not a trained eye. my definition of "ok" is not so "ok" to experienced people.
* Personally what I've just learned (decided on) is instead of taking Full size JPG's which I currently do. I am going to take RAW and just batch convert them to TIFF. I was reading how JPG is best compression for email and such but I want quality. Editing the JPG I have the suspicion that I am losing too much. I want as close to lossless data as I can get.


11. The best way to learn what your SLR camera can do, is through experimentation. If your taking a photograph of running water, try both fast and slow shutter speeds to see for yourself what the difference is. Or if your photographing a beautiful landscape, try different aperture settings. You'll be surprised at how many photo's you can get from shooting the same scenery with different settings.
- Practice makes perfect, yah yah yah

12. Always press the shutter button half way down to prefocus before going all the way and taking the photograph. This will usually result in clearer photo's every time. It is also especially useful when you can anticipate where a subject is going to be positioned before it gets there. You can prefocus on that spot by pressing and holding the shutter button half way, then as it comes into view, press the rest of the way down.
- OK, I knew this but I think I will use Center weight (I think it's called?) focus. the IQ of these DSLR's aren't perfect. Auto helps by giving you an idea. You gotta pick the settings for the scene and what you want out of it.

06-03-2008, 01:33 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam67 Quote
Bahh......what's the big concern with the mirror? It just deflects the light to your eye...if it's dirty clean it.....just be careful. I'm with you joefru...how the heck will cleaning the mirror damage the sensor?
Well, I would be very ginger with the actual mirror, since it would be pretty easy to press too hard and torque something.

QuoteQuote:
5. You can never have enough SLR / DSLR photography magazines and books to learn from. The best ones will explain what camera settings were used, along with each photograph displayed.
- I did the magazine and look at photos thing but I have come to realize that they aren't worth much (actually diddly-squat) unless the camera and settings are posted too. Cause without the settings/equipment then I won't know how the hell they got such a great shot.
I find that I read them as much for inspiration as anything else. Seeing really good pictures inspires me like nothing else. Matching that is another issue...

Last edited by alohadave; 06-03-2008 at 01:39 PM.
06-03-2008, 02:42 PM   #10
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I find that I read them as much for inspiration as anything else. Seeing really good pictures inspires me like nothing else. Matching that is another issue...[/QUOTE]

That's exactly what I use them for. I also like to learn about different facets of photography that I'm not familiar with/don't use too (i.e. using studio lighting, using different filters, etc.).

c[_]
06-03-2008, 03:42 PM   #11
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Thanks for the post. I feel though that the most important tip is missing. They touch on it tangentially.

IMO, the most important part about photography is to learn about exposure. Everything else (except focus) is secondary.

Most people new to DSLR that have not come from film, are clueless about exposure. They talk about megapixels, have thier camera set to green mode, and argue about lens sharpness.
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