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09-13-2008, 02:50 AM   #1
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Where to next?

I am an absolute beginner with DSLRs and recently bought a K200D. I am loving the camera and I try to get out every weekend and shoot. I think I am picking up the basics fairly quickly and have forced myself only to shoot in manual so that I can learn to make the necessary adjustments. I haven't played around with dynamic range or white balance settings (past the built-in settings) yet, but I have been setting aperture and shutter settings. Needless to say I have mixed results but I find that about 20% of what I shoot keepers.

I haven't really found that I want to shoot any particular thing, just things that strike me as interesting from architecture to landscapes as well as animals and plants.

My question is where do I go from here? How can I keep learning and exploring? More specifically, how can I tell if what I am shooting is good?

I am currently just using the 18-55 mm kit lens and I think that it is fine for my purposes at the moment while I am learning but I would like to get some more lenses, perhaps a zoom and a prime. What would be some good (inexpensive) lenses to explore further?

In general I guess my question is, where do I go from here?

09-13-2008, 03:16 AM   #2
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Have a look at this site to learn more about digital cameras and photography in general.

You are very wise to start in manual exposure, your leanrning curve should be quick.

Digital Photography Tutorials
09-13-2008, 08:26 AM   #3
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You might enjoy this one too, it is the standard "get this book" for beginning photogs. Amazon.com: Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition): Bryan Peterson: Books
09-13-2008, 08:43 AM   #4
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I don't know what your shooting style requires but i'm heading towards the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135, that covers most everyday shooting for me in a complete "weather sealed" and quieter system.

09-13-2008, 10:41 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clicker Quote
I don't know what your shooting style requires but i'm heading towards the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135, that covers most everyday shooting for me in a complete "weather sealed" and quieter system.
I will agree that that is an excellent pair of lenses. They cover probably 90% of my shooting needs, and 80% of that is with the 16-50. (With my film MZ-S body, the FA 24-90 covers almost the same field of view range).

If you can afford that pair of lenses, it is an excellent way to go. After using the two lenses for a while, you can decide if you need something longer or shorter. In my case, with my equipment set, I was running out of wide with the FA 24-90 on film, so the first thing I got was a k10d + DA 12-24 and grip. I then added the 16-50 and the 50-135 for the fast aperture and weather proofing, even though I had those fields of view well covered. My old M 400 is working very well on the new body as my bird lens. The M 100/4 macro is working quite well also.

I have joined the LBA anonymous club in these forums, and will be buying nothing until 2009, and to be honest, anything else I buy is a "want" not a "need".
09-13-2008, 10:53 AM   #6
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I also find the Ron Bigelow site, very informative and helpful on improving one's compositional skills :

Advanced Composition -- Part I
09-13-2008, 11:25 AM   #7
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I was able to branch out to fast, long and close lenses for less than $200 per. And I might have done better if I'd bought all of them used through the forum, where lenses of this sort turn over pretty regularly.

Fast: Pentax FA 50/1.4. $200 new. General purpose length. Shoot in low light. Exploit DOF. Learn what it's like to work with a prime.

Long: Tamron AF70-300 Di LD. $140 new. As inexpensive a telezoom as you can get. Bonus of close-focus mode. Similar are Sigma 70-300 APO DG, Pentax DA 55-300.

Close: Vivitar AF 100/3.5 Macro. $150 used. Get in as close as a foot and a half at 1:2 magnification, or 1:1 with supplementary lens. Sold under a number of brand names.

Maybe this is all I'll ever want. Maybe I'll upgrade one of these if I get more deeply into a particular type of shooting. The only other thing I could wish for now is an all-purpose zoom, like the Pentax DA 18-250, so I could shoot both wide and long from the same lens.

Books: I'll heartily second the vote for Peterson's Exposure book. I was also very pleased with David Busch, Mastering Digital SLR Photography, 2nd ed. Both books start pretty close to the beginning and take you a long ways, and both are well-written -- not cutesy or patronizing.

Last edited by ymot; 09-13-2008 at 11:43 AM.
09-13-2008, 05:51 PM   #8
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Thanks for the helpful advice guys. I've already started reading the online guides.

09-13-2008, 06:00 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stratman Quote
Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition): Bryan Peterson: Books[/url]
There is an online course with Bryan Peterson for this too - I just started it on Friday, looks like it wil be fun. See PPSOP com.
09-13-2008, 06:46 PM   #10
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It sounds to me like you are off to a good start. May I suggest you get an M 50 f 1.7. They are very inexpensive and it will allow you to experiment with DOF.
The best thing about this hobby is there are so many directions you can go. Don't spend a lot on lenses until you figure out what type of shooting you want to do. Don't buy into the myth you have to spend a lot of money on lenses to get good shots.

Shoot a lot of different things and figure out where your interests are before spending a lot of money. It doesn't matter if your stuff is any good as long as you like it. Do some reading on composition and framing. Once you understand the basics your own style will emerge.

Last edited by regken; 09-13-2008 at 06:52 PM.
09-14-2008, 01:21 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
Don't buy into the myth you have to spend a lot of money on lenses to get good shots.
Best piece of advice on here.
09-14-2008, 08:49 AM   #12
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Book vote

Another vote for "Understanding Exposure". Just a really, really great book. I recently picked up the Scott Kelby book "The Digital Photography Book" (I got the Part II one) and like the general design--he gives you solutions to specific problems, as if he were standing over your shoulder on a shoot--but talk about cutesy! The goofy tone wears thin really fast. At least it did for me.
09-14-2008, 09:10 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pswann Quote
Another vote for "Understanding Exposure". Just a really, really great book. I recently picked up the Scott Kelby book "The Digital Photography Book" (I got the Part II one) and like the general design--he gives you solutions to specific problems, as if he were standing over your shoulder on a shoot--but talk about cutesy! The goofy tone wears thin really fast. At least it did for me.
It is a bit wearing, but if you just hit the one page notes, it's not too bad. The chapter introductions are, to put it mildly, off-putting! He does pack a lot of useful information into a small space.
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