Jump to content




The above adverts really do help Fotozones. Please click on them if they are relevant to you. Not seeing them? Just exclude Fotozones from your ad blocker. Thanks!


Photo
- - - - -

Is DSLR better for novice?


  • Please log in to reply
87 replies to this topic

#21 Mexecutioner

Mexecutioner

    Advanced Member

  • POTW Committee
  • 1,605 posts
  • LocationLos Angeles, CA
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 20 November 2012 - 19:29

Has someone thought about what SHE wants? If I had a daughter I would discuss the purchase with her and give my opinion and advice trying not to steer HER decision one way or the other. Ultimately I would buy her the camera she wants (withIn the specified budget) since she is the one that is going be using it.

At that age, and specially a bit younger, I was really pleased to be able to borrow my father's Olympus OM-3 camera whenever he allowed, or whenever he was out of town and not watching. Very simple camera, fixed focal lens, entirely mechanical, no automatic exposure. I enjoyed it tremendously, but I got lucky I liked it since it was the camera that was available and I could not afford one myself. When I was 5 my mother gave me my first camera, a kodak instamatic 155x and I was ecstatic, she only gave me 1 roll of B&W film, 24 exposures, so I had to be judicious. I enjoyed that camera almost as much as when I got a D3. But that was more than 35 years ago and I used the instamatic for many years, in fact, I still have it.

If the intention is for her to develop her artistic eye, does it really matter which system she uses? I do value the importance or learning the old fashion way and understanding all the theory and so called "rules" behind it, but the more she likes the camera, the more she'll use it.

I believe that the D3200 with 35 1.4 is a very good suggestion as others here have pointed out, but is she wants a M43 that would not impair her ability to make beautiful, moving images, tell a story or produce something sublime. She could also get a Leica M with the new 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron and produce the most hideous images. As long as the camera offers her some degree of control and helps her achieve what she has in mind, then the operational aspect of it is a bit irrelevant.

#22 nfoto

nfoto

    Fierce Bear of the North

  • Administrators
  • 16,649 posts
  • LocationOslo, Norway
  • Edit my pics?:No

Posted 20 November 2012 - 19:47

A camera has to be used to be of any use. So, yes, you're right.

(I mentioned the 35/1.8 which size-wise fits a small DSLR well, not the bloody expensive and massive 35/1.4 [AFS]. Just to make sure as I'm quite certain you meant the f/1.8 )
Bjørn

#23 Mexecutioner

Mexecutioner

    Advanced Member

  • POTW Committee
  • 1,605 posts
  • LocationLos Angeles, CA
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 20 November 2012 - 21:16

Yes indeed, the 35/1.8 DX lens.

#24 Airee

Airee

    Advanced Member

  • Life Member
  • 2,072 posts
  • LocationLille
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 20 November 2012 - 22:57

Difficult balance to strike, between whats is deemed enjoyable and what is actually useful. I agree that the father knows what his daughter finds enjoyable, so he's only asking about what would be most useful here.

Concerning automation, I might draw a parallel : introduction of calculators in math classrooms. It did not make math more enjoyable (and there are less and less people attracted towards math in French high schools). number crunching went down, maybe freeing time for "higher level" teaching, but what I see is that the substance of math teaching has impoverished over the years. What I notice above all and everything is, now that the cost of number crunching went down, my daughter hardly understands why simplification of math expressions is still of value. Consequence is, she does not pursue the beauty in math (simpler expressions, straightforward solutions) and accumulates the risk of mistakes by not sitting back, reflecting on what she is doing and why, and reducing the length of expressions.

The parallel might seem far-fetched, but it is not. There is just as much aesthetic feeling in relation with an elegant math solution than there is with a well composed shot, at least for the author. In both cases, the "valets" stand in the way.

Edited by Airy, 20 November 2012 - 22:58 .


#25 makmanos

makmanos

    Advanced Member

  • Life Member
  • 972 posts
  • LocationNYC suburbs
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 21 November 2012 - 00:32

My 2 cents. There might be info missing from the post but I cannot logically connect the dots between the info presented in the post and the actual question. Your friend's daughter is at an age which she already might have certain ideas about what she wants. In that light your question summed up under the title "DSLR vs mirroless" might be irrelevant for making an informed decision for her. Your friend's (her father's) opinion on what is heavy or not for her might also be irrelevant if we don't know what it is that she really likes about photography which is presumably what is going to stir her interest in continuing on that path rather than introducing her to something that might cause confusion and/or frustration. What kind of teacher was the one who suggested the D3100 for her and what is her/his background? Why did she suggest that ? Maybe she knows more about her student's likings on the subject than you and/or her father already? In that light a Nikon D3100 or D5100 might be the perfect choice for her so I don't see why even bother with mirrorless, compact, or whatever else.

Edited by makmanos, 21 November 2012 - 00:35 .

-Manos

#26 Alan7140

Alan7140

    Advanced Member

  • Life Member
  • 5,623 posts
  • LocationTasmania, Australia
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 21 November 2012 - 00:50

The human eye does not have a zoom or tele function, - we have feet instead. It does not have a wide angle function - we have a swivelling neck instead. What Bjørn says about previsualisation is on the money - if you take a photograph that you've seen first (before even lifting the camera), rather than see a photograph after you've taken it, you have a far, far better chance of learning what you're doing and understanding what you've done to get a result.

A slightly wide AOV lens is a good choice (35mm on FX) - it won't give exaggerated perspective, but includes an angle of view closer to what we actually see with both eyes open (excluding peripheral vision, of course), so results look believable and realistic, and by reverse engineering this it is evident that when one "sees" a shot the camera can then be more easily used to capture what was seen initially.

Hence my suggestion of the X100. It has an AOV equivalent of 35mm, its controls are in the conventional place so that the relationship between things is obvious (aperture controlled by a ring on the lens, shutter by a dial on the top of the camera), it can be operated in full automatic exposure, or aperture or shutter priority, or full manual, it can be used with its optical finder, an electronic finder or the LCD screen, so to my mind it is perhaps an ideal learning camera. Plus it looks and feels insanely good, even if it does have a few control idiosyncrasies. Being a fixed lens also has a side-benefit in that dust bunnies on the sensor are an extremely unlikely occurrence.

#27 Bart Willems

Bart Willems

    Forum troglodyte

  • Life Member
  • 3,011 posts
  • LocationElmwood Park, NJ
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 21 November 2012 - 01:40

Has someone thought about what SHE wants? If I had a daughter I would discuss the purchase with her and give my opinion and advice trying not to steer HER decision one way or the other. Ultimately I would buy her the camera she wants (withIn the specified budget) since she is the one that is going be using it.


Who cares! We're talking gear here! :)

You're right though... if she doesn't get a camera she likes she won't use it, even when it's goldplated and covered with snake skin (not that Nikon makes those kind of cameras, of course :rolleyes: )
Bart

Too much gear, not enough common sense!
Flickr and Zenfolio, too!

#28 Jyda

Jyda

    Advanced Member

  • Life Member
  • 1,256 posts
  • LocationSweden
  • Edit my pics?:Yes

Posted 21 November 2012 - 09:31

The human eye does not have a zoom or tele function, - we have feet instead. It does not have a wide angle function - we have a swivelling neck instead. What Bjørn says about previsualisation is on the money - if you take a photograph that you've seen first (before even lifting the camera), rather than see a photograph after you've taken it, you have a far, far better chance of learning what you're doing and understanding what you've done to get a result.

I don't see the problem with previsualising something that doesn't include everything your eyes see, as with a tele lens. Also, I don't see the problem with including parts of the scene that don't fit into a 35mm fov into your previsualisation. I think a zoom lens is a better tool to also learn about perspective.

I have great respect for the knowledge of all members here with far more experience than me, but I don't buy into the notion that a "normal" prime always is the best way to start out in photography. Not knowing the particulars in this case, I would argue that almost all beginning photographers yet have a way to go before knowing what type of photography they will be most interested in. The way to learn that is to play and experiment. You don't foster that by telling them that they're not allowed to photograph certain ways. When they find out what type of photography attracts them most, then a prime certainly is a valuable tool.

I don't think future photographers will be worse off just because practically all beginner cameras come fitted with a zoom lens nowadays.

Edited by Jyda, 21 November 2012 - 09:31 .

/Johnny

Google+

I care about picture quality, not pixel quality. - Jay Maisel


#29 nfoto

nfoto

    Fierce Bear of the North

  • Administrators
  • 16,649 posts
  • LocationOslo, Norway
  • Edit my pics?:No

Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:32

A zoom lens does not in any way influence perspective. Using your feet does. A "normal" lens has its advantage just because it is "normal", ie. it is perceived to render a scene in the manner we see it. Many claim this makes it dull, my position is that it makes it interesting because it helps find and isolate visual ideas.

It's the principle of KISS that applies. Going from learning a trade by simplicity to end up mastering its complexity.
Bjørn

#30 Jyda

Jyda

    Advanced Member

  • Life Member
  • 1,256 posts
  • LocationSweden
  • Edit my pics?:Yes

Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:44

A zoom lens does not in any way influence perspective.

Well it does if you want to include the same objects at the border of the frame (say two trees), but using different focal lengths. Then you have to zoom with both the lens and your feet. With a prime lens you only have one distance, and thus only one perspective, that is correct.

Sorry for my somewhat crappy explanation, but I hope you understand what I mean.
/Johnny

Google+

I care about picture quality, not pixel quality. - Jay Maisel


#31 nfoto

nfoto

    Fierce Bear of the North

  • Administrators
  • 16,649 posts
  • LocationOslo, Norway
  • Edit my pics?:No

Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:52

Perspective deals just with distance between camera and subject. Not the framing. Not the focal length. So your explanation is not relevant.

Mastering perspective is a major part of being a good photographer. This is because perspective imposes a "structural relationship " on the elements in the image so they can be given visual clues as to intended importance. Perspective is a basic building block for your photography. We need to understand its ramifications in order to get the final picture as we previsualised it.
Bjørn

#32 Airee

Airee

    Advanced Member

  • Life Member
  • 2,072 posts
  • LocationLille
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:05

as stated before, main problem with zooms is not allowing to play with DOF in a sufficient way, in many cases. The fact that they may induce lazy behaviour (not encouraging to search for the best perspective) may hinder non-beginners in getting even better.

Of course this is not all "black and white". And the main criterion (already mentioned by others) is that the material things should not stand in the way. Fiddling with menus etc. is a waste of time and concentration. SLRs usually have many directly accessible controls for essential functions, which makes them desirable, not only for learners. I "adopted" the OM-D because I could set assign essential functions to controls the way I wanted but this is already a first (very minor) hindrance. By essential, I mean Speed/aperture (implicitly: mode), exposure compensation (technically less essential in the digital age given high dynamics and post processing, but aesthetically most relevant), ISO setting, AF override. I only regret that the design of the Oly 12 f/2 was not generalized (AF disengagement by just moving the focus ring back).

#33 Jyda

Jyda

    Advanced Member

  • Life Member
  • 1,256 posts
  • LocationSweden
  • Edit my pics?:Yes

Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:08

Perspective deals just with distance between camera and subject. Not the framing. So your explanation is not relevant.

Not relevant for what? I think I just said that the distance was changed. If you want a different perspective, but the same framing, you have to use a different focal length. A prime lens exclude that opportunity to learn.
/Johnny

Google+

I care about picture quality, not pixel quality. - Jay Maisel


#34 nfoto

nfoto

    Fierce Bear of the North

  • Administrators
  • 16,649 posts
  • LocationOslo, Norway
  • Edit my pics?:No

Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:19

People get confused with the difference of framing and perspective. A zoom lens adds to the confusion.

Mastering perspective is a basic building block for being a better photographer.
Bjørn

#35 Airee

Airee

    Advanced Member

  • Life Member
  • 2,072 posts
  • LocationLille
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 21 November 2012 - 13:29

The purpose of this thread is not about being right or wrong, anyway. Mr. Seaman got a lot of different, but certainly honest, points of view. Hope he is helped with that.
  • Jyda likes this

#36 nfoto

nfoto

    Fierce Bear of the North

  • Administrators
  • 16,649 posts
  • LocationOslo, Norway
  • Edit my pics?:No

Posted 21 November 2012 - 13:50

You are right. If there is any "rule" in photography this is there are no rule(s).
  • Ron Scubadiver likes this
Bjørn

#37 Jack Seaman

Jack Seaman

    Advanced Member

  • Life Member
  • 70 posts
  • LocationMichigan
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 21 November 2012 - 14:35

Airy is correct that I gotten a lot of different, but honest, points of view. Actually, I am overwhelmed with the responses. I never expected there to be so much interest in my query. I won't have time to digest everything until this weekend but I greatly appreciate all the input. I will let you know what they decide.

The daughter is mature. The teacher is a highly skilled published photographer. The daughter has been, and will be, consulted. Her parents just knew that I am greatly interested in photography, and asked for my input. I'm very glad that I posted the question to this group because there has been so much thought-provoking discussion. My interest in micro 4/3 is in part because of my own interest in having a smaller, lighter camera for those times I don't want to deal with (or have others notice) a large camera. The array of choices now on the market is exciting, but I'm not sure any are the perfect choice for me. If she gets a 3200 or 5200, I have some lenses I could let her use. (If she is content with manual focus).

Thank you all very much.

Jack Seaman
  • Airee likes this

#38 Bart Willems

Bart Willems

    Forum troglodyte

  • Life Member
  • 3,011 posts
  • LocationElmwood Park, NJ
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 22 November 2012 - 02:58

Well it does if you want to include the same objects at the border of the frame (say two trees), but using different focal lengths. Then you have to zoom with both the lens and your feet. With a prime lens you only have one distance, and thus only one perspective, that is correct.


It is not my intention to revive the heated debate, but I do want to mention something that, in my humble opinion, has not been covered extensively. First of all, there's obviously no substitute for different focal lengths—Nikon would be selling 50mm lenses only otherwise—and there's no substitute for moving around by changing perspective.

The whole changing-focal-lengths thing is easy to learn with a zoom lens. Heck, if I can figure it out, anyone can.

But moving around to change perspective is a different story. Being forced to move around will open up your daughters eyes that moving will not only allow her to change perspective in a literal sense—getting closer or further—but also in an artistic way, by changing the angle you shoot the subject from. A zoom lens prevents you from “discovering” that.

Yes, I'm very much in the “shoot with a fixed focal length lens for a while” school.
  • Larry likes this
Bart

Too much gear, not enough common sense!
Flickr and Zenfolio, too!

#39 Larry

Larry

    Advanced Member

  • Life Member
  • 2,820 posts
  • LocationManila, Philippines
  • Edit my pics?:Ask Me

Posted 22 November 2012 - 08:35

But moving around to change perspective is a different story. Being forced to move around will open up your daughters eyes that moving will not only allow her to change perspective in a literal sense—getting closer or further—but also in an artistic way, by changing the angle you shoot the subject from. ...


My son had used a D3100 and the 35mm f/1.8G DX as a starting point but I am now transitioning him to using the NEX-5N with the external EVF and the Zeiss 24mm f/1.8. The main reason for this is to get him used to shooting from a low vantage point and the 90-degrees articulating LCD screen or the 90-degrees articulating EVF have been of immense help here. Shooting from a high vantage point whether with a tripod or handheld is also much easier with the articulating LCD screen.

Applied to a Nikon dSLR, the Nikon D5100 / D5200 likely comes closest to matching this capabilities. What the D5100 / D5200 will miss is having a very good EVF that can be used for reviewing photos which will not be washed out when shooting outdoors in bright sunlight - a typical enough scenarios when using the rear LCD screen for image review. A Hoodman Loupe though unwieldy and slow helps and is virtually a necessity when shooting outdoors in bright sunlight with a dSLR.

Edited by Larry, 22 November 2012 - 08:41 .


#40 nfoto

nfoto

    Fierce Bear of the North

  • Administrators
  • 16,649 posts
  • LocationOslo, Norway
  • Edit my pics?:No

Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:33

"A Hoodman Loupe though unwieldy and slow helps and is virtually a necessity when shooting outdoors in bright sunlight with a dSLR."

??
Bjørn




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users





The above adverts really do help Fotozones. Please click on them if they are relevant to you. Not seeing them? Just exclude Fotozones from your ad blocker. Thanks!


An appeal to all Fotozones visitors: please help me to keep this site going by starting your gear purchases using any one of the affiliate links shown below:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Adorama.com | thinkTank Photo | DigitalRev.com | OWC | B&H or Donate via PayPal

Starting your shopping here doesn't cost you anything more, but by using the links above (or any others found on the site) you are advising the affiliate that you support this website. This results in a small commission that helps with the running costs. If your preferred outlet isn't among those listed above you can also support the site by making a donation of any amount via PayPal (no PayPal account required). Any donation will be most appreciated.