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Is DSLR better for novice?


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#81 Jack Seaman

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:50

Well, they bought her the D7000 with an 18-200 zoom and she is thrilled. This is one of her first shots, taken Christmas day.

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#82 the_traveler

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 16:15

I have not been part of this discussion, primarily because anything I would have said had been said already - and better than I could have.

I would like to add a short post I wrote for another site where there is a high percentage of relatively new photographers. It incited 124 replies and >1900 views since the 21st when I posted it.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Shooting in P mode

As I think more about the ways to get comfortable first with one's ability to see images and second with the technical ability to achieve them, I begin to think that this overwhelming disdain for shooting in 'P' actually hurts the development of good photographers more than it helps. By 'good' I mean people who are creative and even, perish the thought, artistic.

When we encourage children to dance and jump around to be expressive, we, as parents and teachers, don't tell them it would be much better if they used the traditional balletic movements and positions because we know intuitively that huge obstacle would stifle not only their creativity but take away much of the spontaneous joy that is achieved from that expression.

The prime 'purpose' of (my kind of) photography is the visualization and the rendition of something meaningful, sometimes even beautiful. The ability to do that depends primarily on the ability to see that meaningfulness and then secondarily to learn to capture it. I don't need to be a great technician, I need only to be good enough to do what I want.

The emphasis that we read so often here is on the mechanical. This is what to do, this is the best way to do it and if it isn't what you like, run get a flash.
That's mechanics, that's not photography. And so we get an enormous volume of stuff, pictures that look essentially the same, and boring. Everyone cares about the f stop, the lens, the lighting - and they see that as the key. And so they turn from making images to running a camera and accessories.

Read any forum here and the questions and concerns, even those involving actual images, are primarily about equipment and technique and f stops and lighting. This all to photographers who haven't even begun to be able to see even the technical inadequacies in their own images and correct them let alone the artistic ones.

So, if anyone asks me what to do, and they are serious about learning to create then maybe I will tell them just to shoot on P for a while and then we'll talk about their images. When they want to learn to control what their camera does in order to make the image better then its time to talk about the other issues.


Let's not make everyone learn to build and fix a car before they can go for a ride in the country.


Lew

My latest photo oriented blog posts include "Getting to a Final Image - some words for a new photographer."

Pictures and the occasional blog posting about photography and travel at http://lewlortonphoto.com

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#83 afx

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 17:50

So, if anyone asks me what to do, and they are serious about learning to create then maybe I will tell them just to shoot on P for a while and then we'll talk about their images. When they want to learn to control what their camera does in order to make the image better then its time to talk about the other issues.

Seems to work for my mom, who got my D200 and an 18-105.
Within a year, her compositions started to look good. Once she figures out that she wants to really get better, I'll start to show her the other modes.

cheers
afx
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#84 black_bird_blue

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 22:24

Great shot, Jack. Did she convert it b&w or set the camera up like that? I'm fascinated that the flash is up but not apparently firing (or at least not much). Anyway, I'm pleased she's pleased.

I think the P mode conversation is a bit more nuanced than the "build a car before you go for a drive" analogy. It's more like driving a manual shift car or an automatic. People who only ever drive an automatic car, by and large, regard driving a manual car as hugely difficult; if they ever try at all they are discouraged in a heartbeat and never go back to it. In the UK if you take your driving test in an automatic car you are not licensed for manual transmissions. On the other hand, people who learn to drive a manual shift car find the whole thing a bit irritating at first but get the hang of it and then don't really think about it any more; the vast majority of the driving public in Europe drive a manual shift and don't think anything of it.

I think the longer you use "P" mode the bigger a mountain it looks to shift out of it. If you start in one of the semi-automatic modes - say "A" - and leave the lens wide open, then you still get largely automated pictures but without the psychological crutch of the "P". It has the benefit that the pictures, by and large, look like what you see through the viewfinder. When you want something different you can learn about stopping down. When it gets too dark, you learn about ISO. When you want to add a flash, you have to turn it on for yourself.

I think it's not about technicalities, it's about human nature and resistance to change.

Just my opinion, of course...

Damian
"The changing of bodies into light, and light into bodies, is very conformable to the course of Nature, which seems delighted with transmutations." - Sir Isaac Newton

#85 Airee

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:11

@the traveler: you are right but missing one point - nowadays, most people have been shooting in "P" mode for ages using a point-and-shoot (or, possibly, a smartphone), sometimes with convincing results. Moving to a DSLR is usually associated with higher ambitions (matching the higher costs).

anyway I can understand why the young lady is delighted, no matter if she is using P or A...

and while my son is about to visit Washington DC with his D700, my daughter & me certainly indulge ourselves in using the preset modes of the OM-D. There are many paths and directions, and even ways back. We are even spoilt, no doubt.

#86 Jack Seaman

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 03:19

@black_bird_blue:

She shot the picture in color and later converted it to B/W. The flash was up but turned off. I think she liked the look of the flash, but didn't like the result of using it. She's having a lot of fun experimenting. It's a great thing about digital. You can experiment endlessly without additional cost. I suppose some would say that's a downside, because you don't have to be as deliberative. I think it's wonderful, especially for someone starting out. Also, you can learn faster when you have instant feedback.

Thanks again to all of you who helped with this one.

Happy New Year from Jack

#87 Hampus

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:12

I have a radical idea! how about letting the girl choose? :prankster:

Take her to a camera store and let her try different cameras, or better yet. Borrow some and let her try them for a few days.

As for DSLR vs m4/3. Both have pros and cons. My brother bought an Olympus OM-D E-M5 half a year ago and he let me borrow it for a few days. After that, I sold the Nikon D300, the 24-70mm, the 180mm and the SB-900 and bought an OM-D as well. The image quality is better than that of the D300, dynamic range is better and high ISO performance is better (yes I know, there's 5 years development that separates the cameras). On top of that the built in image stabilizer in the OM-D lets me use shutter speeds I could only dream of with the D300 handheld. My brother actually ended up selling his D700 as he wasn't using it after getting the OM-D. The OM-D is also weather sealed, something a lower end DSLR isn't.

Although I like the viewfinder and would never buy a camera without one, I find myself using the rear display about 50% of the time. One great benefit with mirrorless is that you can see how your exposure and histogram changes in real time as you change settings. If you change your settings with some thought and not just madly turn dials and flick switches this is a great way of learning.

Another benefit is the possibility to use legacy lenses from virtually any brand. I have a number of non AI lenses that I use with my Nikon F2. I bought a $10 adaptor off ebay and can now use all those lenses on the OM-D.

The main issue for me was weight and size. The D300 with the 24-70mm made me look like Quasimodo while the OM-D fits in my pocket.

Having said all that, there are a number of drawbacks, but they are mostly related to the OM-D as a camera and not m4/3 as a system. Although the size is great for carrying it's not the best from an ergonomical point of view while shooting and I miss all the buttons on the D300, which is why I'll invest in a battery grip for the OM-D. While the S-AF is lightning fast and accurate, the focus tracking is useless. It tracks alright but constantly back focuses. Although you can magnify the view to help while focusing manually, it is very difficult to manually focus even slow moving objects. Battery life is also not as good as with a DSLR.

If they put a combination of contrast and phase detect focusing in the next generation OM-D, like they did in the Nikon 1, the tracking and MF issues will be solved. If they also give it a sensor with lower pixel density and even better high ISO performance, maybe even FF like the Sony NEX-9 is rumored to have, I can't see that there's a reason for me to ever use a DSLR again.

I'd recomend to go with m4/3, but in the end it boils down to personal preference. hence my radical suggestion up top.

/Hampus
http://nikongear.com...?topic=1469.100

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

-Albert Einstein

#88 Hampus

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:14

Oh. I was too late...
http://nikongear.com...?topic=1469.100

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

-Albert Einstein




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