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  1. #1
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Where to start??? How best to spend $$$?

    I could use a little help and advice from the photographers out there!

    I'm very interested in getting into serious photography, but at this point have nothing but a couple old point-n-shoot cameras.

    Let's say I have $750 to get started with. What would you recommend as a good starter DSLR camera and what equipment should I look into with my first investment? One of my favorite things to do with photography is macro shots...so I'm thinking I'd like a macro lens to start with. But I can also see the great potential of a good zoom lens as well.

    I'm looking at a Sony Alpha A290 because it is priced very reasonably AND has good reviews. I could afford both the camera and one additional lens and a few smaller accessories. (carry case, memory cards, etc)

    Thoughts, suggestions or advice???
    -- Judy

  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member daniel1983's Avatar
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    I am a Canon fan; athough, all my prior cameras were Sony. Most cameras are good.......depends on what your intended use is going to be? Is it going to be all around camera? or just specific to certain things?

    If you are looking for a bargin, I would suggest buying used/referbished and/or online. I purchase most of my equipment from bhphoto.com, since their prices are typically lower than most of my local retailers(and be sure to check out their used pages). I have also purchased used equipment from photography-on-the.net/forum/ and they typically have good resellers.
    -Daniel Hill
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    JLC (02-13-2011)

  4. #3
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Re: Where to start??? How best to spend $$$?

    Thanks, Daniel! I'm looking at BH Photo and will probably end up ordering from them once I'm sure what I want. I'll look into used/refurbished as well, but I'm such a newb at this, it'd be really hard to know what's a true deal and what's garbage.

    I'd say for now I'm looking for a basic "all around" camera, as you say. Too newbish to know if there's some specific type of photography I'll be more into. I've always enjoyed macro, as I mentioned...and I'd like to eventually try my hand at wildlife photography. (Not sure if I have enough patience for that! LOL) But for now, I'd like a basic camera that will give me enough bells'n'whistles (or options to add them on) to be able to experiment with lots of different things until I find "my thing."
    -- Judy

  5. #4
    BPnet Veteran RhacHead's Avatar
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    Re: Where to start??? How best to spend $$$?

    If I were in the market for a DSLR somewhere in the $750 range(Give or take) I would be looking at the Canon T2i (I'm a canon guy as well) The T2i has 18 Mega pixles and HD video. For the money I would say its one of the best Cameras on the market currently! Add a 60mm Macro lense ($400ish) and you have all you need to start photographing all your favorite herps.

    A couple things to keep in mind when picking a camera

    -Brand is important
    Though all the entry level DSLRs will probally suit your needs no matter the brand its the lenses that will stay with you after that camera is long gone.
    Make sure you choose the brand with the lenses you like/can afford.You will spend far more in glass than the actual camera.

    -Do your research
    Just like getting a reptile you want to know about the product before you make the purchase. There tons of options out there for the novice photographer enough to make your head spin. I would pick a company research a few of their well reviewed cameras and lenses and then do the same thing with the next company.I would Look at Canon,Nikon and Sony.

    -Don't rush your purchase
    Theres ALWAYS a new camera coming out with all the bells and whistles. Your camera your buying for $750 today could be worth $500 tomorrow when the newer model comes out.

    -Have fun
    Photography is a great way to get out and meet new people. Its a great hobby that gives one a sense of accomplishment after you get that excellent shot you were hoping for.

    I hope that helps you out a little bit. Fell free to ask if you have any questions and make sure you fill us in on your final decision!




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    JLC (02-13-2011)

  7. #5
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Re: Where to start??? How best to spend $$$?

    Excellent advice! There's that struggle between the rush of excitement at being able to buy...and the patience needed to research and study your product before forking over the cash. Fortunately, I have to wait at last a couple of weeks, if not longer (tax return, don'tcha know)...so I have plenty of time to research.

    Good advice about the lenses vs camera investment. How interchangeable are the lenses? Can you mix brands?
    -- Judy

  8. #6
    BPnet Veteran RhacHead's Avatar
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    Re: Where to start??? How best to spend $$$?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLC View Post

    Good advice about the lenses vs camera investment. How interchangeable are the lenses? Can you mix brands?
    Most Lenses are brand specific however some 3rd party such as Tamron make lenses that you can add a mount allowing the lense to be fitted on opposing brands.

    Also keep in mind sometimes used cameras and lenses are the way to go. I couldnt tell you how many great deals I've found on Craigslist. My advice to you would be to bring a friend who knows a little something about Cameras if you purchase from an individual.




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  10. #7
    BPnet Veteran TheWinWizard's Avatar
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    I personally love Canon cameras. I own every single revision of the Rebel, so my suggestion is the Rebel T2i. Great beginners camera with enough flexibility so you won't get bored as you get more advanced. Research that one. Judy.

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    JLC (02-13-2011),RhacHead (02-13-2011)

  12. #8
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Re: Where to start??? How best to spend $$$?

    UPDATE for those interested...

    I got an offer by a fellow BP.netter to buy his camera along with two lenses and a bunch of other goodies because he's upgrading. (I'll give more details on who this is once the deal is complete. ) After much examining of the deal, asking for a bit of expert advice, and giving it a lot of thought and prayer, I decided to take him up on it.

    SO....I'm getting a Nikon D3000 that comes with an 18-55mm VR lens and a 55-200 VR lens, a battery grip, two batteries, a nice case to hold everything, and all the original box and goodies that came with the camera when it was new. It's less than a year old and very well cared for. And I still have money left over for either two less expensive lenses (~$200 each) or one semi-expensive lens (such as a macro at ~$450). I'm still studying the options and debating with myself which direction I want to go on that choice. I probably won't decide until I get my hands on the camera itself and get a feel for what I can and can't do with it. Thoughts on glass are always welcomed!

    I'm pretty psyched...and if all goes as planned, I should have the camera in hand sometime early-to-mid next week.
    -- Judy

  13. #9
    Registered User Misfit's Avatar
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    When getting a macro lens, pay close attention to the ratio given. I know it's the case with film (which is what I shoot, lol i'm crazy and still in love with playing in the chemicals) so I'd assume so with digital. :] i. e. if you were to shoot a penny with a 1:1 macro lens, you would end up with a negative where the penny was the actual size on the negative as it is in real life. A 1:2 is half the size, etc etc.

    I can't remember where the cutoff is for when a macro lens becomes silly and rather pointless, but as close to 1:1 as you can get! :] Macro=<3

    And- you can always swap lens, BUT it changes some settings. I can't remember, but it throws exposures off a little bit if you're going to go full-manual.
    0.1 Albino Nelson's Milk snake
    1.1 Pewter
    0.1 Mojo Spider (Gaia)
    0.1 Bumblebee
    1.0 Lesserbee
    1.1 Fire (Pele)
    0.1 Axanthic VPI (Isis)
    0.1 Normal
    0.1 Pastel
    1.0 Albino Burmese ("Bad Dog")

    1.0 Wolf aka Puffball (Trapper)

    1.0 Dork Boy (Roo)

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  15. #10
    Don't Push My Buttons JLC's Avatar
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    Re: Where to start??? How best to spend $$$?

    Yaayyy! I found the money from the IRS in my account this morning, so I zipped payment over and the camera is now on a FedEx truck/plane headed my way! (I splurged on 2-day shipping) However, I suppose that means I won't get it until Monday anyhow, because I don't think they deliver on Saturday. Not sure, never thought to check before. But anyhow...it's on its way!

    Quote Originally Posted by Misfit View Post
    When getting a macro lens, pay close attention to the ratio given. I know it's the case with film (which is what I shoot, lol i'm crazy and still in love with playing in the chemicals) so I'd assume so with digital. :] i. e. if you were to shoot a penny with a 1:1 macro lens, you would end up with a negative where the penny was the actual size on the negative as it is in real life. A 1:2 is half the size, etc etc.

    I can't remember where the cutoff is for when a macro lens becomes silly and rather pointless, but as close to 1:1 as you can get! :] Macro=<3

    And- you can always swap lens, BUT it changes some settings. I can't remember, but it throws exposures off a little bit if you're going to go full-manual.
    Yes, if I go for the macro (leaning more and more that direction) the one I'm looking at is a 1:1.

    I did 35mm film and developing in high school....it was a lot of fun! But I get neurotic with film cameras because I always hated "wasting" film on bad pictures. Nothing worse than shooting rolls of film on some trip and being so excited to get them developed and paying out the nose to develop several rolls of film...and end up with three or four half-way decent pictures. I was very happy to leave those "good ol' days" behind!
    -- Judy

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