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Author Topic: What to tell a newbie?  (Read 4328 times)


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Re: What to tell a newbie?
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2012, 03:59:31 AM »
Now newbies don't have a clue about ISO and shutterspeed and aperture and focal length etc - they want to push the button and get a great shot. Of course they will be disappointed and then they want to learn more on how to get the better shot.

I think you've answered your own question.  If people are interested enough to take one of your courses and learn more about photography, it shouldn't really matter what camera body they start with.  What's more important is buying into a system that gives flexibility and options.  Because, as newcomers, they're probably not going to know initially where their long term interests really lie. 

Completely agree - when I got my first SLR I knew I was going to take photography more seriously, but really couldn't have cared about Canon or Nikon. And being a complete newbie, I didn't know enough to ask any sensible questions about them. Unknown unknowns  ;)

What swung me Canon's way was that I could see far more options for stepping up lenses over time. Nikon seemed to go from entry-level to staggeringly expensive with little inbetween. Canon seemed to offer a more gradual development route. I may be doing Nikon a disservice - just the way it seemed to me.

I have no problem recommending Nikon to friends, especially if they're just looking for something that'll help get better pictures of their kids & holidays and will probably never take it off auto modes. Interestingly, nobody ever wants to hear "get a high-end compact / bridge " - £300 is far too much for something with a built-in lens, apparently, but they're happy to drop double that on kit that probably won't serve them as well!

But those who say they want to take it more seriously, I'll generally point towards Canon.


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Re: What to tell a newbie?
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2012, 07:12:15 AM »
For most beginner budgets and needs, I recommend against the latest body from any brand (mostly because buying a more expensive body would leave them with cheap glass). Consumer level bodies depreciate very quickly so it makes more sense to buy used, or buy an older model that is sold new at a firesale discount.

You get much more bang for your buck allocating most of the budget to glass. A tripod and a flash doesn't hurt either.

Joseph M

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Re: What to tell a newbie?
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2012, 08:06:07 AM »
Interestingly, nobody ever wants to hear "get a high-end compact / bridge " - £300 is far too much for something with a built-in lens, apparently, but they're happy to drop double that on kit that probably won't serve them as well!

I know what you mean. I know a few people who bought a 60D when it came out and only kept shooting on full auto, 99% live view, and no plans for buying lenses. I don't want to judge newbies since I was a newbie too but, for the money, a high-end compact or mirrorless that has tons of automatic presets would have worked better for them.

When people ask me what they should get, the first thing I ask is if they actually plan on using the cameras viewfinder and if they would actually use different lenses and going manual (in the future of course). If it's a no for the majority of the questions then a point-and-shoot/mirrorless would do them good.

These days it seems like DSLRs are becoming more of a toy to people, for showing off that they have a bigger camera than others.

Sorry if this turned into kind of a rant  ;D

Daniel Flather

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Re: What to tell a newbie?
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2012, 03:54:30 PM »

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Re: What to tell a newbie?
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2012, 04:11:53 PM »
How exactly was the 5DIII delayed?  It was announced March 2nd and I had it in my hands March 22nd......And I agree they have been bad with some stuff, like those super-tele's, 1DX, and 24-70II, but I thought the 5DIII was available very quickly.
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Re: What to tell a newbie?
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2012, 04:54:05 PM »
I get this asked of me all the time, too.  Like everybody else here, I shoot Canon for my reasons, but those are obviously MY reasons, not theirs.  Of course, I can't describe my reasons in terms that make sense to them, so instead I recommend this: 
1. Immediately narrow it down to either Nikon or Canon. 
With those, they will get the best support and the broadest possible array of choices of both accessory and lens.  Either of those will give them a solid base from which to learn photography from the most basic to the most advanced. Along the way, they will get killer images from either.  If they want, later they can obsessively scour reviews, spec sheets, and rumors sites to switch if they want.  Then,

2. Rent one of each based on your budget (I use  Pick the one who'e ergonomics you prefer.
3. Don't look back.  (Unless you picked Nikon ;) )
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Re: What to tell a newbie?
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2012, 04:58:25 PM »
When I worked in camera retail and ever since I always tell folk the same thing when asked what camera to buy:

Decide on a budget.  Add on 1/4th for memory card, case and spare battery.
Go into a shop.  Try a few models out.  See which fits best in the hand.

Of the ones that fit nice in the hand try the menu out.  Is it easy to navigate?

Try and reach the shutter button and a button on the back.  Still fit the hand ok?

Put it to your eye.  Viewfinder nice and clear?  Adjust the dioptric lens.  How about now.

Like?  Buy.

The best camera is the one you have with you, and the greatest camera is the one you have with you because you feel confident holding and using it.

Most folk don't care about the rest. 

And most DSLRs, nay ALL DSLRs these days do a grand job at respective price points.

If they were students I would steer them to Canon or Nikon, a model with depth of field preview, if they had a specific interest I would steer them towards a choice of cameras that suited those.

The right camera for me is not the right camera for somebody else.  Folk need to be happy with what they are buying, and for their own reasons.   As with anything tactile, it's how something feels that will win the sale.

MP's. Noise at ISO 12'800 and technical specifics don't really enter it.

We are a bunch of anoraks.  Sometimes enthusiastic.  Sometimes cynical.  Sometimes out to pith on others parade.  Most folk aren't like us, and I bet most of them enjoy their photography just as much, if not more so than us.


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Re: What to tell a newbie?
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2012, 06:10:42 PM »
I advised about 3 or 4 people in the last week to buy Nikon, and it really hurt! I still love my Canon gear, but Canon left a deep scar with the delays of the 1D X, the delays in the 5D III and now the EOS 650.

Why did it hurt? Brand loyalty won't improve anyone's photographs. On the other hand I would say there is no clear winner between the 650D and the D3200. The D3200 has more pixels and better DR (the standard 'Nikon advantage' these days) but just 1 of its 11 AF points is a cross-type versus all 9 of the Canon's. Plus a flippy-outy screen and pseudo-video autofocus might be important to a beginner.

Maybe in future you could forego any sense of guilt by telling them that the two/three/four obvious choices are the 650D, D3200 and whatever else, and that they should go to a camera store who will allow them to play with each of these cameras for a bit, to see what fits them best. For a newbie the feel of a camera will be more important than the megapixels or dynamic range - and they might just prefer shooting with the Pentax after all.

Indeed, especially since the Pentax will have good image stabilization built into the camera....  I was a complete and clueless novice when I bought my first dslr a couple of years ago, a Nikon D3100, but fairly quickly switched to a Pentax K-5 and, a year after that to a Canon 5DII (plus a Rebel t3i as backup) - each better than its predecessor, and not just because I've become less clueless along the way. 

So I still have a pretty good memory of what it's like to be a complete novice and despite that don't really know what I would recommend if someone asked me.  If I knew for sure that they wouldn't want to upgrade to FF and wouldn't ever want to spend a lot of money on lenses, no matter how good they were, it would be easy enough to recommend Pentax.  But it's almost impossible to predict such things - you don't really know until you get into it how much you might like doing low light photography (if you came from a point-and-shoot, how would you?), whether the effects obtainable via shallow depth of field appeals, or how far in you'll want to zoom, etc.  So it makes sense to buy into a brand that gives a lot of options, both its own and third-party   (Sigma & Tamron make far more lenses for Canon & Nikon than they do for other brands, DxO has proportionately far more modules for lenses that fit Canon & Nikon cameras, etc. ).

Between Canon & Nikon it could well be a toss-up (if I could afford it, I would probably want both).  At any rate, it's not clear to me that a 3200 is a better place to start than a Rebel; a newbie who doesn't care about ISO etc. will likely care even less about dynamic range, especially the relatively slight differences in question and especially if he ends up knowing how to get exposure right in the first place (I don't know about the 3200, but my Rebel does that better as a matter of course than my 3100 did (as does the 5DII, of course)).  But he might care that, like other low-end Nikons, the auto-focus won't work on some otherwise appealing Nikon lenses, whereas all Canon EF-S and EF lenses will work just fine on a Rebel.... (And he might, if he reads enough reviews, conclude that the D3200 isn't a better camera, period.)  In any event, given all the Canons I see around the necks of tourists every day (they seem to outnumber Nikons), Canon seems to be doing rather well among newbies (yes, I know, that's hardly a scientific observation).

Ultimately I don't think it matters much.  If a newbie likes the camera he buys and doesn't really get into photography, he'll be happy with what he bought and stick with it; after all, the differences among photos taken with any of the cameras under consideration will be pretty trivial to the non-obsessive, and the standard is very high.  And if he does turn into an obsessive for whom these differences turn out to be important, it still doesn't matter much if he decides he should have bought into the other brand because - as I have found out twice - jumping ship isn't really that expensive.  Unless he bought the latest camera body at its highest price, chances are he can sell what he initially bought for almost as much as he paid for it; any "loss" can be justified because he will nevertheless have taken some good photos and learned a lot in the process.