3.27.2008

Digital Photography 101



A great way to begin this course is to cover cameras themselves. And you might ask, "what is the best DSLR camera to choose?"

My (personal, of course) simple answer is: Nikon or Canon.

Some people will tell you Canon is better, others will say Nikon. This is an on-going battle in the photography world. Pro photogs go back and forth about this all the time, and no one has a perfect answer. If one really was better than the other, then they wouldn't be as big as each of them are, or they wouldn't be in business at all. It all really comes down to which one you pick up first at the store and which one you feel a connection with.

I've heard and read reviews from top photographers that a lot are married to their point and shoot Canon but prefer the Nikon DSLR. It's funny how one brand can differ camera to camera. So ultimately, it's up to you whether you go Canon or Nikon. It's really just a battle that no photographer will ever win.

All the top photographers use, basically, one or the other. The VERY best camera (again, in my opinion) is a Hasselblad but, I personally could never afford one. The very very very best camera that photographers use in the commercial industry are the Phase One cameras and backs. Pricing is anywhere from $15,000 to $32,000 or more. See why I'm not getting one of these but drool over the thought of owning one? I held one in my hands a couple years ago. It's a remarkable piece of equipment.

My advice: Stick with Canon or Nikon.

As to which brand, that is up to you. If you plan to have pictures printed larger than 11x14's, I would recommend a 10 MP camera. I have heard that a Canon Rebel XTi body is a good one to begin with as well as the Nikon D40x. Both are great professional-grade starter cameras!

It's no secret that I use Nikon. I have photographer friends who use one or the other and I made my decision at the time on price. Nikon's tend to be a tiny bit more affordable. I also read reviews and they were outstanding. I ended up with a Nikon D200. I don't own a back-up camera, and I admit, it is SUPER risky. So right now at this very moment I'm contemplating which back-up camera to get. I can't take anymore chances. I'm in between a D60 or a D80. I've heard the D80's are perfect for back-up use. However, the D60 just came out and it looks pretty dandy, too. Any advice for me?? What do you use?

There you have it. Day 1 of Digital Photography 101. There's tons more to come!

16 comments:

Alexis Jacobs said...

Well as you know I got the Nikon 40x and I am loving it! I still haven't figured it all out though (and I am still waiting on setting recommendations from a very special, amazing photographer)

I think this will be a great series! Next you need to do one on photoshop, which BTW I got working again. Yeah me!!

Jen said...

Wow, Val, I just found your blog and I must say your photos are amazing!!
I purchased the D80 last June (my first DSLR) and LOVE it!! I am still learning what all it can do, but have been very impressed with it's quality.

Johanna said...

OMG. You have NO idea how excited I am about this!!!!! More please!!! :)
xoxo, JO

Candi said...

We purchased a Canon EOS 30D with the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens (my first DSLR). I was really looking at the Nikon D200, but was afraid I wouldn't do well with it. I was told it wasn't as easy to use without knowing some settings. I wanted one I could pick up and take a good picture without knowing much. I must admit, I still don't know much about my camera. I bought a book on it though, and have learned a little---just need to get it out and read some more!!

I love my camera!!

Jenni at talking hairdryer said...

Well, I'm going out on a limb and confessing that I don't have the prerequisites to take this class. I have no idea what a DSLR is.

I have a digital camera that is over 3 yrs old that is so dang slow. I mean really slow. Slow taking the pic, slow resetting for the next pic, etc. I can't tell you how many great shots I've missed because my camera moves at the pace of a turtle. But it takes great pics as long as the kids are posed, and being still, and the ligthing is just right, and I love that it has a video camera mode.

it's me, Val said...

Jenni, you made me giggle. :)

A DSLR is a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera.

What kind of camera do you have? That stinks that it is so slow. Sometimes all you need to do is get a faster memory card, though. What kind of card are you using? I think people would be amazed as to how different memory cards are. This gives me the idea of talking about memory cards in my next class ;c)

Artsy Momma said...

This was like PERFECT timing, my hubby and I have been going back and forth back and forth about buying a Digital SLR and I think I have finally worn him down *smile* and We are going to get a Canon, we may go with an older model just for the pricing but none the less still super excited!

oh amanda said...

I'd love to get a better camera! Thanks for the info!

Louise said...

Got my first 'starter' Canon Rebel, not anticipating to go professional, I love it for the pics I take of my family, I just need to learn to use all the features properly!!!!YIKERS!

After a cup of coffee said...

I just switched to dslr and got the Nikon D40 after reading reviews and debating between Nikon and Canon. since I was new to slr, I wanted one that could function like a point and shoot until I figured out all the manual stuff (still haven't learned anything) and Amazon had a GREAT deal on the D40 with two lenses and a couple dvd's.

Heidi said...

OOOH! This is great! I am preparing to buy my first DSLR camera in the next year. Probably the Rebel, just to start. :) My dad was a professional photographer many years ago, and I remember he always had Nikon, but when we go camera shopping, he always gravitates towards the Canon! :)

Missy!! said...

Totally off topic, but you know me! :) I was wondering if I could get Sharon's email address sometime. Thank ya much in advance

Jennifer said...

I'll say I love my Nikon. But now I will admit to it just being a lowly Coolpix 4800 ed. It's nicer then the first one I owned but it's nothing fancy like your class here.
I wish I could take photographs like you. I wish I had the inspiration to take those shots. I wish I had the time to take classes on the subject ~ oh wait!! I can with you LOL!!!
Your photos amaze me, Val.

it's me, Val said...

Jennifer, you made my day. You truly did. Thank you. I ALWAYS ALWAYS think low of myself. (Thank you.)

Missy!! said...

Okay.. I have a Photography 101 question for you professor! How do you get the pictures with the black background? Are they photo shopped? Like the picture of Adi on the chair.. how did you do that? I LOVE those!! Or is it a secret? :) I love secrets too!

Cassie said...

Yay! I am excited about these Photography posts...always excited to learn new things..especially where photography is concerned....I have a Nikon D70...but would love to have the 200 and then use my D70 as a back up...