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Thread: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

  1. #1

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    Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Hello Everyone!

    I sure hope I'm not duplicating a post! My apologies if I am; I searched, I swear!

    I'm toying with the idea of making a camera equipment/accessory purchase in the near future but I'm stumped on what to get. As a new guy, it seems like there is so much I don't have.

    Right now my setup is as follows:
    - Canon Rebel T1i
    - Canon EF-S 15-55mm
    - Canon EF-S 55-250mm
    - 1 16GB HCCF Memory Card
    - 2 batteries + wall charger

    I'm curious; what piece of equipment or which accessories, in your experience, made the biggest impact on your photography in the beginning? What books are absolute must reads? Are classes an absolute must?

    Any suggestions appreciated!

  2. #2
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Probably the first thing I would invest in is a good tripod. you will also need to look into what program you want to use for PP.

    Paul

  3. #3
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Hi Adam and welcome to CiC.

    You have a good start there and Paul has mentioned another must have.

    The real question is what type of photography do you want to undertake? There are many accessories that suit different genres so first work out your interests. This doesn’t mean your interests won’t grow and change as you get more involved but work on your basic interests first.

    As to good books I might leave this to some of our American members ot best advise what’s available in the USA.

    As to classes; if this is your first introduction to DSLR photography you can learn by asking questions here but I do find a short course is well worth the time to understand how all the features of your camera fit together. Then you will know the questions to ask here that will get the answers you want. The most common response after one of my classes is ‘Now I can read my manual’. The manual tells you what each feature is but does not do a good job at pulling them together.

    The equipment that made the biggest impact on my photography was using and understanding the different focal lenght of lenses and their effect on the image.

    You do not have to be a gear junky to take great photos but have a think about your interests and come back and we can go from there.

  4. #4
    PopsPhotos's Avatar
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    A beginner's course in basic photography,slanted to how a camera operates and what the jargon means (ISO, f:stop, shutter, etc) will be helpful, but I also highly recommend an art appreciation class at your local JC. A beginning art class on composition, structure and color will also help.

    The camera is a box in which we store photographs. The picture is behind your eyeballs.

    Pops

  5. #5
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    It was a fast prime, for me. But I think you want to hold off on buying more gear until you actually know what you need. Asking other people what you should be buying isn't necessarily the best way to go about it, because everybody is different. What you need is going to depend on a) what you can afford, b) what you shoot, and c) how you shoot. I tend to overuse the analogy that a dSLR system is like a big red tool box. Whether you're a plumber, a carpenter, or a mechanic is going to change what you want to grab first to put in that toolbox. Equally, if you shoot sports, portraits, or landscapes, your gear needs are going to be different. Hold off until your gear is actually frustrating you. At that point, your frustration will be a good guide on what to start researching, gear-wise.

    Bookwise, one of the most oft-recommended basic texts these days is Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure (you want the 3rd edition where he finally addresses the issue of the diffraction effect, given how copiously he pushes using f/22 all the time). It gives you the basic rundown on exposure and how iso, aperture, and shutter speed affect your images and also how they interact. I'd also push his basic composition book Learning to See Creatively, if you feel you need a basic grounding in that area, too. It's far more style-agnostic than most books on composition (i.e., things are presented more as cause/effect rather than good/bad).

  6. #6
    rob marshall

    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Asking other people what you should be buying isn't necessarily the best way to go about it, because everybody is different.
    Some people say the most sensible things. Stick that one on the CiC fridge door will you.

    To answer your question, Adam. A tripod.

  7. #7
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Right, this is time to roll out my Lee Trevino story again (apologies to those who've read it many times before).

    In echoing what's already been said above, I would just urge the point about you being sure that you've really done all that you need to do in learning the equipment you've got already. We're all tempted to go and buy the 'next thing', before we've fully mastered what we already have. The idea of a tripod as an addition to what you've already got makes a lot of sense.

    And the story is?

    Lee Trevino, champion golfer, used to talk about practicing with one golf club. He would spend days/weeks with that one club, getting it to do everything that it could possibly do, before putting it back in the bag and moving on to the next club. As he knew, it wasn't the club that was the problem, it was about how well he knew how to use it.

    Practice, Practice, Practice. Then practice some more.

  8. #8

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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Aswell as a tripod, another camera in addition to the kit you already have.

    A really good point and shoot that will fit neatly into a coat pocket.

    For those times when it's inconvenient to go out tooled-up and you know there are photographs out there just itching to be taken.

    Peter.

  9. #9

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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    I believe that a decent tripod, a decent ballhead for the tripod, a remote shutter release (preferably electronic) for the tripod set up and a fully swivel-able (bounceable) off-camera flash are essentials, not accessories.

    I also think that a very capable post processing program - like PhotoShop is absolutely essential if one wants to fully actualize their artistic vision. Imagine Ansel Adams, with no darkroom, dropping off his film at the nearest photo kiosk.


  10. #10
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    A circular polarizing filter (CPL) is the one accessory which can impact the quality of your imagery the most. It can darken skies which will emphasize clouds and get rid of an expanse of bright "nothing" sky. In doing this, it will reduce the dynamic range of your image to one which your sensor can cover. It will remove/reduce reflections. This will allow you to see through the surface of water, through glass and will generally spruce up the image. In reducing reflections, it will enhance the color of rocks and foliage and will also cut through haze a bit. This haze penetration is accomplished by reducing the reflections off moisture and other particulates in the air and making it seem clearer.

    Both your present lenses use the same size filter (58mm). This is a relatively small filter (as today's filters go) and the very best can be had without the need to sell a kidney or your first born child. I recommend getting the absolute best you can afford such as the B+W filter which is German made or the top-line Hoya multicoated filter.

  11. #11
    meltimtiman's Avatar
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Hi Adam. May we know what subject you like to shoot? There are tons of photography gears, equipment, and accessories at your local camera shop but you might not need most of them.

  12. #12

    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    made the biggest impact on your photography in the beginning?
    Speedlight 430EX II and 5m E-TTL cable an lots of encouragement from CiC

  13. #13

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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Membership of a camera club is very useful. It gets you out taking photos, and the help that you get from members is invaluable

  14. #14

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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    time in a library. its literally what i did getting in to photography. i knew nothing from what brand, to what camera to choose, to what f stop was etc.

    as for equipment, id say a prime lens is a sensible choice. it will really force you to practice your composition a whole lot from moving around. 50mm or 35mm should be good for everyday use.

  15. #15
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    May I piggyback on this post as I, too, am considering purchasing some new DSLR equipment? Thirty years ago, I purchased a Nikon F3 with a Nikkor 35mm 1:28 and Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm 1:35 Macro zoom. It has served me well . . . love that camera. As a serious computer graphics artist, six years ago, I decided I needed digital camera capacity so I purchased a Nikon Coolpix 2000. I figured I should ease into the digital image with modest cash outlay since I was still using my F3. However, it is time for me to move to DSLR. I am interested in purchasing a Nikon D7000 and wonder if my old Nikkor and Vivitar lenses will work with the new camera. I am aware that using old lenses with the digital SLR is not optimum, but it will help, initially, in that I can use the camera for a while without having to expend large sums on new lenses. If these lenses will not suffice, what suggestions for the D7000 would be good? I do a great deal of outdoor photography, landscape, and close up . . . bugs etc. Also, I do a good deal of work in my wood shop where I like to photograph the steps in the process of making things . . . this involves close-up work. My shop has florescent lighting and, often, I don't have any special lighting set up. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  16. #16

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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    The Nikkor 50mm 1.8 or 1.4 works just fine, but I found the 70-210 4/5.6 doesn't work at all..weird, because according to Rockwell, it should. Ken Rockwell has a chart listed on his site which tells you all the compatible lenses with the D7000. www.kenrockwell.com

  17. #17
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by mamoose124 View Post
    I am interested in purchasing a Nikon D7000 and wonder if my old Nikkor and Vivitar lenses will work with the new camera. I am aware that using old lenses with the digital SLR is not optimum, but it will help, initially, in that I can use the camera for a while without having to expend large sums on new lenses.
    Hi Michael, I am curious to ask if you compared the D7000 with the D7100 and if you did, why do you favor the D7000? Also, one thing to be considered when purchasing a new Nikon is that you can usually get one or two lenses at a pretty good discount provided you buy them at the same time.

  18. #18
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Michael, I am curious to ask if you compared the D7000 with the D7100 and if you did, why do you favor the D7000? Also, one thing to be considered when purchasing a new Nikon is that you can usually get one or two lenses at a pretty good discount provided you buy them at the same time.
    D7100? At this juncture I think the D7100 or D8000 is imaginary hardware! I haven't seen any actual data one could use to make a comparison. I 'm looking a camera now . . . should I wait for Nikon to bring out their replacement? I don't see a firm release date yet. No thanks.

  19. #19
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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    You have almost got everything Adam.

    I started with the idea of using only prime lenses, then I discovered dust. Then I got a couple of speedlights, but hardly ever get the chance to use them. Tripods are heavy but useful, then I found that a monopod is allowed into museums, is lighter and can be used as a walking aid and to hit people with.

    But the most useful thing I got; was 16 bit processing software from Topaz and elsewhere. Everything you get will be useful sometime, but like my electronic timer, I can't even remember how to set it, but I suppose it is nice to know I can do Interval exposures or a long exposure of many hours, if I want to.

  20. #20

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    Re: Must Have Beginner Equipment?

    Adam; as equipment goes, you've got it covered pretty well, but you might want to pick up another card or two.

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