November 9, 2011

Photography: Camera Talk

One of the things that spurred me on to write this little series is this most asked question:
What kind of camera do you use?  

I own a Nikon D3000. It's a DSLR, not a point and shoot (we'll get to those in a minute). The standard lens that comes with it is good... not my favorite, but definitely good for beginners (Nikon 18-55). It doesn't zoom much, but it is great for group shots or photographing a large space.
The zoom lens that I own is the Nikon 55-200. It gives a good crisp picture, but because it is only a zoom lens, you really have to back off to get a good shot.  It's not great for birthday parties etc, where you are trying to get a lot of people in the shot.  However, I love it for face shots like these.

If I did it over again, I would forgo both of those lenses and get this one

It is basically my two lenses wrapped up into one (18-200), so that would mean less baggage and lens trade-out in the middle of a photo opportunity.
*If you own this lens, please leave me a comment about how much you love/hate it.  I've been admiring it from afar, but I want to know your thoughts.
When you purchase a camera, you have the option to get just the base and build the camera (lenses) to your liking.  Or, you may find a great package deal like I did.  If you are looking for a package deal, I recommend purchasing it through Wolf/Ritz camera... it's really going to be pretty much the same price anywhere, but they have lots of free extras (processing, camera bag, classes).

 BH Photo is an AWESOME online shopping resource. I would definitely order from them again for extra lenses/accessories.  Or maybe Santa could order that lens for me...  Just sayin.

I have had my D3000 for 3 years and have often said it was one of the best investments we've ever made (and I HATE making big purchases). At the time the D3000 was the most basic/cheapest Nikon DSLR. I have not been disappointed. Some of the more expensive versions are much heavier, so while you will look cooler, your hand might get a wee bit tired. :) 

As far as brand goes, I owned a Nikon (film) camera previously, so I was used to their mechanics. Some people love Cannon. I think it's kind of like Coke and Pepsi. Pretty much the same thing even though some people swear they can tell a difference.  

If you are looking for a point and shoot camera here's my 2 cents:
1. Don't think you can't take great shots with a point and shoot.  Sometimes people say, "I only have a point and shoot."  The most important thing is to get a camera that you will use and be comfortable with.  
The first two pictures were taken on my trip to Germany.  I didn't want to haul a big camera around, so they were taken with a Sony CyberShot point and shoot.  The last two were also taken with a Sony CyberShot before I purchased my DSL.  

2. I don't know a lot about point and shoot cameras, simply because I rarely use one.  However, there are some REALLY great (and inexpensive) ones on the market.  Do your homework and find one that fits your needs: weight, zoom, durability

If I've totally confused you, or if you just have a question, let me know.  I'll be glad to help (as much as my limited knowledge allows!)    I asked a TON of questions (sometimes the same question, several times) when I was getting started.  Heck, I still ask a lot of questions.  

I will be doing one more post on some fun things/tricks to try.  I'll also give you a great link to the best camera tutorial I've ever read.  
Until then... snap those shots!


Sarah said...

I don't have the 18-200, but it is on my wish list for the same reason as you. I borrowed my dad's and YES, I LOVE it! However, my favorite is still a primes lens 50mm f1/4. It gives the perfect bokeh!
I would also add that people don't need to go buy a super expensive DSLR. You can take phenomenal pictures with a "starter" DSLR (like the Nikon D40) and take amazing pictures if you learn to use it.
And totally agree about point and shoots. They can take great pics too. You just need to know a little about lighting and composition.

Meg {henninglove} said...

i need to get a camera like that. honestly since blogging i am constantly reaching for my camera and then feeling a little disappointed with the picture quality but hey christmas is coming up and i have been a good girl this year :-)

the bennetts said...

we are twins. i have the same DSLR and both lenses you have. funny :)

i would say, for point and shoot--- the more pixels the better. that is my biggest piece of advice. i would say that for any camera.

Anonymous said...

I have that lens and love it! No need to change lenses back and forth! Hope Santa is reading your blog! Kim

Anonymous said...

Hurry hurry with the best tutorial. I can't wait to read it. I love looking at photographs and I want to learn to take better ones. Thanks for your tips.

Kelly in Michigan

Bugs and Sunshine said...

Love all this info! I just bought a top of the line point and shoot 2 months ago. And I am enjoying getting to know it.

BUT, I love the bokeh (yay for the word to say what it is). Is that the word for fuzzy backgrounds? Those just make my heart sing. Pretty pictures make me happy. I'm not sure if I made the right purchase, here's my question.

Will a SLR with no extra lens take the same quality of pictures as a point and shoot? Because if the base is basically the same wouldn't it be a wiser investment of my money to return my point and shoot for a SLR and then purchase lenses along the way?

Does that question make sense?

truth in weakness said...

keep it comin', girl!
i have two questions for ya (& i promise they will certainly NOT be the last!).
are you able to pull off a decent depth of field for shots taken inside? or do you find that you can pretty much only count on that outside?
and i'm pretty sure i've already asked you this, so thx for the permission to ask it again: does your camera "default" to that awesome depth of field? or are you having to switch a bunch of settings for every shot to pull it off? (warning: if you answer "default," then you better put a security device on it b/c i know where you live!)

(and yes, i am aware that i have a "slight" depth of field obsession . . .) ;)

Brook said...

great post!! we are looking to upgrade our camera for christmas :) would you mind if I pin this post on pinterest? big hugs to you precious family!!