View Full Version : I'm new to this...

05-04-2006, 10:05 PM

I want to get into photography more and I have an old SLR but have never really learnt how to use it properly because I don't get "instant" results. This makes it hard to practice with.

I have decided I should get a digital but I can't decide whether to get an SLR or get a camera that displays the shot before I take it (like a Panasonic FZ-30).

I can afford a lowish end DSLR like the Nikon D50. But should I buy one just because it's an SLR? The FZ-30 is just as manual isn't it?

What's the difference?

Please help. Thanks in advance

05-04-2006, 10:24 PM
D50 has replacable lenses and ability go use high ISO (high film speed) which is good indoors and in low light. D50 also shoots raw which lets you do things like white balance later. D50 will also focus faster and shoot faster.

I honestly don't give much value to the "preview LCD" since you can press "play" or "Review" instantly after shooting and see what you shot, and with RAW you can fix alot of exposure errors as long as your somewhat close in post processing.


Norm in Fujino
05-04-2006, 10:30 PM

I want to get into photography more and I have an old SLR but have never really learnt how to use it properly because I don't get "instant" results. This makes it hard to practice with.

In this case, I think you'll get the best results with any camera if you sign up for a introductory photography course at your local community college or other similar institution. Get to know what photography is all about, how to set the camera for different situations, etc. It doesn't matter if the course is in film or digital, because the core basics are the same. It's the instruction that's important.

05-05-2006, 01:56 AM
Tim, the FZ30, Fuji S9000 and a few other all-in-one ultrazooms can in fact produce RAW files, though as you say any propper DSLR will have a larger sensor giving much better noise performance, and will have better performance all round - except that the larger sensor will make a zoom lens of equivalent range hugely expensive.

n00bie, whatever you do, get on a course as Norm suggests. It'll give you the basic understanding that'll enable you to know what it is that you want from a camera. I'm lucky that my dad taught me the basics when I was a teenager, and give me an all-manual 35mm film SLR (Zenit B). Not only did I learn about exposure & composition, but also developing & printing (black & white).

Now in the digital age, I think there is something to be said for near-instant playback for learning, but remember two things:

1) An image on a 2 inch LCD when you're squinting to see it against the sun is not going to look the same as a 10x8 print in your hand in a quiet room.

2) Just because you can take loads of shots knowing that it doesn't cost you anything until you print "only the good ones" doesn't make it a good overall strategy. Every time you press the shutter release, it should be the best possible picture you can take at that time.

However, I have a different suggestion for where you go from here. Get a relatively cheap and simple compact digital, with maybe a 3 - 4x zoom, but with full manual controls! Learn how to use those controls, and forget about the auto (though manual focus is often very poor in the compacts). The FZ30 has full manual options, but it's a bit more than you need for learning the basics. When you start finding that you want to do things which you can't do with the compact, maybe start using the film camera again, or think about getting a DSLR or ultrazoom all-in-one. At least you'll have a clearer idea of what you want then.

As regards DSLR / ultrazoom, there are a few points in favour of the ultrazoom. You can get a zoom range at reasonable quality for a lot less money than it would cost with a DSLR, although the DSLR is capable of better quality overall. For some types of photography, that's useful. For other things, it doesn't matter much - you don't need much zoom range for portraits, for instance.

If you want image stabilisation, that's common on ultrazooms & compacts, but only Konica Minolta have it on the camera body of DSLRs, and they've sadly gone out of business, although Sony may be taking over the designs. Other DSLR makes rely on IS built into the lens rather than the camera body, which makes the lenses much more expensive - especially as you might need 3 or 4 to cover the same range as an ultrazoom.

However, a compact ultrazoom is always going to be a compromise compared with a DSLR, and despite a few that come close - the FZ30, Fuji S9000, Sony DSC-R1 - none quite match up to even bottom of the range DSLRs. However, that difference costs money.

05-05-2006, 04:33 AM
Hi again,

Thanks a lot for your info it is well received and appreciated.

I certainly will keep my old SLR as I will begin using it once I am more familiar with the various settings that can be achieved using a manual digital. So, I think for now I'll go with the FZ30.

And, if I get to the point where the FZ's functionality/quality is not enough, I'll then cough up big bucks and get a mid to high range DSLR.

As for the course, I will look around and see what I can get enrolled in.

Thanks again.