Buying Your First DSLR

By: GardenGrrl , 5:48 PM GMT on December 06, 2012

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It's Christmas and many people are looking forward to moving from their point n shoot to a more complicated camera; the DSLR.
The first thing to consider is cost. A new DLSR kit may come in a box on sale for $500+, but there will be add on's. Expect to pay closer to $1000 for your new camera.
First there is the extra battery ($50), Class 10 SD card ($30 to $100), a book on how to use your particular camera...you will want this. Google your cameras name plus book to find one. The owners manual are not real helpful to novice camera owners.

Next, you will find out the kit lens does not fit all your needs and you will need to buy another lens to fill in the MM that your kit lens does not have ($300-800). If this is a problem, stop here. There is no such thing as a good DSLR kit under $1000. You will also need a camera bag ($60 to 400)

Another secret about DSLR's; the entry level cameras all boast automatic modes like you find on your point n shoot. For some reason, most of these auto features do not give near the quality picture of your point n shoot. This is very disappointing. You will have to shoot in P mode to get a decent automatic shot. Aperature Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual are the settings you will need to learn how to use.

Now, finding that wonderful camera. You can get advice from the camera guy at work to buy a Nikon 5100. This is a great camera. So is the Canon T3i.
But, is it the right camera for you.

Consider ergonomics. Full size DSLR's weigh about 4 or more pounds. Add another 1/2 to 6 pounds for a lens. Heavy.
You may consider APS-C cameras. They are smaller DSLR's with all the same features just a slightly smaller sensor. The Canon Rebel T3i is an APS-C. Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax all make this type of camera.

A very important thing in picking out a camera is finding one that has all the controls placed where you are comfortable working with them. Each camera puts stuff in slightly different places.

Learn about Focus Modes, ISO, E/V (exposure compensation, a very well used feature), metering, white balance. These are buttons/settings you will use often. Especially the ISO and EV. Another feature that is wonderful is Manual Focus. Does the camera have a way for you to switch quickly to Manual Focus. (Manual Focus is useful if there is a lot of clutter in front of or around your subject like branches, bars, screen. When this confuses the auto focus you can step in with manual to focus on what you want to shoot.)

How do you learn this stuff? First, Google "Best Cameras 2012" or Best Cameras from previous years, these may be on sale to make way for the latest model. Read about their features, their specs etc. Then, go to a bunch of Best Buys and other places that sell cameras and check out all these features. You may find one camera becomes your favorite. Also, many stores do not carry Sony or Pentax. You can look at these on line after you learn a lot about camera features.

The try before you buy contract. Some camera stores and many online camera stores will let you try a camera or lense for thirty days. If you don't like it you can return it. BUT, READ THE CONTRACT CAREFULLY. Some places will specify you can only take 200 shots with the camera. At 201, you have just bought the camera. Playing with burst mode can have you owning that camera in less than five minutes.
Also, some places stipulate it has to be returned with all it's packaging and wrappers in "New Condition". When you open the box, take pictures each step of the way on how it is wrapped so you can re-pack it EXACTLY the way it came out of the box if you want to send it back. Some places will ding you on this and send you back the camera saying you bought it. Do not accept a verbal, "we don't mind how you wrap it".

Hope this advice is helpful. One more thing, if you want a small camera, check out the Micro Four Thirds Cameras. These can fit in a large purse if you don't have a long lense attached. Some of these also have "digital zoom". This can take the place of a long lense. Of course many DSLR people hiss at digital zoom, but it's still a great feature in my humble opinion.

Happy Holidays!

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44. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
5:59 PM GMT on December 19, 2012
GardenGrrl has created a new entry.
43. plapman
1:30 PM GMT on December 19, 2012
good morning GardenGrrl.
Yep I think using what would normally been sent to the landfill is a good idea. The old ballasts were taken to the local hazardous waste depot where the will be disposed of properly.
Enjoy your day.
Member Since: August 18, 2006 Posts: 2490 Comments: 7377
42. GardenGrrl
12:32 PM GMT on December 19, 2012
Good Morning. I imagine everyone who is thinking of buying a camera has bought one by now. Sometime this week will try to put up a new blog.

Weather. Today it is going to be 82f and very windy.
Overnight it will drop to 37f and get cold for rest of the week. Go figure.

Hi Sandi, of course, get a hunky tennis guy to pitch Lindor Balls. Kind of reminds me of a Saturday Night Live skit.

Hi Ylee, lololol

Hi Tony, you know I still love my point n shoot with the superzoom. Now that I have started collecting cameras, the big question is; which one to use?
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
41. plapman
1:26 PM GMT on December 18, 2012
Good morning GG.
I used to have a canon SX3IS but it's since been gifted to the youngest daughter after the Queen bought me a Canon SX20IS. I like the idea of having a 20X zoom without having to carry extra lenses.
Have a great day and keep dressing Roxie for the season.
Member Since: August 18, 2006 Posts: 2490 Comments: 7377
40. plapman
12:36 PM GMT on December 17, 2012
Good morning gardenGrrl.
have a great day.
Member Since: August 18, 2006 Posts: 2490 Comments: 7377
39. Ylee
11:45 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
Ahh, never mind.......
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 98 Comments: 16549
38. sandiquiz
11:27 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
Your chocolate heaven hunk is Roger Federer, the tennis champion ... :-)
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 27061
37. GardenGrrl
11:06 AM GMT on December 17, 2012
Woooo-hooo Lindor Balls!
This year they have new mint Lindor Balls. Amazing.
On the you have to try these once catagory, Lindor has some cinnemon Christmas balls.
The first bite really truly tastes like Christmas.

Was looking for a picture of the new Lindor offerings. Found this guy instead. Not sure who he is but he looks really pleased with his big lindor ball.

Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
36. BriarCraft
7:48 PM GMT on December 16, 2012
It's Chocolate-Covered Anything day! And remembering how you feel about Lindor Truffles, I thought, "Well, that's chocolate-covered chocolate. Can't get any better than that." So here you go...

Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 87 Comments: 4427
35. GardenGrrl
10:54 AM GMT on December 16, 2012
Here is the reason Syd my cockatoo is behaving...
Santa's new Elf.

Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
34. GardenGrrl
10:53 AM GMT on December 16, 2012
Good Morning All, it's the Christmas countdown. Have almost finished shopping. One realative wanted some dishes and we were happy to find a Corning Ware store at the mall.
All Corning Ware is made in the USA. No added heavy metals like some imports have.

Hi Rob, Apparently from her expression I don't think Roxie could believe it either ;)

Hi Prose, I have more fun with Roxie and the online Picmonkey program to decorate her.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
33. Proserpina
8:32 AM GMT on December 16, 2012
Good morning GG and Roxy. Roxy sure makes a fashion statement withe her festive garb. She should get a huge treat for letting you play dress up with her! By the way, I love your creative photos featuring Roxy. What a nice sense of humor!

Wishing you a wonderfully happy Sunday.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 177 Comments: 18431
32. RobDaHood
1:31 AM GMT on December 16, 2012


Poor Roxy!
Can't believe you made her wear that sweater!
:o)
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 101 Comments: 33552
31. GardenGrrl
1:24 AM GMT on December 16, 2012
Hi All,

Great photo Sandi! That was worth braving the cold for.

Hi Plapman, ya know, that would be a fun camera. could sell them at the gun shows.

Hi Calpoppy, yep, got a new camera. Woke up thinking about this particular one and decided to see how much it actually costs on Amazon. It just happened to be the "Deal of the Day" and was half price. Booya!

Hi Sp, that would be a great gift for my nephew. He is a trip...in a fun way.

Hi Ylee, it's warm again! But when it does get cold I take all the precautions. An ounce of prevention is better than a 100gal of water.

And yes, will be working Christmas.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
30. sandiquiz
4:28 PM GMT on December 15, 2012
Well, you must be around as your blog popped up, but no one had been calling!
It's magic, perhaps. Hope you are having fun on your days off.

I have to ask.... With your days now at the beginning of the week, do you have to work on Christmas Day?? Or do all sites close down for Christmas?
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 27061
29. Ylee
9:29 PM GMT on December 13, 2012
GG, I would think you should have enough water pressuure to prevent your lines from freezing, at least I hope it does! I don't guess you have heat tape on your water line either, do you?

Hope you are having a fun day off!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 98 Comments: 16549
28. sp34n119w
9:19 PM GMT on December 13, 2012
I have even less to say about DSLRs than about any other camera so I'm going back to a previous conversation to bring you a book on Bronies. You know, in case you need a last minute gift idea for ... someone.

Hope you, or at least Roxie, had some fun in the snow before it melted!
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4310
27. calpoppy
11:35 PM GMT on December 12, 2012
Hi GG! You got a DSLR? I think I am having trouble following along, maybe because it is ding-a-ling day!! Anyways congrats if you got one, lol!

Shore, that is a very good pic of the caterpillar, not the easiest to get without what they are eating in the way!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 57 Comments: 4008
26. plapman
2:08 PM GMT on December 12, 2012
Good morning GardenGrrl.
I like BriarCraft's idea of the point and shoot camera. I may dismantle an old pellet gun in the hoard and add a camera mount. :)
Enjoy the day.
Member Since: August 18, 2006 Posts: 2490 Comments: 7377
25. sandiquiz
11:31 AM GMT on December 12, 2012
It was even colder this morning, so what did I do... Went out into the garden in my night attire to take photos of the frost! Lol

But it was worth it:-)

Frosty morning
Exposure 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture f/4.3
Focal Length 77.6 mm
ISO Speed 100
Exposure Bias -0.66 EV

Later - Ooh, it went into the AC gallery! lol
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 27061
24. GardenGrrl
10:59 AM GMT on December 11, 2012
Good Morning, it's colder here again. 28f. Have all the cupboard doors open under the sinks as they are on outer walls. Roxie seems to like the cold. Things must smell sharper.

Hi Shore, checked out the little green guy. Macro photography is so fun. Peeked at the tip link. Will have to wait until I have time to go through his work. It's nice to see someone who is good at their craft not afraid to share details like he does.

Hi Calpoppy, I would be too nervous to bring the spendy camera anywhere that it could get rained on. I do however have several back-up cameras now that I might try the bag trick with if I want nice rain pics.

Hi Sandy, oh the heck with going out into the cold. Wipe some frost off the window and shoot the back yard from the warm comfort of indoors ;)
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
23. sandiquiz
8:18 AM GMT on December 11, 2012
Good Morning to you - cold, damp and freezing fog here... great for photo ops. I must get out with the camera. On second thoughts, it is cold out there, so I might not bother! lol
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 27061
22. shoreacres
7:04 PM GMT on December 10, 2012
calpoppy ~ Steve is a professional photographer, and does do landscapes and nature photography. Here's a link to my favorite-photo-ever-I-think. ;)

It Isn't Easy Being Green
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
21. calpoppy
6:59 PM GMT on December 10, 2012
Full frame DSLR, the ultimate in photography and price!! Many landscape photographers are going to full frame. Seeing some of the pictures it does make a difference.

A magazine to look into for photography is 'Outdoor Photography'. Lots of info and of course a lot of nifty photo accessories to drool over.

Also for wet weather photography, I found that using a large ziplock bag, with the zip part at the back of the camera, and cutting a small opening for your lens works great. I agonized for weeks over what to buy to rain proof my camera for Alaska. Then I just went into my drawer pulled out a ziplock bag and it was perfect.
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 57 Comments: 4008
20. shoreacres
6:47 PM GMT on December 10, 2012
Here's a bit of info I came across in a blog I follow called Portraits of Wildflowers. I have very little idea what it all means, but I thought it might be of interest.

That excursion to the Wildflower Center was also a chance for me to try out my first full-frame digital camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III that I’d gotten five days before. The resulting files aren’t a lot larger than those from my EOS 7D, 22 megapixels compared to 18, but the pictures from the new and larger sensor are smoother and less noisy, even at higher ISOs.

Steve has a page of photographic tips that are useful, too. You can find equipment tips here and technique tips here.
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
19. GardenGrrl
11:00 AM GMT on December 10, 2012
Hi Shore, I'll be happy to send you the snow. I'm working today and snow is inconvenient for wearing chem suits and and filling acid totes. However, if this was Saturday I would be all kinds of tickled to have snow :)

Hi Prose, always great to have you stop by. It brightens my day on this really cold morning.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
18. GardenGrrl
10:55 AM GMT on December 10, 2012
Good Morning and good gosh it's cold out. 36f with wind. Brrrrr.

Briarcraft; THE BANANA QUESTION. Da ta da daaaa; this link Banana
Reno SoHill posted it in Ylee's blog. Be sure to read the product reviews.

Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
17. Proserpina
10:24 AM GMT on December 10, 2012
Good morning. I really do not have much to say except hello and see you later. I could add, have a wonderful Monday. Yes, have a wonderful Monday.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 177 Comments: 18431
16. shoreacres
2:00 AM GMT on December 10, 2012
GG! Snow in the Panhandle! I am going to be SO jealous if you get to see snow! I'm not sure how well it's going to hold together. From my quick glance it looks like it might pass north or dissipate. Anyway, there is SNOW in the Panhandle!

I just moved all my plants to get them out of the wind. It's still warm and getting more humid. I'm trying not to be anxious for the wind shift. After all, I get to work in whatever shows up tomorrow. Yee-hah!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
15. BriarCraft
9:14 PM GMT on December 09, 2012
My reaction to the price of DSLR cameras is the same as Shore's. Maybe 10 years from now. I remember when I got my fist digital camera in 2000. It was a 1 megapixel camera with 3X optical zoom. It set me back about $300 as I recall. At that same time, one could get a 5 megapixel camera with 5X optical zoom for around $700. Adjusting for inflation, that's probably about the same as a DSLR camera costs now.

So, GG, what's with you and banana slicers and funny brownies? Just what kind of mischief have you been getting into lately???
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 87 Comments: 4427
14. GardenGrrl
11:12 AM GMT on December 09, 2012
Good Morning All, tried to go Birding with Briarcrafts point n shoot but they made me go home and get the complicated camera instead.

Was a good day birding. Saw a Spotted Towee again, think small North American Robin with punk rock hair cut. Finally got a decent picture of a Kestral and a usable picture of a King Fisher.

Hi Briarcraft, that looks like a great birding camera. Shoot a birdy, shoot another and we all still get to go home happy.

Hi Zeus, sure pass my bridge camera on to someone else. It's not a camera, it's a gateway drug into lens addiction. ;-)

Hi Shore, that is a lot of cash for insurance. Eeeek.
Your right about the hyperventilate part. Even though I had the money saved up, (for something fun..been saving what I would have spent on cigarettes for a awhile) couldn't sleep, was stressed, etc after the big purchased. Have always been a bit of a money hoarder.

Hi Ylee, I'm still waiting for my Hutzler Banana Slicer. Hope your work week goes well too.

Sandi, now I'm a bit behind. That is another great link. Thanks. Saw your contribution to Pastry Day at Briars blog. Had no idea.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
13. Ylee
9:40 AM GMT on December 09, 2012
GG, hope your first day back to work is a good one!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 98 Comments: 16549
12. zeusatolympus
9:36 AM GMT on December 09, 2012
Good morning Sandi!
Thanks for sharing!
Digital Photography School is a great site. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter.
Tons of information and a great source of ideas!
Member Since: January 27, 2003 Posts: 34 Comments: 238
11. sandiquiz
7:04 AM GMT on December 09, 2012
Morning all camera fanatics :-)

I thought I would post this link, as I found it by accident, then spent over an hour opening some of the tutorials. Lots of tips and ideas, with some illustrations, and why this or that works - or doesn't work.

Morning John :)
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 27061
10. zeusatolympus
6:56 AM GMT on December 09, 2012
Ylee! I wouldn't ask! If said chief was on Federal Land in any state that would be a problem! Oh well, It's tough to be perfect before morning coffee...

Anyway it tough to find a camera that's just right, so the info here is a good start!
Member Since: January 27, 2003 Posts: 34 Comments: 238
9. shoreacres
2:59 PM GMT on December 08, 2012
Hi, GG ~ Not a thing to contribute here, so I'll just say good morning, and mention that I left a comment for you over at my place. The thought of spending a thousand dollars on a camera makes me hyperventilate. Of course, at this point, the thought of spending a thousand dollars on anything makes me hyperventilate - that's how much I have to scrape up to cover the increases in my health and contractor's liability insurance for next year. Hoorah! Maybe I should ask Santa to take care of it. Of course, then I'd have to deal with the question of whether I'd been naughty or nice! LOL

Looks like you're around - if you're off this weekend, get outdoors! They say The First Big Front is on the way. I can't quite tell if it's hype, but it sure enough will be getting cooler. At last!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
8. Ylee
12:46 PM GMT on December 08, 2012
Quoting zeusatolympus:
Would you ask a chief what kind of pot he uses?


No, because he might get paranoid, and think I was from the DEA or something....;-)
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 98 Comments: 16549
7. zeusatolympus
12:20 PM GMT on December 08, 2012
Whoa! BriarCraft! There is a background check and a waiting period to buy one of those! I also think you wouldn't want to be a paparazzo with one of these. It would be bad form!

All good points here GardenGrrl. It seems, depending what your shooting style and genre, $1000 would be expected, but it can easily go much higher. Especially when you start to move beyond "kit glass". Doing the research is key and make of list of everything you need with prices! The total cost will spiral up fast!
Everyone has a reason they have the make camera they have. So if you are asking? Ask a lot of people! That might be a good subject for a blog.
I seem to have to many cameras. At any given time I have a minimum 3 cameras with me and at times more. It doesn't help me make a better image, but I have choices and backups.
For those of you who do upgrade to a DSLR. If you are done with your point and shoot, don't toss it in a box. Pass it on to someone else who may get the BUG!
A nice camera is, well, nice, but is it's not the camera it's the mind behind it. One of my favorites is - Would you ask a chief what kind of pot he uses? And I always recommend to anyone to know what all the buttons do on the camera they have. It like most electronics these days, what's the worse that can happen? You can always reset! (Sorry to hear about your reset Sandi)
Member Since: January 27, 2003 Posts: 34 Comments: 238
6. GardenGrrl
3:08 AM GMT on December 08, 2012
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
5. BriarCraft
12:38 AM GMT on December 08, 2012


I think this is a point-and-shoot camera.

My bad!!! Here you are trying to be serious and helpful and I go and put something like this on your blog. Shame on me.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 87 Comments: 4427
4. GardenGrrl
4:18 PM GMT on December 07, 2012
Hi All, the reason for this particular blog is to help folks out looking for a new camera. I started out doing it as mentioned above and then found the camera I wanted on a 24hour half price till they run out sale on Amazon. Of course ordered it and then went on a research frenzy to make sure it was the right one. Was planning on taking my time, but 50% off and a hundred off an extra lens....

Hi Sandi, the longer I have this camera the more I like it. Although the iA is disappointing considering Panasonics stellar point n shoots. The class was okay, I already knew a lot of that stuff from reading through the links you sent. Still fun getting out though.

Hi Ylee, oh yeah, the tripod, a good strap and a speed light. These are the things for amazing indoor portraits. Of course the tripod is handy for everywhere. Thanks for bringing those up. Forgot about them. Good pictures really are a $Ka-ching$ sport.

Hi Calpoppy, how a camera feels is really important. They are all good, but if it's not comfortable to hold they aren't fun to use. I was actually leaning towards the Nikon 5100 (for grip and controls comfort) until I found out about the micro four thirds.

So people, beware the super-zoom bridge cameras, they are not budget DSLR's with great zoom, they are gateway drugs to interchangable lense cameras. lol
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 260 Comments: 9979
3. calpoppy
11:30 PM GMT on December 06, 2012
When I was shopping for my dslr I was between the cannon and the nikon. Nikon won out because it fit my hand and it just felt comfortable to hold.

At work right now, bbl.
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 57 Comments: 4008
2. Ylee
7:10 PM GMT on December 06, 2012
Very, very, important, especially with DSLRs with big lenses, are tripods and shoulder straps.

If you're doing a lot of inside photography, an aftermarket flash is also essential.
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 98 Comments: 16549
1. sandiquiz
6:04 PM GMT on December 06, 2012
First!
And I am laughing my socks off here!

I read the whole of the header, thinking..."has she changed her mind again?" and there, in the last paragraph, you wrote what I had been expecting!

Have fun tonight, and if you learn anything useful, I hope you will pass it on :-)
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 27061

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