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Author Topic: Newbie needs a kit  (Read 2999 times)

griff19690

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Newbie needs a kit
« on: July 05, 2008, 01:36:38 pm »

Hi.  I've been shooting for 12 months.  My kit comprises of a Canon 400d, ef-s 18-55mm, Sigma APO DG 70-300mm, cheap tripod.  I have 300-350 ($600-700) and am wondering what to buy next.

Options:

(i) ND grad filters
(ii) Proper tripod
(iii) Photoshop elements
(iv) New lens (standard/wide zoom or prime?)

I have put them in the order of importance as I see it but would be really grateful for other people's views.  The problem is I can't afford all four.  Any suggstions?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2008, 01:37:45 pm by griff19690 »
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DarkPenguin

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Newbie needs a kit
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2008, 02:53:53 pm »

What do you shoot and at what focal lengths?

I wouldn't bother with item 1.  You can duplicate that via bracketing and blending.

A proper tripod is always useful.  Take a look at www.feisol.com if you want carbon fiber for a reasonable price.

I'd upgrade the 18-55.  Even an 18-55IS would be an improvement.  But something like the tamron 17-50 f2.8 or sigma 30 f1.4 would be good.

What are you using to edit your photos now?
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griff19690

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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2008, 06:28:37 pm »

Quote
What do you shoot and at what focal lengths?

Thanks Dark Penguin.

Good question.  I looked back over my photos and to be honest there doesn't seem to be a clear pattern that would commit me to a particular focal length.  I like 18-24 for landscapes 55-70 for closer up nature shots, 250-300mm for wildlife.  Greenspun recommends that everyone start with a 300mm on APS-C to make them learn how to use a camera properly.  I like the idea of tha discipline but it also feels a bit claustrophobic especially on landscapes.

The sigma 30 f1.4 has been well reviewed but is a tad pricey.  The canon 28mm f2.8 seemed a reasonable equivalent but it seems to get panned a bit.

Quote
What are you using to edit your photos now?

Just the Digital Photo Professional software that came with the starter kit.  I sort started with purist intentions but realised that you can do so much good stuff with software - although so much amateur stuff seems overworked.
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The View

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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2008, 06:34:46 pm »

Consider Lightroom.

You can do a lot with it, and you'll get a solid base to get Photoshop after that.

And, what's more, it's a pleasure to use.

Regarding the tripod or your lens wishes: what do you photograph most?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2008, 06:35:53 pm by The View »
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The View of deserts, forests, mountains. Not the TV show that I have never watched.

DarkPenguin

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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2008, 07:03:07 pm »

The 35f2 is pretty well liked.  You might consider that.  (A little long for my tastes.  I'd prefer a 40mm equiv.)

Elements is a good place to start.  You might get frustrated trying to convert photoshop cs3 instructions into elements equivalents.  At the cost savings you might not care.
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peteh

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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2008, 07:07:26 pm »

Quote
Consider Lightroom.

You can do a lot with it, and you'll get a solid base to get Photoshop after that.

And, what's more, it's a pleasure to use.

Regarding the tripod or your lens wishes: what do you photograph most?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=205793\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Consider Lightroom 2 and forget Elements.Think about 10-22 EFS, ya can't go wrong with 70-200L IS 2.8.Maybe ya can, I have a sharp copy.
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griff19690

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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2008, 07:40:43 pm »

Quote
Consider Lightroom 2 and forget Elements.Think about 10-22 EFS, ya can't go wrong with 70-200L IS 2.8.Maybe ya can, I have a sharp copy.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=205803\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

10-22 EFS?  70-200L?  I'd love to but I'm on a $600 budget!
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The View

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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2008, 04:00:21 pm »

How about selling off your Sigma lens and get the Canon instead? The price you'll get for the sale brings you closer to the good lens.

Generally, you can't just draw a Dollar line if you want to get good lenses.

If you do, then don't buy until you have enough money to get good stuff.

You could try to get the Canon 70-200L used, but there's risk involved.

It's always better to have fewer good lenses than a collection of lenses all across the board.
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The View of deserts, forests, mountains. Not the TV show that I have never watched.

Ken Bennett

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Newbie needs a kit
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2008, 09:16:11 pm »

If you feel the need for graduated ND filters, then you need Photoshop. Elements is fine for now. You can use it to process your RAW files and blend together different exposures or even use the same exposure to accomplish the same goal (fit a too-wide luminance range into a printable image.) Learn the proper techniques and you'll get much better results than the ND filters. (I ditched mine years ago.)

So that's $80 spent.

The rest should go into a better tripod. My reasoning is the same as above -- if you are shooting things that require graduated ND filters, then you are shooting things that require a good tripod. If you want to be able to blend exposures, you need a good tripod. And so on.

While a high-end carbon fiber tripod is great, your budget probably won't go that far. You can pick up a decent aluminum Bogen tripod for less than $150 (legs only), and add a decent tripod head like the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead for about $300. Neither of these is the greatest on the market, but they are both good choices. Others might suggest different models.

With shipping and tax and maybe a quick release plate or two, there goes your $600.

Next up, when you have a few more bucks, you can look at replacing your 18-55 with the IS version for less than $200. Or possibly some other lens choices.

And hey, we all have a budget, and fully understand.
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Brad Proctor

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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2008, 02:47:01 am »

You sound a lot like me.  That was my kit about a year ago.  Since then I've got the ND filters (never use them), a Slik tripod with a Manfrotto ball head to replace my hand-me-down 30 year old Velbon tripod that was falling apart.  I don't know how bad your tripod is, but if it's half as bad as mine was, a new tripod will be a great addition.  I also own a 50mm f1.8 lens. It's the cheapest lens out there but much sharper than the other lenses you own.  I use it quite often instead of the 18-55.

So my suggestion would be a new tripod, the 50mm, AND Photoshop Elements.  All that can be had on your budget with plenty of room to spare.
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Brad Proctor
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