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Old 09-22-2002, 12:49 PM
CJ Swartz's Avatar
CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Good information from all above.

General tips from what I've learned over the years --

1. Photography can be very expensive. It's easy to become fascinated by the beautiful books, the luscious big lenses, and the nifty new features. Go slow, find out what you really want to do with a camera first.
2. A camera is simply a box that the film goes through -- doesn't need to be advanced, new, or nifty.
3. Film, especially slide film, is cheap compared to the rest of the equipment. Slide film will show you exactly what you shot, whereas print film will be automatically corrected by the lab to look "better". Shoot some slide film to learn how to handle exposure.
4. Camera lenses are important, and you should use the best that you can -- but first find out what your friends and family have -- maybe you know folks who will lend you a telephoto or a wider angle lens to practice with while you start off with the 50mm lens that often comes cheaply with the camera body. If you have access to a bunch of Canon lenses, or Nikon lenses, or Minolta... then you might consider buying a camera body to match the ones you will be able to borrow.
5. Photography is all about SEEING -- seeing the light, seeing the composition, seeing something you want to communicate to others. YOUR vision is your own creation. Read books about composition, view lots of pros work, but FIND your own vision.

Check out the website, especially these links regarding purchase of a first camera for someone wanting to learn photography --
Check with your library and your friends for books by Freeman Patterson - Photography for the Joy of It, and Photography and the Art of Seeing;

Freeman Patterson
The late Galen Rowell

Bill Hocker-
Inner Vision
John Shaw

Last edited by CJ Swartz; 09-22-2002 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 09-22-2002, 04:00 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Originally posted by G. Couch
Ed - I'm not sure about the AE-1's or A-1's but my AE-1 P is fully manual.

That's the difference between the AE-1 and the AE-1P. With the AE-1, you have a choice between shutter or aperture priority, meaning that you do not have the choice to override what the meter tells the camera is the correct exposure (unless there is a way to lock exposure settings while targeting a shadow or highlight area of the image, but I don't think there is). If you choose the aperture, the camera chooses the proper shutter speed for exposure. If you choose the shutter speed, the camera chooses the proper aperture for exposure. There *might* be a setting for under or over exposing what the camera sees as the proper exposure, but if there is, it is not fine tuneable (is that a word?). But I guess you could always set the ISO to something other than the true ISO of the film. But that's not for beginners. And who knows what the *true* ISO of a particular roll of film is anyway?

I think CJ had a lot of good information too. By studying the work of other people, you will eventually come up with your own unique way of seeing. I used to enjoy reading anything by Dean Collins, who is an author and teacher of studying and controlling light. I'm not sure, but I think he has a website.


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Old 09-22-2002, 06:29 PM
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chris h chris h is offline
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By the time you've read all this literature David you'll be too old to leave the house. Grab a camera shove a film in it and get out taking photographs, at the end of the day its the only way.

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Old 09-22-2002, 06:49 PM
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d_kendal d_kendal is offline
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wow, thanks for all the info everybody, I've got lots to go on now! I want to get an SLR camera so it's great to get all the info about those camera's. I'm on a tight budget so i'm definitely looking at the used market, and so the info about what are good older used cameras is a big help (in the local "bargain finder" I saw a few AE-1's and lots of others like it so it shouldn't be too hard to find one). The list of books looks great Jak, thanks!

- David
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Old 09-22-2002, 07:12 PM
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chris h chris h is offline
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With the onset of digital cameras most camera shops here are awash with 35mm gear I wonder if Canada is the same ?
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Old 09-22-2002, 07:16 PM
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d_kendal d_kendal is offline
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I'm not sure, I've just started looking in to this, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's the same here.

- David
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Old 09-23-2002, 08:09 AM
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clare clare is offline
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Hello David,

When I first started photography the books that helped me the most were Micheal Langfords - 'Basic photography' and 'Advanced photography'. They have a good range of information about the basics.

Hope this helps

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Old 09-23-2002, 05:12 PM
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Bob Walden Bob Walden is offline
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Hi David! My suggestion fo r a book is UNDERSTANDING EXPOSURE by Bryan Peterson. One of my all time favs. Very informative. Published by AMPHOTO I think.

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Old 09-24-2002, 01:22 AM
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d_kendal d_kendal is offline
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thanks Bob and Clare,

I checked out the books at and they both look like great books and have great recommendations from the pro's.

- David
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Old 09-24-2002, 05:20 AM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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I believe some of the best advice I ever got (that I actually followed), was to create a photo log sheet (easy to do these days with word processing) on which I'd record the important details of a given shot... for example (these would be column headings with exception of "Film Type"):

FILM TYPE: Tri-X (or whatever)

PIC #: Which picture within the roll
TIME: Sometimes time of day/lighting can affect outcome dramatically.
WEATHER: Sunny, overcast, whatever.
APERATURE: for example, F5.6
SPEED: for example, 125
M/A: Manual settings or automatic? This gave me a feel for how much I ould "trust" the camera's automation.
COMMENTS: Whatever you think is important

- - - - - -

Then for a given shot I'd take 3-4 variations, the first being in "automatic mode," and subsequent shots were taken by varying shutter speed and/or aperature.

Having this info available when the prints came back was invaluable in understanding why I got the results I did for a given shot. For example it didn't take long to grasp concept of "stops" and the relationship between aperature and shutter speed, circumstances when internal metering can be fooled, for example, snow scenes or backlit situations.

HTH...Good luck.

BTW: I was a Canon AE-1 user. Still have it and it works great. Replaced it with a Nikon, however, beause I needed autofocus to compensate for my "not nearly as good as it used to be" eyesight.
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