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    I'm getting interested in Photography (non digital right now) and I have a couple questions some of you might be able to answer:

    1. can anybody recommend some good photography books for a newbie? I'm looking for books that explain about how to use manual settings on a camera, how to compose a photo well etc.

    2. what kind of camera is a good one to start out with (I need something with all the manual settings so i can learn how to use it all) I'm thinking about something like the Canon EOS series (Rebel G, Rebel 2000 etc.) what would you recommend??

    thanks in advance for any help,

    - David

  • #2
    You might look into some of the older camera systems - Canon AE-1, Pentax K1000, etc... you can find them fairly cheap and they are very rugged and well built cameras. I still have my Canon AE-1 program from college photo class...still works perfectly even though I have dropped it numerous times. (once in the snow!)


    • #3
      Rebel is good value.

      I have a Minolta Maxxum and its absolutely wonderful. It's older (first year it came out my sweet hubby bought me one!) so it's really heavy. It's lost some of its indicator lights and a flash plate through the years, so I want to replace it with a new lighter Maxxum (Xmas is coming, honey...if you are listening...hehe).

      I bought my daughter a Canon Rebel (forget which model) and it is a very nice camera too. It is about a third the cost of the Maxxum but takes great pictures, and has most of the important features. They both can be used in manual or automatic modes, of course, like just about all the SLR's nowadays.

      Good luck with your is very rewarding, and very relaxing I have found. And now that we have Photoshop and similar programs, it's even more fun, if that's possible!



      • #4
        Cool for you, David!

        Here's a few suggestions for you...


        I went to (my favorite bookstore) and gathered up a list of books they have listed that I've read at some point and found useful

        SLR Photographer's Handbook by Carl Shipman

        Kodak Professional Photoguide by Kodak

        The Photographer's Handbook by John Hedgecoe

        Photographic Composition by Tom Grill

        The A-Z of Creative Photography: Over 70 Techniques Explained in Full by Lee Frost

        John Hedgecoe's Complete Guide to Photography: A Step-By-Step Course from the World's Best... by John Hedgecoe

        The Art of Seeing by Derek Doeffinger

        Book of Photography by John Hedgecoe

        Kodak Pocket Guide to 35mm Photography by Kodak

        Light: Science and Magic, an Introduction to Photographic Lighting by Fil Hunter

        Using Your Camera: A Beginner's Guide to 35mm Photography
        by George Schaub

        Also, check out the photography section in your library...


        The Rebel 2000 would be a good choice. I shoot mainly with a Canon Elan 7e (which is an excellent camera, btw), but I have a Rebel 2000 that I use for backup. It's a really decent little camera.

        Other Things You Might Find Helpful

        Do a Google search on photography. There are lots of websites around with tips for beginning photographers

        Search through the newsgroups (Google again) for more recommendations for good beginning photography books

        Subscribe to Photography newsgroups. Although I find that newsgroups can be frequented by some fairly unpleasant people, there is also some good information to be gotten from them

        Hope this helps you out some...


        • #5
          David, I concur with Greg get a s/h camera which gives you as much manual control as possible and put lots of film through it use short/out dated stock if cash is tight. By doing this you learn to USE the camera and it changes from being a barrier between you and the image your after to an device that produces the result YOU want.

          Last edited by chris h; 10-19-2002, 03:52 PM.


          • #6
            I go with Chris & Greg on the s/h camera. But don't forget, the bodies end up being the cheaper end of the deal. Without decent lenses, you will prolly never end up taking decent pics. I work with 2 Minolta X-700 bodies (antiques!), one with a short focal length lens and the other with a longer focal length.

            Chris's idea of running lots of outdated film thru the camera is also a good one - if you do get good shots with this, you can always patch the image digitally if necessary


            • #7
              My first "real" camera was a Cannon Rebel - Now I have a Rebel 2000 - I had to replace the first one that broke only after the saline solution for my contacts spilled all over it while I was traveling. This is a really nice camera for the price. It is very light and easy to use and takes great pictures. I would go for one of these.


              • #8

                You've had some good suggestions. You didn't say if you want a digital camera specifically, but you can get by pretty cheap with traditional cameras if you check out e-bay or a used camera store. Greg mentioned the Canon AE-1, but I don't *think* you have full manual control with it unless you get the Canon AE-1 Program. If I'm wrong on this, I'm sure I'll be corrected. I have had 3 Pentax K-1000s, and IMHO, they were money well spent. They are strictly manual, so you are forced to make your own settings, thereby learning a lot about different apertures and shutter speeds. Sorry, but I can't remember the names of good basic books that I've had. There are many. Just browse through the books to make sure they go into the workings of shutter speed and aperture choices. Once you understand this, you can study how different lenses are made, and the effects different elements have on the resulting image.



                • #9
                  If you decide that an older camera might be an option, you can't do any better than to get a Nikon Nikkormat or Nikomat EL.

                  You can often still find them in good shape.

                  They are (IMHO) the absolute best 35mm cameras ever made...

                  (the EL is my own personal favorite of the two)


                  • #10
                    Ed - I'm not sure about the AE-1's or A-1's but my AE-1 P is fully manual.

                    Ed's K-1000 would be my choice if I had to buy a system for school's simple, fully manual and built like a tank. I think you can even operate them without a battery? Like Al said, no matter what camera you get the most important thing is going to be the lens. I'd start with a fixed focal length (50mm or 35mm) and avoid a zoom lens. I got a good quality 50mm f1.4 as my first lens and it's still the one I use the most.

                    one more thing...I'd buy the lens from a good camera store rather than online. That way you can check for mold, smoothness of the focus assembly, etc...


                    • #11
                      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, 01:37 PM.


                      • #12
                        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.



                        • #13
                          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.



                          • #14
                            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


                            • #15
                              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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