Monday, November 16, 2009

Mrs. Jefferson Buys a Camera

Thanks for this little memory trip, TVLand

So, Mrs. Jefferson- you talked about it with George and you know you want to get some DSLR action?

I shoot with a Sony a200. You can read all about how I got her here. This camera is as basic as it gets, DSLR-wise.

I have a husband that doesn't buy anything over $5 without extensively researching it and reading about 100 reviews. So when he came home with that little lady under his coat, he immediately got online, before we even took it out of the box. I'd ached for a DSLR for years but never felt peace about buying one, and Jim had been...researching them for a long time, too, just because he's like that. We're basically dorks.
That said, Sony (Minolta) gets really wonderful reviews for it's DSLRs, we felt sure about it, and from the time I took her out of that has never been the same.

I do not own a hot camera. I own a basic, basic, DSLR.

That said,

  • When you're first starting out, I really encourage you to begin with an entry-level DSLR. Entry models will do everything you dream of being able to do and more. And basically, they all operate in the same way. If you had something nicer, you wouldn't even be able to wrap your mind around those bells and whistles anyway, and they'd be of little or no use to you- other than cleaning out your bank account- whew! The higher-end models are expensive! If you eventually master that one, and want to move up (most people would never need to move up, but enthusiasts may want to), you can purchase an upgrade, and then you'll just have an extra camera body, which is really useful as a backup, to easily shoot with two types of lenses at certain events, and you'll have a "travel" camera- one you can easily tote around on vacation etc without worrying about losing a several thousand dollar investment in an airport. Basically, entry-level DSLRs take Gorgeous photos. You just have to learn how to tell them to. If you got a more expensive camera, you'd still have to learn how to tell it to shoot.

  • When you buy that new piece of heaven, do NOT buy a new lens to replace the kit lens (that's the one that comes with your basic DSLR) right away!!!! Take her home, get to know her, work on the basics, get a feel for it, see how it goes. I'd strongly advise you to learn to shoot clear and consistent with your kit lens first. Yes, it's true that it isn't nearly as nice as other lenses out there, but if you don't know the basics, it won't matter what you shoot with- if you don't understand what you have, you won't know how to best use it- so don't worry about a new lens right now. Most photography problems arise out of user error, not lens insufficiencies anyway (believe me, I know about user error!). If the salesperson goes on and on about how much of a POS the kit lens is, and how excellent piece of glass A or B is, just say you aren't interested. Wait until you know what you're doing first, wait until you see what/who/how you shoot the most first too- lenses are incredibly expensive and confusing and vastly different from one another- and even amazing ones have their own unique quirks and pitfalls. Wait until you feel ready to move up, because you need a lens for ____ or ____ first. Then you can make an informed, smart choice and not end up spending hundreds, even over $1000 for something that doesn't suit your needs.
  • Consider the challenges of a DSLR. They are very bulky (compared to slim, tiny point and shoots). They also scream, "Steal me!! I'm really easy to sell on eBay!" Also, if your child (or you) drops, spills on, sits on, or dunks your camera in water, and it's damaged, it's a huge financial loss. So not like those things should keep you from getting one, but, it is a lot more, "responsibility", if you will.

I'll be back with just a few more things tomorrow. Then I promise I'll stop talking photography. I know it's getting old. Especially hearing it from someone who knows as little as I do.

Tomorrow I'll answer a couple of common questions from people who already own a DSLR. Questions like: What kind of lenses do you have? How do you get sharp pictures? and How do you edit?


Coffee Bean said...

Thanks for the tips! I am just starting out and enjoy any info and help I can get! I love reading your blog! You are my hero!!

Jenn Boerger said...

Megan - love hearing your thoughts, as always! Would you kindly share your thoughts on photoshop?? I'm debating adding it to my list...

Sarah said...

Thanks for all the info, Megan! I totally agree. I am so happy that I got a good-but-super-basic DSLR. And, since I am still buried in "user error", I think I'll be sticking with exactly what I have for a long time!
I love the photography tips. Keep 'em coming.