Question by Josh Rich: I need help with photography: specifically digital cameras?
I am starting to get into photography and I’m 16. I will be taking high school classes to get to know how to use a camera. However, I know that I have to use a film camera for the class but I know that a digital camera is much less expensive in the long run. (buying film and developing) So I’d like to know, what are semiautomatic and manual digital cameras? I’ve heard that these are for hobbyists and that I shouldn’t start with an DSLR camera. Is it even worth my while to use a semi-auto and manual digital camera or should I just get the DSLR camera such as the Nikon D40. Also I’d like to know if any of the semi-auto and manual cameras can change lens’. I’m quite intrigued by their design and I love to use them. I’ve heard that its mostly the lens and not the camera.
Answer by Tobasco
There are SO many questions in here that I can’t hope to answer them all right here. I’ll give you a basic rundown, but to get all your confusions clarified (and maybe to buy a camera, for that matter), you should head to the local camera store.
Film cameras are actually pretty cheap, even good ones, now that they’re outdated. But the nice thing with film is that the quality of the camera is virtually unimportant as long as the body is light-tight. You don’t need to worry about image quality because it’s all based on the film and the lens(es) you use. For this reason, I recommend any old Canon film SLR that uses FD series lenses. The reason being, FD lenses are going for DIRT FREAKING CHEAP on eBay right now. Be mindful that any FD series Canon film SLR (like the F-1 for instance) will be full manual, both in exposure and focusing. An F-1 on eBay is going for a little over $ 150 right now, which is a bargain.
As far as digital goes, I started out my photography class with a point & shoot that could go manual. 99% of point & shoots these days won’t. I used the Canon PowerShot A590 IS for the first about 4 or 5 months of my photography career, then upgraded to a Rebel XSi. The A590 is a great camera to learn how to shoot manual, etc. And it actually has optional attachments that are pretty cool. There’s a “macro lens” (essentially a diopter) that’s only $ 30 and it gets REAL close for a camera like that. I would guess somewhere between 1:2 and 1:1 ratio. Also you can put filters on it and stuff. If you do decide to go with an A590, you’ll have to get it online; they’re not made anymore so a camera store wouldn’t have them.
I wouldn’t recommend starting with a DSLR just because it’s a big investment for something you’re not even sure if you like. If you still want to do photography after your class ends, that’s the time to get an entry-level one. And if you don’t like photography much, don’t expect to be able to turn around and sell it without losing a lot… camera bodies don’t hold their value very well. Look at the F-1.
Good luck, and again… it’s not a bad idea to head to the camera store. I know the part about my job I enjoy most is helping people find the right camera(s) and lens(es) for their specific needs. There will be someone there happy to help you.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!