Getting started...

Driftwood

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2014
1,582
1,503
France
I've been thinking about getting started in photography for a while now. On beach trips and not only, I keep framing shots in my head and while that's cool, I'd like to start trying to preserve them a bit. To what end, I have no idea.

Since I am beyond knowledgeless, any suggestions are welcome. Digital for now, primarily beach focused with maybe some close surfing shots but that's not the exclusive focuse - more ambiance/lifestyle/weird driftwood structures kind of thing.

Used would be great!

Many thanks for your time and experience.
 

brothernature

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2020
122
251
CA
Keep it as simple as possible. Photography, even more so than surfing, has an obsession with getting the best gear with a hope that it will magically improve your ability.

The Ricoh GR series are great cameras, small and compact, so there's no excuse to not have it with you, which is a crucial part. Don't buy something that you'll have to lug around. They are also very easy to use, but have more advanced options as well when you get to wanting them. Being forced to only use one lens, at one focal length is also good. The new one, the GR IIIx, has a 40mm lens that is a great focal length to start out with. They are also extremely well built, I've dropped mine, kept it tossed around in a bag, etc and it still charges on.

If you end up enjoying it and want to go deeper into the technical side of photography, I'd suggest finding an old all manual film camera and learning about proper exposure and how shutter speed/ISO/aperture all relate.

I wouldn't worry about learning all the technical stuff right from the start, think about it like trying to learn to surf. Buy a board that will let you catch as many waves as possible before you start trying to learn how to cross step or do a deep bottom turn, etc. Get something that will let you take a lot of bad photos, so you can find the good ones
 

Driftwood

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2014
1,582
1,503
France
Thanks for the sound input.

I'll check out that option and try to pick something up in the coming weeks to get my hat in the ring.
 

Driftwood

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2014
1,582
1,503
France
The Ricthoh cameras look interesting, but new are way out of my budget for now. Anything in particular to look out for in a used camera?

Or any other suggestions are welcome.
 

WhiteRussian

Well-Known Member
Oct 16, 2007
654
388
Boston Harbor
I'm sure there are lot of knowledgeable people around here who is gonna contribute on the topic. As any serious hobby the photography is like religion (or cult ?) where you come to the certain group and often stay with it for long time. In photography the base for it is a brand. There are cults of different brands and it's not easy (read: expensive) to switch. most of brands have proprietary lens mount and getting into brands you bind yourself into buying the lenses of the particular brand and trust me - you will want to get few lenses. Then few years down the road next generation of cameras come to the market.. And even if you like brand B better these days but your bag still has few lenses comparable with brand A you have to make a decision - to sell everything or just update the body (camera w/o the optic). Of course, there are companies making same version of lens for different brands and these are cost less, but purists will argue about that... Anyway, what I'm trying to say - look up different brands before setting your mind on unexpansive used but not very common models. Oh and of course this is applicable for cameras with switchable lenses.

On a separate topic. I buy photography books. I learned a lot of good practical tricks from Scott Kelby. I even attended his seminar when he visited Boston. I'm sure there other ones as well.
 

Walnuts

Active Member
Mar 25, 2018
170
105
Long Beach, NY
Here's a couple of things to think about, as they come to mind:
1. As previously said, the camera you have with you is the best one. I got sick of carrying a DSLR and lenses around and eventually ended up going mirrrorless because they are more compact, and you can carry one, plus two or three lenses in effectively a fanny pack. I hiked 12 miles in yosemite with one and a tripod and it didn't bother me too much.
2. Mirrorless cameras and their lens comparables are more money than DSLR's because of their size.
3. When researching new gear I go to dpreview.com because they have profiles on cameras (best cameras for parents, best cameras under a certain $$$).
4. Buying used gear, or new, I almost always used bhphoto.com. They have a used section, you can see what people rated that gear, they come with a condition scale, and a lot of times you can buy for close to what you'd pay on craigslist, but with a bit of warranty.
5. Sometimes I don't even want to use a camera and the best thing you have is your phone.
6. I worked for a large camera company and some of them have really rigorous Refurbished standards. Sometimes refurbished just means the box got damaged in transit and the camera's never even been used. You can save a ton w refurbished bodies and lenses.
7. Three primary things are at work in a photo, shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. Learn how these three things inter-relate, like:
- the faster the shutter speed, for the most part, the sharper the image because more time with the shutter is open allows for objects in the photo to move, or the camera itself to move which creates blur.
- the lower the aperture number (also called f stop), usually the better the lens is at taking photos in low light situations (e.g., the 50mm f1.8 lens), but can result in blurred out backgrounds (commonly used for portraits)
- higher isos mean you can usually use shorter shutter speeds, but can result in grainy photos.

here's two I took with a relatively inexpensive canon eos m100.

Edit: One thing I absolutely hate about this camera is it doesn't have a hot shoe on it for an external flash. An external flash in my opinion is a game changer for quality photos in lower light scenarios.
I also hate that it doesn't have an optical viewfinder, aka you have to use just the lcd screen, which is trash in the sun due to glare.
One thing I do love about this camera is it has built in wifi, which means I can be anywhere, and connect it to my phone, and download photos i just took and either review them on a bigger screen, or share them immediately.

end of rant/ hope any of this helps.
 

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Driftwood

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2014
1,582
1,503
France
Thank you for the level of detail and precision!

I am stoked, my niece who is a pretty accomplished photographer has offered to let me work my way through several of her cameras to see what I enjoy and can produce some results with, plus the introduction to each of them. We spoke over Easter and she was super cool.

Looking forward to a lot of playing around in the coming months.

Then I can get serious about finding one of my own.

Thanks again, I'll post here with more questions I'm sure!
 

Tenfooter

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2014
1,153
1,018
USA Rhode Island
just get any camera and go shooting
but first
do the basics
learn the technique
dont just guess, when you can know
nowadays cameras will calculate everything for you, but you can choose to do it manual
and you get full control of it
and most important, once the technique os measuring the light is achieved, COMPOSITION
I see a million pics of surfing
all are the same
boring
but some people has that gift, to tell a story with one shot

great thing about nowadays, you can take many, and edit
for free
so go out and shoot
regardless of the brand, the lens, the $$$$$ that they cost
or not
when you are skilled, a Nikon D 70 of 6 MP will do it
dont buy a 3k thiking that will help you

and then, once you are ready, you get a underwater one
but thats another universe in itself

good ;uck
 

dingpatch

Well-Known Member
Apr 2, 2014
1,652
1,662
Florida USA
For years I lugged around my film Canons and lenses, 1 bag of cameras, 1 bag of lenses. Got tired of the hassle. And, "glass addiction" can wipe out your wallet in no time. Went with a Panasonic digital "super zoom" and never looked back. The newer super zooms have everything you need. Don't get too concerned with "More Megapixels". Check out https://www.dpreview.com for good info and reviews. You've got to start somewhere but, keep it simple for now, you will eventually find out what you "like" and "do not like".
 




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