Help, I need to educate myself

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by camelman0075, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. Hey everyone,

    I have decided to buy my first quality camera. Since staring at my new job ( i really shouldnt say the name just so i dont get in any trouble), one of my co-workers is a big photography buff and has kind of turned me onto the idea of getting a quality camera. That being said i have no idea what are the important details i should be reading up one before investing.... So instead of asking what would you guys suggest, i ask if you guys could list some resoures where i could learn a lot about whats important in a camera.

    I went to the sticky already but i couldnt find anything clearly

  2. Here's a controversial suggestion.

    There are some camera shops out there that are really good. They're also desperate for survival in this age of internet competition.

    If there happens to be one of these established, good shops in your area, you could ask for their advice in selecting a camera.

    There are certainly a whole lotta camera/electronics places I wouldn't go to and try this strategy. In fact, most. But if there is one near you with a great reputation, consider checking it out.
  3. Rei


    I would go with the suggestions of the person that has turned you on to the idea of getting a camera. Chances are that he will have you buy equipment that he is already familiar with, so if you have any questions, you can have him show you how to get the most out of it.

    Just keep in mind that the worst dSLR or advanced Point-and-Shoot cameras you can buy today are better than the best cameras that were around when Ansel Adams was taking pictures.
  4. Get over to and start reading. There is a whole guide on how to select a camera and the pros and cons of most of the cameras out there. When you're done that, keep exploring the site. Just about everything you'll need to know about technique can be found there. Ken Rockwell's site is also quite good, and my absolute favorite is Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz. The two are two of the most highly regarded educators out there. They've written a significant number of superb books. Enroll in the "photoschool" for a year. The subscription is $30 or something.

    Everything on is free and that's the place to start.
  5. One of the best sites out there for reviews, advice, etc:

    Your question is a bit broad (type? budget? what are your needs?) but this site will definitely get you headed in the right direction. Amazon also has a ton of 'amateur' reviews on different models. I would also recommend (as somebody already has) that you actually go to a shop and hold/use the any cameras you might be interested...if you have big hands you might find that some of these ultra-compact models (even SLRs) are just waay too small to handle properly:001_smile...
  6. I guess my feeling is that there is simply too much information on photography and cameras on the internet. You can spend way too much time finding your way around it. You're better off getting your initial advice from one knowledgeable person, and then once you have an idea of what you like and need, and what works for you, you can use the internet for more info. But if you're clueless, it's a tough place to start, IMHO.
  7. The camera shop is great advice for cutting through a bunch of BS online.
  8. Well yes, and no. Yes, there is no doubt a great deal of garbage on the internet. And yes, if one can find a truly knowledgeable person, then great. My experience, for what it's worth, is that even professional photographers are less knowledgeable than they let on. I've done university level photography courses and to my astonishment, the instructors were absolutely clueless.

    My experience, and again yours will differ, is that many if not most store clerks are kids just out of or still in school and they are generally clueless. Many of the rest of the older crowd in camera stores are slick salespeople who will always manage to find 100 reasons to steer you to the camera that gets them the most commission.

    I know for a fact that there are top flight camera folk in camera stores, I've met a few. But to find them you'll have to know enough to cross-examine the salesperson to determine whether they actually know enough to properly answer questions.

    There is no doubt an almost infinite amount of just plain wrong information on the internet as well. However, if you go to you'll find that many if not most of the reviews are by one guy, Phil Greenspun or others who are very knowledgeable. If you go to Ken Rockwell's site, you'll get Mr. Rockwell's opinion. Both Greenspun and Rockwell know more about photography than the vast majority of store clerks I've dealt with.

    Start here. You won't regret it.

    Both and Ken Rockwell's site have very good articles on all kinds of cameras. even has article after article, with reader comments attached that give great advice as to how to build a digital system. Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz have written some of the best books on photography I've ever read. For what it's worth, my view is that anything that you see in the photoschool at is gospel.

    I don't want to come off as suggesting that going to a camera store is a waste of time; it isn't. But I think you should read up on cameras on first, then get over to your local store and start asking questions. Always ask to handle any camera you're interested in. There's nothing like holding a camera in your hands to understand if it will work for you. Get the clerk to explain everything about it.
  9. Thanks for your thoughtful reply, and we in fact agree. A camera shop would only be a good idea if it were one of those places with an excellent reputation that had been around for a while. looks really good.
  10. Good luck with your search, let us know what you decide.

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