Everyone Should Shoot With DSLRs

// December 20th, 2010 // Photo

With the latest crop of DSLR cameras coming out, it’s easy to get caught up with how amazing these new cameras are… and also with how expensive they are. I think price is the main thing keeping people from jumping into the DSLR game, but I think that if you are in the market for a new digital camera, you should definitely consider going the DSLR route, and you can start taking amazing photos for only $300, with a little help from your friend Ebay.

The entry point for today’s dslr world, is the Canon Rebel XS, which goes for about $500 with the kit lens (amazon). The camera is a perfectly good entry point, but lets not forget that the previous model isn’t that far removed. In fact, if you’re just looking to “try out” the DSLR scene, wouldn’t a downgrade to fewer megapixels not really bother you all that much?

The same model as the XS a few years back was the XT. You can find it on Ebay with the kit lens for $200 or so nowadays (ebay).

Once you got this camera (actually, either of them) you’d run into some problems of discouragement. You’ll take some photos and wonder why they don’t look as amazing as the pros you see on the internet..

Step 1: Ditch the flash.

Never use your onboard flash when you’re experimenting with your new camera. The built in flash will make things look washed out and just as bad as your old point and shoot..

Step 2: Shoot with a LARGE aperture & FAST shutter speed.

This is also known as the F/stop. The smaller the number, the more light gets into your camera. The more light that gets in, the blurrier the photo. THAT, my friends, is what gives photos that “pro” look. Want even more blurry background? Zoom in all the way and take a few steps back. You should take advantage of the “aperture priority mode” to really get a handle on how the aperture works with your images.

The faster the shutter speed, the less likely you’ll have motion blur mess up your photo. Fast shutter and large aperture go hand in hand since the faster the shutter speed the less light gets into your camera (which can be compensated by a large aperture to a point). You’ll probably find that a shutter speed of 1/80 should be good enough if you try hard to hold your hand still. Start by practicing outside during the daytime. Should be plenty of light.

Step 3: Get a new lens

I know, the point wasn’t to really spend much money, but I tell people when they buy guitars the same thing. If you get a crappy guitar, it will make learning less fun because it won’t be as easy to play or sound as good. It doesn’t matter if they’re “only beginners.” When I bought my camera, I only bought the body and got a lens separately. I’m pretty glad I did, because in all honesty, the kit lens is barely adequate. It will get you around as a general all-purpose lens, but don’t expect very many pretty shots from it. The aperture doesn’t go wide enough (3.5 soomed out, but only 5.6 zoomed in) for those artistic shots we know and love. Instead, Canon makes this awesome 50mm prime lens (no zoom, so it’s fixed in place). If you look hard enough, you should probably be able to find it for $50 – $75 (ebay). It is pretty darn sharp, AND it has a very WIDE aperture (making for some very artistic shots).

Here is a shot i took on my 50mm 1.8 recently:


See those nice blurry cymbals? Mmmm….

Most of this I say because honestly, my iPhone 4 is at the point now that it can take all the “snapshot” pics I need. So next time you’re thinking about spending $150 – $200 on a point and shoot, think about going used-DSLR. It might help inspire your love for photography without breaking your bank….

One Response to “Everyone Should Shoot With DSLRs”

  1. […] photography, more and more friends have come to me seeking photography advice. I’ve already written a post advising people why they should get a DSLR, but I guess I’ve kinda left them hanging a bit […]

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