heather schramm-lifestyle photographer

Posts tagged “photography for begginers

Tips and Insights

What DSLR Camera To Buy

Canon v. Nikon

This is a dilemma I hear often, “I’m not sure whether to buy a Canon or Nikon?”.  Spoiler alert: I am not going to tell you which one to buy, instead I am going to give you some sound advice on the topic to hopefully take some of the stress out of trying to decide.  I get why people are perplexed by this choice.  After all it is a hefty investment while you are at the beginning stages of your photographic career.

In addition I am not going to give you the pros and cons or even the stats between the two brands.  First of all, you can find tons of side by side comparison charts all over the web and chances are you already have.  Another reason is the technology is constantly changing so if I were to give comparisons today chances are they would be different tomorrow.  Finally, I believe the prices of the different models along with their features are quite comparable between the two.

Now that we have covered the things I will not tell you lets take a look at the things I will tell you.  I think it is important to know you will not go wrong with either brand of camera.  Seriously, I have never heard a photographer say, ” I am a Canon or Nikon user but I really wish I chose the other guy.”.  You have big time professional photographers that are die-hard users of both competitors.  The great thing about these two is that these are the main guys out there at your photo meetup groups and within your community.  The advantage that gives you is chances are you’re going to know another photographer to borrow lenses off of.  You see, the lenses between the cameras are not interchangeable, so if you buy the Nikon you won’t be putting a Canon lens on it and visa versa.  Mind you there are many other lens brands that are specifically made for both and are wonderful.  Now that we are talking about lenses I feel I should mention good glass (referring to the lenses of course) is worth the money.  Don’t go buy a fancy camera then put an inferior lens on the front of it.  This is one of the pieces of your gear where you get what you pay for.  Now to get back on topic.  I think it is important for the camera to feel good in your hand.  It sounds obvious but sometimes its difficult to remember that when you are looking back and forth at the overviews between the two online.  Go to your local camera shop and ask to hold each of them.  It’s okay that you don’t know how to use it yet, just put it in “P” program mode or even “Auto” look through the viewfinder and press that shutter release and see which one sings to your heart.  Check out where the buttons and dials are in relation to where your hands rest, even if you have no clue what they do yet.  In not too much time once you take one of these home it will become an extension of you.  Like I said in the beginning you can’t make a bad decision between Canon or Nikon in my opinion.  Try to focus on the excitement of making one of these the start to your fun-filled future.

Sorry if this takes you back to square one but I feel like I should suggest you take a quick peek at the Sony before making your final decision.  They have some serious advancements in their technology that is cutting edge.  I wouldn’t be surprised is Canon and Nikon start mimicking some of their technology in the next few years.

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Tips and Insights

Photography Vocabulary

Starting out in photography can be challenging enough.  There are times when it seems as though we’re speaking our own language.  It’s what makes us feel special.  Below is a list of some of our verbage decoded.  Use it as often as possible to feel like one of the cool kids.

This list should be a pretty good starting point to hopefully move you along to getting out there and getting some photographs instead of scratching your head wondering if you should have shot racked out with the aperture wide open.

  • Aperture–  The lens opening.  The opening in a camera lens through which light passes to expose the film or sensor.  Aperture size is usually calibrated in f-numbers such as f-1.4 or f-16.  The larger the number, the smaller the lens opening.  We’ll get more in-depth on that subject another time.
  • Exposure–  The amount of light reaching the film or sensor.  Exposure is controlled by aperture size and shutter speed.  Example : An overexposed photo would be too light, while an underexposed photo would appear too dark.
  • Shutter Speed–  The amount of time the camera keeps the shutter open to capture the image.  A fast shutter speed such as 1/640 will help you freeze any movement while a slow shutter speed such as 1/4 will more than likely blur an object in motion which is sometimes desired.
  • ISO–  International Standards Organization.  That doesn’t really help with explaining what it is now does it?  Essentially it measures the sensitivity of the image sensor.  The lower the number (ex. 100 ISO) the less sensitive your camera is to light and the finer the grain.  The higher the number (ex. 3200 ISO) the more sensitive your camera is to light and the coarser the grain.  Typically speaking you would not want a grainy photo so the only time you would raise your ISO high would be in a dimmer setting when you’re not shooting with a tripod.
  • Bracketing–  To take a series of photos at different exposures.
  • HDR–  High Dynamic Range.  This is when you combine multiple photos of different exposures to form an image which shows very bright and very dark areas properly exposed in one image.  This is currently a popular technique that you probably see often.
  • Fill-Flash–  This is when you use existing available light (also called ambient light) in combination with your flash to give a pleasing mix of the two.
  • Dodging–  Selectively lightening part of your photo.
  • Burning–  Selectively darkening part of your photo.
  • Panning–  Moving the camera along with the moving object so that the object remains in the same relative position in the viewfinder as you take a picture.  What this does is blur out what is not moving while keeping your moving object tack sharp.  This is a wonderful technique to show action and makes the photo really come alive.  It pays of to use burst mode if you can when applying this technique.  If nothing else it will make onlookers think you know what you’re doing!

This is a short list that will hopefully get you in the know.  By the way, “shooting racked” out  simply refers to shooting zoomed all the way on whatever lens you’re using like 200mm on a 70-200mm lens.  “Wide open” refers to a large aperture number like a 2.8 where the opening of the lens is wider.  Now that you know shooting racked out and wide open can simply mean shooting at 2.8 and 200mm you are one of the cool kids.