From: J�rgen Exner on
Peabody <waybackNO784SPAM44(a)> wrote:
>As a hobby, I mean.

You need a camera, threre is no way around that. They range from 10$ US
to many, many thousand dollars.

>I've been doing stuff with a Canon A590IS for a year now, but have

Great, then already have all that is required to get started.

>been thinking about getting into photography more seriously -
>getting a nice camera, etc. My total investment in the A590 setup
>is around $150, including the camera, batteries, charger, SD cards,
>and card reader, and that's using a cheap, wobly tripod I bought
>years ago that really isn't much good.
>But serious photography seems to be a really expensive hobby, and I
>would be operating under a limited budget. So I was trying to make
>a list of the things I would need, and would appreciate help putting
>specific numbers on some of these things. Here's my list so far:
[Snipping long list of items]

Honestly, you are looking at it from the wrong angle. Better (and more
expensive equipment) may allow you to take photos under more difficult
circumstances or to improve the technical quality of photos but it
doesn't make you a better photographer. There are many very famous
photographers who used simple equipment and still took stunning photos.

My recommendation would be to buy additional gear as and when you need
it, i.e. when limitations with your current gear block you from taking
the photo you want. E.g. you become interested in night photos with no
flash, then sooner or later you need a lens with large aperture. But
don't buy it because someday you may be wanting to take those pictures.

The first big and expensive step is obviously from a P&S to a SLR. But
even there I'd say as long as your A590 does the job there is no reason
to replace a tool that is working well.
On the other hand this is a leap that sooner or later you are most
likely to make, so maybe this switch could give you a head start early
on. But yet again, kit lenses are not terribly bad and unless you know
exactly what you need that very expensive glass for I would stick with
less costly options until you run into the limits of those cheaper

From: J�rgen Exner on
Peabody <waybackNO746SPAM44(a)> wrote:
>I had picked the XSI because it's the cheapest new Canon,

I cannot comment on the XSi in particular, but in general in my
experience the lowest-priced item in a line-up is usually too much
stripped and poorly designed and constructed, with a very strong focus
on price only. After all that's the sales argument: the low price.
One notch up usually gives a better bang for the buck.

> and I
>picked Canon just because I had had good luck in the past with their

While your argument may sound stupid it actually makes a lot of sense.
Using a camera you are comfortable with (and being comfortable with is
an emotional and irrational factor) is often more important than its
technical qualities.

>There was one comment about Nikon being better that Canon for old,
>inexpensive lenses. I don't understand that. Did Canon change the
>mount or something so that old film lenses won't work anymore, even

While correct it is mostly a red herring. Yes, Canon changed from FD to
the incompatible EF mount. while Nikon keeps using its F mount and
gradually adding new features to it.
But that change for Canon was back in 1987, and there are really not
that many 30+ year old lenses around which would outperform today's
lenses or where you couldn't get a new cheap lens with similar
performance as the once very expensive 30+ year old lens. I am sure
there are exceptions, but we are talking general stuff here, not
expert-level speciality lenses.

However you may want to watch out for the new Canon EF-S mount,
introduced last year, which is only one-way compatible with the standard
EF mount.

From: Robert Spanjaard on
On Thu, 14 Jan 2010 10:37:42 -0500, J. Clarke wrote:

> I'm not seeing the original post--found it on Google Groups though. The
> OP hasn't answered a very basic question. What does he want to do that
> his current setup won't do.
> It's easy to make a bunch of recommendations for general purpose kit,
> but the right setup for press photography is different from the right
> setup for product photography which is different from the right setup
> for portraits which is different from the right setup for landscapes and
> so on.

"If it matters, I probably wouldn't be doing weddings, wildlife, or
sports, but pretty much anything else."

Regards, Robert
From: Paul Furman on
Peabody wrote:
> But to me the A590 has some limitations, mainly in two areas. The
> first is that I'm just not able to get the shallow depth of field
> that I see in other people's pics. Pretty much everything is in
> focus, whether I want it to be or not. As I understand it, that
> blurred-background effect is just not optically possible with a
> sensor this small.

You can get the look with long zoom and especially for closeups.

> The second limitation is low-light capability. Of course I can
> crank up the ISO on the A590 and get the pic, but then it usually
> doesn't look so good.

The newest models are best at this although an older used model should
still be considerably better than the P&S, this is an area where the
temptation is strong to keep shoveling out money every couple years for
a new camera.

> Ok, one more thing. It has noticeable barrel distortion. Well,
> that's not usually a major problem, but an artist asked me to take
> pics of his paintings, and then the distortion became apparent.

This really needs a macro lens. A shorter one like 55 or 60mm will be
easier to do paintings unless they are small or you have a large work
space. If you have room, longer lenses are better, even if not macro.
Macro lenses are designed specifically for copy work like this more so
than for bugs & such which is quite forgiving of corner softness &

> ...For example, I'm in the middle of
> doing a series of pics of the innards of my piano, and I have a few
> visually striking images...

Again this suggests you like macro & product shot type studio closeups.
That's quite demanding work.

> I wouldn't be using the DSLR to document vacations or take pictures
> at parties, etc. The A590 is plenty good, and maybe better, for
> that. It's not so much a particular subject matter that I'm
> interested in, but rather making really good photographs. I mean in
> photographic and artistic terms. So I would want to be able to do a
> variety of things - portraits, street photography, architecture,
> landscapes, technical stuff, and even artsy-fartsy stuff where you
> can't tell what anything is. :-)
> I had picked the XSI because it's the cheapest new Canon, and I
> picked Canon just because I had had good luck in the past with their
> stuff. The 50mm 1.8 lens is on the list so I could shoot in low
> light (the kit lens starts at 3.5 I think), and/or with very narrow
> depth of field when needed. And it's supposed to be very sharp.

50mm is kind of long though so not like it was originally designed to be
used. A fast normal lens for crop frame DSLRs is not nearly as cheap but
more usable. Probably more like $350 or more but you could do a heck of
a lot with only that. Something like 28mm, perhaps 35mm.

> There was one comment about Nikon being better that Canon for old,
> inexpensive lenses. I don't understand that. Did Canon change the
> mount or something so that old film lenses won't work anymore, even
> manually?

Right. Canons can mount old Nikon lenses but more awkwardly. And with
Nikon, you'll need at least a D200 to meter with those lenses. So while
the D200 is not the best high ISO performer, they can be bought for a
very good price used and are a real serious piece of equipment with
almost unlimited technical possibilities.

So my recommended kit would be:

Nikon D200 ($500?)
28mm f/2 Ai-S $300
55mm f/2.8 Micro Ai-S $200
75-150mm f/3.5 Series-E Ai-S $100
Photoshop elements $90?
Old beat up very heavy tripod or nothing $?
-don't waste money on a compromise tripod.

Personally I would want something really wide too but we've already
blown your budget. If you want to reserve the option to go full frame,
about the only reasonable option is a 20mm f/2.8 AF (a fine lens) for
another $300. Don't bother with a kit zoom, if you want something
convenient & mediocre, you've already got the P&S.

Paul Furman

all google groups messages filtered due to spam
From: J. Clarke on
nospam wrote:
> In article <00cb207a$0$23374$c3e8da3(a)>, Peabody
> <waybackNO746SPAM44(a)> wrote:
>> There was one comment about Nikon being better that Canon for old,
>> inexpensive lenses. I don't understand that. Did Canon change the
>> mount or something so that old film lenses won't work anymore, even
>> manually?
> 'film lenses' is meaningless. canon changed their mount and old manual
> focus canon lenses will not fit nor work, however, any canon autofocus
> lens will work, including ones from the film era.
> there are adapters for the manual lenses, but they either use an optic
> making it a 1.3x teleconverter and are hard to find and only work with
> some lenses, or there's no optic and you lose infinity focus. in other
> words, not worth it.

However, manual focus Nikon lenses work fine on a modern Canon with an
adapter, as do lenses for several other brands of SLR.