From: BD on
> Well, I'd appreciate help on filling in what things are likely to
> cost, and what things I need to add.  Kinda hoping to stay under
> $1000, but that may be unrealistic if I have to buy software.

Don't buy anything you don't actually have a reason to get. If you
have a specific reason to get the 1.8 lens, great - but if not, wait
until you actually do. It would suck if you spent hundreds of dollars
on stuff that ended up just being shelved.

Ditto with the lighting. Get what you need when you find you need it.
Much of what you would want to accomplish with multiple light sources
you may be able to accomplish with one remote flash and a bounce
reflector. Not sure if the XSI has built-in remote flash control - I
doubt it, offhand. I used a 550EX as the master flash and a couple of
remote 480EXs. Worked fine, but that's quite a few bucks in flashes.

Filters - get a decent UV filter for each lens diameter you have - for
physical protection.

Software - check out GIMP. It won't open the RAW files from the camera
by default, but you should be able to dig up some mechanism for
converting to TIF and then opening in GIMP.
From: Alfred Molon on
There is the Olympus double lens kit (a DLSR, 14-42 + 40-150 lenses)
which allows you to have a complete equipment for a very reasonable
price.

For instance E420 + two lenses for 385 Euro, E520 + two lenses for 450
Euro and so on.

You can always upgrade to more expensive lenses later, should you decide
to do so.
--

Alfred Molon
------------------------------
Olympus E-series DSLRs and micro 4/3 forum at
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/MyOlympus/
http://myolympus.org/ photo sharing site
From: David J Taylor on
> Also, there's the issue of software. Everybody talks about
> Photoshop, but I wonder if there might be freeware that would let me
> process raw images well enough and do the occasional HDR or pano
> pic.

Take a look at these for editing:

http://www.getpaint.net/

http://photofiltre.en.softonic.com/

For raw conversion:

http://www.rawtherapee.com/

and for panos:

http://people.cs.ubc.ca/~mbrown/autostitch/autostitch.html

Cheers,
David
From: Martin Brown on
Peabody wrote:
> As a hobby, I mean.
>
> I've been doing stuff with a Canon A590IS for a year now, but have
> been thinking about getting into photography more seriously -

Unless you are planing to collect classic cameras you can buy your kit
as and when you need it or funds become available not all at once. That
way you can get used to what it can do. And don't forget the blindingly
obvious fact that a big bulky set of kit you can't be bothered carrying
around is a lot less use than a modest point and shoot that is always in
your coat pocket. My Ixus 100IS actually has slightly more pixels in its
image than my much older DSLR and will do HD video clips too.

However, I have a large range of lenses for my SLRs which enable them to
be a lot more flexible.

If you are prepared to trawl through the secondhand lists you can get
some stunningly good lens bargains in mint condition (even more so if
you are prepared to use manual focus lenses). That is how I got my 8mm
fisheye - I would never pay full price for a lens like that.

> 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

It doesn't have to be unless you want bragging rights to new expensive
gear. It is painful watching someone with the latest and greatest APO
prime telephoto sat on top of a feeble tripod wobbling like a jelly.

> 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:
>
> Canon XSi with 18-55mm IS kit lens - $560
> 50mm 1.8 lens - $100

Although the prime lens is faster and sharper it seems a bit odd to get
this in preference to a longer focal length zoom lens. I don't know
about Canon but some makers include lens hoods with their lenses.
You might want to think about one that has a basic macro setting.

> other lenses
> filters
> lens hood
> extra battery
> SD cards
> camera bag
> tripod

Decent tripod is essential for some things and a mini tripod you can
carry to awkward places is handy too. A polariser is sometimes useful
and does something that cannot be simulated afterwards in software.

> off-camera flash, lights, other lighting equipment

A flash gun is handy - high guide number is better. Again you can pick
up some secondhand bargains in full working order if you shop around.

And you can do a lot with cheap foamed PVC card and coloured cardboard
backdrops for small sizes of still life. Cheap halogen desklamps are not
a bad option given that digicams can do autowhite balance.

> software - raw processing and general editing
> software - HDR, pano
> books?
>
> I guess one way to keep the cost down would be to just fart off the
> entire flash/lighting category, and stick with available light.
>
> Also, there's the issue of software. Everybody talks about
> Photoshop, but I wonder if there might be freeware that would let me
> process raw images well enough and do the occasional HDR or pano
> pic.

I am usually rude about Paintshop Pro after Corel mangled it, but PSP 8
can still be had for a very modest price from Amazon. And it has forced
the price of Adobe PS Elements down to a reasonable level.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Corel-Paint-Shop-Pro-8/dp/B00009450H

I think the learning curve for the full Photoshop is too steep for the
casual user and it does not represent value for money. YMMV

> If it matters, I probably wouldn't be doing weddings, wildlife, or
> sports, but pretty much anything else.
>
> Well, I'd appreciate help on filling in what things are likely to
> cost, and what things I need to add. Kinda hoping to stay under
> $1000, but that may be unrealistic if I have to buy software.

My advice is to buy it a bit at a time. When you have used the camera
for a while you will have a better idea what your interests are.

Regards,
Martin Brown
From: bugbear on
BD wrote:
> Software - check out GIMP. It won't open the RAW files from the camera
> by default, but you should be able to dig up some mechanism for
> converting to TIF and then opening in GIMP.

Gimp will open raw "native" if you add the (free) UFram plugin.

BugBear