Low End DSLR: digital photography on a budget

February 27, 2006

30 Day Photo Challenge

John Koontz sent me an email this weekend that I just got around to reading:

“I came across your blog today and thought you and your readers might be interested in a photography challenge we’ve started. We’re trying to take and post a photo every day for 30 days. We’d love it if you can join us. All the info can be found here.”

Sounds like it might be fun. I might join in starting on March 1.

Posted by Mark in: Photos

February 21, 2006

New Camera, Lenses and Printer from Canon

Every year towards the end of February photo enthusiasts from around the world descend on Orlando, Florida to attend the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) show. Much like never buying a product from Apple right before MacWorld in January, it’s probably best to wait for the announcements various companies will make at PMA before buying anything photo related near the beginning of the year.

This year PMA runs from February 26-March 1, but that hasn’t stopped my favorite photo company from making some pre-show announcements. Canon has announced a new camera, two new lenses and a new printer. And if you can afford to drop the cash for any of these, you might not be in the low end of the market. But it’s nice to dream…

I’ll start with the printer. Compatible with Macs and PCs, the imagePROGRAF iPF5000 is a 12-color printer (red, blue, green, gray, photo gray, cyan, photo cyan, magenta, photo magenta, yellow, regular black and matte black). It switches automatically between regular and matte black, which is a boon to those who favor black and white prints. Plug-ins are included for both Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software and Photoshop. Printing at 1200x1200 dpi (2400x1200 is the maximum resolution), a 16.5 x 23.4 inch print will take about 3 minutes.

All this will set you back $1,945. Yep, not in the low end.

Continue reading “New Camera, Lenses and Printer from Canon”

Posted by Mark in: Canon | Equipment | Lenses | Comments (3)

February 17, 2006

The Megapixel Myth

David Pogue recently posted some interesting insight from a reader regarding just how many Megapixels we need in a camera. In a previous column Pogue quoted Chuck Westfall of Canon’s camera marketing group as saying, “Seven- and eight-megapixel cameras seem to be more than adequate. We can easily go up to a 13-by-19 print and see very, very clear detail.”

His reader wrote in to agree, stating that, “Round about 6 megapixels was always going to be a tipping point, because at that density, the average person won’t see any difference in quality when using a standard lens and printing at reasonable size.” This agrees with what Ken Rockwell has been saying for some time. In fact Rockwell goes so far as to say that for the average person, “a 3 MP camera pretty much looks the same as a 6 MP camera, even when blown up to 12 x 18!”

Continue reading “The Megapixel Myth”

Posted by Mark in: Equipment | Lenses | Comments (4)

The Canon Digital Rebel

Also known as the 300D, this is Canon’s entry level DSLR. Street price is about $700 with the 18-55mm kit lens. This is the camera I have been using (and learning to use) for about a year now.

Since it occupies the low end of Canon’s DSLR offerings, it does not have all the bells and whistles of it’s more expensive brethren, but I have yet to exhaust all the possibilities with it.

There options range from fully automatic, which lets the camera make all the decisions for you with regard to exposure and focus, to fully manual, where you are in charge of everything from ISO and shutter speed to f-stop and focus.

Since it is a digital camera, the time it takes to learn how all of these options work together to create a compelling image is greatly reduced. Being able to view the results immediately on the LCD viewer means making quick adjustments and reshooting is possible. And having all the EXIF data available when comparing shots on the computer makes it easier and faster to understand the relationship between ISO and noise, or f-stop and depth of field.

For me, this has been a great first SLR.

Continue reading “The Canon Digital Rebel”

Posted by Mark in: 300d/350d | Canon | Digital Rebel/XT | Equipment | Comments (6)

February 14, 2006

Why Low End?

Admittedly the hobby of photography is an expensive one. Digital SLRs (Single Lens Reflex) cost on the order of $1000 and up. And then there are the lenses, which can go for more than the cost of the camera body—some many times more. And what is the point of having a camera that can accept multiple lenses if you don’t have more than one lens to put on it?

Then there are tripods, carrying cases, flash units, storage cards, batteries, light meters, reflectors, and backgrounds. And you also need a computer to process the images, and software for the computer, and a printer to print the photos.

All of this costs money. The barrier to entry can be pretty intimidating. I know it took me quite a while to make the plunge. And as the name of this site indicates, I’m sitting at the low end of the range.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting about what equipment I have, and why I have it. From there I’ll discuss what I am learning about how to take better photos, and maybe be able to help you in your photography. I’ll leave comments open as I can so that you can chime in with your thoughts on whatever subject I am tackling.

I will also be sharing my photos with you, and maybe some interesting stories as they come up.

If there is anything else you’d like to know, or want me to cover, let me know in the comments.

Posted by Mark in: Equipment | Comments (1)

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