Warning to beginners

Started Oct 20, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Warning to beginners
Oct 20, 2010

I want to issue a warning to potential starting photographers. This advice was given to me by someone when I started out: "If you get bitten by the photography bug, be prepared to dish out a lot of money", but I didn't listen. I think even some more experienced photographers can recognize past selves in this story. Mind you, I'm not "more experienced", I still consider myself a beginner in many many areas, and not a pro of any sort in any area.

If you like a long-ish read, then here it is, but the story is pretty long, and much of the lingo won't make sense to complete beginners, so if you want my advice now, here it is: If you venture deep into photography, it's probably going to be expensive, both in money and time . Even if you get great advice, I'm pretty sure some of the stuff below is going to happen to you.

I started out with a Canon 1000D, about 3-4 years ago. I bought a Sigma 18-200 pretty soon after, and was very satisfied with it, especially good when traveling. I also got the 50 mm 1.8, which everyone said "you've got to have". They weren't lying. For traveling, I also got a polarizer filter and a graduated ND filter for the Sigma. And a camera bag. And some memory cards of course.

After using the camera for about two years, and speaking to a colleague about full frame cameras, the Full Frame Seed was planted. I didn't buy one immediately, but soon found a good deal for a used 5D classic, and a battery grip. I liked it, but it might have been a hasty decision, since I wasn't ready for some "problems", like lacking auto ISO and some other handy features that beginners like me liked, like A-DEP mode and such. Before buying the 5D, I also bought a Canon 28-300L-lens, which I got a great deal on. It's not a very common lens and expensive, but I have to say it's probably the best lens I've had, in terms of usage and practicality. The image quality is great for the "compromise" it is. You can't really miss a shot with it either.

I didn't have the 5D for very long, which was a mistake, I now realize. I was blinded by the new and shiny 7D, and thought I HAD to have that one. The bigger body of the 5D was extremely nice, since I have largish hands. I found a cheap used 7D, and was pretty satisfied. Still, the 28-300L lens lost a lot of it's great potential with the wide angle "ruined" by the crop sensor. Some lenses I was planning to get also wouldn't be optimal for the crop body. I also really missed the full frame sensor for many reasons, viewfinder size and DOF among others.

So, I managed to sell my 7D for only 30 euros cheaper than I bought it, and, with a bit of luck, got a 5d Mark II in exchange. By now I was a little embarrassed for changing gear so rapidly, but I felt I now had the camera which catered to my every need, and I won't need to upgrade for a long long time. Luckily the 1D series is so expensive it's not really a smart choice unless I turn pro, which I probably won't since I'd like to keep this as a hobby.

One thing that really has surprised me is things I never found interesting suddenly becoming just that. I had never imagined I'd be interested in macro photography, for one. Now I have a 100 2.8 Macro lens, which is incredibly sharp and has opened up a whole new world of photography. Portraits are great with it too. I also never was interested in flash photography, but that has recently become increasingly interesting. With flash and macro photography, also DIY elements have become very intriguing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you don't want to risk losing a lot of money into the neverending photography-well, think twice :). Then again, if you want the opportunity for endless hours of interesting discovery, go for it! :). I've used a lot of money, but I've gotten a lot in return. And I'm actually just starting out....

Lastly, this should of course all be taken with a sense of humor, I'm not that serious about this story, it's just for fun :).

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