First time poster & DSLR user in need of advise

Started Jun 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
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smw6230 Junior Member • Posts: 38
First time poster & DSLR user in need of advise

Background - My dad gave me a AE-1 when I was about 8 (50mm prime & 70-210 zoom) so I learned to shoot film and all the camera basics at an early age. Sadly I kinda fell out of it during HS & College. Now that I'm in grad school I want to get back into photography again. In recent months I've been lurking here reading the various opinions and I making up my mind about what camera would be right for me. In the end I decided to save my money and purchase a D90 and use that platform to enter digital photography age. In a perfect world I would have liked the D7000 but us grad students are po' and a D7000 (with quality glass) isn't something that I could afford off of the crumbs they pay us. I considered the D3100 & 5100's but they don't appeal to me because I know that I'll outgrow those quickly. I also want to learn photography and shape the images not just snap pictures. So for me at this point the D90 represented the right mix of advanced learning capability at a affordable price. I figured that by the end of grad school I'd have a good enough understanding of the D90, DSLR's and photo processing to do a proper upgrade to something more modern (D7000).

That plan hit a snag last weekend. I helped a friend of my neighbor move and over boxes we got to talking about photography. It turned out he's a professional photographer. I gave him my thinking and he agreed that in my situation the d90 was probably my entry level camera. He's also a Nikon man.

Thursday when I got home there was a FedEx box in front of my door. I had no idea what it was as I wasn't expecting anything. I took it inside and unwrap it and there before me was a gold Nikon box with D70s written on it that was unopened and still sealed. A two part note attached the first part thanked me for helping him move, the second part consisted of him saying that he purchased the 70s brand new in 2007 to use as a walk-around and he never got around to using it, and he figured that I might be able to finally put it to use.

So now here I sit. I wanted a D90 but fate intervened and now I have a new, albeit older, D70s model.

This brings me to my question.

Is the D70 platform a good enough one to learn on before moving onto something more modern? Or should I flip (sell) it take that money and put it towards a D90?

Personally, I'm inclined to keep it due to several factors.

Price - You really can't beat free and the money that I have saved I can now immediately put toward getting some quality glass within my budget (18-70, 50mm prime, 75-300 - maybe).

Platform - While 2 generations removed from the D90 the 70s at least gets me in the door and starts me shooting/learning right away. The jump from a 70s to say a 7000 my be steep but hardly insurmountable.

Proper - I think it would be somewhat squirrely to sell something that someone gave you as a gift. Plus even if I sold it I wouldn't have enough to get a D90 body in good shape and glass, so I'd have to wait a couple of more months.

Longevity - A minor point as I'm not looking to keep it for 5 years but since the D70 is brand new its got some life left in it and would last longer than if I purchased a used D90 that's perhaps been abused.

So those are kinda my thoughts, and I just wanted to run them by more experienced Nikon users to see if I'm missing anything major in my thinking.

Question 2 - How do I process digital images? Namely is there a guide, thread, or something here that I could read in order to get a handle on it.

I know that I want to shoot RAW to maintain the highest degree of contro over the final image. I understand that. But as God is my witness, I've read no less than 40 (more like 60) threads here trying to figure out digital development and I swear I'm more confused now than I was when I didn't know anything. Lightroom 3/4, Photoshop, RawTherapee, Picasa, WB (white balance, gamma, chroma), HDR, Curves the names and terms have all become one.

I don't think I'm particularly stupid but I have no frame of reference and having read the various threads here on the subject I still have no idea where to start.

In the end what I really want to understand is the process. I think once I get a handle on the process I can then figure out the individual steps. As it is right now all I have are a bunch of words and terms but no structure into which to fit them.

Thanks. Any and all comments would be appreciated.

Nikon D3100 Nikon D70 Nikon D7000 Nikon D70s Nikon D90
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