Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
sonic123 New Member • Posts: 6
Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner
1

Hello. I know this kind of questions are not much liked but I would try to be brief. No matter how good each new generation of smartphones is supposed to be, I find that the photos I take with my iPhone (currently iPhone 11 Pro Max) are always missing something and I don't find them that great.

I am an absolute beginner willing to learn BUT I would like to buy a kind of camera that would serve me as a "gateway drug", I mean, a first camera that would take such great photos in comparison to my iPhone that it would motivate me to learn more, get into the hobby and upgrade the camera. In 2010, I bought an Olympus PEN E-PL1 that was supposed to be better than a regular point and shoot and while the photos were somehow better than my cheap P&S camera, the photos were nothing to talk about.

I've seen some photo samples of the Nikon D3500 and I've loved them. Being so used to my iPhone photos, I could instantly tell that the D3500 photos were different in a good way.  The vivid/natural colors, the detail et al. looked to me like a "professional" photo.

I've read that the D3500 is quite recommended for a beginner's camera BUT it is not ideal as a video camera. I would also like to shoot better videos than the ones I get from my iPhone so it would be ideal if I found a camera that can take photos as good as the D3500 but also great videos.

The problem is that I'm an ignorant beginner with ZERO knowledge and one of the things people praise the D3500 about is that it actually includes an "in-camera" tutorial and a great internal photo processing so you can get great photos without using external/additional computer programs.

So my questions are (being that money wouldn't be a problem):

1) Does the Sony A7 III take better photos (better image quality - pro looking photos) than the D3500 or does the D3500 still makes the better photos?

2) Does the Sony A7 III in "auto mode" could be used by a beginner like me, so I could take good-looking "regular" photos, portrait photos, landscape and sports photos as equal or better than the D3500?

3) Could the Nikon Z50 be the sweet spot? Or maybe the Sony A6600/A6100

I would be using my camera to make everyday moments photos look BETTER (way better) than the ones I obtain with my iPhone and also to shoot photos (both regular and portrait) photos of my daughter and wife and shoot videos for my daughter.

I am willing to learn about the basics and get into the hobby but in the meantime I would like to be able to take great photos while learning, just like the D3500 it's supposed to allow.

Why, you could say, I don't go and buy the D3500 already? The answer is because the D3500 is not good at shooting videos so would much rather get a camera that is also a good video device without losing any image quality of the D3500.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your insight, suggestions and recommendations!

Best regards,

Nikon D3500 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Sony a7 III
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 67,486
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner
5

sonic123 wrote:

Hello. I know this kind of questions are not much liked but I would try to be brief. No matter how good each new generation of smartphones is supposed to be, I find that the photos I take with my iPhone (currently iPhone 11 Pro Max) are always missing something and I don't find them that great.

I am an absolute beginner willing to learn BUT I would like to buy a kind of camera that would serve me as a "gateway drug", I mean, a first camera that would take such great photos in comparison to my iPhone that it would motivate me to learn more, get into the hobby and upgrade the camera. In 2010, I bought an Olympus PEN E-PL1 that was supposed to be better than a regular point and shoot and while the photos were somehow better than my cheap P&S camera, the photos were nothing to talk about.

I've seen some photo samples of the Nikon D3500 and I've loved them. Being so used to my iPhone photos, I could instantly tell that the D3500 photos were different in a good way. The vivid/natural colors, the detail et al. looked to me like a "professional" photo.

I've read that the D3500 is quite recommended for a beginner's camera BUT it is not ideal as a video camera. I would also like to shoot better videos than the ones I get from my iPhone so it would be ideal if I found a camera that can take photos as good as the D3500 but also great videos.

The problem is that I'm an ignorant beginner with ZERO knowledge and one of the things people praise the D3500 about is that it actually includes an "in-camera" tutorial and a great internal photo processing so you can get great photos without using external/additional computer programs.

So my questions are (being that money wouldn't be a problem):

1) Does the Sony A7 III take better photos (better image quality - pro looking photos) than the D3500 or does the D3500 still makes the better photos?

2) Does the Sony A7 III in "auto mode" could be used by a beginner like me, so I could take good-looking "regular" photos, portrait photos, landscape and sports photos as equal or better than the D3500?

3) Could the Nikon Z50 be the sweet spot? Or maybe the Sony A6600/A6100

I would be using my camera to make everyday moments photos look BETTER (way better) than the ones I obtain with my iPhone and also to shoot photos (both regular and portrait) photos of my daughter and wife and shoot videos for my daughter.

I am willing to learn about the basics and get into the hobby but in the meantime I would like to be able to take great photos while learning, just like the D3500 it's supposed to allow.

Why, you could say, I don't go and buy the D3500 already? The answer is because the D3500 is not good at shooting videos so would much rather get a camera that is also a good video device without losing any image quality of the D3500.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your insight, suggestions and recommendations!

Best regards,

Wow. Where to start.

You seem to have picked an odd assortment of cameras there, they are in completely different classes. I think if you're serious and in it for the long term, then working out some kind of decision tree is worthwhile.

Question 1.

Do your want to buy a 'beginners camera' to get you started, learn the ropes, and give you the basis to make a longer term decision later, or do you want to jump into your long term system with both feet from the get go? The advantage of the first approach is that you aren't committing to anything. At the moment you don't know what type of photography you like to do or how seriously you are going to take it. All that makes the chances of getting the choice wrong. Another advantage is that you can buy a decent all rounder, and get access to a wide range of photography styles without spending a lot of money. The disadvantage, of course is that you'll have a camera fro just a while, but it'll likely get something back on the second had market.

If you do decide on a 'beginners camera', then something like the D3500 (and there are several cameras 'like' the D3500) and a couple of lenses is a possibility, but I'd suggest going for a so-called 'bridge' camera, like the Panasonic FZ1000, its updates or similar types from Nikon, Canon or Sony. These have quite large (so called 'one inch') sensors and good zoom lenses and are quite capable of taking very good pictures. They have all the same controls, so are great cameras to learn the basics on.  The lens isn't interchangeable, but that's an advantage at the beginning, because you start with a lens that can do quite a wide range of different tasks.

If you decide against this route, go to question 2.

Question 2.

What's your budget? You can spend an absurd amount of money on photographic gear, and if you plunge straight into the top end, the you have to spend quite a bit just to get a kit that is reasonably flexible and covers a wide range of situations. Once you've spent enough, you'll get something that covers everything extremely well, but you'll have spent a lot of money. Particularly, cameras with big 'full frame' sensors like the A7III are likely to empty your wallet fast. It's not just the cameras, it's the lenses that go with them. Only you can make the decision. Depending on the decision you make, take different routes through the subsequent questions.

Question 3.

What type of photography do you think you're going to do? Whilst pretty much all cameras and systems are general purpose, so are better for different types of photography than others.

Question 4.

DSLR or Mirrorless? The future is undoubtedly with mirrorless systems, but right this moment DSLRs are generally cheaper and have a wider range of lenses available, on the other hand mirrorless cameras have their own advantages, such as potentially a potentially wider range of lenses (though at the moment it's narrower), maybe better optical quality (though that's debatable), and a more flexible viewfinder system, though at the cost of battery drain and some delay which can make action photography difficult.

Question 5.

Which brands and cameras appeal to you? This is an underrated issue. By and large you'll do better with equipment you like that that which you don't, even though the reasons for that might be irrational. It's very worthwhile finding the opportunity to actually handle and try any camera you're thinking of buying. Purchase on spec sheets, reviews or other peoples' recommendation without ever using a camera, not so much.

Think about the questions, and you'll at least have some personal criteria against which to judge the available choices, and there are a lot more than the cameras you mentioned.

-- hide signature --

Is it always wrong
for one to have the hots for
Comrade Kim Yo Jong?

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 18,446
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner
4

sonic123 wrote:

I agree with everything Bob has said so I won't repeat that, but I'll add a couple of things.

Hello. I know this kind of questions are not much liked but I would try to be brief. No matter how good each new generation of smartphones is supposed to be, I find that the photos I take with my iPhone (currently iPhone 11 Pro Max) are always missing something and I don't find them that great.

I am an absolute beginner willing to learn BUT I would like to buy a kind of camera that would serve me as a "gateway drug", I mean, a first camera that would take such great photos in comparison to my iPhone that it would motivate me to learn more, get into the hobby and upgrade the camera. In 2010, I bought an Olympus PEN E-PL1 that was supposed to be better than a regular point and shoot and while the photos were somehow better than my cheap P&S camera, the photos were nothing to talk about.

It's important to realise that cameras don't take photographs - it's photographers who do that. Any camera - including the one in a phone - is just a tool for the photographer. And tools need to be learned - phones are designed to be very easy to learn, cameras take more time and effort.

I've seen some photo samples of the Nikon D3500 and I've loved them. Being so used to my iPhone photos, I could instantly tell that the D3500 photos were different in a good way. The vivid/natural colors, the detail et al. looked to me like a "professional" photo.

Any camera can do that - you could look at samples from any camera on the market and be impressed if the photographer chose a style that appealed to you.

I've read that the D3500 is quite recommended for a beginner's camera BUT it is not ideal as a video camera. I would also like to shoot better videos than the ones I get from my iPhone so it would be ideal if I found a camera that can take photos as good as the D3500 but also great videos.

Mirrorless cameras are generally considered to be better for video than DSLRs.

The problem is that I'm an ignorant beginner with ZERO knowledge and one of the things people praise the D3500 about is that it actually includes an "in-camera" tutorial and a great internal photo processing so you can get great photos without using external/additional computer programs.

So my questions are (being that money wouldn't be a problem):

See above - in the hands if a good photographer all these cameras (and any others you think of) will give equally good results.

1) Does the Sony A7 III take better photos (better image quality - pro looking photos) than the D3500 or does the D3500 still makes the better photos?

2) Does the Sony A7 III in "auto mode" could be used by a beginner like me, so I could take good-looking "regular" photos, portrait photos, landscape and sports photos as equal or better than the D3500?

3) Could the Nikon Z50 be the sweet spot? Or maybe the Sony A6600/A6100

I would be using my camera to make everyday moments photos look BETTER (way better) than the ones I obtain with my iPhone and also to shoot photos (both regular and portrait) photos of my daughter and wife and shoot videos for my daughter.

I am willing to learn about the basics and get into the hobby but in the meantime I would like to be able to take great photos while learning, just like the D3500 it's supposed to allow.

Why, you could say, I don't go and buy the D3500 already? The answer is because the D3500 is not good at shooting videos so would much rather get a camera that is also a good video device without losing any image quality of the D3500.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your insight, suggestions and recommendations!

Best regards,

-- hide signature --

Gerry
________________________________________________________________________
I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
_________________________________________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

JasonTheBirder
JasonTheBirder Senior Member • Posts: 1,402
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner
1

Getting any of these cameras will produce shots with good detail. However, it is the right light that will actually make a shot much better. I would not expect much better photos just putting a camera on auto and pointing it at whatever happens. The best way to get better is learn to recognize good light and take the shot at that time. Just a disclaimer.

That being said, a dedicated camera will produce superior shots if you do learn to do that.

Out of the cameras you listed, I would go with the Z50 or A7III. The D3500 as you said is not as advanced for video and the A6600 might annoy you with its higher than average rolling shutter. The Z50 and A7III are better in that regard. The latter has IBIS which helps a lot for lower-light portraits when the subjects are not moving.

You would also need to get a proper lens. For taking shots of people I suggest a nice fast prime, somewhere in the 35-50mm range and f/1.8 or faster.

Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,363
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner
1

sonic123 wrote:

Welcome to the forums!

You're probably not going to like my short answer, which is this: It doesn't matter which camera you get. All will work equally well -- and, if your expectations are wrong, equally badly.

Here's the long answer:

Smartphones take pretty amazing photos, and one of the ways they do that is by using techniques that more advanced photographers would apply manually. For example, let's say the scene has a lot of dark and light areas. (Cameras don't deal as well with extremes of dark and light as human eyes do.) You press the button once, but the phone actually takes several pictures, not just one, and combines them, tossing out the too-light and too-dark parts and using the just-right sections of each to give you a photo that looks evenly lit.

Now, there may be some entry-level cameras that use the same fancy (dare we call it cheating?) techniques that smartphones do. But higher-end cameras may not have those same abilities. Take that same shot with a high-end camera and it'll probably look like crap.

Why? Because higher end cameras are designed not to take better pictures, but to give photographers greater control over their images.

The idea is that, given that same dark-and-light tricky situation, a more advanced photographer will know what to do -- bracket (take several photos at different exposures) and stack the photos in post-processing, or use auxiliary lighting, or use other post-processing techniques to get the photo looking just the way they want it. Or they might just choose a scene that won't give them so many complications.

The assumption is that more advanced photographers don't want the camera to fix those problems for them -- they want creative control to make the photos the way they want.

Back in the film days, students were required to use the most simple, basic cameras possible -- manual focus, manual aperture, manual shutter speed, manual wind. The idea was to teach them the basics, and how all these settings affected their images. It sounds intimidating to some but it really wasn't difficult -- if an idiot like me can learn it, anyone can.

1) Does the Sony A7 III take better photos (better image quality - pro looking photos) than the D3500 or does the D3500 still makes the better photos?

Neither -- it's the photographer who makes great pictures. The cameras have different qualities, and there may be some argument as to which one has sharper lenses, or makes less-noisy high-ISO photos, but the broad truth is that it's the photographer, not the camera, who makes the images. I work at a car publication with some truly talented photographers, and they have vastly differing opinions on Sony vs. Canon vs. Nikon, but any of them could take great photos on any gear. Or a smartphone!

I would be using my camera to make everyday moments photos look BETTER (way better) than the ones I obtain with my iPhone and also to shoot photos (both regular and portrait) photos of my daughter and wife and shoot videos for my daughter.

That's going to require some learning. It's not terribly difficult: First, you need to understand the basics of exposure (aperture and shutter speed) and the effect they have on photos. A lot of people overcomplicate this but it hasn't really changed much in the 170 years or so.

Next step is to learn more about post processing -- that's how you make the photos look better than reality. I find that one a bit intimidating (I grew up in photography in the film era, and still shoot on film) but it's still not terribly difficult.

Because I know the basics, btw, I'm still able to get (I think) passably decent images without knowing a lot of post-processing. I've been doing it long enough to figure out how a scene in front of me will translate into a photo, and how I can manipulate the scene using the controls the camera gave me.

Back In The Day I had a black-and-white night shot I was rather proud of hanging in my dorm room, and friends would say, "Oh, but you have a really good camera." And I'd tell them that, actually, that was a pic I took not with the "big" camera but with a simple point-and-shoot.

All of us who have been snapping away long enough know someone (or several someones) who thought they could buy their way to a good photo. They bought expensive gear, but didn't know the basics, and they got photos that were very sharp and nicely exposed, but still boring. Meanwhile, I knew lots of people who took amazing, compelling images with very simple equipment. I now own some of those high-end film cameras (they're dirt cheap nowadays) and while they do speed up the process, the photos I make with them aren't any better than on my lower-end film cameras.

Great photos are made behind the camera, not in it!

I can't speak much for video, which I don't do. I would say that any camera that meets your video needs will probably be fine for still photography.

I would also say that you probably won't get images as good as your iPhone right off the bat. But as you learn more, and learn to take control of your images, you'll be able to make your photos even better. A mirrorless camera might help a little since it gives you a better idea of what your shot will look like, but with higher-end cameras, there's no magic bullet. Happily, photography is not all that difficult to learn to do well and lots of people here will help you out.

Good luck and let us know how you get on!

Aaron

-- hide signature --
Handsome90 Contributing Member • Posts: 584
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner

sonic123 wrote:

So my questions are (being that money wouldn't be a problem):

1) Does the Sony A7 III take better photos (better image quality - pro looking photos) than the D3500 or does the D3500 still makes the better photos?

It's the photographers, who are making it look pro. I have seen award winning photos from gears under $400. Having said that D3500 is not in the same league as A7 III and that's why you see the price difference between them.

2) Does the Sony A7 III in "auto mode" could be used by a beginner like me, so I could take good-looking "regular" photos, portrait photos, landscape and sports photos as equal or better than the D3500?

I haven't used the auto modes (intelligent auto and superior auto) in a long time so I can't say. I remember the auto modes in the P&S cameras served me well. I hear good things about Olympus too and it has many smartphone like features. Also lenses play a major role in making the photos superior to smartphones.

3) Could the Nikon Z50 be the sweet spot? Or maybe the Sony A6600/A6100

All 3 are good options. But please keep in mind that the menus in Sony cameras can be daunting for a beginner.

My advice would be to choose a sensor size first.

Good cameras with APS-C sized sensors are XT-3/4, X100V, Sony A6400/A6600

Good cameras with full frame sensors Nikon Z5, Z6, Sony A7 III, A7c, Canon R, R6, RP

Keep in mind that you will also have to buy lenses. It's a better idea to buy a cheap camera with multiple lenses than a more expensive camera with fewer lenses. Lenses for APS-Cs tend to cost less than full frame (there can be some exceptions with older full frame lenses).

lehill
lehill Veteran Member • Posts: 5,980
Frozen dinners to home-made dinners

sonic123 wrote:

Hello. I know this kind of questions are not much liked but I would try to be brief. No matter how good each new generation of smartphones is supposed to be, I find that the photos I take with my iPhone (currently iPhone 11 Pro Max) are always missing something and I don't find them that great.

Everyone has given such wonderful answers but I love my corny analogies.

Your cellphones are like frozen dinners, Everything is done for you and the results are OK.

If you buy a camera, you'll have to learn how to prepare and cook by yourself. Making an image with a camera is a lot more work, but those of us here find it much more satisfying.

-- hide signature --

Lance H

 lehill's gear list:lehill's gear list
Sony a99 II Sony a7 II Sony a7R IV Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM +26 more
bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 67,486
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner
1

Autonerd wrote:

That's going to require some learning. It's not terribly difficult: First, you need to understand the basics of exposure (aperture and shutter speed) and the effect they have on photos. A lot of people overcomplicate this but it hasn't really changed much in the 170 years or so.

I can see you getting your retaliation in first, in case you get picked up on what you say....

Well, 'exposure' isn't 'aperture and shutter speed', it's aperture shutter speed and scene luminance. Or at least that's what controls it. I know that's probably what you meant to say, but when you tell a beginner that it's just 'aperture and shutter speed', if you miss out the other bit, they're likely to get the wrong idea, whether on not you think that's 'overcomplicated'.

Next step is to learn more about post processing -- that's how you make the photos look better than reality. I find that one a bit intimidating (I grew up in photography in the film era, and still shoot on film) but it's still not terribly difficult.

You missed out processing. You might have been including it in 'post-processing', but it doesn't really fit your description of what 'post processing' is. Your camera can do it for you, just like the minilab used to, but probably it's more useful to learn how to process from raw than to spend your time 'post-processing' from JPEGs.

-- hide signature --

Is it always wrong
for one to have the hots for
Comrade Kim Yo Jong?

OP sonic123 New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner
1

Thank you all very much. I've made my mind and bought a NIKON Z50. Everything you all have said about is the "photographer not the camera" is absolutely true BUT over a week I've been seeing a lot of "sample galleries" of many cameras and, don't know why, the Nikon photos stand out to me. Don't know if that's what is called "color science" and that each camera manufacturer have their own one or what but all the Nikon photos had color renditions that I really liked.

I understand what you are telling me about that an iPhone can take better photos than a professional camera if the professional camera is in the wrong hands, more in my case in which I change my iPhone every year (replacing my iPhone 11 Pro Max with the iPhone 12 Pro Max) but I would really like to take a further step onto photography being that specially iPhone are very limited in the tweaks you can do in the photo shooting.

I don't like the idea of post-processing. I mean, if I have a whole of things yet to learn about using the camera, I don't even want to begin thinking about the big learning curve of programs like Lightroom. Curiously enough, I "played" with some RAW files that I downloaded from DPREVIEW and applied the filters of a most basic free program like WINDOWS PHOTO and the preset filters made wonders to the original RAW pictures. Guess that's easy when the "source" is a good as those RAW files.

I will try to learn and practice with my Z50 and hopefully, at one time, get good results. I know I won't get immediate results.

BONUS CURIOUS QUESTION: In the responses to my post, I've read someone saying that one of the photos he was most proud of when young, was a b&w photo he took with a basic film (not digital) point-and-shoot camera. The QUESTION is: Back in those days, when you had to take the negatives to the shop for them to print them, how did you got a b&w photo? Do they have to use a special paper? A special program? Or was that you actually had to buy a special b&w film so all photos you take with that film were going to be b&w ones? Thank you.

Thank you all. Best regards,

Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,363
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner

bobn2 wrote:

I can see you getting your retaliation in first, in case you get picked up on what you say....

You're way to sensitive, Bob.

You missed out processing. You might have been including it in 'post-processing', but it doesn't really fit your description of what 'post processing' is.

You're correct -- I'm still thinking in film terms (that anything done on the computer is post-processing). Also, I live in Los Angeles, home of the movie industry, where the answer to every problem you encounter is "We'll fix it in post!"

-- hide signature --
Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,363
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner

sonic123 wrote:

Thank you all very much. I've made my mind and bought a NIKON Z50.

Congrats! Marvelous camera.

I don't like the idea of post-processing. I mean, if I have a whole of things yet to learn about using the camera, I don't even want to begin thinking about the big learning curve of programs like Lightroom.

Don't sweat it, like most things it's not too difficult to achieve basic competence. You'll get there.

BONUS CURIOUS QUESTION: In the responses to my post, I've read someone saying that one of the photos he was most proud of when young, was a b&w photo he took with a basic film (not digital) point-and-shoot camera. The QUESTION is: Back in those days, when you had to take the negatives to the shop for them to print them, how did you got a b&w photo? Do they have to use a special paper? A special program? Or was that you actually had to buy a special b&w film so all photos you take with that film were going to be b&w ones? Thank you.

Short answer:

I was taking film classes, and we used to develop our own B&W film and make the prints in the (school) darkroom. I still shoot B&W film and develop it myself, but I now scan instead of printing in the darkroom.

Longer answer:

B&W uses a different film and development chemistry (and, for prints, different paper) than color film. You either loaded color film or B&W, and in fact many photographers (myself included) sometimes carried two compatible camera bodies, one loaded with color and one B&W. You also couldn't switch ISO on the fly!

They used to teach photography with B&W because it was simple to develop (it could be done at room temperature and the process was fairly forgiving of slight errors). Printing could be done in a room lit with red safelights, so you could see what you were doing, and print developing was done in trays. (The photo really does magically appear, just like in the movies.)

Contrast (heh) this with color -- I took a color print class we didn't develop our own film (it requires higher temps and stricter control, though they now make easy-to-use home kits). Printing had to be done in complete darkness -- you'd get everything set up, then kill the lights, take out the paper, make the exposure, put everything away and bag up your print before turning lights on. We had a machine to process the prints, not trays. It was fun but a much bigger pain in the buttocks.

You could have B&W developed/printed by labs and specialty shops, though, and IIRC it wasn't much more expensive than color. Today I believe the big B&W machines are largely gone and most commercial B&W development is done by hand.

They did (and still do) make black and white film that uses the color C-41 process which is much easier to get developed nowadays. But B&W developing is so cheap and easy that it's well worth doing.

There are still lots and lots of different B&W films available today, all with slightly different characteristics. Trying out new film stocks is (for me) one of the joys of film photography. Most of the time when I go to buy film, I pick up an extra roll of something new, just to try it. Just did that today, matter o' fact.

Aaron

-- hide signature --
bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 67,486
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner
1

Autonerd wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

I can see you getting your retaliation in first, in case you get picked up on what you say....

You're way to sensitive, Bob.

Well, you wrote what your wrote, you didn't have to write all that stuff about people overcomplicating it, but you did.

You missed out processing. You might have been including it in 'post-processing', but it doesn't really fit your description of what 'post processing' is.

You're correct -- I'm still thinking in film terms (that anything done on the computer is post-processing). Also, I live in Los Angeles, home of the movie industry, where the answer to every problem you encounter is "We'll fix it in post!"

In film terms, processing is development, and 'post-processing' is what you do at the printing stage, dodging and burning etc. That was also true in motion pictures, which people forget used negative film and printed it. In 'post', you'd make an internegative, withe the aforesaid dodging, burning and a load of other stuff that now has given its name to tools on photoshop.

-- hide signature --

Is it always wrong
for one to have the hots for
Comrade Kim Yo Jong?

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 18,446
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner
1

sonic123 wrote:

Thank you all very much. I've made my mind and bought a NIKON Z50. Everything you all have said about is the "photographer not the camera" is absolutely true BUT over a week I've been seeing a lot of "sample galleries" of many cameras and, don't know why, the Nikon photos stand out to me. Don't know if that's what is called "color science" and that each camera manufacturer have their own one or what but all the Nikon photos had color renditions that I really liked.

There is, indeed, a lot of science applied to photography. However, the way colours look to individuals is very personal and science hasn't yet worked out how to reproduce them perfectly. Getting from the way light is recorded on the camera's sensor to the final picture requires a lot of art; each maker has its own team of technicians who apply this art and - being people - they all have slightly different styles.

That's what is called (wrongly) "colour science" and it means that the results straight from the camera can have recognisable differences between makes.

I understand what you are telling me about that an iPhone can take better photos than a professional camera if the professional camera is in the wrong hands, more in my case in which I change my iPhone every year (replacing my iPhone 11 Pro Max with the iPhone 12 Pro Max) but I would really like to ...

… take a further step onto photography being that specially iPhone are very limited in the tweaks you can do in the photo shooting. I don't like the idea of post-processing.

I've pushed these two statements together because they are contradictory. What you call "tweaking" is taking control of how the final picture looks to make it suit your own taste rather than some general one-size-fits-all style imposed by the maker's technicians.

You can do this in two ways: (1) you can make crude adjustments to a range of parameters such as contrast, saturation, sharpening etc in the camera; in this case you have to guess what the result will be and if you don't like it the pictures you took that way are spoiled, so you keep fiddling until you get something that works … and then you take a different sort of picture and you have to start again; (2) you take what comes from the camera as a base and make adjustments of the same parameters on your computer where you can see the effect as you go.

I mean, if I have a whole of things yet to learn about using the camera, I don't even want to begin thinking about the big learning curve of programs like Lightroom.

(a) the learning curve isn't very big and (b) the learning curve for the same things on the camera (as I described above) is bigger.

Curiously enough, I "played" with some RAW files that I downloaded from DPREVIEW and applied the filters of a most basic free program like WINDOWS PHOTO and the preset filters made wonders to the original RAW pictures. Guess that's easy when the "source" is a good as those RAW files.

I will try to learn and practice with my Z50 and hopefully, at one time, get good results. I know I won't get immediate results.

BONUS CURIOUS QUESTION: In the responses to my post, I've read someone saying that one of the photos he was most proud of when young, was a b&w photo he took with a basic film (not digital) point-and-shoot camera. The QUESTION is: Back in those days, when you had to take the negatives to the shop for them to print them, how did you got a b&w photo

Pre-digital photography relies on the fact that some chemicals are sensitive to light (you can see this in ordinary life if you leave newspaper in sunlight with something standing on it - in a few hours the paper turns pale brown except fir the shadow). Originally just one chemical was used so colours weren't recorded.

Do they have to use a special paper? A special program? Or was that you actually had to buy a special b&w film so all photos you take with that film were going to be b&w ones? Thank you.

This is backwards. Originally film was all monochrome; when coloured film was invented it was that that was special. But in either case the process is the same: the film is exposed to light and where there is more light the reaction is stronger so the chemical records more effect. This effect is then strengthened by chemical development and fixed to stop it going any further. The result is a negative image - more light means a darker area on the film.

This negative image is then projected onto paper that has the same types of chemical on its surface. Now the dark areas on the negative transmit less light so the image on the paper is reversed from the negative so it shows the range of tones from dark to light in the original scene. (Colour negatives show weird colours that are the inverse of the natural ones). Developing and fixing follow the same process.

Most of the above is a wet process so the end results need to be dried. For B&W work it can be done with a certain amount of dim red light that doesn't affect the chemicals so you can see what's going on; that doesn't work with film so it's mostly done in the dark.

There is something magical about being in the darkroom and watching a picture slowly emerge on a plain piece of paper in a tray of liquid. I first saw this in our neighbour's darkroom when I as 10 and asked to learn about it. He was happy to teach me and I became quite expert processing his and Dad's photos long before I ever took a photo of my own.

Processing was my first love in photography and it has never left me. I can't separate seeing the subject, framing, composing and exposing it and then developing the final image; every step is a fundamental part of the job. The beauty of digital is that it can all be done with great subtlety at my desk without the trouble - and smells - of needing a special darkroom.

Thank you all. Best regards,

-- hide signature --

Gerry
________________________________________________________________________
I'm happy for anyone to edit any of my photos and display the results
_________________________________________________________________________
First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne
gerry.winterbourne@ntlworld.com

Craig Gillette Forum Pro • Posts: 10,853
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner
1

sonic123 wrote:

Thank you all very much. I've made my mind and bought a NIKON Z50. Everything you all have said about is the "photographer not the camera" is absolutely true BUT over a week I've been seeing a lot of "sample galleries" of many cameras and, don't know why, the Nikon photos stand out to me. Don't know if that's what is called "color science" and that each camera manufacturer have their own one or what but all the Nikon photos had color renditions that I really liked.

I understand what you are telling me about that an iPhone can take better photos than a professional camera if the professional camera is in the wrong hands, more in my case in which I change my iPhone every year (replacing my iPhone 11 Pro Max with the iPhone 12 Pro Max) but I would really like to take a further step onto photography being that specially iPhone are very limited in the tweaks you can do in the photo shooting.

One thing to consider is you can save files in camera as RAW, JPG or RAW+JPG.  RAW+JPG allows you to select some in camera adjustments, like "Picture Controls" that will be applied to the JPGs but also have the RAW files available if you you should want to do more with them.

I don't like the idea of post-processing. I mean, if I have a whole of things yet to learn about using the camera, I don't even want to begin thinking about the big learning curve of programs like Lightroom. Curiously enough, I "played" with some RAW files that I downloaded from DPREVIEW and applied the filters of a most basic free program like WINDOWS PHOTO and the preset filters made wonders to the original RAW pictures. Guess that's easy when the "source" is a good as those RAW files.

These filters can often be similar to the in camera "Picture Controls."  The advantage to having the RAW files is that you can make changes and go back where with only having JPGs, there can be limitations to some of the corrections you can make.  What you may want to do is read up on what the filters/picture controls, scene modes, etc., are doing so you can begin to recognize scenarios where you could make those changes on your own either in direct settings or in "editing."

Even if you choose to set in camera adjustments, photo editing programs can be valuable.  Things like cropping, "correcting" little problems like red-eye or spots.  Downsizing for on screen sharing.  I typically crop images to 16:9 when I'm going to "share" because that fits TV screens, etc.  The methods or approaches in the basic/simpler editors are often easily moved to the more comprehensive programs, or, the more comprehensive programs can be used on a fairly basic level, too.

I will try to learn and practice with my Z50 and hopefully, at one time, get good results. I know I won't get immediate results.

Explore what changing aperture and shutter speeds does.   As the aperture is opened/closed, the depth of field of field changes. As shutter speed changes, motion may be recorded as blur or frozen.  Both aspects have benefits or problems.  Sometimes freezing motion is more important than depth of field.  Sometimes more depth of field is desired.

BONUS CURIOUS QUESTION: In the responses to my post, I've read someone saying that one of the photos he was most proud of when young, was a b&w photo he took with a basic film (not digital) point-and-shoot camera. The QUESTION is: Back in those days, when you had to take the negatives to the shop for them to print them, how did you got a b&w photo? Do they have to use a special paper? A special program? Or was that you actually had to buy a special b&w film so all photos you take with that film were going to be b&w ones? Thank you.

Film was/is a chemical process.  Light energy causes chemical changes to the chemicals on the "film" or the paper being printed on.  Light changes "color" as the frequency of the radiation changes so it's possible to create filters or chemistry sensitive to different frequencies.   "Black & White" films/papers are typically simpler and less expensive than color so usually one used/uses b&w films and papers for b&w uses and color films /papers for color.  One can use color "film" and print as black and white.  It's more complicated but not impossible to use "black and white" and get "color" results.  Films and papers were tailored for specific applications.

Thank you all. Best regards,

Valdai21 Regular Member • Posts: 314
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner

sonic123 wrote:

Hello. I know this kind of questions are not much liked but I would try to be brief. No matter how good each new generation of smartphones is supposed to be, I find that the photos I take with my iPhone (currently iPhone 11 Pro Max) are always missing something and I don't find them that great.

I am an absolute beginner willing to learn BUT I would like to buy a kind of camera that would serve me as a "gateway drug", I mean, a first camera that would take such great photos in comparison to my iPhone that it would motivate me to learn more, get into the hobby and upgrade the camera. In 2010, I bought an Olympus PEN E-PL1 that was supposed to be better than a regular point and shoot and while the photos were somehow better than my cheap P&S camera, the photos were nothing to talk about.

I've seen some photo samples of the Nikon D3500 and I've loved them. Being so used to my iPhone photos, I could instantly tell that the D3500 photos were different in a good way. The vivid/natural colors, the detail et al. looked to me like a "professional" photo.

I've read that the D3500 is quite recommended for a beginner's camera BUT it is not ideal as a video camera. I would also like to shoot better videos than the ones I get from my iPhone so it would be ideal if I found a camera that can take photos as good as the D3500 but also great videos.

The problem is that I'm an ignorant beginner with ZERO knowledge and one of the things people praise the D3500 about is that it actually includes an "in-camera" tutorial and a great internal photo processing so you can get great photos without using external/additional computer programs.

So my questions are (being that money wouldn't be a problem):

1) Does the Sony A7 III take better photos (better image quality - pro looking photos) than the D3500 or does the D3500 still makes the better photos?

2) Does the Sony A7 III in "auto mode" could be used by a beginner like me, so I could take good-looking "regular" photos, portrait photos, landscape and sports photos as equal or better than the D3500?

3) Could the Nikon Z50 be the sweet spot? Or maybe the Sony A6600/A6100

I would be using my camera to make everyday moments photos look BETTER (way better) than the ones I obtain with my iPhone and also to shoot photos (both regular and portrait) photos of my daughter and wife and shoot videos for my daughter.

I am willing to learn about the basics and get into the hobby but in the meantime I would like to be able to take great photos while learning, just like the D3500 it's supposed to allow.

Why, you could say, I don't go and buy the D3500 already? The answer is because the D3500 is not good at shooting videos so would much rather get a camera that is also a good video device without losing any image quality of the D3500.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your insight, suggestions and recommendations!

Best regards,

Be aware that the camera is not the most important thing when talking about image quality. Better buy a good lens and a cheap camera than a brand new camera and a poor budget lens.

The A7III is probably a better overall camera but it's not really comparable. Almost every camera has an auto mode but I think it's a nonsense to buy a high end camera to use it like that. I mean, the camera itself can be outstanding with a super fast autofocus, great dynamic range... it doesn't make your pictures. It's like buying a Ferrari to go to the supermarket. It could be worth it if you are really want to learn and practise, otherwise I don't advise it.

Sony lenses are quite expensive and colors are not the best by default. It can be post processed of course. Keep in mind that a bigger sensor gives more depth to your pictures but you have to manage it. If you don't, you will get portraits with sharp ears and blurry eyes and this kind of thing. Full frame is not the easiest thing for a beginner. It's doable but don't think your pictures will necessarily look better with a full frame VS an APS-C camera.

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads