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Getting Started?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by audr3y, Jan 22, 2011.

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    audr3y Member

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    I really like photography and I'm thinking about getting into it. I have an SLR but I don't even know how to put film in it. I'm thinking about getting a D-SLR this summer, but people say that it's better to start with an SLR? I'm already handy with a regular digital camera and I can take decent pictures with one but now that I'm trying to get better compositions, I know I need to move up with my camera.

    What do more experienced people think? Is it really necessary to start with an SLR?
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    kismet "hack it 'til it works"

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    From what I know (and I'm not an expert in any way) the basic difference is the money you're willing to pay. SLR needs constant funds because you need to always replace film, process, create photos whereas DSLR allows you to shoot-and-boot, basically. There are a few people who say that SLR has a more 'refined' feel to it, especially because of the film qualities and the way the image is printed upon it, but the differences are often minor. That, and the fact that you're still a newbie and you need something professional (which the DSLR is) but that's more practical as well.

    I dunno, in this day and age, I see the SLR as either a transcendental tool for people who have used film-cameras all their life and need a good camera to have or a professional's occasional-use camera for those effects that 'only a film could have' or a person who thinks it's more 'chic' to own one.

    I'd say go with digital 'cause that's where the world's heading, I guess! XD And you already have an SLR so once you're comfy with the DSLR you can always compare and contrast. Best of both worlds and all...
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    sweetxmiasma Khaleesi

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    I have to say i adore my nikon d60. I'm awful with film though so that could be a bit biased. I've tried SLR's and there is something nice about feeling like you have total control with the outcome(Not to mention who doesn't like messing around in the dark room? Trail and error is way too much fun for me) Though with my digital SLR I love getting that instant feedback and the ability to reshoot right then and there.
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    HawkGenesis the sleeping wolf

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    You can start with a SLR (Single Lens Reflux) or with a D-SLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflux). I think at least it was "Reflux", but I'm a photographer so I know either way is good. If you do start with a camera that requires film to be developed, you might want to build a darkroom where you can develop the pictures yourself, but if you take a D-SLR you should practice plenty of times with it and edit the pictures as much as you can. If you check out my dA page, you will notice that although I have been practicing for almost three years I'm still learning.
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    Esfiel Member

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    I've been doing film photography for over three and a half years, and digital for even longer, so here's my two cents and you can take from it what you will.

    I have no idea how much darkroom experience you have. If you don't have any then starting with a film SLR seems like a very bad idea, unless you plan to take a class of sorts. Without the class, for it to be worth it you would want to find access to an actual darkroom. If you somehow manage this you'll either waste a ton of money learning how to use the enlargers and chemicals, or you'll have to find someone who can teach you to waste less. Starting with film is also more expensive than starting with digital.

    If you can't find access to an actual darkroom you'll have to do all your editing of the film on a computer. Unless you have access to an excellent scanner the images will be smaller than those you would take on a digital camera. If you're going to be editing on a computer anyway, you might as well use digital because it'll offer you more editing chances than film would. (This is mostly assuming you're doing black and white film. B&W film itself is fading quickly all over the US, and color film even faster.)

    It's really nice to be able to take whatever pictures you want without having to worry that you only have five more shots left. With film, every shot matters. What you have to keep in mind with digital though is that you should still try to make every shot matter, otherwise you just become a lazy photography winging it and hoping you get a good shot. The goal in this aspect is that you're suppose to lose the stress of running out of shots while retaining the care that you would have with film. If you're just picking up photography it's nice to have as much practice as you can, something that will be limited and slowed if you use film because you won't be able to see your photographs until after the film is developed.

    Developing is also an issue. Either way this is going to cost you money. You can have someone else do it for you in a store or spend the money for the chemicals and find a very dark room in which you can develop them. Depending on the film it can take 15-60 minutes to develop film. This is on your own, but in stores here I've usually found that the wait for them to develop it is at least an hour. If you do it yourself you'll also have to take time to clean the negatives.

    Film takes a lot of patience and practice. It isn't without its rewards of course, but for starting I'd highly suggest a digital SLR unless you need a film one for a class.
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    Olive Pip Member

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    Having used both, I'd say stick to DSLRs. In the end, it saves money (otherwise you have to buy film, get it developed, keep replacing batteries and such) and to be honest, there isn't a lot of difference technique wise - if any. The SLRs are just the same as DSLRs but without the ability to upload onto computers and without extra settings like white balance adjusting and macro and such. Also SLRs are far more delicate - film can get stuck or jammed or just come off the spool and only a pitch black room (dark room ideally) can save that film from being ruined the second you open the back to get it out. SLRs are nice and make a wonderful 'click' noise when you take a photograph but they've been outdated by digital for a reason. If you don't have constant access to a Dark Room, chemicals, paper and enlargers and you have to take it to a store to be developed, then you'll never be able to edit or experiment with the image like you can with digital - though even with that ability, digital photography and Photoshop allows a lot more freedom editing-wise than a SLR ever will.

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