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Photography Question 
Cheryl Adams-Taylor

Buying the right Digital SLR

Hi Everyone. I would like to get back into the beautiful world of photography and possibly sell some of my work. What would be a good starter digital camera, printer, and computer software for printing my own photos up to 11"X 14"? Appreciate any advice you can give. I'm leaning towards the Nikon D50. Had one in my hands a few weeks ago and it felt good. Last 35mm I owned was many years ago and was a Minolta. Thanks. Cheryl

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5/16/2006 9:48:21 AM

Dr Silly
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/28/2004
  I use a Digital Canon Rebel XT, and love it. I also use Photoshop Elements 3.0, PSE 4.0 is out now. Don't know anything about a printer for that size. :o)

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5/16/2006 10:20:18 AM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Have you re-started taking pictures with film? Are you sure there's a market for your work?

Merely buying a new camera is no assurance of sales, good scores in a competition or anything else.

I'd brush up my skills first and test the market. Then, if things still looks good, I'd really consider long and hard what kind of camera body you buy. A D50, no matter what, remains an entry level camera. And, in a recent Pop Photo issue, the Rebel XT won the "ratings shoot out." But, the argument about Nikon and Canon is part of the Great Debate and will be forever.

I just bought the Canon 30D, after working for years with an EOS 620 and EOS 3. Years with "top-of-the-line," first in auto-exposure and then at the "almost pro level" that's still available today, spoiled me. But, I just couldn't justify the cost of the 5D or one of the "Marks."

Of course, the 1.6 lens factor is impossible to deal with so I'm looking to sell old equipment so as to buy a new wide angle lens.

So, what have I said to answer your question? Move slowly. Think twice before you buy an entry level camera when you're thinking "beyond amateur."

And, if you just have to get into digital, you might look at one of the great "prosumer models" as the stop gap 'til you can get the right digital SLR.

There's no decision on software - Photoshop! I use PSE 4.0 and PS 7.0. Regardless of anyone else's software, you'll find they have plug-ins that are compatible with Photoshop - so why not go to the one everyone relies on.

As to printers, once again, the great debate. Sometimes it's personal. I love my Canon i9900, especially at its price [when compared against the Epson 2200 [no longer available.] There are new models, with new inks discussed in this month's Shutterbug.

Remember the keys regardless of printer manufacturer. Use the manufacturer's ink! Experiment with other manufacturer's paper. Once you're using a "photo printer," it's the ink and paper, not necssarily the printer, that make all the difference.

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5/16/2006 12:38:03 PM

Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  Great advice here but I would respectfully disagree with John on one thing. Do not get a "prosumer model" while trying to decide. I spent $750 on a prosumer camera while trying to decide on a DSLR. I can honestly say I completely regret that decision. $750 would have gone a long ways on a nice lens or towards the purchase of the camera I ultimitely chose.

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5/16/2006 12:48:15 PM

Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  I agree with Sharon on that point. If you are already commited to buying a camera, might as well take the plunge.
Twenty some years ago I had more cameras than I could carry. After being away from it a long time, I finally decided to get back into the swing of things a couple of years ago. At that I could no way afford a DSLR and opted for one of Kodaks Easyshare models. I loved it. It took wonderful pictures, but had it's limitations. Finally, last year I bought Canons 20D and a couple of lenses. I absolutely love this camera. It has more features than I will probably ever use, but they are there if I do need them.
As far as printers, I strongly agree with John that whatever printer you decide to buy, stick with the manufacturers ink and paper.
Not only because of the quality of the prints, but also because of the printer. Third party inks could not only damage your printer, but void your warranty too! And the price of wide format printers is a little stiff to have to buy two.
As for myself, I have the Epson R1800, which uses thier new K3 ultrachome inks and prints up to 13" wide x 44" long. They claim colorfast prints on thier premium glossy paper to be in excess of 100 years. Of course that depends on a lot of factors such as how the prints are stored/displayed. Atmospheric conditions and above all, the amount of direct sunlight the prints are exposed to. Since none of this technology has been around for 100 years, who knows?
It's output is 5760x1440 dpi with a ink droplet size of 1.5 picoliters.
The R2400 is more suited to B&W prints as it uses three different shades of black to yeild a higher tonal range.
Whatever equipment you decide on, I'm sure you'll love the world of Digital photography. Best of luck.


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5/16/2006 3:16:54 PM

Paul Tobeck
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/19/2005
  Camera advice-whatever feels good to you and has enough resolution to deliver the print size you want.
Software-Gotta be Photoshop, but doesn't have to be CS2. I get along just fine with Elements 3 and PS7. Actually I use Elements 3 more often for general editing. Get a Wacom Graphire tablet (the best $99 you'll ever spend) and get Elements 3 free!
Printers-I personally would go with Epson. Canon printers have nicer color, but don't last as long. HP printers don't like the heavier art papers because of the front paper tray.
Oh, and as John stated, "practice, practice, practice" both your basic photography skills and Photoshop! The only thing I'll add to that is learn to edit your images mercilessly, by that I mean delete everything that isn't your best.

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5/16/2006 4:20:03 PM

Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  Cheryl: You could not go wrong with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT or the Nikon D70s.

The Nikon D50 is fine too but for a few more dollars the D70s would be a better choice.


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5/24/2006 6:32:49 AM

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