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Old 24-03-2006, 20:33   #1
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Will a DSLR make me a good photographer?

The things the wife says to you, eh? I'm getting itchy to get a DSLR because I want proper manual control of focus and so far I've not seen anything that comes close to looking through a viewfinder and through the lens (i.e., the digital displays are just too low resolution). But discussing it with the wife prompted the question: "Will a DSLR make you a good photographer?"

"Good?" -- well, I would be happy with "better".

What are people's experiences once they've made the jump to DSLR from ordinary digital cameras?
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Old 24-03-2006, 20:49   #2
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no.

at least not at first. i am still crap.

it has, however, made me think about the photographs i take more. about light and exposure and depth of field etc. things i never even knew about (really) til i took the plunge.

i think it will make me a better photographer if only because my pictures are becoming 'pictures' instead of snaps. if you see what i mean

long way to go still......
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Old 24-03-2006, 20:56   #3
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If you invest in a SLR it will make you want to take more pictures.
If you have a love for photography it will give you better results at the end of the day.
Your pictures will probably be worse than they've been to begin with as you get to grips with settings etc but seeing improvement in your work will make you want to persevere.
I specialise in music photography but whatever your area you'll love seeing the results as you get better.
It will make you want to spend more money on better equipment but you have to work out how to get better pictures with what you've got before moving on to the next level.

Last edited by Lorne.t; 24-03-2006 at 20:57.
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Old 24-03-2006, 21:08   #4
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No, I wouldn't say that an SLR will automatically make you a better photographer. It's like saying "if I get that £200 tennis racquet, I'll be a better player". I think the equipment is a means to an end - yes, the SLR will give you more flexibility and from that can come creativity and experience, but I would concentrate on getting the best out of your current kit, read some books on photography, and study some photos you see in newspapers, magazines etc. to see what makes them "work", before spending £700+ on an SLR + lens.
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Old 24-03-2006, 21:15   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishBoy
No, I wouldn't say that an SLR will automatically make you a better photographer. It's like saying "if I get that £200 tennis racquet, I'll be a better player". I think the equipment is a means to an end - yes, the SLR will give you more flexibility and from that can come creativity and experience, but I would concentrate on getting the best out of your current kit, read some books on photography, and study some photos you see in newspapers, magazines etc. to see what makes them "work", before spending £700+ on an SLR + lens.
Totally agree. I started with a Canon A60 ( I suspect many of us did as it was a bargain forum job! ) learnt a lot of the basics, upgraded to an S2 and am learning a bit more... when I'm ready ( and budget permitting! ) I hope to progress to a full DSLR. I actually think running before you can walk is a bad thing, I'ld have felt a bit swamped by a DSLR straight off - may even have put me off altogether! I think the time to upgrade is when your equipment isn't capable of doing what you want it to
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Old 24-03-2006, 21:40   #6
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I started my photography hobby in 1990 with a £90 second-hand film SLR camera (Olypmus OM10 + 50mm lens, now around £30-40 on ebay). I got manual focus & ability to control the depth of field. I had to compare the prints to my notebook to see which exposure settings "worked"...

The manual camera made me think about composition, lighting & exposure on every single frame (especially due to the cost of film processing & printing).

A dSLR will do this too, but at up to 10x the cost... It won't make you a better photographer though, this only comes through practice & experience. The problem with most modern point & shoot digicams is that they like to hide the intricacies of exposure time & aperture.
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Old 25-03-2006, 03:02   #7
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Other people have already said it better than I can, but no, a DSLR doesn't make you a better photographer. In some cases, the desire to honk out hundreds of pounds on a digital SLR camera may happen to correlate with the desire to spend hours taking pictures and thinking about how to take better pictures, so whilst some people may get better after buying a DSLR, it may not be a causal relationship. Speaking personally, I'm probably slightly better behind a camera than I was when I had my old 2MP Finepix, but it seems to me that a lot of the improvement has come through developing a greater appreciation of how bad I used to be, rather than suddenly acquiring the skill to start kicking photography's arse through new kit.

I like belly's distinction between pictures and snaps. On a related note, two things I do now that I didn't used to do are (i) not to bother taking a picture if I'm not confident it will come out as I want it, and (ii) to plan shots before I've taken the lens cap off. And neither of those are anything to do with the kit I use.

[Edited:] I should two qualifiers in favour of DSLRs. Once I got my Canon 300D, I noted almost immediately that any frustration I had with bad pictures was now solely down to my own inadequacies rather than the camera's. That was actually a really pleasant improvement, as I felt I could try to do something about it. Also, bog standard point-and-shoot shots came out looking a lot nicer. The resultant ego boost may have contributed a small part towards my renewed enthusiasm for photography.

Last edited by danek; 25-03-2006 at 03:19.
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Old 25-03-2006, 08:14   #8
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'm getting itchy to get a DSLR because I want proper manual control of focus and so far I've not seen anything that comes close to looking through a viewfinder and through the lens (i.e., the digital displays are just too low resolution). But discussing it with the wife prompted the question: "Will a DSLR make you a good photographer?"

If you really want to manaul focus, you'll probably find the viewfinders of most DSLR's a bit small - look through a Nikon or Canon DSLR viewfinder and compare with a Nikon or Canon SLR - huge difference!

As to will it make you a good photographer? No, but because digital is free, you get instant feedback so you can learn quickly from your mistakes.

I've been taking photos for years - well before digital actually and there are a few things I've been able to nail on digital that would have been too costly on film.

DSLR's don't give instant gratification or instantly better pictures though - when I first got my first DSLR (Nikon D70) I was dismayed by the quality of the out-of-the-box shots compared my Olympus 3040Z and I found need to worry about noise, white balance and (shudder!) post processing a real downer after years of shooting film.

So long answer - short version, it won't make you a better photographer but if you learn how to use it and get the best from it, you will get better shots than those from a point-and-shoot - guaranteed!
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Old 25-03-2006, 12:21   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cat
Totally agree. I started with a Canon A60 ( I suspect many of us did as it was a bargain forum job! ) learnt a lot of the basics, upgraded to an S2 and am learning a bit more... when I'm ready ( and budget permitting! ) I hope to progress to a full DSLR. I actually think running before you can walk is a bad thing, I'ld have felt a bit swamped by a DSLR straight off - may even have put me off altogether! I think the time to upgrade is when your equipment isn't capable of doing what you want it to
I'd agree here also. I've just progressed from a Canon Powershot S45 (a very capable point and shoot) to a Panasonic FZ30. There is a whole world of difference just between these two steps. I'm quite happy to stop here at prosumer level for a couple of years, until a) I have the money and b) the experience to actually use a dSLR.
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Old 25-03-2006, 15:36   #10
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It's fair to say it has the potential to make you better because it removes a lot of the limitations of the small digital cameras.

I had a Canon Powershot that had lots of functionality and allowed full manual control but was constantly frustrated by its speed and lost lots of shots due to the focus lag.

I saw a big improvement in the pictures I took when I got the D50, mostly because I actually got the shot intended to get!

I didn't go down the prosumer route as I knew the kit-fiend in me would want a DSLR anyway so I went for the D50, and am very happy with it indeed.
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Old 25-03-2006, 15:44   #11
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I would say that from the shots I've seen from Roy so far he clearly has a good eye, and that's 90% of the equation for me.
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Old 25-03-2006, 17:34   #12
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I can testify from my attempts... no
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