DSLR Photography In Focus Day 2

Guest Post By Jules http://scrappingmojo.blogspot.com/
I've always been a big fan of documenting life through photography, but it wasn't until I received a decent point and shoot as a Christmas present in 2008 that I really caught the photography bug. It wasn't long, however,  before I wanted more control over the different settings that my little p&s allowed. I love taking shots of my beloved fur babies, especially photos of my dog running around, so I decided that I NEEDED a DSLR. I started to look into the different makes and models, and soon realised that choosing the right camera wasn't going to be easy!
As budget was a big consideration for me, I knew almost immediately that my choice would be limited to the basic entry level models: the Nikon D3000, the Canon 1000D and the Sony A270 (these are the models that were available 12 months ago when I started looking - I believe they've moved on since though).
I was instinctively drawn to the the Canon as my p&s is a Canon, and I've always found it really easy to use, the menu is reasonably straightforward and it's a comfortable camera to hold. I was fully prepared to give the others equal consideration though - I didn't want to make a rash decision, I wanted to make sure I had the right camera for me.
I looked at reviews for all three, on Amazon and by Googling each model. Quite a few of those reviews mentioned that the range of lenses for the Sony camera was more limited than those for the Canon and Nikon, which was information that I took on board (again, this was 12 months ago, so it might not be the same now!).
Ultimately though, I knew I needed to see the cameras in person, and try them out. I contacted a few local stores and found that my local Jessops had all three models in stock. I explained that I wasn't in a position to buy immediately, but I wanted to try out the cameras to help me make my decision. They were incredibly helpful, and more than happy for me to go into the shop and have a play. I  spent about 40 minutes in there, trying out all three cameras. Once I had held all three models, taken a few shots with them and rummaged through the menu functions, my decision was made - I had to have the Canon. The menu was clear, the buttons were in obvious places and easy to use, the screen was nice and big and easy to see, the range of lenses is wide - but most importantly (to me) it felt right. It was comfortable and easy to hold and I wanted to run out of the shop with it there and then!
Unfortunately it took several months after making my decision to actually get my sticky mitts on one (due to financial constraints), but then my lovely husband took my breath away by surprising me with one for Christmas, and I haven't been able to put it down since!
I've got a Canon 1000D with the 18-55 kit lens, and have been snapping away for four months now. I've added a Golla camera bag and a Velbon 60 tripod to my kit, and my next purchase will probably be a telephoto lens - I'm not sure which one yet though.
I'd like to share some of my favourite photos with you - please bear in mind that I'm certainly no professional, so these photos are probably miles from being technically perfect, but they're a far cry from anything that I could have produced with my p&s, and I love them!
IMG_2493 55mm, 1/250s, f/7.1, ISO 200

I love the crispness of this image, and the clarity of the colour, both of the blossom and the sky behind. 

IMG_227755mm, 1/15s, f/5.6, ISO 200

It's the depth of field that I love in this photo, her nose is sharp and in focus but there's a lovely softness around her ears and the top of her head.
27mm, 1/400s, f/8.0, ISO 200
I actually shot this in black and white, and I love the effect.
33mm, 1/125s, f/4.5, ISO 200
I love that I can capture such crisp shots of Mojo in motion - she's in focus and the background isn't which is definitely the right way round!
Here are my recommendations if you're looking for your first DSLR:
  • keep an open mind, you're looking for the right camera for YOU and there are a lot of models to choose from.
  • Being able to physically hold each model and try them out was really useful in my decision making process, so I would definitely recommend doing this if you can. Don't be afraid to then shop around online for a good price though!
  • It's worth investing in a good camera bag straight away, it's no good having all that expensive kit and not protecting it.

Thank you Jules. I think you will all agree that was very helpful especially the encouragement to get some hands on experience before buying.  Now it’s over to you. If you have any questions or comments  for Jules please feel free to post and remember drop by and visit her site and say hello here
Please come back tomorrow for Day 3 from Guest blogger Marie Goodwyn  from http://mariegoodwyn.wordpress.com/


scrappysue said…
Great article Jules! It was lovely to see your photos too, I especially loved the one of your dog, such lovely focus. Do you shoot in manual? Its something I really need to practice.
xnomads said…
A lot of great advice, Jules!
Kerry said…
Hi Jules I popped over from your blog to read your article. I have a Canon DSLR and have just finished a beginners course at my local Adult Education centre and would really recommend it to those who have yet to come off the automatic setting.
Linda said…
Lovely post! This is such a good idea to get various perspectives to choosing your DSLR! Good luck! I have an old Nikon D70s with 2 lenses. It's just taken it's 10,000th photo!
Cheri said…
great advice Jules! Thanks!
Connie said…
great pics! loved looking at them.
Jane said…
very useful advice, one day I might be able to get one!
Great advice!! I'm still saving money for my dslr...man, it's a long road. ;)
Rebekah said…
What a wonderful guest post! Thanks Jules!
Lorraine said…
Just finished my day at work and I can see we've had a few visits.
Loved the post and the pics. I have questions about the numbers under your pics but I know lenses will be coverd later ths week. Thanks so much Jules.
Jo.C said…
I have the 450D and I love it - have had it about 4 years. Also you can buy compatible lenses, for example I have a tamron macro lens which is great. I agree that you need to try before you buy - Great guest post :0)
Jules said…
Some lovely comments, thanks everyone, and thanks Lorraine for the opportunity!
@scrappysue - I shoot in Aperture Priority - I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't use the Auto setting, but I'm not quite confident enough to go for full manual yet - maybe one day!
@Lorraine - I'm still very much learning so I'll leave it to one of the more experienced ladies later in the week to explain the numbers!
mariegoodwyn said…
Two excellent posts so far - this is just the kind of info I wish I'd had when I started. I hope I can keep up with you guys tomorrow.
Shoshonee said…
Great photos. I especially like the close up of Mojo but I'm a little biased towards dogs! I totally agree with holding and playing with a DSLR before buying as you're going to spend a lot of time doing just that and you want it to be comfortable.
Margie S said…
Great information. Your photos are lovely!

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