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How to Choose Your First DSLR Camera

Lesson 7 of 16

Your First DSLR and The Lens

John Greengo

How to Choose Your First DSLR Camera

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

7. Your First DSLR and The Lens

Lesson Info

Your First DSLR and The Lens

Time to dive into one of my favorite areas of photography is the lands and the lens and the lens system really determine a lot about our camera and what we can do with it. So a lot of cameras will come with one of these eighteen to fifty five kit lenses in the eighteen to fifty five is the focal length of the lands or you might have a fifty millimeter lens and that's one of the most important criteria when selecting the lens. The other very important criteria is the maximum aperture the amount of light that gets lead in the lands, and so usually we choose the focal length to determine what the lens is going to do, and the aperture in some ways determines how well it does what it's going to dio so let's talk about focal length first, and we're going to go back and talk a little bit about the sensors. Remember we talked about the cropped frame sensors. If we take a lens, you'll notice it's circular in shape. It produces a round image that is large enough to cover the square rectangular a...

rea of the sensor and there's our final photo. Now, if we take that exact same lands and we use it on these smaller size sensor, the light does not change coming through that lands exactly the same thing happens, what's different is that our smaller size sensors are on ly recording a smaller portion in the middle of the frame so it is exactly the same lens but you end up with different photos from them as far as a different angle of view so those photos were not the same even though they use the same lands and so this is what we mean by focal length is not the same thing is angle of you and you have to match up your lenses with your sensor size so let's talk about some of the different lenses that you convey get and what you would do with him so on the top of this frame you will see fifty millimeters and this lands viewed from above is what you would get with a fifty millimeter which is also known as a normal and from side to side if you were using a full frame censor I know a lot of people like to use the crop frame sensors so I will throw those up on the bottom of the frame you would need a thirty five millimetre lens to see the same angle of view so if you have the crop frame sensor or you're thinking about that is a camera look at the blue numbers at the bottom if you're thinking more full frame look at the top numbers if you're thinking about the four third system, look at the top numbers and divide by two anything that you see mohr from side to side is going to be a wide angle lens of thirty five is a wide angle lens and they're going to have different levels and kind of categories of white angles. We're going toto pretty good wide angle at twenty four will get into an ultra wide angle at sixteen millimeters, which you would need a ten millimeter in order to do with the one point five crop factor as you get a narrower angle of you, you were working into the telephoto range, each will have short tele photos. We'll have medium tele photos out to two hundred, for instance, and then we'll have our super tele photos, and I'll talk more about what I recommend and lenses, but in general and because we talk usually in terms of full frame cameras, I recommend something in the range from twenty four to two hundred that's the range that most people are going to need for most general types of photography, the ultra wide lands is kind of a unique and special lands that sees very far from side to side in this case, about one hundred degrees from side to side. This is very handy when you have situations that you just can't back up any further, so if you're in a cave and your back is up against the wall and you're trying to show is much as you can in that location it's nice to have a lens that goes from his wide of one wall to the other wall I was leading a photo tour in morocco and we went into this beautiful rug store and I wanted to take a photograph looking straight up and when you're lying on your back you can't back up your all the way against the floor and I wanted to show is much of the rugs as possible looking so straight up and that wide angle lens that ultra wide angle lens really helped make the shot because with the normal ends I would have just seen the tops of those rugs but most people don't need an ultra wide lands but you are going to want something that is a reasonably wide angle lands and one of my favorite reasonably wide angle lenses is the twenty four millimeter focal length alliance this to me is a little bit more natural in its view it's wide in nature most definitely but it's not exaggerated wide like the ultra light and so when I do travel photography this is one lens that I will not leave my hotel room without because I know this is just a very valuable lens for setting the scene of a particular location the next one is what I would call a moderate wide angle lands moderate wide angle lens doesn't really show that it's much of a white angle lands it's a very natural perspective it is the winds that is on most of our point and shoots as well as our phones, and so this is a very common lands, and I think of this is the documentary lance it's, a great photo journalistic style lands where you simply want to document the basic scene in front of you and so that's something that most everyone wants to have next up comes our official normal or standard lends the fifty millimeter lands, and this is really good for photographing objects that we could get a little bit closer to, or we want to be a little bit further back in some cases, but we're isolating maura single subject than a scene in front of us will depend on the size and the state shape of our subject, of course, but it's a great, normal perspective that does not play in the optical games with what we're doing, so I think of it is very optically truthful. Next up, we're getting into our tele photos a short telephoto, which would be something around in eighty five, one hundred one o five maybe even one thirty five these air obviously very handing for getting closer to subjects that you can't get close to so magnifying distant subjects, this is also where we're going to have our portrait lenses, and so when we talk about a portrait lens, we're talking about a short telephoto lance and one of the advantages of many of these lenses is that we can get shallow depth of field you'll notice the background in both of these photos is somewhat out of focus on purpose to isolate our subject from the background the longest lens that most average photographers were going to want to have is something that gets out to a medium telephoto arrange like a two hundred millimeter lands these are very handy when you want to isolate a subject from everything else from all the clutter and other things that are going on this abel's you to isolate those details it's also nice so that you don't have to get too close to your subjects that maybe don't want you to close to them as well there are some subjects that are much more skittish and much further off and this is when you need a super telephoto lens these air the big monsters of lenses that you will see out there and these air for subjects that are really far away that are hard to get close to and so when you can't get close to a subject the telephoto lens is one solution to that problem and there's a lot of different ways to use the super telephoto is not everyone needs and they're kind of fun to have but they are very big and bulky so it kind of limits everything else that you can bring along with you and so I said as I said before the range that you're gonna want to have for most people without knowing specifically what you're doing you know if you're into architectural photography that's going to bend you more to one side and if you're in the wild life in sports it's going to throw you in another category but twenty four to two hundred for your full frame user which if we draw the do the little bit of math that's going to be a sixteen to one thirty five and I know a number of manufacturers make eighteen to one, thirty five lenses so you could get everything in one lens potentially and that brings us to primes versus zooms and so there are two categories of lenses primes also known as fixed lenses have one focal length thirty five or sixty and then we have our zooms which are adjustable in focal inc the primes have always been sharper and they always will be sharper because it's trying to do less in one particular product and they're able to put glass that specifically optimized to do that one very thing that it does they're faster which means they gather more light we're going to talk about that a little bit more next they also tend to be smaller than the equivalent camera that has zooms and so a lot of photographers who are pretty serious about what they do really like the primes now the zooms they have one simple trick they're versatile and it's really nice having versatility and so what should I buy? Shy by primes resumes now it used to be many many years ago that zooms were not a viable option for anyone who wanted good quality you just you just didn't buy him you had to buy a kit of lenses three, four, five lenses in order to really do photography well the fact of matter is is that modern zooms are extremely good in quality and for virtually everything most of us are going to do with a photograph the zoom lenses are good enough quality still not as good a quality as the primes and so there's always a way to get something better quality and so what I recommend for most people is starting with the zooms because you don't know what you're doing and then when you find out oh I photograph earrings I like to go to the zoo and photograph the animals there once you find out more specifically what you d'oh, then you get a prime that fits exactly what you want to do and so having a mix of these and I have zooms and I have primes and I x and match depending on what my subject material is when I'm doing travel photography I often have zooms because I don't know what I'm going to find in an hour from now but if I set up a shoot and I know exactly what I'm going to go shoot all often have primes that are set or they're designed for that particular purpose when you buy a lot of modern cameras today they're going to come with the lands in many cases of an option you could buy a body only or you combined body in the lands and in most cases the most popular lands is the eighteen to fifty five we call it a kit lands because it comes in the kit hardly anyone goes out and buys this land because they get it so cheaply when they buy their camera and sometimes the cameras are packaged with the accompanying telephoto zoom and so this gets you a very nice range the optical quality on these lenses is good enough for a beginner to learn and figure out what they're doing and where they're going and they will get some decent results with them. These are the bottom of the barrel lenses and so pros are not going to use these lenses for a wide number of reasons image quality if they had to use them they could get away with it they could make up for it in other ways you might say in technique and so these air kind of the starting point the first thing that often happens with the user who gets these lenses is they get tired of changing lenses and this is one of the things that I found with amateurs his and they get into it I kind of changed these lenses and is cumbersome and all these things and I don't find pros grumbling about switching lenses nearly as much it's kind of the same way that you don't see a master carpenter saying I have a saw in my hand and the screwdrivers over there I really don't want to get a screwdriver I'll just use this to crowd us through in the now no, they're more than happy to put the side out, come over pick up the screwdriver because they know it's the right tool for the job and there's very little grumbling with that because having the right tool is so important that's one of things that that frustrated meeting me the most is that I started out with a kit lenses like these and they were very slow their aperture we'll talk more about this and it just frustrated me and I moved out of these after about a year as many photographers do is they have him and I don't discourage buying them because it's your learning it's your learning phase and that you don't need the best at that point they're fine for learning, but people grumble about changing lenses, so they say, well, what about that eighteen three hundred millimeter lands I can get everything in one lands and this does make for a very convenient travel lands in the sense that you don't have to change lenses a lot. The downside with this is the aperture. The maximum amount of light is a very important number, it's as important as the focal inc. And so what I highly recommend for anyone who's got a to zoom or a one zoom kit is to get one fast basic lands. We're going to talk more about these fast lenses, but this thirty five f one point eight lands, I forget the price, I'll start my head, but it's about two hundred bucks, so it's not out of this world expensive it's very, very affordable, thirty five millimeters, you have thirty five between this eighteen and three hundred, but this one is going to let in four times more light, which is going to really open up opportunities for you as a photographer, and so I'm a big proponent of having at least one fast lens with you most of the time, and there are so many lenses, you know, once you get to have about three or four lenses, you won't meet anyone that has your same kit, because you have designed it for your purposes, and everyone comes up with their own things that work for them. One of the things that I I really like this is this is the way that I work is I will have one lands that goes from sixteen to thirty five so ultra wide to moderately wide I'll have a telephoto lens that goes from seventy to two hundred so that's got my tele photos covered. Now I do have a big gap between seventy and thirty five and when I have there is I have a fast normal lands that covers that middle ground so if I need something between thirty five and seventy I got that one and then I also have one that's very fast that lets in a lot of light and so everyone gets to kind of pick and choose on a menu. It is kind of like you got a menu and I want this and this and this one and that's going to match up really nicely. You know, one time I remember I, uh I sold a camera system to a guy and it had tournaments that had a twenty eight to eighty lands and it had a ninety to three hundred lands and he came back the following week and he says, I go from twenty eight to eighty and ninety to three hundred do you have a lens that goes from eighty to ninety like, no, you know that if you're shooting with eighty and you're not close enough, you could do this and if you're shooting with ninety and you're too close, you could do this, and you would achieve that same result. He's, like, uh, I guess that makes sense. You just save me some money. Thanks. And so you got to find the system. You work and you don't worry about having every focal like you use the ones you get, the ones that you think you're going to use the most. So that's, the focal length of the lands let's talk about the aperture of the lands. And this is one thing that a lot of people get confused about because I got to admit, this is a confusing system down here, this one colon. Forget about that. Just look at the next number after the one colon. So we would call it a three point five to five point six lens. Or we would call it a one point four. Lance, this is the aperture of the lands. This is how much light it lets in at its maximum amount. And so because we worked with a lot of fractions and I talk about this more in my fundamentals class in my starter kit class more about photography than cameras. One point for is a fraction and that's why one point four is the largest. Opening twenty two is a very small opening. These are f stops are aperture openings in the lance, so when you buy a kit lands, you might get something like an eighteen two one thirty five I love that range that's a valuable range that is going to cover most of my needs when I go out shooting pictures. The maximum aperture is three five to five point six, which is a little bit on the slower side. It doesn't do a real good job leading in a lot of light. We call it slower because we end up having to use slower shutter speeds, which makes it a bit challenging views. Some people want to get even more range twenty eight to three hundred and the lengths, and I would be really wary of any lands that is smaller in this case actually has a bigger number than five point six, so this number six point three in my head warning bells are going warning warning warning because of that, lens does not let in a lot of life, and part of this has to do with the focusing system and a lot of cameras. It varies from camera to camera. We got that in an upcoming section, but a lot of cameras have problems focusing with lenses that don't open up to five point six. So there's twenty eight to three hundred might be a little bit of a slow focusing lens if you're trying to photograph birds in flight or any sort of sports action I'm a big fan of the many different lenses that are on the market that haven't for resume these are what I would call semiprofessional lenses to be honest with you there's a lot of professionals that own these f four lenses and they're available from a wide variety of manufacturers in the beauty here is that they are generally a little bit faster on average but they're very consistent in their aperture you can shoot it at four twenty or at one twenty in this case and so it's it's a reasonably fast lens you know if you're going to go full pro most of the pros air shooting with two eight zoom lenses if they have a zoom lens maximum amount of light for a zoom lens is on full frame cameras these days it's extraordinarily where there's one instance I can think of there is that a zoom lens is faster than two point eight but these are large and they're heavy on dh that's kind of their downside if you want to get faster than two point eight you need to get into a prime or fixed lands one point eight one point for these they're going to be the fast lenses and I think they're very, very valuable half so looking at these apertures and understanding how they're going to impact your photography is very important and I think for a lot of people it's it's a little disconcerting when they look at their eighteen to fifty five, which is about a two hundred dollars lands and they go well what's the same thing but let's in a little bit more like what's the next step up it's actually kind of a big job seventeen to fifty five two point eight jumps up about four times in price and that that is normal that there's a various kind of that big jump there's a lot of other things you're getting besides that faster two point eight aperture it's consistent you're getting a medal lens mount you're getting better focusing system you're getting better glass, better construction faster focusing there's a lot of things that are going in to that price not just the aperture but it kind of all comes packaged together if you have a seventy two two hundred f four and you want to go up to the two point eight version, another thousand bucks doubles the price to make it one stop writer or twice a cz much light coming in with that two point eight lance and so the's faster lenses come at a cost both in money and in size and weight, but those faster lenses air really nice for working under low light conditions and forgetting shallow depth of field and so sometimes in our photographs like on the right we're shooting a landscape type photograph where we want everything and focus and we're having our cameras set to have twenty two out of their times on the left we want to isolate our subject from the surroundings and that's when having the shallow depth of field now the actual technique of implementing these unfortunately we don't have time for this class that's that's a separate photography classes were going to get into but it's very valuable to be able to go throughout this range and have the full range so the recommendation that I made a little while ago said if you do have an eighteen to three hundred lands or one of these super zoom lenses it's really nice to have one of these lenses that goes very fast because the amount of light that it lets in is going to be much much greater and that is as valuable as a different focal inc I thought when I started out I remember my first camera system I wanted as much range is possible I thought the range was everything but there's a different type of range there's range and angle of view but there's range in light levels and the ability to go shoot in a low light situation without using your flash is incredibly valuable and so I would like to highlight for just a moment the nifty fifty all right, this is the little nickname we have for the fifty millimeter lens this is the age old classic this cell cameras used to be sold with fifty millimeter lenses and they usually have apertures that are going to be one point eight one point four in some cases even one point two if you have the smaller crops sensor cameras, we're talking about a thirty five or thirty millimeter lands and if you have a four thirds camera we're talking about a twenty five millimeter lands because all of these lenses they're going to have the same angle of you but they're going to have different particular focal lengths because of the sensor size. So what do you shoot with a fifty millimeter lands? Well, you can shoot a lot of things anything that you can kind of approach and get closer or moved further back a single subject that you don't want to play optical games with very, very handy and so one of the things you'll notice about a lot of these pictures as these air taken under relatively low light conditions and one of the things that's hard for non photographers to understand is was there a lot of light some windows in the background? No it's very poor lighting in here and it is not good light and so good light is kind of hard to come by and so being able to work under low light situations or in this case I do have plenty of light but I really want that shallow depth of field because I'm trying to tell a story with it particular photograph and this is one of the tools that I can use is shallow depth of field to help tell that story and this is just a really really valuable tool the have and so I'm a big fan of that fast lin's whether it's a thirty five or fifty or whatever the number needs to be for the size of sensor that you have and so some thoughts on the nifty fifty it's a nice realistic point of view so if you want to play the optical games very good documentary lands fast aperture means it's gonna be great under low light you don't need to use flash you could isolate your subject with that shallow depth of field and for the most part these are fairly small in size and fairly small in price most of them are in the two hundred to four hundred dollars price range there's only a few that fall outside of that but for the most part they're pretty easy to bring along so one of the most important things and choosing which camera company to go with is looking at the available lenses from that manufacturer so arguably the largest of these is the canon eos system their auto focus system they have sixty lenses designed for the full frame camera twelve that are designed for the smaller a ps cameras. And I went on to a popular photography online store, and I typed in how many canon lenses do you have? And depending on the exact numbers, you want to classify anywhere from two hundred eighty five to four hundred seven choices in lenses? And so if you want a lot of choices, that's what a lot of choice looks like very closely following them is the nikon f mouth. They have fifty five full frame, they have a few more that are dedicated to the a p s hundreds of lenses that you could go out there and choose from. There is a notable fall off when you get to position number three, which is sony and sony is a particular they have a unique case right now, and they have a lot of different camera systems, and so they're full frame system is something that they inherited from the no alta and it's, a much smaller system, but there's still a fair number of options out there following that is going to be the pentax lineup. They have very few full frame since or lenses out there because they have not been pursuing that for the last ten years, but it looks like they're going to be going back into that market a little bit. A little bit in the near future and so they've been dedicated mohr on the ps system and I'm going to speak more about these companies as we go through the class as we moved to the marylise system the biggest choice that you can have is going with the micro for third system because both panasonic and olympus lenses will work perfectly back and forth on the cameras and this is one of the coolest things is because if I come over here to the cameras and for instance I mean let me get him into the right camera position here and so we have an olympus camera here on camera left and we have a panasonic on camera right and each of those has on a panasonic and olympus lands and I can take off the panasonic lands take off the olympus lance and I can take the olympus lands and I could mount it onto the panasonic and I could mount the panasonic lands on the olympus and I can turn the camera on and I can focus and I can take a picture and everything works perfectly that's the beauty of having this micro for third system is that you can go back and forth and choose whatever system you want and so I really like that system next up is sony sony has two different this little confusing they had two different muralist cameras they have the crop frame sensor in the have a full frame sensor. They have lenses dedicated to each system. There is some cross type lenses that you can use back and forth with limitations, and so they just introduced not much more than about a year ago, their full frame system. So we're talking less than a dozen lenses right now there planning to put out more lenses in the future, and we'll talk more about these as we go along the way. Samsung is very much the new kid on the block when it comes to photography there's not a lot of history when it comes to interchangeable lenses from samsung, but you could say they're bringing game. They're coming in with some strong technology and they're coming in with some really competitive looking cameras, but they don't have a long history, which means they don't have a lot of lenses. There's not a lot of stores, there's not a lot to repair centers. They don't have pro services, you're not going to find him on craigslist, ebay in nearly the numbers, they are the other manufacturers. Fuji has been in the photography game for a long time making cameras, but they have kind of recently reintroduce themselves into the digital field, and so they've been coming on in, in my opinion, uh I really like what they're doing I think they got some great stuff going on it's small but it's quickly growing and they're really talking about where they're going and they're really they're doing a good job and the nikon has their own marylise system that's a little bit different than everything else because it uses a little bit smaller size sensor and there is a smaller collection of lenses here and as they say, we'll talk more about them a little bit later eso looking at the entire grouping of lenses where you might be going and what you might be doing is very important as far as putting lenses on your camera we have name brand lenses whoever made your camera can also make your lance they make lots of lenses and there are other companies that are third parties meaning not you not me some other company that makes these lenses that go on the cameras and I look at them and I look at the value of the lands does that lends offer me something I can't get from the name brand manufacturers and if so I don't have a problem doing that in fact one of the cameras here let's see if I can find it too many cameras how often do we have this problem here too many cameras here we go so I have a canon camera and it's got a tamar on lenz iii and this is mine I don't mind having the tomorrow on lands on this camera because it's small it light it's lightweight it does the job very well and cannon doesn't have a lens at that price at that size and weight and that felt like that was a good match for the camera and so if there is a third party lands you want to check to make sure that it is compatible with your camera it's the right one pricewise feature wise quality wise it fits what you want to do I don't have a problem with third party lenses the advantage of buying into the major brand systems like canon and nikon is that there's a lot of third party options if you get into, say samsung or fuji there are much fewer options available to you in all these extra lenses and more lenses is just always a nice option to have now the name brands typically have hundred percent compatibility and I put a little asterisk by this because you've got to know your sensor size and there are a number of exceptions. For instance, with nikon some of their entry level slr cameras cannot be used with their older auto focus lenses, but once it does work on there it is one hundred percent compatible and the third party lenses in my mind are just often a very good value it depends on the lands it depends on the situation so when it comes to lenses, I'm going to give you a couple of slides here. These are what I call bargain lenses, and I'm just going to go for two brands, canon and nikon, and if I was with you and we were in the camera shop and we were just kind of poking around, looking at different things and you said, john, do you see something that's got really good value because I don't have too much money, but I'd like a good lance. So I think this little f s land is his slightly wide angle and it's a really tiny, nice high quality lindsay for one hundred fifty bucks. Great deal cannon just introduced a ultra wide lands for their crops. Sensor cameras goes all the way down to ten millimeters very wide and it's only three hundred bucks. And I hear these air just selling like wildfire. Is that the greatest lens in the world? No, but for three hundred bucks, it's a steal in my mind for the full frame sensors. The good old nifty fifty. The one point eight from canon. Now, I gotta be honest with you. When you get this lends, it kind of feels like you got it out of a bubble gum machine. I mean, it just doesn't feel like a really rock solid piece of glass, but for one hundred twenty five dollars it's really nice for somebody who wants to shoot something at a faster aperture who wants that shallow depth of field? The look, they make a forty millimeter pancake very similar to the twenty four we talked about earlier. The eighty five one eight is just a beautiful portrait lands a little bit more money at four hundred bucks, but this lands have been around a while and it hasn't needed to be updated because it is just so good and quality. So if you were doing portrait photography with a full frame camera that is going to get you some fantastic results and going third party on you here, toki no makes a nice macro lens for under four hundred bucks, so if you're interested in close up photography, you could do that. They also have a nice wide angle lens for those of you with full frame cameras that need white angle. Those could be very expensive here's one for under five hundred bucks. For those of you in the nikon system using the crop sensor, they make a nifty fifty in this case it's a thirty five because it's a smaller size sensor for under two hundred dollars, they have a nice little macro lands for under two hundred bucks they have a very inexpensive telephone us this once again. This is not the greatest lens in the world. We're not talking about the highest in products we're talking about. Really good value, one hundred fifty bucks for lenses, just dirt cheap it's, kind of expensive to get wide angle. It's very challenging. Toki no makes a really nice lands, and I think they have a newer version of this, which is maybe twice a cz much money. But the older version, I think, is a very good value in just over four hundred bucks, with the full frame system on nikon back to the old fifty fifty under two hundred bucks. That portrait eighty five one point eight, this time from nikon under five hundred dollars. Great portrait lands, and if you need to get wide angle there, the token of seventeen to thirty five again for four hundred fifty bucks or so. So these air some bargain lenses, generally the way that I think about most lenses now is it's a thousand dollars for a good lance for a really good lands it's, about a thousand bucks there's a few exceptions that you can get something pretty good for five hundred or in these cases, much less in my mind. So summarizing some of the points about lenses full frame is the way that we talk in the industry even though most of the cameras that were shooting with most of the cameras on this table next to me are not full frame cameras that is the terminology we use it's the standard we is just because it's the standard that's been in effect for the last sixty years you're fifty is your normal lens on a full frame camera fixed her prime lenses have only one focal length zoom lenses changing focal inc and this is where a lot of people who don't know a lot about photography get confused because they say look at the little bird over on the tree you should use your zoom lens to take their picture and I like to be nit picky with him and I say no I need a telephoto winds a zoom lens means you can change back and forth if I put my sixteen to thirty five zoom lens on that's not going to do much to make that bird closer what I want is a telephoto lens now it may be a telephoto zoom or not that's a separate issue so lens is less than fifty those air are white angles like a twenty four millimeter lands more than fifty is telephoto and as I said before a great range to have this somewhere between twenty four and two hundred and so let's see if our lenses have opened up the floodgates of questions other than what's the best lands and what lends should I buy without any sort of criteria, right? We do have some specific criteria about revolving around product photography primes are zooms for product photography so um when somebody wants to shoot products, do should they use like physical zoom in other words, like moving the camera in and out or what? What do you recommend for that? Well, it depends a little bit on the side of your product with your car or it's a teapot. Generally, when we're talking about product photography of many cases, we're talking about something we can physically left in his about the size of a breadbox and something we can put on a table and we could move back and forth a little bit and so it's occasionally convenient if you have odd sized objects or you have kind of a tight little area where you're doing your photography to have a zoom lens, but in many of those cases, a lot of product photographers like to have a macro lands that they can photograph details and get very close to that object. I do a little bit of product photography, I'm actually photographing cameras and I want to photograph the entire camera, but from time to time I want to get in and photograph the mod ill we're just a little part of it and so a macro lands would be a great lands and what I would typically recommend for a product photographer who's got a little bit of room to work with and doesn't have any really odd objects that they're trying to photograph like gigantic beach balls then you've got to get way back and you got to have a big studio with big backdrops and big lights and so forth okay, which is better and this is this is more of a blanket question, but I think you'll get what they're getting now, which is better when you don't have a lot of money to spend a cheaper body with better glass or better glass and cheaper body yeah, where do you think john that's a hard choice there? It depends on what the problem is as to what the solution is in some cases it's one in some cases the other is it's not one blanket statement in general I would say it's probably better to have better glass than a camera partially just because that's where it's going to have the greatest impact on the most things that you're going to shoot but also partly because you keep lenses longer than you keep camera bodies and you'll be replacing the cameras so there'll be a new chance to replace that because there are lenses that I will keep for fifteen years, but I I can't think of a camera that I've had for more than six years, including film cameras, but ok, so I'm a camera nerd and I have to upgrade all the time. I'm a little I'm a little outside, I'm a little bit of an outlier is never a good hard butt when it comes to, say sports focusing, you need to have a camera that really does that well has a good auto focus system has good frames per second, and so if you're not getting what you want to figure out what the problem is and figure that, is that the lens? Or is that a camera thing that you can fix? And so it does vary from case to case. Hossam, um, way have a question about image stabilization? Does image stabilization makes sense on a wide angle lens, like a thirty five millimeter or say like a sixteen to thirty five millimeter? Lately, manufacturers have been introducing image stabilization on wide lenses as well. What's your thought on that? It depends on how you're going to use it. Okay, if you rewind this class back to the beginning, see if you guys could remember. There was a photograph that I took that show the photos that I could take with a camera that I could take with a phone, and one of them was inside of a sister and there was a light beam coming in and hitting this water there's the's pillars in there, and this was in morocco. I'm leading a photo tour later this year there, and it was a little frustrating because I went to go to this sister and they saw my tripod and they said no tripods I said, I promise I won't use it no tripods, we kick you out, ok? So now I'm shooting in this incredibly dark environment, I need a wide angle lens, and I can't use a tripod, so it is absolutely useful in that situation. Now when I go out to mount rainier national park and I'm shooting a landscape shot and I have my tripod, I don't need stabilization, and so most of the time I use a wide angle lens, I don't need it. I think, for the travel photographers, the people that are shooting a static scene, the stabilization helps out quite a bit, no matter what lends it isthe and so it's a nice option to have on there, so long as it doesn't make it too big and too expensive.

Class Description

It’s nearly impossible for any beginner to sort through all of the functions, features, and price points of DSLR and mirrorless cameras and make an informed choice. In How to Choose Your First DSLR Camera, John Greengo will simplify the buying process and help you find the camera that fits your needs and your budget.

The key to finding a great DSLR camera for beginners is knowing the market and which questions to ask. In this class, you’ll learn about all the different types and brands of cameras and which one is right for you. 

You'll learn:

  • Which features are beneficial to your style of photography
  • The importance of having the right lens
  • The differences between Digital SLRs and mirrorless
  • How a camera’s sensor size impacts image quality

John will look closely at all the latest DSLRs from Nikon and Canon, and the mirrorless cameras from Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus, and others.

The current crop of photographic equipment is more diverse than ever before and finding the right DSLR camera for a beginner can be a challenge. There is a huge range of variables between cameras, even when they come from the same manufacturer. How to Choose Your First DSLR Camera will help you know what to look for and which questions to ask when it’s time to buy your first camera.



I have to thank John Greengo and the CreativeLive staff for another wonderful class. Mr. Greengo is a very good instructor (he has a nice Bob Ross ambiance), very knowledgeable and very technical with the camera and the terminologies. I am very grateful that he has material to download so I can continue to review and learn. I own a DSLR but I never truly understood the baseline technology. I am in the process of purchasing a new camera system and lens for some photography but mostly for filmmaking. With the knowledge I gain by watching this course, I can better choose and identify the features of the future cameras in my upcoming new passion. Thank you CreativeLive and Thank you Mr. Greengo. I am looking forward to attending future classes.


This was a great class. I already had an idea of the direction I wanted to go as I start my new business, but this class really helped me focus on the most important upgrades I need to make to my current system. I was particularly impressed with the visual graphics used to explain the technical functions of cameras and how those functions affect image quality and camera use. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to up their camera system and I am looking forward to taking the classes that are specific to the camera systems I am using. I would love to see a class on image processing and getting the most out of editing software. Great Job! Glad I signed up for CreativeLive.

Bev Anne

Excellent course. I was happy to find out that I made a good choice when purchasing my entry level DSLR camera -- it does everything I need at the moment. I was also interested to find out that mirrorless is the wave of the future -- I really like the idea of the light weight because I am developing some arthritis in my wrists and when I am ready to move up in the future I will have great options. Meanwhile I also learned that there is an inexpensive lens that I can get that will upgrade my system enough for the immediate future. Thank you John Greengo for this informative class it was well worth the purchase price.