1. cj4now

    cj4now

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    Ok, I have my camera and 2 lenses - 18-55mm and 50-200mm - , maybe not the best glass but certainly good enough for starting out. I've also got a small camera bag that takes a DSLR with lens, and my spare lens is wrapped up in lots of bubble wrap and kept in a plastic bag (both are carried in a waterproof backpack (not a camera specific bag) when I'm out and about. As yet I've not discovered what I am more drawn to in terms of shooting, so I'm not thinking about specific lenses for now. I'll run with the ones I have until i discover my muse.

    What should I be looking to add to this to give me a good basic kit to be going on with? I'm not thinking about waterproof clothing etc, I'm ok on that front, besides my skin is waterproof! lol I'm thinking along the lines of a tripod, a proper camera rucksack (that must have room for light waterproofs, pieces and juice!) , remote shutter release, filters etc. Or should I just carry on with what I have for now?
    Are there miscellaneous items I should maybe keep in my bag that a novice wouldn't think of but could maybe utilise from time to time?

    Also, I'm quite happy to 'bodge' things if it saves a bit of cash and still gets results, I reckon there will be something pleasing about getting a 'result' this way. For example, shower cap for waterproofing, that kinda thing. Could I use different coloured sheer stockings as a sort of filter? Or would that blur the image too much?


    Thanks in advance for any suggestions and advice.
     
  2. droj

    droj

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    It looks like you have a good attitude, and I wouldn't think of buying anything. I'd just have fun. The stockings idea, for instance - just try it, and anything else you can think of. That way you get to see what happens.

    I think that a lot of hobby photographers are obsessed with the shopping side of things and that the value of their kit far outweighs the value of their photographs. Just acquire something when you need it.

    Spend more time learning by doing, and look look look at the images of others, especially photographers who are historically well-known, and ask of yourself what works or not and why. It's not just about how an image looks, but about what it means. How can meaning be conveyed?
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
  3. huffy

    huffy

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    The best way is to get out and take pictures and then find out what interests you. For example if you like having shots in low light a tripod would be a good buy but if you find yourself taking shots of people in the street a tripod not going to be much use.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
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  4. chris malcolm

    chris malcolm

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    Don't buy anything because you've read that it's better than what you've got. Wait until you've found out how to get the best from what you've got. By then you'll have acquired a good idea of what the most important and annoying defects of your current gear is. It might be lack of a wider aperture. It might be lack of a certain focal length. It might be inability to focus close enough. It might be wanting to use exposures longer than you can easily hand hold. It might be the speed with which you can change lenses. Each of those deficiencies has quite a different solution at widely differing costs. It's a waste of money buying a better lens when when what would improve your keeper rate of good photographs even more would be a bit of string and a cheap monopod and knowing how to use them.

    Many photographers have better cameras and lenses than they know to use, and the best thing they could to improve their photography would be to read the camera manual a few times with camera in hand to try out everything.
     
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  5. realspeed

    realspeed

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  6. Retune

    Retune

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    A lens pouch would be more convenient than the bubble-wrap. The Zing neoprene pouches are nice. I wouldn't bother with coloured filters (or stockings!) on digital - it's easier to change colour in an image editor. You might want to try (but not overuse) a circular polariser, which gives you an effect you can't really duplicate in an editor. A Giottos Rocket blower is useful for getting dust off your lenses or sensor. Disposable lens wipes (Zeiss are good) are handy for cleaning lenses when necessary (another thing you don't want to overdo, and only after blowing dust and grit off first). A spare battery and media card are obvious things to pack. If you use flash, a separate flashgun that swivels and tilts and can take a diffuser will be much more flexible than the built-in unit.
     
  7. Tringa

    Tringa

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    Go for a camera backpack if you want one, but as you already have a rucksack, you don't need a dedicated camera one, which tend to be expensive.

    Dave
     
  8. Jannyfox

    Jannyfox

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    I'd also say a proper lens case for your spare lens so you don't have to faff with bubble wrap and plastic bags. Buy good quality (Tamrac, Lowepro etc) and you won't need a camera backpack. Just chuck everything in a normal rucksack. That's what I do. The only thing that's ever been damaged is my lunch!
     
  9. cj4now

    cj4now

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    Good advice, thanks.

    A lens pouch makes sense for now, and silica gel pouches as well. A back up media card seems sensible too.

    I've enrolled myself in a night class and I bought the Nikon beginners handbook as well, so I'm browsing through that and just trying to familiarise myself with the layout of screens, buttons and navigation for now. Naturally I've been out taking pics as well, trying to get to grips with the manual settings asap. I figure the programmed settings are pretty self explanatory and the manual setting is where I'm going to get the most out of my camera. I wont be buying kit for the sake of having it, 'all the gear no idea' aint ever a good look! lol I'll upgrade when I outgrow my kit. But, as I'm a complete novice I like to get advice and tips where I can. A tripod is something I have in the back of my mind, as I fancy having a go at moving shots with longer exposure eventually, but I'll see how I go without one for now I reckon.
     
  10. AgentOrange76

    AgentOrange76

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    ive not found a camera specific rucksack thats light and will take waterproofs, water, food with our being really bulky. My shoulder bag has a removable inner that holds a camera and lens. I got a hiking rucksack and transfer the insert to the rucksack, my spare batteries, remote, cards and filters drop into the pockets of the rucksack, it has a waterproof cover. Most of all its much much lighter than the heavy padded camera specific versions, these are great if putting in overhead lockers on planes but excessively padded for daily use. Yes they may have fancy openings but i can get my camera out in seconds.
    My insert is made by Vanguard but there are other makes.
     
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  11. troutfisher

    troutfisher

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    Put on your birthday/Xmas/Anniversary or whatever shopping list a decent strap.
    Don't rush out and buy one yet as you will buy the wrong one but the one that came with the camera is not up to much and there are far better ones on the market.
    It took me ages to find two I liked.
     
  12. Teflon-Mike

    Teflon-Mike

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    YES! Stick with that idea! It was actually my muse for the morning, ruing the way society as a whole has become addicted to pre-packeged, homologated consumerism, and SO many questions on here are depressing "What should I buy?! and "What's gadget will get me what I hope for?" every-one expecting a magic button to do anything and everything they want, and not have to learn anything, apply any thought, know-how or skill to the job... let alone old fashioned make-do-an-mend improvisation....

    ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT?

    A Camera.... yup, think that about covers it...... well....OK.....

    1. BATTERIES
    Electric picture makers are a bit stumped to make pictures without electric; spare batteries are then pretty handy
    2/ MEMORY CARDS
    Got camera, got electric... all good, but not if you have no-where to store photo.

    This leads onto -> Long term storage, Display, and archiving: - and here, you DON'T so much need equipment or gadgets, what you need before anything else is a STRATEGY.

    A pictures whole reason to be is to be looked at.... so right at the very beginning, you need a bit of thought; And that is 'Who?', 'Why?' and 'What? Who is going to look at the photo, why will they look at it, and what is going to interest or inform them?

    If photo doesn't have an audience to look at it, if the audience has no reason to look at it, and it doesn't offer them something, either interest, entertainment or education, then there is very little reason for that photo to be..... remember and apply that thought, and what gear you use to get a photo doesn't actually matter that much; you can have the most fantastic camera money can buy, you can have a gadget bag full of every piece of equipment known to camera-kind.... you can take perfectly composed, perfectly exposed pictures, with all the artistic excelence you can muster.... if no one looks, if no one has reason to look, and they have no interest in seeing.... all rather redundant.....

    What matters is NOT even the THE PICTURE... but the picture's reason to be..... park that nugget at the very top of the list.

    Back to Storage, Display and Archiving..... if advice on batteries and SD cards heeded, if advice on thinking about Who, Why, What, remembered, you get pictures... so then what you going to do with them?

    They need to be seen, you have to have that audience in mind, so how are you going to deliver them the picture?

    Once upon a time, we had few options, we made a 'print', and that print was put in a frame, and sat in the matle-piece, maybe hung on the wall or put in an album. People were shown the picture when they came to visit, either pointed to on the wall or shelf, or handed the album. In later years, Envelopes of holiday snaps would come back from Tru-Print, and be passed around the living room or works canteen etc. Sometimes, a projector would be sat up and a family or office subjected to a slide-show in a darkened room..... THESE are still possible.... and in some situations possibly the most appropriate way to deliver a picture...

    But we now have digital delivery; pictures can be transmitted via cell-phone, over the internet, published on-line.. but the audience is still the audience, and they still need to look, have reason to look, and interest to look.... so who are you going to show pictures to, how are you going to get them to them, and what will they be interested in?

    And modern society is inundated by pictures.... in my Grandfather's time, a photo was still a relatively rarity; there may have been a dozen in a household, not many more. By my mother's time? There were a lot more, and most homes had a family album; by my time? Happy Snaps were doing the rounds of the play-ground in the Boots envelopes.

    BUT, not all pictures are photo's... pick up a book or magazine from my Grandad's day, illustrations were few, and usually line drawings; by my Mothers, they were more common, and occasional photo's appeared among the drawings; by my childhood, photo's were breeding like rabbits, and on hoardings outside the newsagents; every page of a newspaper had to have at least one if not three photo's, and they were starting to print them in colour! Adverts were every where; every house had a TV.... the AUDIENCE was becoming rather blase about pictures......
    And now? They are every where, and so over-populated, not only do they have to plaster bus-stops with them to find space for them all, they are painted on the buses, on the telephone man's van, even the ruddy plumbers! And more! So much competition for picture space now, watch a bus stop for three minutes and the pictures changes! There's four of the ruddy things on every bill-board!

    Chucking a dozen snaps up on Farce-Broke? Well, they might get ported to the 'News-Feed' of any-one on your Friends list; "cjnow has just posted a new photo of his breakfast at tiffanies".. but do you want them to see them? Do they want to see them? Will they give them more than a passing glance? And how many of those "likes" are just Pavlov-Dog responses because they phone has bleeped?

    SO! STRATEGY... and the issues are linked. Start with the audience, and use that to guide what you take photo's of. That audience may be the exclusive group of one... you..... but its still an audience. So why have you taken that photo? Why, and as importantly, how, will you look at it? And why are you interested?

    But start there; you can look at your photo on the preview screen on the back of the camera; interest might be no more than did these settings work, and after that... it might have little reason to be.. you might immediately delete from the SD card.... no further thought required...... alternatively and more likely, you will want to take it home; look at it later, probably on a bigger screen, like a 17" computer monitor or large screen TV... now we have the matter of short term storage, until or while you do that; and then, with some 'keepers' into the question or archiving them... but, along side that, 'Display and Delivery'.. are you going to make prints? Are you going to upload to Flkr, how will YOU view your own photo's, who else will you distribute them to, and how will they get them?

    Having just derided Farce-Broke.... if you actually look and the underlying mechanics of the thing, there's actually far more 'good' or 'useful' about it than there is, really all that bad.

    What is 'bad' about it is more often the fact that I REALLY don't want or need to see a photo of some-one's bacon butty, or be told that's what they are having for brunch! And I certainly don't need a smurphone 'bonging' to alert me to the fact that this photo has just been taken! But beneath that; there is the fact that you can have a family album 'on-line' and the whole family can see it, whenever they want, if they want. Its the e-version of the old packet of snaps from boots in the play-ground or canteen or pub.... Flikr, boto-phucket, etc etc etc... all offer different means of delivery, and display... but.. Who, Why, What..... and do you just leave them there for folk to find, or do you shove the album on thier lap?

    A-N-D.... this is probably the more important..... ESPECIALLY in our modern on-line on demand world.... EXPLAIN IT!

    A Photo ISN'T just a photo... in days of old, If you walked into some-one's living room, and sat down whilst they put the kettle on and spotted a photo on the mantle-piece; likely meant nothing to you. Could have been your host, or her daughter or her mother, or her sister in law in Adelaide, for all you knew.... So when she came back with the tea... she's TELL YOU! probably spent half an hour telling you all about the person in the photo and what they did and why they kept the photo... BUT, they explained it! Walk into a gallery... pictures are NEVER displayed in isolation, at the very least they have a title... possibly obscure, oblique and pretentious... more so the more artistic the picture... BUT...... they usually have one, and "Man on Brighton Pier 1923" offers at least 'some' explanation... even if that's pretty obvious.

    In our modern sound-byte society, this is probably the biggest 'lack' in photography; ANY sort of explanation.... and ironically one that the technology actually offers so much more scope to offer......

    A Boots Happy-Snap, was often just that, and without the person that took it, looking over your shoulder to explain it for you as you came to it, you wouldn't get that explanation. Some more diligent, might have written a note on the back, or if put into the family album, added a title and caption, but not often.

    NOW: you look at your camera, you have EXIF data, and an image file doesn't just contain the pixel colour and brightness values; the file contains a data-base, of info; the camera that took it, the lens used; what the focus range was, what the zoom setting was, what the ISO/Shutter-Speed/Aperture settings were.. those are just the standard, and might be of some interest to some photographers... don't do a lot to explain the photo though... but there are other fields... some of which the camera will auto-fill for you; like the date, and your name, maybe even a GPS location... but there are others....

    Up-loaded to PC, there are more still you can access and fill in; Most obviousely "Title" but expanding on that "Description"

    These, IF you use them, allow you to add that EXPLANATION, to the photo-file. And you can add as much or as little as you want. "Man on Brighten Pier" may still be as obviouse and un-informative in a file title as it is on a photo on a wall.. think it needs or warrants more? WRITE MORE!!!

    Remember, unlike days of old, when the photographer would stand over your shoulder as you went through the happy snaps, telling you "Oh yes, that's Mable-Thorpe colleseum!"... with modern e-delivery you, the photographer are NOT there to explain the photo to the audience.

    So, IF you are going to diaplay and distribute, and archive; ADD that explanation for the folk that wont have you next to them when they see it.

    No gadgets required; no expert know-how or elevated tecnique need be learned; The blank bit of paper to add that explanation is already there; you dont even need hunt a pen; JUST fill in the field!

    NOW you can shre that photo however; and it might have some extra relevence or meaning to any-one that looks at it... and that could be you too!

    I mean, if you keep your early experiments for future reference; "Oooh.. why did I take that?" or "What was I trying to do there?" hard to tell... "Was that when I was seeing what happened with a Neutral Density filter? Or was that when I was trying out different aperture settings?" Often hard to tell, harder to remember... so MAKE A NOTE, and the file fields give you place to do that.

    And on.... NOW you have the picture on your computer; you have an idea of who is going to look at it, and why. You have some idea if you are going to display and distribute, how you are going to do that.. and if you have heeded the suggestion, offered some extra explanation to the viewer withe the picture.

    How much hard drive space do you have on your computer?

    My lap-top is getting on a bit now, it only has a 350Gb hard drive. An awful lot of that filled with 'other crud' like maps and spread-sheets... The photo-archive on my desk-top is that big.....

    So, could you MOST use a portable pocket hard-drive to keep all your keepers on to stop clogging up the computer?

    What if your computer catches a cold? Would a second one for 'archive' be a good idea?

    If you up-load all the 'display' photo's to a photo-host like farce-broke, do you NEED an additional archive, or want one?

    NEF format files out of camera are likely 25Mb each... in jpg they are probably only 5 or 6Mb... and down-sized for web display, they could be less than 1Mb each.

    How much storage do you think you will need? If you shoot NEF and then edit to make a display JPG, do you really need keep the original NEF too?

    And so... STRATEGY

    Its more questions than answers, and only YOU can work out what the best answers are for you....

    Far more important than a tripod, or an accessory flash gun, ND filter or Grad, or polariser....

    Who-Why-What... leads what you shoot, then what you do with it, and leads on to how you manage it after.

    So, after batteries and SD cards; a pocket hard-drive or extra PC storage, maybe the nest most important bit of 'spend'....

    Its oh-so-Much NOT in the kit-in-your-mitt, but the bit in your bonce; and looking at the far bigger picture, and tackling the things most likely to be more important and make biggest diference to your photo's.... in which that LITTLE bit of explanation to go with the picture, is oh-so-often the most lacking....

    And so much of it, doesn't require ANY hardware to be bought, just a little thought to be applied.

    If pressed, THAT is the most essential bit of camera 'gear'... a little thought about it, and not what it is, but what you want to do with it.

    CAMERA BAG? And lens wrapped in bubble wrap..... well.... many decades ago, I had a similar starter outfit; it was an Olympus OM10, it had a soft case that came round it I had to completely take off to fit the film. And I Had a 70-210 zoom lens to put on it, when I wanted/needed. That had its own tube case, and a strap. Not the most convenient way to carry it all, and I had to find pockets for spare film. A camera bag was one of the first accessories I bought, and very useful... if I wanted or needed to lugg everything around with me.....

    WARNING on the express topic of camera bags is... they have holes. Holes that are designed to take stuff.... spare lenses, flash-guns, filters, etc etc etc... and that tends to beg the conundrum, when you are starting out... "I have nothing to put in them holes!" and suggests at a time you likely see a lot of lacking on your pictures, a co-incidental lacking in the camera bag, that leads to the compounding of questions, and notion that fillingh the holes in the camera bag, getting those bits of kit, will make you the better pictures you hope for.... it wont.... blunt from the off; as earlier comment, you can have all the best gear in the world, if you dont have the know-how to use it, and haven't got the for-thought to know why you are using it... it wont do a darn thing for you. BEWARE the camera bag giving you gadget-acquestion-syndrome.. NOT better photo's or even making it easier to lugg camera kit about.... more kit it begs, heavier it gets actually the HARDER it is to lugg around! Ideas weigh nothing!

    Keep it simple Silly; a camera bag is a very useful bit of equipment; but its far from essential, or the most important thing to have. They can be reasonably cheap though, and can help kleep kit tidy and some-what protected.

    Tripod? Probably one of the most useful accessories to own, but more kit to carry, and better ones even more so. Remote Release? Hmmm two sort of go together a bit here.... BUT back to Improvisation; over the years I have probably taken as many photo's perching a camera on a picnic table or dry stone wall, or car roof, instead of a tripod; maybe using a jumper or coat to level it up rather like a bean-bag, but less sophisticated! And without a remote release, used the cameras 'self timer' delay so I dont have to touch or shake it and can effect a long exposure without the wobble..... So useful, but, not essential, and improvisation DOES work.

    Filters? Well, in Digi-Domain, most filter effects can be applied in post-process, and often better than trying to do them in camera. A polariser's effect, cannot be replicated or mimicked in post process, and I do tend to use a lot, so I have one for each lens... still far from essential though. Grads and ND filters, are more contentious; for effecting localized contrast control you cant get in PP, they are useful, but often inconvenient, and other techniques can be used. Neutral-Density and particular large stop-factor ND's tend to lead to a lot of cliche long exposure shots; and again other tools and PP techniques can be exploited to similar effect. Far from essential.

    So, you REALLY don't need more than 'just' a camera... anything beyond that really needs to actually 'help'.. and what is 'most' important really is very subjective.... having something worth taking photo of, is, after the camera, really the only essential, so perhaps, your idea of 'JUST' getting out and about and using what you got, and improvising wherever you can, is the best way to be going for now.
     
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  13. cj4now

    cj4now

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    Again, thanks for the advice folks, it is much appreciated. :)

    I think a spare memory card, battery, silica gel bags, shower cap, lens case and maybe a small bean bag type thing will be all I'll need for now. They all seem like sensible, practical items to have in my bag. I'll add a small notebook to the list, for jotting down my ideas........shocking memory at times!
     
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  14. Graham W

    Graham W

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    This...very much this.
    That is my philosophy in life, not just photography.


    If anyone wants me I'll be in the shed. :)
     
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  15. huffy

    huffy

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    Something that may be worth buying is the appropriate lens hoods for the lens you already have. (assuming they did not come with them.)
     
  16. ian-83

    ian-83

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    Most refreshing camera post I have seen for a while, seems like you definitely know you don't need to spend big cash to get great results. I always find unless I find myself wanting something more than say 5 times I tend not to invest in it. It's all tool easy to see people with big lenses, tripods etc and get gear envy and want to buy something hoping it'll result in better pictures when the best thing to invest in is yourself and spend time learning your camera inside out.
     
  17. Pete B

    Pete B

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    Maybe add a Raynox for some macro fun.
     
  18. SsSsSsSsSnake

    SsSsSsSsSnake

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    Wish I had thought like you when I started shooting,would have saved a fortune,yes enjoy and shoot shoot shoot
     
  19. st599

    st599

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    A couple of spare batteries and cards, a cheap waterproof cover and a proper lens cleaning cloth.

    And I religiously put UV filters on all lenses as I did see a Fujinon Cabrio 19-90 drop once
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  20. cj4now

    cj4now

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    I've bought myself a memory card with a faster write speed, silica gel bags and some neoprene lens covers. I keep the spare lens in a separate compartment in my rucksack so (although it's the cheaper option) it should be absolutely fine. Besides, it was a pack of four and I only have 2 lenses and have 2 large covers spare, so when carrying in my bag I'll pop them inside each other (like Russian dolls). Heading out today to see if I can pick up some bean bags in the pound shop. I'm having difficulty in purchasing a shower cap for waterproofing purposes though.......as a balding gent it has the same embarrassment factor as buying your first 3 pack at Boots! lol

    What is folks thoughts on a polarizer? Worth having one in the bag? I do like the effects it produces and reckon I would get some use out of it. I've spotted a cheap one (around six quid), would that be a false economy?

    I've been reading that 3rd party batteries are a good choice for back ups. The one I have is a Nikon lithium ion EN-EL 14 7.4V 1030Ah 7.7Wh can anyone recommend a decent battery for back up purposes?

    Thanks.
     
  21. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    Have a think about getting a good quality, highish-spec, second hand flash unit and a good book on how to use flash. Learning how and when to use flash should make you a more versatile photographer, plus autumn and winter are just around the corner, with flat light and long, dark nights and cold, dull rainy days. So plenty of time for you to learn how to use flash! I wouldn't bother with a polarising filter yet, try to master the basics of photography really well before adding on another layer of potential confusion. And if you do buy a polariser then get a good quality one; once again, buying a mint used one can save you a few quid. Hope this is useful and best of luck. (y)
     
  22. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood

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    The one thing that goes EVERYWHERE with me outdoors is a piece of Tarpaulin from the poundshop. I always lay it out on the ground to put my camera bag down on. And, I can lay on it when taking low level shots. It keeps my gear and myself dry I do spend a lot of time by waterfalls though.
     
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  23. LC2

    LC2

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    You should probably get a spare battery. I don't do Nikon, so I can't help but in the Fuji line Ex-Pro are seen as pretty good and fairly inexpensive. I would wait for recommendations though.
    A cheap polarising filter is likely to be a false economy. Why spend money on glass and then stick a cheap piece of plastic / glass in front of it...

    Other than that, my recommendation would be to stop spending money on gear and start spending money on going places to take photos.
    You've got:
    Camera
    Lens(es)
    Card(s)
    Bag
    Battery (spares are good, but you'll get maybe 1000 out of the single battery).

    Anything more is simply 'nice to have'/'GAS' and the more junk you put in the bag, the less likely you'll be to pick it up and take it with you.
    Oh, and don't have the camera permanently glued to your face, take time to look around, enjoy and consider what images you may like to take.
     
  24. Retune

    Retune

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    I think it's traditional to grab the shower caps they provide in hotel rooms - if you're paying money, might as well spend £6 on this luxury item!:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Op-Tech-Rainsleeve-Twin-Pack/dp/B000PTFDYO

    As above, a cheap filter may be a false economy - also make sure you get a circular rather than linear polariser (which refers to the way it works rather than its shape).
     
  25. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood

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    Retune, can you explain to me how the linear polariser works and why it is different to the circular? I inherited a B&W 105mm linear polariser and I get good results from it most of the time.
    I do get some reflections onto the ND's when stacked in the holder, if the sun is in the wrong place. I wonder if this is due to the way the light is directed through the glass??
     
  26. soeren

    soeren

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    Soeren
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    A circular depolarizes the light on exit so that meters in DSLR's don't get fooled the Linea simply polarizes the light and that's it. If your camera is a mirrorless it doesn't matter.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  27. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood

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    jason
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    Yes
    No its a standard DSLR APS-C.
     
  28. cj4now

    cj4now

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    Thanks again folks.

    I've noted the advice on a polarising filter. I'll keep my eyes open for a cheap battery just in case (don't reckon I'll need it, but I'd hate to be caught out). Re flash, I take it the built in flash is pretty rubbish then? Reckon that I'm pretty much all set now. :)
     
  29. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    Yes, built-in flash is pretty much for emergencies in poor light when you can't really get a shot any other way and you don't have a separate 'Speedlight' with you, as it tends to give a rather harsh lighting look because it's aiming straight at the subject. If you want some nice looking photos using flash you really need a separate flash unit and a bit of knowledge on how best to use it to get the look you want.

    It's a handy skill to learn though, so maybe give it a bit of thought? Learning a bit about flash photography before you buy one is probably a good move, as that should help you choose the right kit. (y)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  30. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    Richard
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  31. LeeRatters

    LeeRatters

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    Lee
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    I'd say 'nothing'..... What you may need will depend on which route through photography you take to a certain extent.

    Insects & flowers etc - Macro lens, maybe lighting.
    Landscapes - CPL, ND's, maybe ND Grads, Tripod, L-Bracket, Cable release/remote.
    Portraits - Big aperture prime!! Maybe lighting.

    More general essentials.....

    Rocket blower & learn how to lock the mirror up etc to use the rocket blower - I have a filtered one, not a cheap one.
    Decent CPL.
    Lens cases/protection. You could get an insert that will fit in your current bag..... I have an old Lowepro Flipside which is obviously a dedicated camera bag of decent size. I have a messenger Firetrap bag in plain black with a cheap insert which is a perfect fit!! Keeps stuff very safe & looks nothing like a camera bag! My most recent purchase is a Manfrotto Off Road 30L (20L also available) which has a separate camera section, top section for clothes, waterproofs, food, drink, etc & is very comfortable as it's in a hiking bag style.

    Oh, if you go for screw filters, get the biggest size of your lenses. I've settled on 67mm for mine & have step up rings permanently attached to both other lenses all with generic lens caps - easy to swap filters & if I do lose a cap it's a plain £1.99 one rather than an original Sony/Voigtlander one :)
     
  32. cj4now

    cj4now

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    Again, many thanks. I don't want to be the 'all the gear, no idea' fella, but I do want to have the essentials. (y) I'll do a bit of reading up on flash units and maybe get a bit more additional advice when I start my wee night class. Definitely something to think about as I tried using the flash the other week there at sunset and absolutely hated the results! lol

    Very helpful advice and it is greatly appreciated. :)
     
    Mr Badger and gcgraphs like this.
  33. Retune

    Retune

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    If it's working well for you, then go with it! The OP mentioned a dSLR, and at least some of them can have problems with metering or AF with a linear. Wikipedia has some details:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarizing_filter_(photography)

    I suspect your reflection problems aren't due to it being a linear, but just the sort of thing that happens when you stack filters, especially if they are uncoated.
     
  34. jpgreenwood

    jpgreenwood

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    ok thanks. I always check focussing manually anyway just to make sure.
     
  35. swanseamale47

    swanseamale47

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    As well as spare battries/filters ect ect I carry a head torch with red light for setting up night shots, a camping towel, (one of theose thing that are small but soak up a load of water), handy for drying the camera or me if we get wet. A rain cape for the camera and poncho (disposable) for me, small first aid pouch, some duct tape for bodging, safety pins for clothing repairs, jewlers screwdrives for the odd loose screw.
    If I'm off the beaten track I'll bung a bivibag in as well in case of a night out.
    My all time favorite bit of kit I wont go out without though is a small groundsheet from poundland, I've kipped on it, wrapped it around if its cold, mostly it's used on wet or muddy ground to lie of for a shot or to keep the bag cleen if the grounds dirty. if you put in some string you have a basic (small) shelter too.
     
    gcgraphs likes this.
  36. Teflon-Mike

    Teflon-Mike

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    Flash photography is always going to be a contentiouse topic, B-U-T.. I will start by saying I am not a flash-fan.

    Flash is 'artificial' lighting; it's not really there, except in the 1/60's of a second you make an exposure, fired by the shutter release.

    As such, it's a departure from recording the scene, into the world of creating the scene, and because the light isn't really there, you cant 'see' what you are doing till you have done it.

    If you are starting a course, I will guess in the new college term come September... it's gonna be inside, its gonna be getting darker earlier, you will very likely be doing a lot of studio portraiture to get up and running, cos there's not a lot of day-light to send you out in to do natural-light, out-door kind of stuff, like landscapes or archectecture, or even panning with the traffic on the main road by the college!

    As such, you probably dont 'need' your own flash-gun; you'll be using studio set ups the college have and learning about 'modeling'. Im my day, we fired the flash-stacks off sync cords; you'll probably get college radio-remotes. Go with it.

    More 'useful' is probably a flash-meter; a meter that can trigger the flash-stacks and get an incident reading from where camera will be, 'cos de-maths gets complex when you start trying to work out the exposure you should get from three different flash guns of three different strengths at three different ranges from the subject, and trying to remember the inverse-square-law..... but again, college should have these for your use.

    There are some more intreguing flash effects like light painting; locking the shutter on the camera on bulb; then walking around static subject with a flash firing it off, possibly even through coloured gels, with the test button, to light your subject; but exoteric one, you probably wont be expected to do, and similar can be done with a torch or even a fag-lighter or similar hand-held light source, if tutor touches on this sort of stuff.

    If you have your own accessory flash, you will likely be over enthusiastic about using it; and big flash guns on the camera are just as harsh and unflattering as the pop-up; even on a reletively close off-camera flash-bar, they aren't all that seperate to get nicer modeling, and they do have BIG guide numbers, and you will likely start making harsh and unflattering shaddow lines and things, and over complicating matters.

    Buying into Widgetal half a decade ago; it's NOT a wigemo I felt any compunction to acquire; I had a rather good Vivitar 283 for the film camera's, and thunked originally that would 'do' until I read up on trigger voltages and how old flash-gun impedances can fry digi-trigger circuits; using the pop-up to fire off-camera on a slave, was possible, but ultimately, I really haven't bothered, it is FAR from 'essential' kit, which was your starting query, and keeping it skinny, low-cost and improvised was imperative.

    A-N-D learning on course about modeling, and fill in, you will probably get more from reflectors and diffusers then you will flashes.

    You have, in camera, an awful lot of possible ISO amplification; my EPM goes up to ISO 6400, plus one-stop, HI boost, 1,2800 equivilent.... for low light, THIS is a heck of a lot of ISO! In days of film, the fastest you could usually get in Boots was 400ASA! You could maybe get 3200, in the photo-shop to special order, and or resort to push-processing that a stop or two.. but really? What you got in camera is like every film in the shops of old; and that was pretty much fast enough to get pictures in the pitch-dark, if you wanted them.

    You've booked on a course... with any luck, that will teach you to walk before you run, and it will likely start with the basics; Heck my daughter doing GSSE photo at school didn't really even touch a DSLR for a year! It was all book learning, camera-phones, and photo-shop on stock-shots.

    Start course, and you'll be taught what you need as you need it. So dont try crossing your bridges before you can see the river!

    BUT back to batteries and SD cards.. if you are doing a course; you will likely be sat around for four hours a night... camera 'on' deliberately or inadvertently, whilst you take photo's or fiddle; batteries will go flat quick; and there WILL be that night where you rush in, grab kit and dive out to get to class on time, and find only when you get there, teacher has planned a practical excersise all evening.... you left camera switched on in the bag.....

    Likewise cards; you will be taking a lot of photo's in excersises; you WILL likely have to keep to write up with critique; you will need space to store them; you will also have home-work, and you will have to take photo's from home-work sessions in on the SD card to show tutor and class; and more, find stock-shots and 'inspiration' to critique in class and discuss techniques employed by others. A few cards and some card clearing discipline may be needed.

    Actually bought daughter a 1/2 tera-byte pass-port drive for mass photo-storage of both her own photo's and 'down-load' critique and inspiration shots, plus course-work write ups... this proved some-what contentiouse with school IT and computer-cold policy... bizarely they did not have issue with flash drives, even giving students one on enrollement... but did have issue with a pass-port drive that essentially the same thing!

    Daughter had some personal 'cloud' storage, but accessing it from school network was blocked by thier fire-wall, and they had some personal storage space on the school network, they 'occasionally' could access at home.... Bit of a camel TBH, and they kept changing the quota and access 'cos of kids 'abusing' the system and saving porn to school network from home!

    This is something for you to discuss with course tutor; BUT that is probably the far more critical issue as far as essential kit, here and now and prepping for a college course... it wont be just photo's you'll be generating and storing, remember.

    A-N-D if daughters accademic photo is anything to judge by, they had a class project to produce a Video, that caused absolute chaos with the server-quota's, backing up and editing thier individual camera work, and cutting it together! Video can use a LOT of disc-space if that's on the carriculum, and tutor is keen on the topic! (There files were also quarentines as porn a lot ISTR!)

    BUT you have booked college course to learn.... go learn... like I said, no point trying to cross your bridges before you can see the river... so just turn up, listen to teacher, and if you have questions ASK. Thier job to teach, and they know what you will really need, or not, for course, we are just guessing.
     
  37. Phil V

    Phil V

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    Mike
    With respect, you do post some b****x.

    Photography isn’t just about recording what we can see, it’s much more than that, it’s capturing the unseen, it’s creating art, it is exactly what it says on the tin; ‘painting with light’.

    Just because you’ve decided you’re enough of an expert to post 5000 words in the most mundane of points, don’t please try to pass judgement on photographic skills that are simply beyond your understanding.

    If you’re up for learning Mike, I do offer lessons on flash photography, you can learn something useful/creative come down from your high horse and learn some new skills.
     
    petersmart, juggler and Pete B like this.
  38. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    Teflon by name, Teflon by nature I fear.
     
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  39. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    Back in the days of film I was never too keen on flash photography; camera mounted swivel and bounce flash units hadn't been around long in those days and thyristor controlled flash units were vaguely affordable for the enthusiast, but TTL exposure controlled speedlites were new and expensive. Plus, and this is the most significant part... you couldn't see your results until you'd shot the entire roll of film and developed and printed it. By that time, the moment was gone, and unless you'd kept detailed notes on setting used, the natural light levels, and subject colour and distance, then it was often a bit hit and miss, relying on your memory for the next time you wanted to use flash. If you were a pro and using flash every day then you'd soon learn but, as a part time amateur on limited funds often we never got the chance to get really good at using flash, so its use often took the 'feel' out of photos leaving you with a 'rabbit in the headlights' type look on family group photos, etc.

    Roll on a few decades and we now have powerful mini-computers with a multi tilt and swivel flash bulb on them that zoom in and out with your lens! They can work via the camera's TTL metering system (and can even work out subject distance and contrast), they have exposure compensation so you can tweak the output to get the exact result you want, or go to full manual for even more flexibility. There are a myriad of diffusers, reflectors and other attachments on the market, which make for lovely soft light rather than the often harsh days of old.

    Then there's the biggest improvement yet... Cameras have a viewing screen on them so you can check the results there and then, and change your flash and camera settings and position/s accordingly, and within a couple of minutes you can download the results and view them full size on a computer screen, then go back and make any changes you want and shoot some more shots! It's so easy compared to the days of film!

    Flash these days is a world apart from how it used to be, and if you're getting results you don't like the look of then you're doing something wrong! Flash is so versatile these says that it can be done in such a way that you won't even know it's been used! However, it's like any other skill, it takes time and effort to learn the techniques, and how to choose the right set-up for the job... having said that, it's never been easier to learn. There, how's that, and in less than 5,000 words too (just!). :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
    Sky and Phil V like this.
  40. chris malcolm

    chris malcolm

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    Chris
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    I learnt to set up multiple remote flashguns back in the days of film and manual flash control. I now prefer to use a modern all singing all dancing modern flashgun if I'm only going to use use one flash, on or off camera. It's so simple and easy to control. But if I'm going to use two or more flashguns I actually find it easier to do all the set up manually using a flashmeter and experimental shots.
     
    Phil V likes this.

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