Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rebel Follow-Up

Yesterday I asked if I should just go for the $600 purchase or if I should think about using a site like to get my DSLR fix. After reading through your comments (thank you!!) I wanted to address some things and then hopefully get more opinions.

Renting is a waste of money - I totally agree on this one. Usually, I just go for the option I really want. For instance, when we got our first dining room table, we went to a real furniture store and picked one out because I knew we'd have it forever instead of getting a cheap one from Ikea and then upgrading in a year (ok, so you can't "rent" from Ikea, but you get the picture). Renting (or buying cheap) just adds unnecessary cost if you're eventaully going for the upgrade. We can all agree on that.

But with regard to the DSLR, I am afraid that I'm going to purchase it and be so overwhelmed with all of the settings that I end up using the automatic setting most of the time and THAT is a waste of money.

I've spent the better part of the year doing online research and know that the Rebel series is all I need as a non-professional photographer. So then why a DSRL? To keep up with the Joneses? Well, not so much. I've always loved taking pictures and more recently, I've been trying to shoot as much as possible so I can play with a few (free) editing programs to see what I can come up with. I've found that my camera doesn't take great pictures in low lighting or at night, even after fiddling with the ISO. They just come out grainy (ISO issue) or blurry (no internal stabilization) - both are camera issues. The biggest disappointment was standing on the upper deck of the White Sox stadium trying to get a clear shot of the Chicago skyline all lit up at night.... all I could manage is something that look vaguely like an acid trip. Do I NEED an SLR? No. But I do know I'll have more control over my images and that is something I'm interested in. I guess I don't really care about the Joneses except for the fact that they seem to be getting better image quality and I want it, too!

Back to my second point, though, the main reason for asking about the rental site was to see what your thoughts were on renting a camera to see how it functioned and if it's something I can to learn to do. Right now, with just manuals to read and a few "... for Dummies" books to go through, the answer is YES - I can learn how to use a DSLR (without wanting to kill someone). But I've never shot with one, save for the few times I've gone to Best Buy for research, and the guys at my Best Buy watch people like hawks around those cameras. I'm not sure why, since they're bolted down and would be basically impossible to conceal under my clothing, but they do and its hard to get a feel for the equipment.

So I guess now that we all know renting isn't the best way to go, any suggestions? For those with DSLRs, did you just buy one and figure it out? Why did you purchase one, if you're not a professional photographer?

And randomly, I had a thought about how I posted about our massive amount of debt and a $600 camera in the time span of a week. The short of it is that if we have the cash and we decide it's an investment (we have have decided that photos of future children are certainly an investment), it gets the green light as long as we both agree and our debt payments aren't affected. We've had a separate savings account for a while now just for this camera, so we're ok there.


Claire said...

Hellllo Katie! I actually saw a DSLR on QVC the other day, so maybe you should check on their website to see if they have one you look for a lower price. Sometimes they even offer it on easypay so you if that would be helpful for you. Also, I forget what else I was going to say.

Someone's Mom said...

It would be nice if you knew someone who had the camera and would let you try it out for a few hours.

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

man, I'm behind, I just left you a comment on yesterday's post! Quite honestly, I'm right there where you are. I struggle to take nice pictures with the camera I have now and I am looking to buy a camera that will grow with me down the road. I really do think that buying a dslr is worth the investment, you might be overwhelmed with all the manual options in the beginning but it takes time, photography is a life learning experience! And I like your little edited note at the end, the hubby and I are also trying to pay off our debt but a camera is something that we've been putting a little bit of money away for awhile now and when I figure out what I want, we will be pulling the trigger on the purchase as well. Photos are so important to me, at the end of the day, they make up my memories. I'd like to have pretty, non-blurry memories! Plus, as you said, it's definitely a worth while investment for children and really you'll want to get it before so you can learn to use it before the babies come (at least that's what I've been thinking)

Kate said...

@ Someone's Mom - I know, I totally wish I did! I don't even have any aquaintences who have one, so there goes that idea...

@ Claire - Thanks for the info! I will def. check out QVC to see what their price/package is!!

Kate said...

@ Mrs. Life Account - I'm right there with you! I want to know my camera forwards and backwards well before children come into the picture so we can capture as many memories as possible... that's why it's so important to me now that we get a camera that A) will get great images and B) will grow with us. Thanks for the encouragement!!

Mrs.LifeAccounts said...

So glad I could help! I look forward to hearing your decision on what you end up doing. The hubby and I are definitely in agreement that we are getting a dslr before children and getting comfortable with it. Just because you get a dslr, you don't "have" to shoot in manual, it won't make you a bad person or wasteful nor will I think critical judgemental things towards you (and shame on anyone who would). More than likely, even if you shoot exclusively in automatic your pictures will be better than a typical p/s camera. Bakerella takes amazing pictures with a dslr and she shoots completely in automatic and has said she doesn't know a thing about cameras other than pressing the button! The dslr will be something that you can grow and develop your skill and style with and you can pick and choose how much you want to control the settings. I don't think it's as much about keeping up with the Jones as it is just being more aware. After having researched photography to death for the wedding, blogging and reading other blogs, as well as having a business on etsy which I have to take pictures of the items I'm selling...I've become a lot more aware of what is out there and what potential is there.

Maggie Whitley said...

Kate -- I bought my DSLR because I was a photo major in college. I used it for my class work, but now I use it for personal and business purposes.

Whenever you buy something you've never had it's going to take some time to figure out how to use it.

With the new camera, you've used a digital camera before. Yes, a DSLR is the big kahuna, but... you can figure it out. Watch tutorials online, borrow a friends camera (like someone has already suggested), etc. When you get your camera you ARE going to use it on Auto some times. That is fine. That is expected.

I believe the reason most people purchase a DSLR (that aren't professionals) is because they want their pictures to rock. You can do so much with it that you can't with a digital point-and-shoot.

Why do people buy Macs that aren't video editors? Because they like the quality of the product and the options it offers. Same goes to you and a DSLR.

My first suggestion would be to borrow a friends camera for a few days.

Then, I'd shop around town. Find a store that will TEACH you how to use it rather than pursh the sale. Then, go home and play with your new camera!!!!! :)