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Not Here Anymore.
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Just pulled the trigger on a Canon T3i. I know its not the best camera out there, but it comes highly reviewed as a good starter camera.

What do I nee to know? Talk to me like I'm 4 years old.
 

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Basically $$$ = sharpness with a lens. Spend your money here, but make sure this is something you for sure want to learn/invest in.

You bought a good entry-level DSLR. See if you want to spend the time to learn how to operate the camera, before you start investing. You really won't lose much on glass though.....the loss will be in the body itself, but that also depends on what body you have. I bought my first DSLR quite a while ago. I self-taught myself how to use it.......I cut the camera on manual and figured out how to expose shots, never looked back. Once I got some shots that I thought were decent, I started posting on the Canon forums (POTN) and asking for feedback. There I learned how to prioritize different settings to capture different things. For example, learning low light shots need a tripod/low ISO and a balance of a long exposure to the correct aperture.

The biggest thing to learn though, at least first, is how each setting affects another.......between exposure, aperture, and ISO. A good rule of thumb to start with, is knowing you ideally want to shoot with the lowest ISO possible.
 

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Scofflaw Cyclist
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Get your schooling here http://photography-on-the.net/forum/

Buy loads of memory cards, buy Lightroom (editing program, like photoshop), then get off the computer and get out and take pictures. Post what you take on POTN (link above) and swallow your pride. Then get better.
 

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Read, read, and more reading has helped me. Look at other people's photos and check out their EXIF data to see how they are shooting.

There are other adjustments that you can tweak and perfect, but these three things will get you started in the right direction. Changing one will affect your exposure and will require an adjustment of one of the other two if not both.
 

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Scofflaw Cyclist
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I was in a rush earlier and didn't elaborate like I should have. Read http://kenrockwell.com/ for the entertainment, not for real photography advice.

Decide what kind of pictures you want to take and focus on that. Equipment needs are vastly different between various disciplines (landscape, abstract stuff, weddings, indoor sports, outdoor sports, etc). No need in sinking piles of money into equipment that doesn't support what you want to do. And believe me, gear envy will cost you heaps of money. The generally accepted best general purpose walk-around lens is the 24-105 f/4 IS; street price new: $1000, used: $800. The prices go up from there.

This site is fascinating but again, it'll have you revved up to smoke your credit card. http://thedigitalpicture.com/
 

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go buy a nifty fifty..... 50mm f/1.8...they're around $125 and you will NOT get any sharper for anywhere CLOSE to the money. It'll teach you more about shooting than any book or forum! Shoot in manual mode and learn to bracket your shot with your body more than the zoom (hence the prime lens)

don't worry about learning post processing until you understand the effects of aperture and shutter speed...and how they both work together to get the shots the way you want them! Def not saying post processing is worthless, if anyone reads it that way....but remember, some of the best photographers that have lived...never had ANY post processing, they used film
 

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Scofflaw Cyclist
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some of the best photographers that have lived...never had ANY post processing, they used film
Developing film is post processing.

From another angle, post processing is like having your own dark room with unlimited potential to recover from your own mistakes, especially incorrect white balance. Processing can't fix focus or blur, and trying to recover from underexposure in PP is a recipe for disaster. You've still got to nail the basics.
 

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Les Deplorables
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I'm new to DSLR's as well. I picked up David Busch's Guide to Digital Photography specific for my Nikon. He has a book specific for your T3i. It's a useful way to get started as it combines the general principles of how various camera settings affect the picture with the specifics of your camera.

One thing I'm already loving about the DSLR is being able to focus manually. I always found it frustrating when the point n' shoot digicam would decide what it would focus on.
 

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Agreed with GSR on the nifty fifty. We got one with our Nikons and it produces beautiful results.

I'm new to DSLR's as well. I picked up David Busch's Guide to Digital Photography specific for my Nikon. He has a book specific for your T3i. It's a useful way to get started as it combines the general principles of how various camera settings affect the picture with the specifics of your camera.

One thing I'm already loving about the DSLR is being able to focus manually. I always found it frustrating when the point n' shoot digicam would decide what it would focus on.
David Busch is one that we read behind. Very helpful.

Which Nikon did you go with? The wife and I are doing some local motorsports photography and we went with Nikon as well. Very pleased with our results so far.
 

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Scofflaw Cyclist
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you know what I mean....i'm talking about the funky crap and over processing that people are so obsessed with now... with film, you're not exactly able to do all that stuff.....
Eh, HDR is ugly, and I don't do it, but it doesn't set me off the way it seems to some people. I've always thought selective coloring was kind of cool, makes me sad to see it run down so much online.

I agree with you though, I wouldn't do any of that to start off.
 

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D3100, Nikon's entry level DSLR.
That is a good camera. We worked with a friend to do a wedding and she was using the D3100 and got some great shots. We are using the D7000 and the D5100. Hoping to spring for another D7000 body before next season as I prefer the controls and ease of adjustments on the fly compared to the D5100. Picture quality is very similar, with all things being equal, between all three of those cameras.
 

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Good advice so far, but one more thing:

You absolutely get what you pay for with glass.... with the exception of the 50/1.8 - it is cheap and good!

But beyond that, don't look for any "cheap' deals.
And don't bother with the 3rd part lenses.... totally hit or miss

After the 50/1.8, here are a couple lenses I consider best bang-for-the-buck from canon

80/1.8 - wicked sharp and fast lenses.... awesome for sports!
70-200/f4 - great L-class zoom!

Now, obviously it depends on what you like to shoot.... if its portraiture or sports or landscapes, etc- that will obviously impact your choices...

I shoot a lot of youth sports and I STILL use the 85/1.5 on the 7D for basketball.
I also upgraded to the 70-200/2.8IS, but only because I needed faster than the f/4, the shots from the f4 were gorgeous!
 

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the 70-200 f/4 was my first "decent" lens when i was shooting with a canon......man, it made my old 30d come ALIVE! I really had no clue a $500 (i got a good deal, used) would make such an impact...but, it does. I had planned on going to the f/2.8 70-200 NON-is...as that seems to be considered as the sharpest mid-zoom canon has...but i sold my canon stuff and went nikon....and have since sold it and gone to merely a canon g9 and my phone...lol
 

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gone to merely a canon g9 and my phone...lol
Just read that something like 1/3 of all photos are now taken with phones... crazy..... and I do the same thing. My iphone5 takes shockingly good pictures.... and I have it with me always (the key). I tool a panoramic picture at a Pearl Jam concert i NEVER could have with a dslr)

But.

They will never take the place of a real camera and lens for things like sports, portraits, etc.

They are killing the p&s market though, for sure....

Oh, and just in case you thought I could bring zombies into ANY thread on CSC,

"How to Photograph Zombies"
http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-photograph-zombies
 

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Premium Member
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Well, I'm a stupid ignorant dummy when it comes to photography. The only advise I can offer is to manually focus the camera, especially when taking pictures of moving targets. I learned that lesson at the last airshow I went to............ Dave
 
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