Advice for a beginner

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by lekaicasi46, Dec 11, 2020.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm earnestly looking for some advice here, my apologies if you get a lot of this type of question.

    I'm going on a trip at the end of the Summer and really don't want to miss out on the opportunity to do some photography.

    I have an old compact digital camera (Fujifilm Finepix S1500) that I purchased almost ten years ago and never really used. I don't think it's a terrible piece of kit but I'm a total beginner and have no real way to judge the quality of this thing myself. My budget doesn't really allow me to upgrade currently.

    I've spent some time watching videos around basic camera settings and I intend to use my free weekends through summer to get used to using the camera. However, my question for the sub is do I need to upgrade? Will it be worth learning basics on photography using a basic piece of kit like I have? Any advice you have about learning would be massively helpful too - should I take a class or are the resources available on YouTube/online really worthwhile?

    Thank you so much for your help, I'm hoping for a few words of advice to point me in the right direction as I feel kind of stuck at the moment.
  2. Learn to use your camera by reading the manual. Start doing it now and practice with the camera often so you would be good with it before the trip. If you don't want to do that use your smart phone if you have one. Image quality between a typical current smart phone and your camera aren't that much different except with your camera you can zoom in subjects that are far away.
    Don't buy a new camera until you're proficient with your camera or if you want to pursue photography actively for a long time in the future.
    glen_h likes this.
  3. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The camera that you have is more than adequate to learn the basics and more about Photography, I advise that you do not upgrade your gear at the moment.

    Regarding advice about learning, that's individual: some people learn more quickly and efficiently on their own reading and researching, for example videos as you mentioned. For others something like classroom or some structured learning is good, especially for the basics, a friend, who is a Photographer, might be the only structure that you need to get you started and with whom you might refer from time to time; forums like have a wealth of experienced operators and are very useful for specific questions.

    I think that your idea of setting aside your "free weekends" to get used to the camera, is an admirable idea, but is likely fraught with danger: I think that feeling “stuck at the moment” is the burden you need to remove. That burden is simple removed. Charge up the camera’s battery and put a memory card in it and carry it around everywhere and make pictures as you see them appear in front of your very eyes.

    Digital is very inexpensive and you can’t make mistakes, only learning experiences.

    You’ve had the camera for ten years and not used it – that’s the salient matter at hand and key issue which needs addressing: pick it up now and start using it.

  4. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    One of my 'Go Anywhere' cameras is a Fujifilm Finepix S1500, just like you, and if you set up the user modes for the kind of photos you like taking, it will serve you well. One of mine is set to Macro, for close-ups of flowers etc, another is Landscape, and these two cover a lot of what I see when not on a specific photo outing. As with any camera, the two most important parts are not sold with the equipment - they are the eye and the brain using it.
  5. My advice for someone wanting to learn is to shun such modes. Concentrate on the very few parameters involved (Iso, shutterspeed, aperture and focus. That's it for technicalities.) and use aperture priority, perhaps aided by auto-iso.
    You will have to keep an eye on the shutterspeed, and have to think about what aperture to use to get the look you're after. But it's almost as easy as any program-mode. And you learn how these things interact.
    Special modes involve adding a bias without telling us, the photographer, what and by how much (unless there is some diagram buried away somewhere in the manual). The camera keeps us guessing. You do not learn a lot.
  6. issue got solved
  7. ... and thanks, everyone, for taking the time and energy to respond to me so helpfully.

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