A young fellow wanting to buy a "fairly inexpensive" camera to do aviation photography, needs advice; you have already received some VERY good advice; one young man says, "buy a very good used camera".......I believe that's good advice for anyone, regardless of your age. Best way I know of to save lots of bucks: the only catch is, how does one go about getting a "great deal" on a used camera? There isn't enough room here to explain all that, but I can point you in the general direction . Obviously, you are "online"; get on eBay; spend a bunch of time looking at what cameras and lenses are bringing. There are many bargains to be had on eBay. I have personally bought tons of stuff on eBay, and I have only been "disappointed" one time. ( A Nikor micro lens, described as "perfect condition" that looked like it had been used to hammer nails with) But I was so far ahead of the game, money wise, that I wrote it off to experience and forgot about it. It's true, there is much to learn about buying on eBay, but it has saved me tons of money.
But even before you do that, here's the BEST ADVICE I can give anyone, whether you are just starting out, or whether you are a "pro" with tons of experience; the very first thing you must do, is to become knowledgeable about digital cameras, lenses, etc. The very best way I know of to do just that, is to spend $15 dollars (U.S.) for the current issue of "PC
How-To Guide"/ Digital Photography Buyer's Guide. The current issue has a lot of stuff on the front cover, ( don't all magazines?)
such as "Mega-Zoom Shootout", "Our Top Picks", plus "Hands On Reviews Of 20 Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Pentax,Panasonic, and Kodak digital cameras. If you spend a couple of evenings reading and studying this publication, you will learn more about digital photography and what camera to buy than all of the photographers on A.net, all rolled into one can tell you.
That's a very "big" statement, I realize; I do not wish to step on anyone's toes here! Obviously, when you look through all the photographers who up-load pics to A.Net, you are looking at many of the worlds best, most experienced photographers, that just goes without saying it. But NO ONE can make smart buying decisions, without first having a thorough knowledge of the subject, and the equipment available.
Above all, stay OUT of the current big "Canon/ Nikon" bruhaha! These two great companies produce and sell probably more cameras than all other manufacturers put together; There are many good reasons to buy one or the other; but there are ALSO many other fine cameras "out there", and there are also some pretty good reasons to buy some of them.
Here's just one small example; these days, one of the "hot technologies" is VR
; Vibration Reduction; it' great if you have it; but different makers use different "schemes" to achieve it; many makers build it into each lens they make; others, notably Sony, (which does not have years and years of designing fine lenses, such as Nikon and Canon have), build their VR
into the camera body, thus allowing one to save big on buying a bunch of lenses. Is one way "better" than the other? We could be here forever, debating about that!
Just three days ago, I happened to "bump into" a fellow, who was taking pictures with a tripod mounted camera, in a wooden covered bridge, in my tiny little village in western Indiana; we got to talking.........I said, Wacha shootin with?
"A Sony A-900 says he"; ( I immediately know I'm talking to A. a "Pro"; B. A very "serious" amateur; C. A rich guy, or D. all three. The A-900 is a full frame, $2,700 "body only" camera. He proceeded to explain to me that it used "in body" VR
, and that he used a whole line of fine Minolta lenses with it, and that for many things, he loved it. I then mentioned that I was about to buy a new digital Nikon; in-as -much as I already happen to own 7 Nikon lenses, and I wanted the new camera to "support" them; we then discussed various Nikon models, and he said, step over here to my R.V. Whereupon he produces a Nikon D-90, a D-700, a D-300S, a brand new D-7000, and a D-3S
! ( We're talking about $11,000 worth of just Nikon bodies, plus the $2,700 Sony! Suffice to say, I was rather "surprised" to see one guy with all this camera gear, but I think he was even more surprised to bump into an "old" guy, out in "the sticks" who knew what every one of these things was worth! I then explained that, while I am pretty "familiar" with high-end equipment, I had been studying the afore-mentioned publication for several weeks now, before shelling out my hard-earned cash for a new camera. I think he was even more impressed by that.
Then the guy pulls out his iPad, and proceeds to show me the most incredible collection of images I have ever seen;
Mostly scenics........each shot in ordinary sunlight, then a duplicate taken with infra red; This just blew me away! I have done precious little IR
work using IR
film, with a Nikon F-5, but I had not the slightest idea how one goes about it, using a digital camera. He explained that, first, you buy a digital camera body, then you pay a technician $400 to remove the IR
filters from it, and PRESTO! You have a dedicated IR
camera; "So what if you want to use regular light again, with it" asks I? Then you pay another $400 to have the IR
filters replaced ! ( He now has 3 "dedicated" IR
I'm mentioning all of this for one reason; to illustrate how important having knowledge is!
While we were looking at all these pictures, I said, "holy cow, that looks like a Segway on the floor! " He replied, it is a Segway, and have you ever ridden one ? I said the only Segway I have ever seen "up close", is every time I go to Midway Airport In Chicago, I always see this female Chicago cop whizzing around the terminal on one.
He took the thing out, extended the "steering column", and proceeded to give me a 5 minute briefing on "how to ride a Segway", then I got on the thing and rode it all over the parking lot of the Bridgeton Mill. There are no words to convey what it's like to ride a Segway ! Incredible, fantastic, crazy, fabulous............none of these do it justice ! If it were not for the fact that I'm planning to buy some new camera gear, I'd probably be out looking at Segways !
I have always known that it is very valuable to have as much knowledge as possible, about anything you plan to spend much money on, but I have to think that the "paltry" $15 I spent on this new buying guide is the best "investment" I have made in a long time. I recommend anyone wanting to buy a new camera, lens, camcorder, printer or photo software do the same thing.
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein