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March 22, 2013

Are you a camera person? Good! Because I'm not...

So lately I have been budgeting out the last few investments I want to make for my backpacking trip this summer/the rest of my life. One big investment that I have been putting off is a DSLR camera... because I know NOTHING about nice cameras. I dont even know what DSLR stands for, I just know that its not a point and shoot.

This is my plea for your help! Im going to make a quick list of what I need in this contraption and I honestly have not had the time yet to research everything, so I need a little guidance as to where to start...

/ / It needs to be a Nikon because my dad has one and I would LOVE to be able to share lenses
/ / My price range is around $600 for the body and a basic lens
/ / What are good lenses for taking photos of cities?
/ / What are good lenses for taking photos of people? Selfies? (hee hee Im shameless...)
/ / Is there a lens that does both!?
/ / what lens does bad a$$ close ups?

Yeah that is how much I know about cameras. Do you know cameras? I would SERIOUSLY LOVE any tips you have! I am so so very overwhelmed with it all!

Feel free to comment or email me (whitspeaks@gmail.com)

Thank you in advance!



  1. I would absolutely 100% recommend getting a Nikon D3100 with a kit lens. The entire outfit (not including a camera bag, extra battery, and an SD card - DSLRs don't come with those) will cost you probably $500 if you buy from Amazon.com. It's a good basic DSLR that's easy to get to know.

    BUT, if you don't know how to use a DSLR and aren't camera savvy, I think you would be FAR better served by purchasing a high quality point and shoot. You can still get really great photo quality and high pixels, but you won't be lugging a huge camera around. If you're backpacking you'll quickly find that a DSLR is a lot of unnecessary weight unless you're serious about shooting a lot of photos. I would look into the Nikon 1 series of cameras, which are not SLRs but still have removable lenses (if you so desire), but are still considered a compact camera and much more practical for backpacking. You'll also get near-comparable photos for a lot less money. Lenses are expensive! ($200 at least for a good quality one).

    The other thing is, unless you're planning on getting into photography as a hobby, you really don't need a DSLR. Yes, with the D3100 you can even use vintage Nikon F-mount lenses, making acquiring equipment cheaper, but if you're not really into photography I think you'll find you don't need the features a DSLR has to offer.

    If you still really want to go with a DSLR and you get the Nikon D3100 I highly recommend investing in a 50mm f 1.6 lens. It doesn't have a zoom (it's a prime lens) but you'll get great depth of field with it, it produces beautiful bokeh for portraiture, and is good for candid shots and fashion/people photography. A 35mm lens would be a nice choice for landscape photography, although for every day purposes your kit lens should be more than adequate, especially as a new DSLR user. I didn't branch out into using prime lenses until I'd had my DSLR about 18 months simply because I didn't know how to use my camera.

    By the way, DSLR stands for "digital single lens reflex", meaning that the camera uses a moving mirror system to record images.

    Photography is a hobby of mine and I work with the equipment I recommended to you, so if you want to chat about cameras or have questions feel free to email me at longlivethelittlethings@gmail.com!


  2. Love that you did this post because I'm wanting to get into photography as well (for travel, blog, etc.) but I have NO idea where to start. Make sure you do a post about what you end up doing!! Thanks for your tips as well Laura they've been helpful for me!!

  3. I got a D3100 for christmas and have found it fairly easy to work and understand.
    I also started out with zero idea about DSLR's!
    I have no real advice though because it's all i know haha

  4. Don't know much about Nikon (you know I'm a Canon girl) but as for lenses, I'd get a 50mm 1.4 for portraits (if you have the money, a 100mm 2.8 macro lens is also awesome, but pricey). For wide angles, I'd invest in a 10-24mm lens. Let me know if you have any other questions. You know I do this for a side-living, lol. Love you! <3

  5. I'm also more of a Canon girl myself. If you get a decent body, you can invest in lenses when you feel the need to. DSLR cameras don't need to be the fancy-nancy pricey cameras, unless that's your profession. You can easily get into an Entry Level DSLR, work with the manual settings, and have a good handle on your photography.

    I have the Canon T3i and they say the Nikon D5100 is the equivalent of mine. And it says, according to THIS SITE, the Nikon won out in the end. (It also says on Amazon it's just under $500!)

    Work with the MANUAL settings and understanding the f-stops, ISO, and aperture. THAT'S what makes a good image, NO AUTO. Washes out so much, plus you can play around to more of your liking! Hope this helped a bit. :)


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