A complete beginner needs help

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by gerard mcdonald, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. Hello everyone

    I am very shortly going to buy a digital camera. I have taken a few hundred
    photos using a friends old Olympus c-100 1.3 megapixel. It's old fashioned,
    I suppose, but being new to digital photography, I have had lots of fun with
    it. I have spent the last few weeks trying to decide which camera would be
    best for taking up digital photography as a hobby. I have about £400 to
    spend (This includes camera, software, and perhaps a useful photography for
    beginners book). I decided upon a Sony DSC P12(5 MP), Adobe Photoshop
    Elements 2.0, and the book, Photoshop elements 2 for dummies.

    I haven't yet purchased any of these items, but plan to do so in the next
    week. Any advice (for or against) would be gratefully appreciated. Also,
    would I need any other accessories before I could get started. i.e. large
    memory card, battery charger, etc etc.

    Once again, thanks in advance for any advice.

    Best Wishes from Scotland

    gerard mcdonald, Nov 30, 2003
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  2. gerard mcdonald

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    For the accessories, have a look at www.7dayshop.com, they are based in
    Jersey, so you don't get charged tax. I just bought a pair of 64mb SD
    cards for 30 quid, and some storage boxes for a couple of quid. They do
    charger and battery sets for less than 20 quid too.

    With all that you might just be able to get an Olympus C750. Check out
    also some of the online sellers, Ace Cameras (www.acecameras.co.uk)are
    my favourite, they do a package with an extra card and
    batteries/charger. You may want to consider also the cost of a card
    reader, or an external power supply for downloading images.

    I quite like the new Minolta Z1 I just bought too, I believe Ace do a
    kit of camera, charger, batteries, 64MB SD card and case for about £340.
    Andy Hewitt, Nov 30, 2003
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  3. Instead of Elements for Dummies I would buy Photoshop Elements Visually. by Ruth
    Extremely easy to use. By far the best I've seen.
    Bob Williams
    Robert E. Williams, Nov 30, 2003
  4. gerard mcdonald

    Canopus Guest

    Don't buy your software just yet, download a fully working version for a
    months free trial, most do it. Try out Photoshop for a month, then Paint
    Shop Pro 8.1 for a month etc., that should keep you going nicely for a few
    months and then you can decide which application you want to go for and pay
    for. Personally I use Paint Shop Pro, it's a fraction of the price of
    Photoshop, is a very powerful application and can do everything (almost)
    that Photoshop can do. However, if they were both the same price I'd
    probably get Photoshop. Anyway, play around with the free trials first and
    don't rush into decisions when it comes to forking out lots of money.

    Best Wishes from Wales,

    Canopus, Nov 30, 2003
  5. gerard mcdonald

    Luk Guest

    I guess it depends on where you shop.
    Where I buy, Photoshop Elements 2 is $10
    cheaper than Paint Shop Pro. My impression
    is that, although Paint shop Pro is more
    powerful, it's also more complicated.

    Luk, Dec 1, 2003
  6. gerard mcdonald

    Greg Kamer Guest

    How much is a quid?
    Greg Kamer, Dec 1, 2003
  7. About 1.7 bucks.
    Asbjørn Bjørnstad, Dec 1, 2003
  8. gerard mcdonald

    Mark Johnson Guest

    The PSP 8 uses the python language for macros, where I think PS uses
    just javascript and vb and the like. But if one is used to XML/XSLT
    transforms, then a declarative/recursive langauge like python might
    not be so bad.

    Personally, I recommend PSP 7, over 8, just for better response, and
    tighter design, even if you don't have programming and macros. And PS
    tends to use a default blurring quite often, that generally works to
    one's benefit, where it would be an extra step in PSP. And the
    filters, and jpeg conversion, etc., seem cleaner in PS, as well. The
    selection by sample, color, etc. are better in PS. But you could
    easily get most of what you need done for web work, and nice looking
    photos on screen, with PSP 7. No question about it. Plus PSP 7 was
    first to introduce a Clarify filter, which improves local contrast.
    Mark Johnson, Dec 1, 2003
  9. gerard mcdonald

    Luk Guest

    Actually, PSP 5 was my very favorite for a long time.
    But things were simple back in the old days.

    Luk, Dec 1, 2003
  10. gerard mcdonald

    Mark Herring Guest

    Also--there is "the GIMP"--most of the functionality of Photoshop, and FREE.
    Real e-mail: markh, not m_herring
    Mark Herring, Dec 1, 2003
  11. gerard mcdonald

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Depending on how you use your camera, you might need a spare battery and
    a spare memory stick or two. Other than that, you seem to have done
    your homework and will probably be quite happy with your choices.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 1, 2003
  12. gerard mcdonald

    Harry Da Hat Guest

    I have an old copy of PSP 7. Would you say this is more comprehensive than

    Harry Da Hat, Dec 1, 2003
  13. gerard mcdonald

    zbzbzb Guest

    The PSP 8 uses the python language for macros, where I think PS uses

    The update to 8 was supposed to have improved performance times of functions.
    Haven't tried it myself. Still playing around with the last beta but will
    eventually buy it. It is an excellent program.

    Considering that with 8 you can configure the interface much more btter than 7
    I would disagree with that. In fact, I have never seen any program have so much
    of an ability to control and configure the interface. In that regard it makes
    Photoshop look archaic in comparison.

    Also in comparing PSP 7 to 8 there is a big difference in their capabilities
    for dodging and burning. Version 8 is wonderful whereas 7 is useless for that.

    The only thing I see as an advantage to 7 over 8 is the startup time. If you
    have a new enough PC it shouldn't be a problem.
    zbzbzb, Dec 1, 2003
  14. gerard mcdonald

    Canopus Guest

    Also the native format in PSP 8, pspimage, saves complete with layers etc.
    whereas the native format in PSP 7, psp, saves flat without the layers etc.
    giving PSP 8 a definite advantage over PSP 7. The reason why PSP 8 takes
    longer to load is because it is a much more powerful program so needs to
    load much more stuff.

    Canopus, Dec 1, 2003
  15. gerard mcdonald

    Peter Jones Guest

    Personally, I'd spent more money on the camera, and less on the
    software. You can pick up Corel PhotoPaint 8 (part of the Corel Draw
    Suite) for $20 (current version is 11), and it has more power than
    you'll ever need. Scripting is a breeze, and you can add interactive
    dialogs with very little effort. Very handy for scripting effects,
    just type in the name, hit F1 and up comes complete details,
    frequently with a sample script using the command/effect.

    PhotoShop scripting is very rudimentary, just the recording of a
    series of steps, no 'smarts'. You can use JavaScript with PhotoShop
    but coding is a bit of a nightmare in comparison. Paint Shop Pro is
    perhaps a bit better than PS in this regard. Here's some screenshots
    of what I've written:


    If you want something that leads you by the hand, PhotoShop Elements
    is definitely worth considering. It also has the added advantage of
    being able to execute PhotoShop 'Actions'. Just install the Hidden
    Power actions extension for Elements (it's a free download that is
    also bundled with a book) and you can even use features that are only
    supposed to be available in PhotoShop. For example, curves.
    Sounds like Local Contrast Enhancement, which is simply a certain
    setting for the Unsharpen Mask filter. See
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com for details...

    In any case, read through http://www.luminous-landscape.com, it has
    lots of good articles, and http://www.Photo.net on buying a camera. I
    have a number of handy links on my personal site:


    Digital Photography Reference
    Touchup, an image viewing applet (also shows EXIF)
    Health, happiness and healing
    Peter Jones, Dec 1, 2003
  16. gerard mcdonald

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    LOL, about that.
    Andy Hewitt, Dec 1, 2003
  17. gerard mcdonald

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Well, you'll notice that the OP is a UK poster, so my reply was of the
    same context.

    A quid is one United Kingdom pound. I'm sure you have slang names for
    all your currency too.
    Andy Hewitt, Dec 1, 2003
  18. gerard mcdonald

    zbzbzb Guest

    Well, you'll notice that the OP is a UK poster, so my reply was of the
    A dollar in the US is also a buck. Who knows why.
    zbzbzb, Dec 1, 2003
  19. gerard mcdonald

    Andy Hewitt Guest

    Enough searching will probably find it, but I couldn't be arsed for
    Andy Hewitt, Dec 1, 2003
  20. gerard mcdonald

    Paolo Pizzi Guest

    ....or a greenback.
    Paolo Pizzi, Dec 1, 2003
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