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Discussion Starter #1
Ok guys so I got a new Nikon D5100 for Christmas. It came with two lenses that I can't remember the sizes right now. I just picked up a 32GB sd card and looking for some more goodies for it. Anyone recommend me anything that is a must? I'm looking for this to be a new hobby. I've always liked taking pictures but never had a good camera till now. I also need a good bag to put everything in so please let me know of any good brands, etc. Thanks in advance!


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You will probably eventually want to get a good flash. And a spare battery.

As for lenses, you need to determine how/what you want to shoot before you start throwing away good money on glass. Purchase lenses for your intended uses and you'll get the best results.
Same thing goes for your bag. I have a pretty cool bag that sits at home and has never been used. I don't have enough gear to carry in it and I don't need it for a normal shoot. A bag, for me, carries what I want when I plan to get out and shoot. I also have a Sling Bag. It stores my camera and a few accessories that are useful stuff. It won't carry everything, but I don't take everything when I go out to shoot. It allows me to keep a lens on the body and a small lens in the bag.

I had an all-in-one lens but was pretty disappointed in it and I'm back to just my two kit lenses for now. Ironically, I've gotten images far better with my kit lens than the all-in-one was producing for me.

That 32gb card is going to have a lot of space unless you shoot all in RAW format or do a lot of videos. For my normal use the 8gb I have is more than adequate. All jpg, I've shot 1,000 on it. Of course, at 20mb a piece the RAW images will suck up that space.

Something to remember too, the more images you store on your card the more difficult the file management is going to be.

I shoot in a T3i, so I'd assume our image file size will be similar.
 

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I'd start getting comfortable with the camera and the settings as well as what you find yourself shooting.

I bought a $500 lens about 3 months after I bought the camera. It was a mistake (for me)...because I wanted that one lens to take great photos all through the spectrum. Didn't work. It has happy places and I wasn't always shooting there.

When you start to learn what you like you can tailor the lens to that. I want a Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 right now. But I need it so infrequently that I can't see spending a grand on it. I want it to photograph running races.

I borrowed a friends 70-200 for several days, barely used it. It was just too much lens for what I was experimenting with.

It's a fun hobby for sure. Enjoy it and the experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Im very new to it so I know almost none of the lingo or any thing about the camera or it as a hobby truly. I haven't had time to sit down and learn the camera and look through the manual yet since I got home from my parents. Thank you for all the help so far!
 

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Yay. Lots of fun ahead. Enjoy the learning experience. The nice thing about digital though is you get to see your results so quickly, and free.

When you feel like getting out of the automatic and the scene modes, look up information on the "exposure triangle". That is Aperture/Shutter/ISO. It will just help you understand how the 3 work together to get the proper exposed image.

One of the best parts of photography is it's you who sets what you want to photograph, there are no wrong captures.
 

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Wow, there are literally 100s of books written for this exact question. I agree with 08 Canyon, get to know your camera for now. You'll get plenty sharp photos for now with your kit lenses until you get a feel for what you want to shoot. Plus you'll save a bunch of money on gear.

I would recommend shooting in RAW. It gives you the most adjustability later in post processing. With the 32GB card you won't have any storage issues. However, start thinking now on how you want to permanently store your images. I recommend 1 copy on your computer hard drive (if you have space), 1 back up on an external drive and a second on another external. Now that's if the loss of pictures would be a huge loss. If not then your working copy on your computer and a back up will do.

As for post-processing I recommend Adobe's Lightroom. It's up to 5.3 now and for software cheap $149 for your initial purchase (if I recall correctly) and I think half that for the major software upgrades, i.e. LR4 to LR5. Of course all the incremental upgrades are free, i.e. LR5.1 to 5.2 etc...

The one piece of gear I can recommend without question is called a circular polarizer. Just check what size filter your lenses take. Most standard Nikon kit lenses are 52mm, but that's me assuming what came with you camera. They screw into the front of the lens.

I highly recommend the BHphotovideo.com website for anything photography. Great prices, selection and if you do have to chat/call for help their people know what they're talking about.

As for a bag I have a LowePro sling back for if I'm traveling/walking around town or something. It works well. My recommendation for a bag though is get a smaller bag rather than a bigger. That will force you to think about what gear you're going to take with you and not just cram everything and the kitchen sink too in the bag.

However, my primary travel bag is actually a Pelican case retrofit specifically for photographers. This is where I got mine. They're a bit costly, but worth it. I had all my gear in it in a boat Muskie fishing on Lake of the Woods this summer, got caught in a downpour for a solid hour and everything was bone dry. Mine is a little different than this one as mine has a spot in the lid area for my MB Pro and charger, but you get the idea. Oh, and it's the maximum size it can be for airline carry on luggage.

Pelican 1514 Carry On 1510 Case with Dividers 1510-004-110 B&H

And to end this rant I'd say if you start thinking about a tripod I recommend ReallyRightStuff.com. It's a fully Made in America company. They're a bit pricey but their stuff is quality. So you're not just paying a premium for a 'Made in America' sticker, you're paying the premium for the quality work they do.

Hit me up man if you have any questions. As you can tell I can talk about this stuff all day and night.
 

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Lord Bearded One
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I second all the following...

-Circular Polarizing Filter
-B&H
-Lowepro

I'd add that I have always had a UV filter on my lens just as an extra protection against actually harming the lens. And I have a Manfrotto tripod that has served my abusive self for years. Haha. It's been a while since I bought it so I forget exactly which I have but it's light and collapses real small but still powerful enough to hold my Nikon D80.

GL and have fun!
 

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Lightroom 5 is available for $117 right now (it was a week ago). I haven't installed it yet but it's sitting on my table waiting for me. I'm looking forward to using it for post. I still suck at editing, but I just gotta keep trying.

Yes -the Lowpro SlingBag is what I have. I think there are two of them, maybe. I have one one. I like the description of saying you are forced to think about what you take.

A few weeks ago we had a snow event here.... I left the 18-55 lens on and took off. It was plenty but I did wish I had my ND filter and a tripod. Some of my shots would have likely been more creative.

I'll second the necessity of a tripod. It's for more than you think it is too....You can get more creative with a tripod as the camera is static and will allow longer exposures. You'll be amazed what a photo at 7:30 p.m. (this time of year) with a 30 second expose can turn out like. And a sturdy tripod is a good idea. You may find yourself advancing into a better tripod if you don't want to spend a bunch of money on one now. Mine isn't the best and I have had good results.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggUJpKqOZVY

That dude has a bunch of good videos too. He's a good instructor and his videos are pretty to the point.

Keep in mind that shooting in RAW will not allow you to just give away your images and share with friends. They have to be viewed using software for reading Nikon RAW files. Then exported as JPG for distribution. My camera allows JPG+RAW, I'd expect yours will do the same. The negative to that is you have double files to store. And it reduces the amount of photos it can take in continuous shoot mode as it has to write a lot of data. My camera will shoot 3 or 4 frames before it slows down when in this mode.

In the future you may want to look into a cable release or remote control. Great for night shots on a tripod because you remove the risk of camera shake from not actually touching the camera to take a shot. Plus it allows for exposures longer than 30 seconds. :D
 

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Lord Bearded One
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In the future you may want to look into a cable release or remote control. Great for night shots on a tripod because you remove the risk of camera shake from not actually touching the camera to take a shot. Plus it allows for exposures longer than 30 seconds. :D
A trick to that is to set a 2 sec timer which should be a feature of the camera already. Hit the button and by the time the shutter clicks the camera should be immoble. DOne that may a time because I'm too cheap to buy a remote. Haha.

You do have a point on the longer exposure though. Then again I've never found the need for longer then 30 seconds myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Guys yall are killing my bank account right now! :lol: I'm looking up everything yall have said and appreciate all the feedback! I'm hunting for a case now and looking at a polarizing filter for the camera asap
 

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I use the 2-second time ALL the time. Best invention a camera has ever seen. LOL

I use it for hand held shots to make sure I have a moment to stabilize myself before the camera fires. It's great if you are going to set the camera down too on a surface.

A polarizing filter is only good when shooting in the sun isn't it?

I've got a 20x30 print on metal hanging on my wall from 4th of July. Blurred people in the foreground and boats docked with the boat and marina lights glared in the calmed waters. 2 minute exposure.

I haven't used Bulb more than just a few times though. When I first bought the camera I took a couple of 30 second shots and it wasn't quite bright enough.
 

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CALI BOSS
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Hahaha this "hobby" can get outta hand REALLY quickly when it comes to your bank account. It's really easy to get caught up in the GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) :lol:

The main thing, like others have pointed out, is to get to know and learn your current gear. Then figure out where you want to go with the hobby (landscapes, wildlife, sports, portraits, etc). Then you can tailor your gear to suit your needs from there.

I also suggest the basic necessities. I have the items listed below.

Large messenger bag: Amazon.com: Manfrotto MB SM390-5BB UNICA V Messenger Bag -Black: Camera & Photo

Tripod (fits in messenger bag above): Amazon.com: Opteka FTR56 54-inch 8x Heavy Duty BA Aluminum Tripod with TH55 Magnesium Alloy Quick Release Ball Head (15-inch folded): Camera & Photo

Small bag: Amazon.com: Lowepro Passport Sling Camera Bag - Black: Camera & Photo

I've also made a relatively low cost "stealth bag" using this messenger bag: Amazon.com: Rapiddominance Classic Military Messenger Bags, Black: Sports & Outdoors

With this insert:Amazon.com: BBP DSLR Camera Insert, Make Your Own Camera Bag - Orange: Camera & Photo

Just so it doesn't look so obvious that I'm carrying a camera

I also use a Pelican 1514 case when I shoot weddings because it makes it easier to carry both camera bodies, lenses, flashes and support gear.

Another cost-saving tip: When you're ready, buy the specialty filters (polarizer, neutra-density, etc) in the largest diameter lens that you own plus the step-down rings to fit the smaller lenses. That way you don't have to purchase each of the filters in every size lens you have. Or look into a Cokin P filter set.

I also recommend spare batteries. Wasabi power makes great 3rd party batteries. I haven't had any issues with them in my Canon cameras or my GoPro HERO 3+

Amazon.com: Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Charger for Nikon EN-EL14 compatible with Nikon Coolpix P7000, P7100, P7700, D3100, D3200, D5100, D5200, D5300, Df: Camera & Photo
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yea I can see that now DB it's addicting for sure. I just ordered a case Logic SLRC-202 bag off eBay and ordered a cheap set of filters for it too. Me and the gf were tryin out the camera lastnight with a long shutter speed and some sparklers. It turned out pretty good but I'll add I had almost no idea what I was doing :lol:


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A word of caution. Don't rely on the filters.
My suggestion is to use the camera to learn the quality capabilities. If you stick a filter on it now (and it's low quality) you may never know what the Nikon glass is capable of because you're sticking a lousy filter on the front.

As with most things -the more you spend the better the quality. I've got a cheap RocketFish ND filter and it seems okay but it doesn't have the best or as many coatings as the better ND filters had.
Don't just throw money at the camera -make sure you understand what you're purchasing.
Learn from our (my) mistakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
A word of caution. Don't rely on the filters.
My suggestion is to use the camera to learn the quality capabilities. If you stick a filter on it now (and it's low quality) you may never know what the Nikon glass is capable of because you're sticking a lousy filter on the front.

As with most things -the more you spend the better the quality. I've got a cheap RocketFish ND filter and it seems okay but it doesn't have the best or as many coatings as the better ND filters had.
Don't just throw money at the camera -make sure you understand what you're purchasing.
Learn from our (my) mistakes.
Ok I'll keep that in mind. I've got this weekend off of work so I got a feeling i'll be taking it out and playing with it some. Its been raining here for the past day to two now and I'm kinda hesitant about taking out in the rain. I'm going to be working into getting some better ones I checked the reviews on the set I got and they had a really good rep so I figured I'd give them a try. I'll be looking for a tripod next and a few other small things but till then I'll be reading and learning about the camera
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok been kinda playing around with the camera some and got some gear for it! I'm loving this thing. Only thing I hate is I don't have more time to brush up on it with school going on. Heres a few of the first pics I've taken just dicking around


My GF playing with sparklers on New Years while I got use to messing with shutter speed. These were taken without a tripod. Just bracing in a seated position


What you guys think? I know they're ok but I thought they were neat as a first few pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for all the help everyone! @DBNissan I bought that tripod you posted and man I'm liking the size and how easy it is to use. Can't wait to get some pics with it when I get some time!
 
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