I know only that I know nothing (where do I start?)

Created by Dedwrekka on Oct. 22, 2013, 1:28 p.m.
  • I've recently found myself in a job where I often have to interact with and help AV guys set up conference rooms and stream video conferencing. Most of the non-camera related stuff I get, but I have little to no knowledge about cameras and camera specs.

    My new interest is only tangential to the new work experience, but I'd like to make the effort and learn more anyway.

    So, what do I need to know and where do I need to go to learn about cameras?

  • I'm only just learning myself, but for the very basics on photography I found the (free) Reddit Photo Class 2013 to be very helpful. A great book on understanding the core basics of aperature, ISO, and shutterspeed, and how those three all interact to provide a correct exposure is Understanding Exposure.

    Understanding gear is a bit harder. When it comes to DSLRs there are several tiers of cameras, and when it comes to the pro-side of things, camera bodies aren't released on an annual basis like phones and tablets are. The most important thing is that there are two major classes based on the sensor size. Cameras with full-sized sensors, and DSLRs with cropped sensors.

    In the Canon side of things, the current cameras from most consumer to the "most pro" side of things are: 700D (aka T5i) --> 70D --> 7D --> 5D Mark III --> 1DX. (I just bought the Canon 70D.)

    What I read over and over again though is that the camera body is something that will be here one day and gone the next, whereas your lenses will stay with you for a long time. (Some lenses on the market have been sold for a couple decades without any new version replacing them. Lens prices tend to stay pretty steady and hardly depreciate.) So the lenses matter more when you weigh things out.

    There is a ton of slang when it comes to photography, and I think to even begin understanding the gear and specs, going through the Reddit Photo Class and Understanding Exposure will help a lot in wrapping your mind around things.

    Oh, and if camera gear wasn't complicated enough, between DSLRs and point-and-shoot cameras, there is a fairly new class of cameras called mirrorless cameras or micro 4/3rds cameras. They tend to be small like point-and-shoot cameras, but have quality approaching or equalling DSLRs, and can have interchangeable lenses.