Digital Photography Courses. FAQ -Which Digital SLR Camera should I buy - email

Course Location & Timings


Dates: February to November 2012

Timings: 09.45am - 5.00pm

Address: 25 Westerby Lane, Smeeton Westerby, Leics, LE8 0RA

Telephone. 0116 2796906

Price: £135

Lunch: Included


Nature = Nature & Bird Photography Course at Rutland Water. Oakham


Photography Course Timings


9.30 -10am Arrival, coffee & biscuits 10.00am camera settings & theory

12.30 -1.00pm light lunch (included)

1pm-3pm Practical photography

3pm-4pm Review photographs

4pm-5pm Photo-editing Demonstration

5pm Questions & course feedback


DSLR Course Requirements


Digital SLR Camera

Extra lenses - optional

External flashgun - optional

Fully charged battery and / or a spare

Empty memory card

Any other kit you need explaining

change of shoes if wet.


Please ensure you have a fully charged battery as we will be using your camera a lot and batteries do to tend to run out.For batteries and cards at huge discounts visit


Please note the Tamron 18-270mm lens is not suitable for Full Frame FX cameras like the Canon 5D, 6D or Nikon D600 or D800. If you have one of these cameras and would like a similar superzoom then choose one of these.




Nikon 28-300mm


Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flashgun


Bowens Gemini 500R Pulsar Tx Three Head Kit £1499


Sekonic L-308S Flashmate Light Meter £138


Lastolite Background Support System £125



Phottix Light Stand Boom Arm and Sand Bag


Manfrotto 190 Go Tripod with Free 496RC2 Ball Head



Nikon D7200 Body Only


OpTech Rainsleeve - Flash (x2)

Photography Course - Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a digital photography or camera question you need answering? Email me at and I will either answer it on this page, if there is enough space, or answer it on a course.

If you would like to support this website then using the affiliate link search box below will take you to Amazon. It will not cost you any more but I get a small commission. Cheers Glen.

Please support DPC by using the Amazon affilate search box below.


Which Digital SLR Camera should I buy?

Nikon D5000Buying a digital SLR is an expensive commitment and it can be daunting as to which one to choose. The main players are Canon and Nikon with Pentax, Sony and Olympus all offering credible, good value alternatives. If extra lenses are important then Canon and Nikon offer a greater choice of branded and compatible options.

A very popular camera on our Digital SLR photography courses at the moment is the Nikon D5200 (or the replacement Nikon D5300) because of it's adjustable LCD live view screen which makes low angle photography much easier. I also like it because it has a clear LCD screen with a very good graphical display which is great for beginners to understand. This coupled with the excellent Tamron 18-270mm should keep most amateurs happy for most photography assignments. If you prefer a Canon camera then the Canon EOS 1100D Digital SLR Camera with the EF-S 18-135 mm IS Lens Kit is very well regarded alternative.

Which camera and lens would I buy?

Personally I would stick with either and Canon or a Nikon because they have the widest, and usually cheapest, range of compatible lenses and accessories. I would pair an entry level model like the Nikon D3200 or D5200 or the Canon 1100D, 600D or 650D with a Tamron 18-270mm wide range zoom. This will probably be the only lens you ever need. Quality wise there's really nothing to choose between the two makes but I do find the menu system and operation of the Nikons slightly better. I personally use a Nikon D5100 with a Tamron 18-270mm lens for training purposes.

Which Lens should I buy?

Lenses Most DSLR cameras come supplied with a standard 18-55mm zoom lens. This lens has the same zoom range as most compact camera zooms and photographers very quickly becomes aware of its shortcomings. The next step is usually to buy a telephoto zoom lens of the 80-200mm or 75-300mm variety. You now have a bulky camera with two lenses, which also require a camera bag. The danger of this set up is the tendency to leave the whole package at your accommodation instead of taking it with you on location.

Personally I’m a great fan of the 18-200mm or 18-270mm wide range zoom lenses as this one lens will cover most of your photography needs from landscape, to portraits to wildlife. My recommendation is to save money buy purchasing camera body only and investing in one of the Canon, Nikon, Tamron or Sigma wide range zooms. Your initial outlay will be greater but in the long run you will save money, weight and a huge amount of time swapping lenses.

Tamron 18-270mm Superzoom. One lens for every occasion

I'm a big fan of the Tamron 18-270mm Superzoom which will save you having to buy and carry two lenses plus save you money in the long run on additional camera bags and filters. There is also less chance of missing those important shots because you are changing lenses.

Which is the best wide range zoom to buy?

Canon, Nikon, Tamron and Sigma all make very good wide range zooms and they all have there different pros and cons. For instance the Tamron 18-270 has a longest range, so it's great for wildlife photography. The best thing is to try them with your camera and see which lens you prefer.

Recommendation: Buy a body only with a wide range zoom

These are all recommended lenses on the website and any would be suitable.

Which is the best Canon wide angle zoom to buy

In my Canon camera days I used to have the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens which I really liked for my landscape photography. It needed using with care as it could make things look a bit "bendy" at the 10mm end of the zoom but it was brilliant for getting small objects, like flowers, large in the foreground and a sweeping landscape and sky all sharp behind.

Coney Island

A lower cost alternative would be the Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 - Canon Fit

Sigma also do a Nikon version of this lens Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 - Nikon Fit

Giants Causeway

The Nifty Fifty – Is it worth buying a 50mm Lens?

I watch with great interest the discussion on the DPC Facebook Group about whether photographers should buy a 50mm f1.8 or f1.4 prime lens.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons. 

First the good news – the 50mm is an excellent quality, low cost lens with minimal distortion which is great for use in poor lighting. The wide aperture will allow at least 3 stops more light in than the standard f5.6 of the 18-55mm zoom at the 50mm setting. This is really helpful for portraits or photographs in very low lighting, where you cannot or don’t want to use the flash, such as concerts or churches.

And now for the bad news. This is my personal view and other photographers may disagree and find this lens very useful.

Ask your self - “What are you going to use it for.”  The 50mm is deemed as a “standard lens” on a 35mm, or full frame DSLR. This is because it gives a similar perspective and viewpoint as the human eye. The equivalent lens on a DX camera would be about 35mm because of the 1.5x crop factor.  A 50mm on a DX camera (most DSLRs) has the same crop factor as a 75mm lens on a full frame (FX) camera so becomes a short telephoto.

In the days of 35mm cameras an 85mm- 105mm lens was generally chosen as a portrait lens as it kept the photographer a sensible distance from the subject, offered a pleasing perspective and gave a blurry background.

To fill the frame with a 50mm you had to stand uncomfortably close which gave distortion and often proved intimidating for the model. A longer lens, like and 85mm, would allow a better distance, give a blurrier background and also a narrower angle of view therefore cutting out the rubbish in the background. So the 50mm is not much good for portraits then.

Let’s take a look at photographing interiors.

A 50mm = 75mm on a DX camera so basically you are not going to get enough of the room in the picture. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

How about landscapes?

One of the things people talk about on the 50mm is its lack of distortion. "Things look like they do in real life." Problem is “I don’t want them to look normal”. The reason I think so many photographers pictures look boring is because they look like real life. Let everyone else take the boring pictures. I want my students to take pictures that stand out from the crowd.

Take a look at the 52 week Flickr pictures and see how many were taken on a 50mm. I bet you won’t see many.

So should you buy one or not?

So in conclusion - should you buy one? Why not? They’re only a £100 and if you ever find yourself photographing black cats in coal cellars it will be invaluable. Add to this if you turn them around they make a great magnifying glass or a paper weight and if you don’t use it (I never use mine) you can always flog it on eBay.

Better still go for a 90mm f2.8 macro which will give you 2 stops extra light and you can use it for portraits plus macro photography. If you really do need f1.8 or f1.4 then I would go for the 85mm for portraits. If you are doing landscapes go for a 10-20mm zoom.

When I started my professional career I only had two lenses. A 24mm f2.8 wide angle and a 200mm f2.8 telephoto and I used those two lenses for pretty much everything. I did have a 50mm f1.4 which I used it as a magnifying class for looking at negatives.

Just one final point about lens edge quality.  If you are using any lens wide open to get a blurry background, and assuming your subject is not right on the edge, then why are you worrying about edge sharpness? If the outside of the picture is blurry anyway how will you know if it lacks sharpness?

Gift Vouchers

Gift Vouchers are available for any Digital Photography or Photoshop course. They can be booked for a certain date or be left open for the recipient to book a course themselves - subject to availability. All photography course Gift Vouchers are valid for a full 12 months.

Please Contact Us If You Have Any Questions

email - or call 0116 279 6906


Canon EF-M 18-150mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens - Black

Panasonic 100-300mm f4.0-5.6 LUMIX G Vario Lens -
Micro Four Thirds Fit £378 at Wex Photographic

Panasonic 14-140mm f3.5-5.6 G Vario ASPH Power OIS
Micro Four Thirds Lens £405 at Wex Photographic

Manfrotto MK190XPRO3 Tripod and XPRO Ball Head

Manfrotto MK055XPRO3 Tripod + Xpro Ballhead + MBAG75N Tripod Bag

Manfrotto MK055XPRO3 Tripod + Xpro Ballhead + MBAG75N Tripod Bag

Vanguard Alta Pro 264AB Aluminium Tripod with SBH-100 Ball Head

My Favourite Compact - Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ70 - Black

I'm often asked which travel compact I recommend and the one I personally opted for was the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ70. This has a 30x Leica optical zoom (24-720mm), built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, shoots RAW and also has a viewfinder. At £300 it’s not cheap but if you are looking for those specifications the next comparable models are in the £500 range.

My Favourite Compact - Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ70 - Silver

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ100 Digital Camera - Black

If you are prepared to fork out £500 then the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ100 Digital Camera is hard to beat. This camera has a 1 inch sensor and has a 10x zoom along with a viewfinder.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ100 Digital Camera - Silver

Manfrotto MK190XPRO4 Tripod and XPRO Ball Head

Sigma 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 C DC Macro HSM - Pentax Fit

Nikon D5300 Digital SLR Camera Body - Black

Tamron 18-270mm £299

Manfrotto MK190X3 Tripod + 804 Tripod Head Kit

Manfrotto Compact Advanced Tripod with Ball Head

Sunpak DigiPro 665RFC Carbon Fibre Tripod

Tamron 18-270mm Nikon Fit

Tamron 16-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro Lens - Nikon Fit

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ100 Digital Camera - Black - £478

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ70 Digital Camera - Black £249

Panasonic 14-140mm f3.5-5.6 G Vario ASPH Power OIS Micro Four Thirds Lens

Nikon D5300 Digital SLR Camera Body - Black £449

Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod - Black £44.99

Tamron 18-400mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Lens - Nikon Fit £649

Tamron 18-270mm Canon Fit -Used £204

Tamron 18-270mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD - Canon Fit £299

Manfrotto MK190XPRO4 Tripod and XPRO Ball Head with 200PL Plate £209

Manfrotto Monopod £15

Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod - Black

Manfrotto MK290XTC3-3W 290 XTRA Carbon Kit

Manfrotto Befree Advanced Aluminium Kit - Black

Nikon Camera Cashback Offers at Wex

Calumet 7300 Tripod with Three-way Quick-Release Head

Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 G AF-S ED Lens - £275 Cashback

Manfrotto Compact Light Tripod - Black

Used Tamron 18-270mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD - Canon Fit

Used Tamron 16-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro Lens - Canon Fit

Canon RF 24-240mm f4-6.3 IS USM Lens

Used Nikon D7500 Digital SLR Camera Body


Amazon Affiliate Links