pittsoccer33 wrote:as you go up from model to model you typically pay for two main things, more megapixels and more auto focus points. those points are what help you focus on your subject and blur the rest.
paying extra just for a few more focus points is bad value, IMO. with just a little bit of technique, you can do a lot with only a few points. i think the difference between a $600 DSLR and a $1,000 DSLR is just the aggregate total of all the extra (non-essential) features. the difference between a $1,000 DSLR and a $2,500 DSLR is a bit more complicated.
Pitts wrote:Also, most "amateurs" don't realize that the secret to a great photo isn't so much in the actual taking of the image (although you need a good eye for cropping and subject matter), but in the processing of the image in an imaging software package. I use Photoshop to correct lighting, shadow, depth, blur, etc. But, there are many packages available from free, to cheap, to expensive.
adobe lightroom is great for this, but i only use it to punch up what's already there - adjust exposure/highlights/shadows, boost the contrast, correct lens distortion and change my white balance. i don't really do any "special effects" or anything. if you do post-processing like this, you should always shoot in RAW.
mac5155 wrote:What kind of lenses are "must haves" aside from the stock lens that comes with the body?
if don't want to spend a ton on lenses, but you want to have something that is good for all situations, get one of those superzooms. nikon makes an 18-200mm lens that will cover all your baseshttp://www.amazon.com/Nikon-18-200mm-3- ... B000BY52NU
this is cheap (believe it or not), and can to landscapes, portraits and parties. however, the image quality isn't great compared to other lenses (but you may not notice the difference) and it doesn't have a very wide aperture - so you need a lot of light to shoot with it.