I was never thinking to get a DSLR camera till I started to do some serious offroading in Oman. Then I discovered some astonishing views and I was thinking that it really worth to capture the views. I had a Panasonic Lumix with me, a really good camera for the size, but I decided to try a DSLR as well. I also must admit that my inspiration came from one of my colleagues who was posting so many nice pictures on Facebook, that it made me say “I want to try it!”.

I got my Nikon 5200 with a very good offer and I think I was really lucky. At the moment of acquisition I was not really aware what I was doing, but later I discovered that my choice was a wise one. Also I got two lenses: the usual 18-55 and a 50-200 zoom. So good to go for a trip and start using it!

And it was i Jabel Akhdar. I took some pictures in the mountains and when I downloaded them in the PC I was disappointed. Dull colors, lack of details and so on. It took me few months to understand that sunset and sunrise can be amazing shooting moments if and only if you look in the right direction! And that RAW files are meant to look very unappealing, unless editing is done.

Here is an example of a bad picture.

Village in Jabel Akhdar

Village in Jabel Akhdar

Humid air, light from the opposite side, all the bad recipe was there.

How did it change over time? Take a look:

DSC_1073-1

Again, village in Jabel Akhdar

Similar picture taken in the same place. Still the quality is different. What did it changed? Camera or lenses? Nope. Just the technique.

The most important thing I learned is that the gear’s value is overrated. I’ve seen great pictures taken with small cameras and yet ridiculously bad pictures taken with expensive devices, including full frame cameras. A more expensive camera might be faster and will let you change settings easier, which is good for critical moments of course, but the benefits you will get automatically into your shots will be tiny.

When it comes to lenses, keep in mind that zooms covering a large range will always suffer in quality, especially when shooting at the limits of the range. If you are looking for undisputed image quality, a prime lens is a great way to go, since the optic elements are fixed, less moving parts are in place and usually this brings a lower weight as well. “Zooming” can be easily performed later while editing with the crop tools. Still it is important to pay attention to technical parameters like aperture and focal length and keep in mind that sticking to the lenses built by your camera manufacturer will pay off when it comes to auto focusing and stuff like this.

That’s some advice, for starters. I will come back later with other things I learned during my journey through photography.