It's time for you to focus

It's time for you to focus

Young Post's Photographer of the Year, Henry Lui,takes a look at what you need if, instead of taking selfies on your phone, you want to get serious about photography

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Photo enthusiast Henry Lui created this picture using an off-camera flash to partly illuminate the subject's face.
Photo enthusiast Henry Lui created this picture using an off-camera flash to partly illuminate the subject's face.
Photo: Henry Lui

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Add another flash (YongNuo YN-560EX, HK$920)
Add another flash (YongNuo YN-560EX, HK$920)

Many people enjoy lots of different hobbies. Some like to walk their caged birds in a park every day or collect first day issue stamps, while others spend their time painting their phones pink. Photography, on the other hand, is a more complicated, expensive and sophisticated hobby to take up.

The selfie phenomenon seems to have transformed everyone into some sort of photography enthusiast. Even US President Barack Obama decided to pull his mobile phone out to take a selfie at Nelson Mandela's funeral.

Yet if you want to take photography seriously, you will need some suitable gear to get yourself started. But this quick list of items doesn't have to cost too much.

Beginner's choice: Nikon D3200, HK$2,880

Beginner's choice: Nikon D3200, HK$2,880

The Nikon D3200 Digital SLR is a solid option for beginners. The body is available at a low price, while still offering many functions. Available in red, as well as black, it's the perfect hipster's fashion accessory, too. The built-in Guide Mode makes the DSLR easier to use, with step-by-step instructions to help anyone become a real photographer in no time.

The 24-megapixel image sensor is more than enough for anyone - offering enough pixels to capture the tiniest moles on someone's face.

It takes action shots, too, using its shutter speed's four frames-per-second continuous burst rate.

Fixed lens (AF-S DX NIKKOR, 35mm, 1.8G DX, HK$1,630)

Rather than going for the standard zoom lens, which is usually bundled with the camera when you buy it, pick this lens instead. It's a fixed-focal-length lens - you cannot zoom in and out as you focus. This is more suitable for someone starting out in photography: the lens forces you to think and move about before taking a picture.

The wide f/1.8 aperture - the opening that lets in light - also allows you to create a smooth and creamy background blur, which makes for much more interesting photos. It's pretty much well weather sealed, so there's no problem using it in light rain. Sadly, the camera body is not, so don't take a shower while holding your new kit just yet.

Photo storage (SanDisk Ultra SDHC, 16GB, HK$80)

At only HK$80, this commonly used secure digital (SD) card is perfect for your photographic needs. It is large enough to store roughly 1,500high-quality photos or 3,300photos if you don't care about quality. The makers, SanDisk, say the card is weatherproof, temperature-proof, X-ray proof and shock-proof. Perhaps they should start to build bomb shelters out of them, too.

Add another flash (YongNuo YN-560EX, HK$920)

This extra flash is a relatively cheap alternative to Nikon's built-in offering. It's a flash that can still be triggered even when it is not mounted on your camera. It allows you to create more interesting lighting conditions for your photos.

However, it's a manual flash, meaning the camera has no control over the intensity of the flash.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
It's time for you to focus

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