When I started in serious photography in 1967 I had no one to advise me. The only information I could get about different cameras and lenses came from brochures from the manufacturers. Today newbies are swamped with information. There are dozens of websites of various levels of reliabilitity. There are forums where one gets conflicting advice from people with varying levels of knowledge. Often it's the blind leading the blind. The end result is that the poor newbie is more confused than ever.
I think it may have been better in 1967. I was forced to do my own research. I made some good decisions and some bad decisions, but they were my own decisions. This leads to the question, why then am I here giving advice that adds to the newbie's confusion? I guess that I'm hoping that some OP's will at least consider my advice, and maybe once he/she sorts it all out, it will have helped.
I agree that there is a chance of data overload when a newbie asks for advice, but I also feel it is better to give a reasoned response (hopefully one among many) and allow the newbie the opportunity to consider the various responses. I think they are better off with information than without it. It often means the newbie has to do some additional research or ask additional questions - but I don't consider that a bad thing.
There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. -Ansel Adams
The daughter of a good friend of mine just bought a Nikon D3100 with a kit lens at a bargain price (it was refurbished). She has used digital point-and-shoot cameras a lot and loves to take pictures. So, her mom figured it was time to get her a better camera. Upon getting the D3100, she was overwhelmed by the instruction manual, although the box included quick start instructions. I told her to use the camera like a point and shoot - that is, put it on automatic and start shooting. Now that she's more comfortable with the camera, she's going through the manual with some knowledge and use under her belt and she admits that it's not as complicated as it first looked. To me, nothing substitutes as experience with the tools of the trade.
I've always said that his may not be a very active forum, but it's the best especially in terms of the quality of advice one gets here. However, after I visit here I usually go to dpreview's forum. The quality of the advice one gets there is all over the place, from very good to terrible. I don't even mean some of the advice is terrible because it disagrees with me, it's terrible because it's often more applicable to the person giving the advice than the person getting the advice. A common example would apply to WRON's friend's daughter. She, like many others, will say that they are on a limited budget. Yet some will recommend a $2000 camera telling her that anything less isn't worth buying. Then there's the fanboys who will push one brand telling the OP in no uncertain terms that it's better than all the others.
The poor newbie doesn't know what to believe and ends up more confused than ever. I agree that more information is better than no information, but the information given should be accurate and should apply to the OP's needs. That's not a problem here, but it is on some other sites.
I really don't think it's any worse than in 1967, but better. You still make your own decisions -- we all do. Now it's simply easier to get ideas for things to try. How is that a bad thing?
Then like now, you try out ideas or advice and see what works. Even bad advice or failures teach you something. It's called learning :-)
The problem with learning from bad advice is that it often costs one money that could have gone for other things. I guess what bothers me more than too much advice is too much bad advice. Most of us have been into photography a long time, but newbies can get very confused. On dpreview, for example, I read newbies every day complaining that they are more confused than ever. I call it paralysis by analysis. They get so much conflicting advice that they can't make a decision.
I don't have an answer. I just give the best advice I can and hope that the newbie can sort it all out and make a good decision whether he/she listens to me or not.
Mark, to belabor a point...
When I was going to buy my first car in 1976 (pre-internet), all sorts of people gave me advice. Don't ever buy a Ford; Ford is the best; Stick to American cars; American cars are crap. Etc. Etc.
Hopefully my point is clear
Paul I understand your point and I don't disagree with it. People always got conflicting opinions on all kinds of things. Harry Truman said that he needed a one armed economist because every economist would say that on one hand this could happen and on the other hand that could happen (I was a economics major). My point is that with more and more sources of information one gets more and more conflicting information. Does that make it harder to make a decision? I think it does for some people. It's just an opinion. I could be wrong.
i agree with this!it did make my data overload !