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Camera for students

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  #1  
Old 08-12-2011, 12:22 PM
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SierraBella SierraBella is offline
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Camera for students

Ok at the risk of overloading with questions without much feedback on the post of others (yes I'm sorry I'm just not comfortable enough with my skill level to offer advice in most situations) I was curious what everyone thought about a starter DSLR for a photography student.

Right now I am looking at the Nikon D7000 and it's won me over however I am worried it might be to much for someone who well isn't even in school yet! However I am already in business as a retoucher with a family member and plan on expanding our business and starting my own shoots as soon as I am finished with school. I know that there are much higher end cameras out there out of my current price range and don't expect to get the same awesome quality as those higher end models. But yea so I guess what I am wondering should I shoot for the D7000 or go for something even lower in price? Is there anything out there that will give me equal quality for less money? Or worst case scenario if it turns out the D7000 is also out of range lol what would you recommend?
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:53 PM
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Re: Camera for students

Don't worry about the questions and lack of feedback, over time you will be able to leave feedback and comment - the questions however may actually increase

I am not surprised that the Nikon D7000 has won you over (I am quite partial to Nikon myself). Potentially the options available on this and many other cameras can be overwhelming initially. But in time and with a little study they should become clearer - you can also just set the camera to Auto mode or 'waitress mode' and just press the button and get great pictures

The choice will depend on your budget of course and while the D7000 is great you may want to consider looking lower in the range and using the savings towards additional lenses and accessories such as flash. Staying with Nikon range then have a look at the D5100 or D3100.

Others manufacturers to consider maybe Canon, Olympus, etc, etc. Basically you will be buying into a system so do some study before commiting to purchase
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:35 PM
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Re: Camera for students

Ty again Tony I have looked at them a bit I haven't compared them as thoroughly though. I have looked at Canon a bit as well I am thinking depending on budget the Canon 60D i believe it is right now is my second choice. But I haven't compared it to the D5100 or D3100 only to the D7000 so not sure. I know that Auto mode can be helpful esp for beginners but right now I have little to no interest in using it. It has already become a pet peeve of mine as some people I know are a bit to dependent on their auto mode. Though I am sure I will use it at some point early on. I can't wait to start working everything out. I guess I am looking for some reassurance? I mean i feel like no number of reviews or spec comparisons can make me 100% on any 1 camera without personal experience I guess lol just trying to gather as much input from as many sources as possible. So far though I'm with you and am partial to Nikon.

My current budget for camera with lens whether sold together or separately is 1500 that could change but that's where I'm working from.
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:39 PM
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Re: Camera for students

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraBella View Post
... I was curious what everyone thought about a starter DSLR for a photography student.

Right now I am looking at the Nikon D7000 and it's won me over however I am worried it might be to much for someone who well isn't even in school yet!... plan on expanding our business and starting my own shoots as soon as I am finished with school. ..what I am wondering should I shoot for the D7000 or go for something even lower in price? Is there anything out there that will give me equal quality for less money?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony W View Post
... I am not surprised that the Nikon D7000 has won you over (I am quite partial to Nikon myself). Potentially the options available on this and many other cameras can be overwhelming initially. But in time and with a little study they should become clearer...

...you may want to consider looking lower in the range and using the savings towards additional lenses and accessories such as flash. Staying with Nikon range then have a look at the D5100 or D3100.

Basically you will be buying into a system so do some study before committing to purchase
SierraBella - good advice from Tony. It's fun and tempting when thinking about getting a new camera (especially our FIRST real camera !! ) to think about all the newest camera bodies with the newest features - BUT it would also be a great time to learn that camera bodies are less important than LENSES. If you stay in photography, you will go thru a number of camera bodies, but you may keep a good lens for your entire career. Thinking like this can help fight the temptation of buying a more expensive body (which you will replace within a few years possibly - hopefully by selling it while it still has value to help you buy your next body) and saving money for better lenses and possibly lighting equipment.

Nikon and Canon are both excellent systems (bodies, lenses and accessories) and you should strongly consider staying with a major system. The new D5100 has a sensor similar to the D7000 which results in similar image quality at a lower price. If you had been shooting for years and had a clear idea of what you needed/wanted, then it would be easier to decide on what new item to buy - something that would help you do a particular thing better than you could now with the gear you have. As a new buyer, you won't really know what you need until you have been shooting for a while. Even the lower-priced bodies and lenses are capable of making excellent photographs. You can start with a good quality lower-priced new Nikon/Canon/Olympus/?? body (or used/refurbished older body) and one or two starter lenses (kit zoom lens plus perhaps a 50mm or 35mm f1.8 fast prime lens) and LEARN photography while making images that you may want to keep your whole life. Then you can decide what to add to your equipment when you know what you actually NEED to give you the kind of images you have decided you want to work towards -- faster aperture portrait lens with better bokeh or telephoto with more reach for fashion or wildlife or a wide-angle lens, etc. Zack Arias, a well-known photog/educator, urges people NOT to go into debt for their equipment or their business.

Speaking of Zack Arias - you might check out an interview with him -

(ignore the beard)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi6C8s-_3wM and parts of photography / lighting seminars he's led (from YouTube) -

depth of field ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxGCl...eature=related )

Aperture/Flash Relationship (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yY4c...eature=related )
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:56 PM
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Re: Camera for students

Thank you CJ I understand what you are saying about the body I am probably overstretching a bit for my first real camera. I have been like I said working with a partner for about 6 months or so now as well as studying other photographers doing natural light portraits. Although I haven't been the photographer I have been along side her trying to learn how to address certain issues and trying to figure out how to get certain looks. Granted 6 months isn't long and as a the retoucher I haven't had to deal with the camera settings and what not. I know I plan on going straight into portrait photography and plan to have a studio set up once I finish my classes. (right now it's all outdoors) After some of the research I did today I do think I will invest in a wide angle lens at least but I am still unsure of what camera I will ultimately end up with. A good amount of the studio equipment will be covered in my tuition including some studio lights and backdrops. Yea so still not set on a camera I agree with what you say about not spending to much on the body and investing in some lenses. It's a good thing I still have plenty of time to decide and unfortunate at the same time lol. Will have a look at your links I have been watching tuts all day I am sure it will be handy.


Watched all the vids you posted as well CJ very helpful information and easy to understand. Watched the interview and had a look at Zack's site very nice images always great see the work of those you are getting information from.

Last edited by SierraBella; 08-12-2011 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:14 PM
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Re: Camera for students

SierraBella, I'm not good at waiting for stuff that I want - that's why I caution OTHERS to try to be more patient.

It's great that you are working with a photographer - that's the way photographers used to learn. I think you are lucky to be learning in a time when so much is available via the internet but working with someone is even better! Glad you watched Zack's videos - I think he is truly interested in helping others learn.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:57 AM
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Re: Camera for students

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Swartz View Post
SierraBella, I'm not good at waiting for stuff that I want - that's why I caution OTHERS to try to be more patient.
A very good point, I too share the impatient gene and would also caution others - just wish I could always follow this advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraBella View Post
I know I plan on going straight into portrait photography and plan to have a studio set up once I finish my classes. (right now it's all outdoors) After some of the research I did today I do think I will invest in a wide angle lens at least but I am still unsure of what camera I will ultimately end up with.
Following the above caution I wonder if a wide angle lens is your best choice in particular for studio portraits. Wide angle is fine for landscapes, interior shots and can of course be used for portraits and anything else you can think of. However the usual choice for portraits is for a lens with a longer focal length than what is seen as standard for DX (around 35mm). A longer lens than this may be preferred due to giving a more flattering perspective. You may find anything between 50mm to 90mm or even longer will give more pleasing results for your portraits. The downside with the longer lengths is that you may have difficulty achieving full length shots if your studio space is tight.

It is quite possible that when you settle on your camera it will come as a kit including zoom lens. Nikon kit lens is usually the 18-105 and imo is pretty good for the money. So you will be able to asses your needs for ideal focal lengths by trying different zoom settings. You may even find initially that the kit lens is of good enough quality for your purpose
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:24 PM
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Re: Camera for students

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Originally Posted by Tony W View Post
A very good point, I too share the impatient gene and would also caution others - just wish I could always follow this advice.
I also share this gene lol seeing as I still have some time I am afraid all the research is only making the wait more painful.

[QUOTE=Following the above caution I wonder if a wide angle lens is your best choice in particular for studio portraits. Wide angle is fine for landscapes, interior shots and can of course be used for portraits and anything else you can think of. However the usual choice for portraits is for a lens with a longer focal length than what is seen as standard for DX (around 35mm). [/QUOTE]

I guess I misunderstood the video I watched the wide angle is more an investment for the outdoor shots but that was with the assumption it would give me a certain effect. (see attachment) If not wide angle what type of lens would be used to get this effect?

[QUOTE=It is quite possible that when you settle on your camera it will come as a kit including zoom lens. Nikon kit lens is usually the 18-105 and imo is pretty good for the money. So you will be able to asses your needs for ideal focal lengths by trying different zoom settings. You may even find initially that the kit lens is of good enough quality for your purpose[/QUOTE]

That is the lens that comes in the kit with the D7000 and is going to be what I need for school. What ever camera I do ultimately get I will be looking to get a similar lens.

I have to say honestly I am trying hard to listen to all the advice about price but the more I wait the more I am still leaning for the D7000 lol. I have still been looking at others. How much financial aid I am actually able to get without loans is really going to be the determining factor though.
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Old 08-13-2011, 05:33 PM
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Re: Camera for students

Quote:
I guess I misunderstood the video I watched the wide angle is more an investment for the outdoor shots but that was with the assumption it would give me a certain effect. (see attachment) If not wide angle what type of lens would be used to get this effect?
The wide angle can come into its own for outdoor and indoor shots but it is still not generally one that most portrait photographers would reach for unless looking for a particular effect.

The image you posted shows an out of focus background it is difficult to say what lens/camera combination was used but it is almost certain that it is not taken with a wide angle lens (unless taken with large format camera). If you are wanting to achieve this look then you are looking at the telephoto end of the kit lens with a fairly wide aperture and good seperation between the subject and the background. If I had to guess I would say taken with a DX camera with a telephoto of 100+mm and a fairly wide aperture

You can observe the effect of large aperture on the simulator in your last post - although it is limited to a focal length of only 55mm.

While I can understand your desire to learn as much as you can there is a danger here that you may be making things more complex than they need to be at least at this point. As I understand it you are starting out with very little experience and are attempting to gain knowledge and experience prior to even pressing the shutter release and studying the results. Nothing wrong with this but it is no substitute for actually using a camera and playing with the controls, and even making mistakes that you will learn from.

My advice to you would be to keep up your studying prior to buying your camera but take it easy you will not learn it all - dont beat yourself up about things that you find difficult to understand revisit these later camera in hand and all should become clear with a little practice.

If you are buying a camera with a kit lens forget about buying other lenses initially. The 18 -105mm is a good range giving you a moderate wide angle at 18mm and a moderate telephoto 105mm. Try taking some portraits outside and try taking pictures with the lens at around 50, 80 and 100 experiment with changing aperture to see the effect.

If you run out of willing models for your portrait work buy a couple of polystyrene heads - the sort used for displaying wigs - good thing is they never tire and will not be aware of any mistake you may make

Above all enjoy yourself and have some fun!
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:30 PM
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SierraBella SierraBella is offline
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Re: Camera for students

Thank you again Tony! I agree with what you have said about making things more difficult than they need to be at this point lol. I know that no amount of book knowledge is going to allow me to pick the camera up and take perfect shots first attempt.

I did know it was the aperture settings but I guess the video I watched gave the impression that a wider lens = wider aperture so thanks for clearing that part up. Guess I can save myself some money on that bit xD.

I guess part of my motivation is having been on the sidelines for the last 6 months while the photographer I work with has spent little to know time learning how to use her camera on anything other than auto. I know she is a beginner too it's just frustrating sometimes. It is the problems that she has dealt with since we started our business that is kinda fueling what I feel I need in a camera. lol Anyway Rambles

As far as models go I have a sister who eats up camera time lol so no worries on that part but ty for the advice!
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