a digital SLR camera to grow with?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by artist, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. artist

    artist TPF Noob!

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    hello folks,

    in full disclosure, i'm not really a photographer (i'm a painter). but i want to purchase an SLR camera that i can grow with. i would mainly be shooting indoors with lights (figurative stuff [models]). and would also love to be able to shoot my artwork (paintings and sculptures) at really high resolution (high enough res. that i could print good quality digital prints someday). honestly, i don't know much about photography. but i will be getting some instruction with this new camera. my price range is $1000-$2000 range. i'm sure i will also be interested in shooting other things in natural light (i.e. outside). i'm sure once i get my camera i'll have questions about lenses and stuff, but for now i just want to focus on the camera (kit).

    if you were me and you had not invested in any equipment at this point, what would you want to buy?

    any and all advice greatly appreciated! a thousand million thanks.
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    Nikon D90, I have one and love it...

    EDIT: Now that the kids are in bed I can elaborate.

    I went from a D40 to a D80, to a D200, to a D90 within a matter of about 2-3 months. Yes, I'm Mr. Indecisive but I also didn't do much research, at the time I knew nothing about cameras or what aperture was.

    There's a little of my background.

    The D90 gives me tons of options, some I use all the time, some I use on occasion - but I have never felt I am missing anything. I added a GPS for geotagging, it has video as a bonus which has come in handy many times, plus it has a wireless commander mode to control off camera flash wirelessly such as the SB-600, SB-800 and SB-900.

    Dual command dials, quick access to almost every common function you need quick access to, the ability to auto focus older lenses with no internal focus motor and the new lenses with one... it's just a great camera all around.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  3. FrankLamont

    FrankLamont TPF Noob!

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    Oh, you will be a photographer once you start taking photos. :)
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A camera you can grow with? I don't think such a thing really exists....

    Don't treat a camera as if were upgradable computer or a bicycle that comes with removable training wheels. Treat it as if it were a tool or vehicle purchase. Examine the tool's er.. camera's operation and controls. Does it make sense to you? Go to a camera store and take it for a test drive (as you would a car). Does it feel comfortable? Does it feel solid? Perhaps you can rent or borrow one for a little while. Talk to someone that knows cameras and discuss features. Does it offer a lot of value for your money? With the exception of video capabilities, most of the features heavily marketed are pretty darn gimmicky.. so think really hard if those features are really important to you. In the end, the important operations have been around for decades, shutter priority, aperture priority, and some sort of automation modes.

    Of course it is easier for people with experience under their belt to know exactly what they need or want. This is the reason why many of us here have had several different cameras spanning different bands.... in search of the one camera that fits us.
     
  5. Guido44

    Guido44 TPF Noob!

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  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    btw... I forgot to also mention that often this can be counter productive. You need to consider the glass either with your purchase or beforehand. The glass is important if not more important than the camera.

    From your post I see:
    * Zoom for flexibility
    * Fast Aperture for indoor and natural light use
    * I don't really see a need for a wide or long telephoto range. (no mention of walking around, general use, sports, landscapes etc.)
    * High Resolving for photos of paintings (consider how you will light them evenly?)

    I personally would consider a Canon 50D with the 17-55mm EF-S f/2.8. Even better, a used Canon 5D with the 24-70 f/2.8L (cutting your budget close).
     
  7. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Basically, if you do not want to spend a lot of money to begin with, I will say check out the entry-level DSLR cameras offered by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus as well as Panasonic.

    As mentioned, the camera is not the one you grow with. It is the system. Once you buy your camera and you plan to do more with photography, you will or should invest more money on other stuff around the camera such as lenses.

    Once you build up your camera gears, you may notice that your camera may soon be obsolete. So you may replace your camera with a newer model and use it with your existing lenses. I bought my first DSLR back in March 2008, since then, both Canon and Nikon release more than 10 new models combine (C:7D,5Dmk2,50D,XSi,XS,T1i N: D3x,D700,D300s,D90,D5000,D3000) And over 20 (or even 30) new DSLR camera models hit the markets in 1 1/2 years if we count other players as well.

    So when you choose camera, think about choose the whole system and then grow with the system.

    If I have $2000 max initial budget, I will look for entry-level camera or a used one. And then spend the rest for a good quality lens(es) and other accessories. Over 90% of my camera gears were bought used. My main camera, all my flashes and lenses except the 85mm lens were bought used. And they all work fine (including a 50mm lens that was built in the 80s).
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A used mid level like a 30D, 40D, D80, or D90 would probably be almost as cheap as some new entry level cameras. Glass and light are the two most important things though.
     
  9. artist

    artist TPF Noob!

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    okay, i think i see what you are all essentially saying. i always thought of photo as being real "tech" and never thought about it as being tactile (like say, printmaking). i'll go to the photo store and pick a few up to see how they feel. i have some constraints on my purchase in that (i believe) i have to buy new because i am being funded through a grant. so i want to take full advantage of this awesome opportunity. thank you universe---this would not be in my budget otherwise.

    this is an excellent chance for me to finally learn more about photography. but maybe it's unrealistic at this point to think i'll be shooting my artwork any time soon. lighting it correctly is a beast (i usually hire a professional). but i will definitely still be shooting models. so i'll take these recommendations down to the photo store and see what the different cameras feel like. i think it's settled that i will definitely invest in good glass instead of sinking all the $ into the body--great advice.

    now if i could just decide if i am a canon or nikon... (just kidding i've seen some "war" threads on here about that!)
     
  10. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Read "Understanding Exposure" for the basics. "Light Sciene & Magic" Is a little dry but it gives you the foundation for lighting. Plus there's a lot in there about lighting paintings, products, glass, and lots of other surfaces that could really cause an inexperienced photographer problems.
     
  11. artist

    artist TPF Noob!

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    thanks, the lighting has always got me every time i have tried to shoot my own work. so i usually hire someone and i've never been disappointed they get such accurate shots. i'm always impressed and appreciative of the expertise involved in photography. and although i'm not rich, i think a good photographer is worth every penny.

    i'll definitely pick that book up though. it should help me get some decent shots too someday (hopefully).
     
  12. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Sony A850: 24MP, prefect for documentation.
     

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