help a newbie out

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by dpeel, May 20, 2009.

  1. dpeel

    dpeel TPF Noob!

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    I posted this on another forum, and was just looking for more imput. This forum seems to be more active than the one i posted in before.

    Background: I work for a car dealership. we take pictures of all of our used cars and post em up on our website. I have been using a Panasonic lumix DMC-FZ4 that was purchased about 5 years ago to take pictures. We also recently built a couple of walls inside a building to serve as a "photo booth" with the new booth, they want to buy a new camera. The panasonic takes very grainy pictures. my GM thought we should go with some kind of dslr, but I am concerned that it would be overkill. our website can only post images up to 800x600 i believe, I would have to resize all of the images coming from any dslr. he is sending me to some photography class at the local community college to improve my photography skills. so maybe an advanced compact camera would fit in and be able to utilize some of the functions i will be learning about.


    Budget

    My GM appeared to be willing to spend over a grand on a Nikon D5000 with a bunch of accessories. So anything is really available.

    Size

    small enough to put on a monopod to steady my hands, i always take blurry shots.

    Features

    Megapixels, i hear they dont really matter unless you are going to be printing pictures.

    probably standard zoom

    * How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
    important, smooth, not grainy, able to take quality shots of car interior features up close, thats macro photography or no?

    Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)?
    I think it would be helpful to have the options

    General Usage

    * What will you generally use the camera for?
    Taking exterior and interior photographs of used cars in a white walled room with clear white flourecent lights overhead.

    * Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
    nope, not at all, strictly online

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
    All indoor
    Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
    nope
    Miscellaneous

    Are there particular brands you like or hate?
    nope
    Are there particular models you already have in mind?
    maybe G10, or something like that, is that overkill?
    (If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

    I like image stabilization, the GM thinks we could use a hotshoe flash to help light up interiors of cars, an angled LCD may be neat, but probably is not necessary.
     
  2. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What type of pictures does your GM expect to have up on his page? CAn you post up some examples?

    I've seen car dealerships that are happy with snapshots of their cars sitting in the lot.
    If you are getting into car photography, lighting is key (flashes, softboxes,...), this will not only drive up the cost, but also the learning curve.

    Megapixels do matter even for online. They will often matter when you take a shot and want to crop / adjust it. They also factor in with lower light photography.

    Again, if you are doing lot snapshots, standard zoom might be fine. If you are doing car photography, you will need a wide angle lens to get the whole car and a good zoom lens to get the close in details.

    How often will you be taking pictures? Maybe talking with a local professional will be better for you
     
  3. adamwilliamking

    adamwilliamking TPF Noob!

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    Since you are often going to be shooting in mid day in a parking lot with black concrete and bright BRIGHT skies your best piece of equipment might possibly be whatever camera and a nice graduated ND filter
     
  4. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. dpeel

    dpeel TPF Noob!

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    Here is a sample of what my pictures look like, i know a lot of dealers just go outside and take pictures, we have chosen to build an area indoors in an abandoned Oldsmobile dealership actually. It has two white walls, and the floor is going to be painted over with some epoxy paint stuff, I dont know exactly what, the service manager is taking care of it. anyway, this is lit only be the ceiling strip lights, but does everyone see how grainy the pictures are?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Grainy pictures could be due to the lack of light and your camera boosting up the ISO to compensate.
     
  7. Cameradee

    Cameradee TPF Noob!

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    I would find out what your GM is looking for in the pictures and it seems like he has no problem with the budget.

    If it were me, I would get a DSLR camera with manual overide and two lenses. One would be a zoom lens and the other would be a true wide angle lens. You also need lighting that is movable, some different backdrops and a good tripod on wheels.

    My advice is to take a class and then try a bunch of shots with the different lenses using automatic and manual settings. Change the aperature, focal length, lighting, etc... (a least 100 shots.)

    Take the shots and see what the GM likes and then put them upon the website. Make sure the GM understands that the picrures won't look the same on the website as in the camera due to the pixels.
     
  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    I notice the MOST common problem with car photography. The lighting/exposure deteriorates from the top down in the image with almost NO detail whatsoever along the side of the car. You need an auxiliary low position light or reflector.

    skieur
     

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