I need great help here - looking to purchase a camera

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by FieldsForests, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. FieldsForests

    FieldsForests TPF Noob!

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    So, I'll tell you what my circumstancse are. I want to take professional shots of the wilderness, including myself and others dressed in costumes that will end up in my music album cd (whatever you call it).

    Anyways, I plan on taking hundreds of shots of different mountain hikes in the next month, which would cancel out hiring someone with an expensive camera to do the work since I can't see him hiking around for hours upon end when he's charging hourly.

    Now first off: I am really interested in getting into photography. Learning how to take proffesional shots that I see get 5 stars on Flickr or getting the quality of bands in music magazines. Of course I can see this taking time to master.

    But than I'm confused where I start. I've been seeing that there is family cameras and then there is DSLR which are what professionals use. My first question than is, If I am to get professional looking band photographs and landscapes for an album/magazines/promotion, what camera would be for me? Are the DSLR just so much better in quality than the 200 dollar family cameras?

    Secondly, which kind of DSLR? I've been looking at the Canon D40 since it seems to be very high range but still only comes to 700 canadian if I buy it used; But than it only has 10.1 megapixels compared to others having 15 megapixels, is that bad? Which camera should I be looking for? I probably have a limit of about 600 dollars I can spend.

    * I have to note to everyone as well: the photos for this music album will be photoshop'd heavily to include mist, snow.. I'm even planning on changing the landscapes, as in adding trees from other photos to make synthetic pictures (sorry if that is confusing), so perhaps photoshop is more important than the actual camera?

    To give you an idea of the photography I enjoy here's an example of a band picture I absolutely love. It's not in precise detail but it has an older ambience to it:
    http://www.burzum.org/img/gallery02/big/photo01.jpg
    Here's a landscape I enjoy:
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2223/2300536308_98bb431467_o.jpg

    Thanks for reading that all!
     
  2. Ptyler22

    Ptyler22 TPF Noob!

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    First off, I would say, Yes, DSLR's are definitely waay higher quality that point and shoot cameras, (family cameras). They have far better image quality, build quality and they have the option of switching lenses for different focal lengths. As to which one, I would say that there isn't a bad DSLR on the market right now. The number of megapixels only determines the image size. So you don't need more than 6 like the Nikon D40 has, unless you are planning on printing these pictures at really big sizes, like poster prints. I have made a 12x16 inch print from my Canon 40D, and it came out flawless. I love my 40D, and I'd say it's one of the best deals out there right now, but it's a little over your budget. My advice would be to go to a local camera store and look at the DSLR's that they have, and just play around with them, go through the setting and menus, and hold them and see which one is most comfortable in your hands. If you end up getting a camera that has menus that are confusing to you, it will scare you away from it and you may end up not using it as often as you'd like, same thing if it's uncomfortable.
    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  3. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

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    Pentax K200D or K20D will be your best choices IMO. They're both very rugged, high quality cameras that produce excellent pictures. As you mention hiking and wilderness the K200D has the benefit of using AA style batteries so easier to keep going. Both are weathersealed and the DA* lens range also have weathersealing.

    You also get the benefit of working with a system that will take any lens made for a pentax due to continuty of the lens mount for the last 36 years. You can also easilly use the M42 mount on them with a simple adapter.

    Nikon and Canon are both very good choices but IMO Pentax offer the best value for money when it comes to enthusiast to semi pro equipment and their quality is second to none with basically pro levels of build. Pros do use them of course, but they K20D isn't classed as a pro camera, although the image quality is plenty good enough for pro work.
     
  4. chadsdphoto

    chadsdphoto TPF Noob!

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    I would say yes, you want a DSLR. Much more flexibility to add more lenses, etc. in the future if you really get into this. It's also going to give you better quality photos in almost all cases.

    Ptyler is right about the megapixels - they are most important for big enlargements. A 6 megapixel camera is going to be fine for pictures that are never going to be used larger than a CD cover or the 8x10s for the band to sign and give to fans. The 10 megapixels you mention would be good if you ever plan to have large posters made from the photos. Would 15 megapixels, be better? Yes, but they come with a large price tag and also make larger computer files that aren't as easy to work with. My guess is 10 megapixels is plenty for what you are doing at this point.

    Canon and Nikon are the choice of most pros right now, but looking at other brands like Pentax isn't a bad idea. I would keep in mind your projected future use of the camera and how many quality accessories are available if you really want to expand your setup some day.

    I can envision what you've got in mind for the Photoshop effects, and yes, that is going to be as important as the pictures themselves. However, it's always best to start with the best quality photo you can get and go from there.

    Good luck, sounds like an interesting project. I've done a lot of rock and roll photography over the years, including KISS, Motley Crue, etc., so I can guess at your style from the photo. Check out my concert photos at www.chadsconcertpix.blogspot.com.
     
  5. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

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    Just to say that while this is true it's not due to any superiority of the physical equipment. It's because they have expensive pro level equipment that Pentax don't currently provide. Pros do use the 'semi pro' pentax kit though but most companies that buy camera kit are likely to go for Nikon ( long held as the pro choice - so the names known ) or Canon as they have pro badged gear.
     
  6. FieldsForests

    FieldsForests TPF Noob!

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    To Pytler 22:
    I understand now. Point and shoot are for family albums and DSLR are for Proffesionals wanting to create portraits and beauty. I am just wonder, what is build quality and why does it matter about lenses? It sounds pretty expensive if you had to switch lenses just to get the picture of a mountain compared to a pond. I've been looking at the Canon 40D myself and I think I can get one for $700 CDN with a (Canon 100-300mm USM 4.5-5.6 lens) for $100.
    And thankyou, yes that does help!

    To Katier:
    I looked at the k200D and compared to the K20D it sounds reasonable since it isn't over a thousand dollars. However, is it better than the D40? it seems most people use the D40 although this may just be due to popularity. So with pros it's more of a brand name "I have the most expensive camera" sometimes?

    To chadsdphoto:
    I'll note that about the DSLR. I see, so It's more or less how much a picture is able to stretch. What if in the future (when I actually have money) I want to make posters?
    10 Megapixels sounds fine to me.
    Indeed, you always have to start at a good base.
    I enjoyed those concert photographs quite a bit. Especially the red aura of this: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_NjUI4_382Io/SRi0FQ0-Y5I/AAAAAAAAC3w/5y5BAh1IT9M/s1600/Blackhawk2.jpg
    Thanks for all your help.
     
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Seriously? Damn, I should go tell the guy who writes the Strobist blog that half his photos suck because he's using a G9 with off camera lighting and not a DSLR.

    Really? Olympus has a camera that their reps are willing to dump a bucket of water on. That sounds pretty rugged. Nikon has weathersealed cameras. Canon has pro weathersealed cameras that are built like rocks. Big, heavy, and sturdy.

    I've printed 30"x45" prints off a 1.5mp jpg file converted from a RAW file that was edited to WHCC's (a print company I use) specifications. Turned out perfect. Why does 2mp matter?

    Seriously? What's Pentax's top camera? You're going to say that the Canon 1D MKIII isn't superior? It's weather proof and shoots 10fps. Nikon has a FF camera that's capable of about 10fps with 12ish mp. Sure it's pro level and it's definitely superior. It's an option that Olympus and Pentax users don't have unless they sell their entire kit and jump ship to another brand. That and Canon was the long held pro choice there for a while. They were the only DSLR manufacture to offer a full frame sensor or anything in the caliber of the 1D series. Then Nikon started stepping up.

    What matters is knowledge. I could reccomend a point & shoot with 10mp, a hot shoe, and full manual controls that would let you take better pictures than some one new to photography with a Canon 40D, as long as you knew how to use it that is.

    You can use any camera system that's a DSLR and get the results you want if you're willing to learn. Serious professional quality album work usually involves some planning and the use of lighting etc...It's generally not just snapshots fired off on a whim, not unless you're going for one of those collage type deals.

    Anyways, Canon and Nikon are the most popular because they've been around in the consumer DSLR market the longest. They have a well rounded upgrade path to pro choice (Expensive) options if that's what you're going for. Sony is starting to get there, but Pentax & Olympus don't have those options as of yet. That's not saying they never will.

    There are "pros" using everything from entry level DLSR cameras with kit lenses to setups that cost more than my house. Do what you can afford and what you want. Just remember, you're not going to get anywhere until you learn.

    Some band photos I've done. Not the best, but an example of what a little no how and some light can get you.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    The only problem I can see is that if you spend all of your money on the 40D (the D goes second-- the D40 is an entry level Nikon), then you are going to wind up without a good lens to put on it-- having only the kit lens. It might be worth it to get a used Rebel XT (try KEH for excellent quality on used gear here ) and then invest in a higher quality lens like a 3rd party 17-50 or similar lens. I'm sure someone else here can give you better suggestions for what specific lens you should be looking at in that category, but you can really improve your image quality by upgrading the lens.
     
  9. Katier

    Katier TPF Noob!

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    "Really? Olympus has a camera that their reps are willing to dump a bucket of water on. That sounds pretty rugged. Nikon has weathersealed cameras. Canon has pro weathersealed cameras that are built like rocks. Big, heavy, and sturdy.!"

    Never said other manufacturer's don't do weather sealing.. just said for the price they're are probably the most rugged choice. ALL the reviews of the K200D put the very sturdy construction as a plus point compared to the competition, as the OP was looking at getting out into areas where dust/weather might be a factor I felt pertinant to bring it up. I'd definatly call the K200D ( and K20D ) as big rugged as heavy though.

    As for pro level, I think I said that Pentax lacked Pro badged gear, which is one reason they are popular on pro's.. but that doesn't make the gear they have bad or unsuitable for pro use. The choice you have to make with the pentax is what features do you NEED.

    The K20D has excellent image quality, shake reduction that works with any lens ( unlike Canon/Nikon), probably the most rugged camera in it's price range ( yes more expensive ones may be more rugged ) and the ability to work with a massive range of lenses. On the negative side it's live view isn't great and continuous shooting doesn't work so well.

    So it comes down to what features matter to the OP.
     
  10. cooperk85

    cooperk85 TPF Noob!

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    before i bought my camera i went to KenRockwell.com he is full of wonder full insight and anything you could imagine.
     
  11. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't get such a high end body. I would reccomend a Canon 20D, and maybe a 17-50 F2.8 to go with it.
     
  12. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    he's certainly full of something!
     

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