I need help deciding on a camera

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by carguy, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. carguy

    carguy TPF Noob!

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    I fell into a position as a photographer at a pretty sizable car lot about a year ago. I photograph roughly 15 cars per day, and I take roughly 100 pictures of each vehicle. Even though I put extremely bright lights in my studio, and painted the walls, floor, and ceiling bright white, I need the flash in about 90% of my pictures. The digital still camera I'm using now has a hard time keeping up with my rapid photo taking. Many times the flash won't go off at all (after taking 2 or 3 rapidly) and other times it will barely go off, leaving the pictures dark. At times I will even get the "high camera temperature, camera will be turned off" message.

    What would you suggest for a position like mine? At times taking 5-10 pictures within a matter of a few seconds with flash, yet I need something compact because I can be in tight quarters sometimes. (Like taking pictures of a sun visor while in the driver and passenger seat)

    Help?

    Thanks guys and gals!

    -Dain
     
  2. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you knew anything about photography you would know that flash will not take 10 shots every few seconds because it cannot recycle fast enough, slow down:confused:
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The problem isn't the camera, the problem is the recycle time of the flash unit.

    If you're using the built-in, pop-up flash unit, the only thing you can do is wait for the capacitor to recharge.

    There's no getting around the fact that capacitors take time to charge back up after they have been discharged.

    With a hot shoe mounted flash, you can usually decrease the capacitor recharge time by using NiMH batteries with a good load rating like 2900 mAh. Also, you can get a hot shoe mounted speedlight that has more power output than a built-in pop-up unit, and dial back the power. That will further shorten the recycle time.

    I don't get why you're having to make 100 photos of each car.

    You give no information about the specific gear you are using, so general info is all anyone can provide.
     
  4. carguy

    carguy TPF Noob!

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    and thats why i'm trying to find a camera that will. +1 for reading!
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  5. carguy

    carguy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, KM, for sheding some light on my lightless problem! I am only using a general run-of the mill, Kodak easy-share M430 (i beleive that's the model) I am shopping around for a better set up. Are the external flashes generally more capable of flashing more often? Perhaps if I soder on higher voltage capacitors, yet with same ferads?

    And, I like to take so many photos of each car because of our online customer base. We advertise on many different websites and actually sell quite a bit of cars strictly online. I need to give the customer a virtual tour of the car that they are concidering buying. You can go to www.northtexasnissan.com to see some of my work. I get a little artsy with the higher-end cars, but 99% of them are a typical set.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  6. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not much faster, just slow down no need to take 10 shots every few seconds
     
  7. carguy

    carguy TPF Noob!

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    Time is important to me. each time I move from one compartment of the car to the other, the camera may get a little rest, but the faster I get done, the more money I can make because the faster I can get the cars in and out of there. So are you saying that there is no equiptment remedy for my problem?
     
  8. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Get a video camera, a top of the range camera will not make your flash faster than it can recycle for the next shot
     
  9. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There is. Here's a kit with 2 500w/s lights. It's $2600 and you'll still have to buy the Profoto Air trigger. It'll keep up with the 10 fps of the 1D MKIII+

    Profoto | D1 Air 500 W/S 2 Monolight Studio Kit | 901053 | B&H

    Normally most studio flashes fully recharge in just a matter of seconds when plugged into a wall, and I can't honestly see some one photographing cars in burst mode, which it sounds like you're doing.
     
  10. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    why would you take 5-10 picture burst of a non moving car ?

    i dont think there is any flash out there recycling fast enought to give you 5-10 shot a sec.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  11. carguy

    carguy TPF Noob!

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  12. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    From what I read these are the requirements:

    * Not necessarily burst speed (like sports photogs) but you need to shoot and keep moving on as you have a lot of cars to take pictures of.
    * Quality has to be good but not absolutely the best like many photographers who post here assume (I think VI's suggest albeit good is over kill)
    * You need to shoot hand held
    * You need fast cycle time on the flash.
    * No frills... simple shooting. You want to post quickly for sales not necessarily to get oohs and aaahhs.

    Sounds similar to a real estate agent I helped once. Not really a photographer but the photos are still important to the business.


    My suggestion was to stick with a P&S camera but you need one that has the option for an external flash of some sort. The issue here is that the recycle time of the small built-in flash just doesn't work in your favor. This means a P&S camera with a hotshoe and available automated external flash. The real estate agent also needed some sort of wide angle capability as well.

    This is what I ended up selling.

    1) Canon G9 (or newer these days). Still small enough to carry in brief case. Decent automated features and JPEG output (again... convenience for business purposes). Most importantly, it had a hot shoe with E-TTL capability for further automation.
    2) Canon 550EX (580EX now replaces it). Normally a flash that is at home on high end DSLRs but it works for this purpose as well. 100% compatible with the Canon G-series. Zoom head, bounce, swivel, E-TTL, etc... Most importantly, good power and recycle time.
    3) A good set of batteries.

    Now the flash of that size on the P&S is a bit awkward because the flash itself is as large as the camera itself but it works and you get used to it. I taught the agent to basically set the camera at ISO 400, set the aperture a stop down from max aperture, and let the camera do the rest. You want to shoot almost max aperture and higher ISO (not ISO 100) because you minimize the flash output as much as possible. Lower the flash output == faster the recycle time. Basically set it and forget it... you can even bounce the flash around and let E-TTL take care of metering. We also set the camera push out JPEGs directly for easy processing and use of space. I think we even adjusted the settings a little (sharpness and contrast) and left it there.

    Heck.. you might just wanna try the G9/10/11 (whatever is the latest now) + 580EX set to full auto mode (green box on dial) and see what you get. You just might be happy with the results.

    If budget is a concern, you can look for a used early G-series with let say the older 420EX flashes. If the final output is intended for websites, you don't need the high megapixel sensors in the newer ones. My G5 + 420EX did very well indoors using it in the same manner as described above. If you go this route... remember you want Canon flashes that are "EX" not the older "EZ" flashes that are not compatible with the Canon Digitals.

    There are other P&S cameras out there with a hotshoe. Just make sure the compatible flashes available will have full auto (canon E-TTL, Nikon iTTL etc) to make things as simple as possible, good power, and recycle.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010

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