Photojournalism Camera

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by publicurinal, May 4, 2008.

  1. publicurinal

    publicurinal TPF Noob!

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    Hi guys,

    I'm currently a college student and an aspiring journalist. I've just finished taking a photojournalism course at my university and have found myself to be pretty decent at it. I've been shooting with a Canon 30D belonging to the university and have found it to be great.

    I'm looking to buy my own camera so I can continue to develop my photo-taking skills. However, as a college student, my budget is pretty limited. I'm looking to spend around $400-$600 for a body, leaving another $400 for good glass. I'm willing to take a risk on used equipment (a 30D can be had used for $600-ish on eBay).

    I'm wondering what equipment you guys would suggest. My biggest concern, simply put, is image quality. Secondary concern is noise performance at high ISOs as my photos would have to consist primarily of natural lighting.

    Lastly, I've seen a wide array of opinions regarding the Nikon D40, which would definitely be on the low-end of my budget. However, I can get the D40 plus 18-55 AF-S Nikkor lens and a 55-200 IF AF-S VR lens for $600, which is appealing. But at 2.5 frames per second, noise performance subpar to the Rebel XT (which limited experience has shown me to be far worse than the 30D), and only 3 autofocus points (I prefer to manually focus, but oftentimes situations don't allow for that), I have some concerns.

    So, for those that know a thing or two: what equipment would you sell someone looking to get started in photojournalism but on a limited budget?
     
  2. Smith2688

    Smith2688 TPF Noob!

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    If you liked the 30D, then you might want to stay with Canon. I'd look for a Canon XT or XTi. Those should be in your budget and would not limit your lens choice (like the D40 or D40x would).
     
  3. Renair

    Renair TPF Noob!

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    Well speaking from experience, a lot of press photographers use the Nikon D2H which is only 4 Mega Pixel because it means no cropping and quick upload from your laptop to the news desk. You could pick one up for about $600-800 second hand I reckon. But if you want something for all types of photography then better have a good look around as there is a lot out there for the budget you have.
     
  4. publicurinal

    publicurinal TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies!

    The XT*s seem to be popping up a lot. I've had a chance to use the XT twice and (at least compared to the 30D) it performed rather poorly in low-light situations that required a high ISO setting. It wouldn't surprise me if it was just the fault of a poor photographer.

    Renair:The D2H really hasn't come up in my research. 4 megapixels seems to be on the low end of things, but I admit I have no intention of blowing up images to huge sizes. But I'm interested: what makes the D2H better than the 30D or an XT*? If the D2H is in the price range you mentioned, it's in the same price range as the newer 30D that a shallow look suggests is more robust. Picture sizes (for remote upload) shouldn't be a determining factor since I could set a better camera for lower quality JPEGs.
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, if you don't mind carrying around a heavier and larger pro body, than you can get a d2h which is a far superior camera compared to any D40/60 or Rebel. Everything about it is instant, meaning that if you miss something, it's not the cameras fault. Shoots at 8fps, has one of the fastest AF designs ever made, and can literally drive nails and still be completely functional as if new.

    That's 600-800, and for another $400, you can buy the sigma 30mm f/1.4 which gives you a similar fov to the 50mm and the f/1.4 aperture is 4 stops faster than the minimum aperture of any 18-55 kit lens.

    So for example, if you're shooting with an 18-55, at 30mm at f/5.6 ISO1600, your shutter speed might be 1/10th of a second -that's way to slow to handhold, you're on a tripod, not acceptable for pj work. At 30mm f/1.4 ISO1600, you're shutter speed would be at 1/180th of a second, very hand holdable with a 30mm lens.
     
  6. Ihaveaquestion

    Ihaveaquestion TPF Noob!

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    Get two bodies Wide and telephoto Helps a lot. You don't have time to switch lenses.
     
  7. publicurinal

    publicurinal TPF Noob!

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    Wow Switch, you definitely answered the second part of my previous post! Should I take your recommendation to also be the D2H or do you have anything else in mind? I still have a little skepticism on the 4 megapixel, but performance is my key, so if the experts here agree that it shouldn't be an issue, I can definitely look past it.

    Switch also brought up the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. Any other recommendations for lenses? I'm a little surprised that a fixed-length lens would be that expensive though. The real low f-stop is enticing, but Canon has its 50mm 1.8 new at $85, and I've heard it to be a great fixed-length lens to start off with. Is this a matter of lenses for Nikon cams being more expensive or quality issues I may be overlooking?
     
  8. publicurinal

    publicurinal TPF Noob!

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    Unfortunately, capital is an issue here. :)

    My focus is on reporting and writing; it's what I'm best at. But the "modern journalist" needs to do more than just that, and it's why I'm digging deeper into photography. I'll note that I've enjoyed it a heckuva lot and wouldn't mind it as a career path. But I'm not prepared to leap head-first just yet -- I'd rather spend a little bit more money in the long run than splurge early on and find out I'm not cut out for it.
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    I dunno if you need a D2h. Do you shoot sports or work for a paper? If you don't', than probably don't' need the speed.

    Don't worry about it being 'only' 4mp, that can print up to 12x18 pretty well.
     
  10. publicurinal

    publicurinal TPF Noob!

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    I've shot a little bit of sports photography using a 30D with a 28-200mm 3.5-5.6, and according to my professor, came close to maxing out the lens' abilities (for distance shooting, as it had no IS). It seems to be what I'm best suited at, but realistically speaking, I don't foresee myself getting the equipment necessary at this budget. So I don't mind honing my skills at general news photography (things like protests, planned events, spot news, etc.) in the meantime. Thus, speed really isn't a huge concern. I've been researching the D2h over the past couple of hours and it doesn't seem to be my cup of tea. Other suggestions?
     
  11. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There is nothing appealing about that setup for an aspiring photojournalist. Even though I am a Nikon guy if this and the 30D are your choices I would go with the 30D.
     
  12. publicurinal

    publicurinal TPF Noob!

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    If I got the 30D, what kind of lens would you guys recommend? I'm leaning for a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens (Amazon has it for $86) as my first lens to offset the initial hit on my bank account, and progressing to better lenses as soon as I can afford it. I read that it's a very good lens, especially for the price, and one that is worth keeping around even when more expensive glass is purchased. Is this a smart way to go? And if so, which lenses should I start looking at that have reasonable price ranges (I can't quite go L series just yet)?

    Thank you to all that have replied. I've learned a fair bit today.
     

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