Please recommend a digital camera for freelance work - portraits and nature

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by patchesprescott, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. patchesprescott

    patchesprescott TPF Noob!

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    hey all

    cool forum! :)

    i am going to be doing some traveling in south america and intend on writing some freelance feature stories, but need a quality digital camera for the accompanying photos, i'm sure a lot of nature-type pics and portraits, etc

    i haven't really been around cameras too much since my photo journalism coursework (a while back - ), so i just would like something that takes great all around pics (good enought to be published), without too much meddling and technical know-how - i mean i'm not afraid of trial and error or reading a manual, but i am not a photographer by trade and i am not too proud to minimize my weakness

    i'd rather not need a lot of cumbersome equipment, as i am trying to minimize my travel load and the possibility of theft, although i don't mind a couple of lenses and a bag if it would make the difference between good and great shots (any lens recommendations would be great as well)

    how many megapixels would you all recommend for this kind of fidelity/resolution?

    would a P&S camera suffice?

    from reading some of the other threads, i was looking into the Canon G7, Powershot S70 and Leica D-Lux 3...are these cameras capable of the quality i'm looking for?

    any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated...Thanks!
    :sexywink:
     
  2. mschroeder

    mschroeder TPF Noob!

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    My 2 cents would be to go with a dSLR camera. For 500 bucks you can pick up a canon rebel xt. Don't pay too much attention to the MP of the camera unless you are wanting to print professional posters and such. a 6 - 8 mp range will be just great for you. The nice thing with having an slr is that you are not limited to one lens. If you are putting the money into a camera it seems worth it to buy a nice Digital SLR Canon camera such as the xt or even the xti has become very affordable. Just my thoughts.
     
  3. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    If you're going to be travelling, it's important to have confidence in your equipment; that it won't stop working (because if it does you could have a problem getting it repaired or replaced while travelling). Personally I would avoid relying on a P&S for that reason. Not saying that I wouldn't use one, just that I wouldn't rely on one as my main camera.

    I'd agree you'd be better investing in a dSLR. And preferably one that is fairly solid and with some protection against the elements. Something in the area of a Nikon D200 (not trying to start a brand discussion here; I'm not a Nikon user, it's just an example :wink: ). Also I would advise, have a backup. Personally I would choose a film SLR that takes the same lenses as the digital one... obviously if you could afford a second dSLR that would be more convenient... or even a P&S would do, but have some kind of backup.

    All this (and I didn't even mention lenses) will of course be pretty expensive... but if you are writing and shooting for money then presumably you expect to be paid reasonably well. I think the investment would be worth it. To be honest I have no doubt that you could produce images of the same quality with a cheaper dSLR, a fixed-zoom compact, even a P&S... but for the nature of your work, quality is not the only factor - you also need to know the equipment will keep working.
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Of the cameras you listed in your original post, the D-Lux 3 is going to be the most capable because it really isn't a P&S camera.... more like a full featured DSLR with interchangable lenses. If this is the camera you eventually choose, please take a look at the Panasonic Lunix DMC-L1. The Panasonic is the identical camera minus the silver finish and red-dot leica brand. I personally would go with he Panasonic as the black finish and lack of the Leica branding makes for a more stealthy, less-obtrusive camera (less likely to be stolen as well). Not to mention it is cheaper than its Leica Twin.

    With that said, the most capable P&S camera listed is definitely the G7 even though my experience is mainly with the G5. The G-series of the canon line is a very popular high end professional use compact camera. It has a long history of successful use including professional use. Please note that there are a few features that Canon "dropped" from between the G6 and G7 which includes RAW and the swing rotating LCD display. For many, this was a deal breaker and users stuck with the G6 while others moved on to the G7. New G7 users report that the new processor more than makes up for the lack of canon RAW. The G-series also has an advantage over most other compact P&S in flash photography as they maintain full compatibility of Canon's full line of digital flash units. I could shoot all day long on assignment with nothing but a G5 and 550EX... no problem at all. In some places, my G5 is more appropriate due to its size, flexibility, and its "stealthiness".

    On the other hand, I'd also like to say that ZaphodB's brings up an important note. A good professional line DSLR will bring the maximum flexibility, capability, and most important... reliability. Often the biggest difference between professional camera equipment and consumer (prosumer) cameras is the build quality and their reliabiilty... both are extremely important if your paid assignment depends on your equipment remaining operational through the toughest and roughest conditions. I shoot Canon and I would not hesitate bringing a 1 series bodie (1d markII, mark III, 1ds, 1ds markII) into some pretty rough conditions with the peace of mind that everything will continue to work. One issue with this route... definitely not as compact nor as stealthy. Often just simply taking out a big camera will "disturb" the environment... people just react differently when faced with a big camera and lens.. Often, a setup like this will also bring unwanted attention.. theft... The other issue with going this route is (as always) $$$$. It will cost yah...

    So .. in the end.. you'll have to decide which route will suffice...

    P&S>> Canon G7 (or newish G6) with 550EX flash pack

    Canon Body high end proDSLR> Canon 1d mark II with a medium zoom like the 24-105mm f4L or 24-70 f2.8L. (weather sealed body and lens).

    Canon Body mid-line>> 30D (or newish 20D) with one of the two lenses above OR the cheaper/compact (but capable) 28-135mm USM IS which is not weathersealed but neither is the 30D or 20D.

    Also... definitely check out Pentax K10D. This is their high end but probably competes with the 30D and 20D of the Canon line. I've heard wonderful things about this camera in various places on the internet. The big plus of this camera is that it includes some additional features that are traditionally missing at that price point. The biggest feature being that the K10D is weathersealed. Pentax also gets a big thumbs up in keeping backwards compatibility with their older manual takumar lenses.

    As for your question regarding megapixels.... it all depends on what you are going to do with he final image. In general, anything above 8mp is going to be enough.
     
  5. patchesprescott

    patchesprescott TPF Noob!

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    Wow!

    Great replies!

    much appreciated, friends

    :wink:
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I too would suggest a DSLR but would warn you to stay away from Canon. Not because it's a bad camera- it's really a very good camera- but the White Zoom Lenses will have every thief that sees it after you.

    You will want a zoom.

    A standard black Nikon D200 would do you well. Weather sealing, magnesium body, plenty of resolution and can be used with a Lot of nice black lenses. If you do a search here on the D200 you'll see the benefits of it and buying used lenses (a good lens will hold up well, you just need to buy from a reputable dealer).

    Don't be a target, Buy Nikon!

    mike

    :lol::lol: If you are staying in a nice safe part of the world, a Canon will do.
     
  7. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Whereas a big black Nikon zoom is inconspicuous? :lol:
     
  8. mschroeder

    mschroeder TPF Noob!

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    Ha good point, I doubt that he will be needing a L series white zoom lens with that canon if he were to go with one. There are plenty of other "black" lens options out there for what he is looking to do.
     
  9. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are camo and black neoprene covers for those big white L lenses too...
    i've definitely consider making my own set of covers.

    Oh yeh.. then there are a few (I know couple here) wacked out people (me included) that love street photography with rangefinders.... the leica kind. No one seems to notice those wacky non-professional looking cameras... that lack autofocus. lol. They are compact! and very capable.
     
  10. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I hear you on the rangefinders. I've been eyeing the Voigtlanders for a while... would also want a digital body that's remotely affordable to persuade me though :)
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you want to hear something off the wall from a Nikon guy... For a 35mm rangefinder that you wouldn't mind taking to the 'streets' try a Canon G-3 QL. Seriously good little rangefinder with a 40mm f1.7 lens!
     
  12. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    it's out of your budget, but a D40 and 18-200 VR would be perfect for this.
     

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