Suggest camera for student, business

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by HeatherW, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. HeatherW

    HeatherW TPF Noob!

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    Hi All!
    With the number of digital cameras available out there, I am overwhelmed even trying to narrow down to a few selections. I would really be grateful if you will suggest a few models that you think would best fit my needs and budget. I will try to be as specific as possible about what I look for:

    My digital camera is the SONY MVC-FD87 - I know it is very old now and should have been retired. The MVC-Fd87 has been my only real experience with digital cameras so far (I have used friends' newer digicams as well but only for point and shoot). Though I have been constrained to using point and shoot only - the Mavica, I have done lots of research on digital camera specifications (such as Aperture, Shutter, ISO, ABE, WB, and so on). I also have some knowledge of Phtoshop, enough to allow me to use Levels, Curves, Unsharp Mask, etc.

    I am taking a photography 101 type class now in our community college with the aim that I will be able to improve enough so that I can produce nice photos of live models in a studio environment. Attached is a photo of what I like achieved. In the future, I will be using the new camera to shoot lots of product shots like the attached photo for an eBay business.

    To sum up my needs: #1 priority, I need tihs camera to be good at studio environment for shooting live models at quality comparable to the attached photo. My photos will be for Web use only (so guess won't be needing too much wasted resolution). #2, I need a camera that I can use in my photography 101 class. So I think the camera must have quite a few manual controls otherwise I will not be able to practice in my class and learn. #3, Note that I will be very very happy when I can reach the photographic level/photo quality seen in the example photo. To me taking shots like that will only be a mimnor part of my job. I am not looking to make photography a career. #4, My budget is less than $600

    I still have trouble making a list of few cameras to consider mainly because I don't know if I should go with a DSLR or not. (I know with a budget like mine, I probably won't have more than one DSLR choice.) I really need your camera suggestions. Thank you so much in advance!

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a147/bemyhost/forum/asym_stripe3d.jpg
     
  2. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Hello there. If it's a question of digital SLR or digital fixed-lens compact, I would say definitely go for the SLR. Actually within your budget you could buy a Nikon D50, Canon Rebel XT (aka 350d), Pentax K100d - each one new and with standard "kit lens" within your budget. Although you will almost certainly want to buy other lenses and a flash at least. To do this and still be within budget you would probably need to buy a "refurbished" or used camera - though there is nothing wrong with doing this if you buy from a reputable retailer or trusted seller.
     
  3. tr0gd0o0r

    tr0gd0o0r TPF Noob!

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    I'm with Zaphod on this one. You should go the DSLR route if possible. While it may see a little complicated right now, it gives you plenty of room to learn and improve, you will be happy later when you get to keep it instead of replace the point and shoot you just bought. However, I differ on one point. While it would be nice to have nicer lenses, and you'll definitely long for them soon, if you get a canon or nikon (my strong recommendation) then you'll have plenty of incredible lenses to choose from down the line. If you're planning on doing web stuff, then the kit lens will suffice for now. While it's not ideal, it will get the job done for a while. Especially if you're doing ebay photos, those do not need to be especially high quality. As you're experience increases you'll be able to get new lenses to fit your abilities.
     
  4. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    You might want to contact the professor of your class before the class begins.
    If this is a 101 class, odds are it is not a digital class. It is more likely you will be shooting black and white film for a 101.
     
  5. HeatherW

    HeatherW TPF Noob!

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    ZaphodB! Thanks for the quick reply!

    If you will study the example photo provided (remember my #1 priority is to be able to do a shoot like this using the new camera), would you say that I definitely need a DSLR in order to achieve that? I don't konw because I have never used a DSLR before.

    What about other non-DSLR digicams like Canon A540, Canon A710 IS? Both also have lots of manual controls and I figured 6 or 7 Megapixels are plenty for Web use and I don't need lots of optical zoon for studio work. Will these two be able to pull off the kind of studio shoots I want?

    If you think there are other more suitable choices, please let me know. Thank you so much!
     
  6. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Well if you really only want images like that and of that size then yes one of those Canons or other compact models would do the job. The advantage of the dSLR is it is potentially much more flexible in terms of the different lenses, flashes etc you can use.
     
  7. HeatherW

    HeatherW TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Efergoh. The class will be on digital, not black and white.
     
  8. HeatherW

    HeatherW TPF Noob!

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    So non-DSLR digicams like Canon A540, Canon A710 IS will be able to produce the kind of photo I want? But will I be able to get external flash to go with these two models?
     
  9. Patrice

    Patrice No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'll jump in here and also suggest a DSLR. The D50 or the Pentax will serve your needs as well or better than the point and shoots, it will be easier to get nice looking photos which will help your e-bay sales. The kit lens is better than the lens on any point and shoot camerra in that price range. A DLSR is not any harder to use than a point and shoot, in fact it might be easier as since focusing and framing will be easier. As for flash, the results using any off camera flash are better than anything possible with the on camera flash of any point and shoot - regardless of price. You can get a manual flash like Vivitar and a sync cord for a ridiculously low price. The auto settings on the camera will enable you to get decent shots right out of the box. The manual controls will let you learn and explore the many fascinating facets of photography.
     
  10. HeatherW

    HeatherW TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all! I have carefully read each and everyone's opinions here. And it's still a hard choice to make. On the one hand, a few opinions are leaning toward an entry level DSLR; on the other, I hear that a high end or mid-range point and shoot will be enough to achieve the result I want.

    Of course, as I have mentioned before, I will be VERY VERY happy if I can achieve studio shoots like the example photo shown, and most likely I will not keep pursuing photography once I can do that.

    SO will I really want or need to purchase additional lenses to go with my DSLR down the road? In addition, others are making the argument that "More important than the camera body for this kind of shooting are the special equipment for studio shooting, especially the lighting and lighting accessories, such as stands, reflectors, and softboxes."

    HOwever, with a point and shoot, will I have trouble finding studio flash to go with it? Will a DSLR really make studio shooting easier becasue of the external flash issue? I have never used studio external flash, and the only place I had seen them are at the passport id shoots.

    Patrice! You seem to know about using studio flash. Can you please explain to me more about the kind of lights I would need? Thanks so much!
     
  11. fightheheathens

    fightheheathens TPF Noob!

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    in my limited studio experience, i have not seen a flash kit that would work with a point and shoot. As far as i know, there is no way to directly connect a point and shoot to a flash system. (no hot shoe or such)
     
  12. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes.. there is one....

    Canon G1 through G7 has a hot shoe which is one of its best features among many of its other SLR like features. Full compatibility across the Canon flash line. Its the only P&S line i will consider for my self. The G6 is a very capable camera as is the G7 (albeit missing raw and rotating LCD). I just recently moved from the G1 to the G5 and I am happy with both although it doesn't replace my DSLR or Film SLR
     

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