Want to buy a "professional" grade camera- help!?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by PaigesOfMemories, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. PaigesOfMemories
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    PaigesOfMemories New Member

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    Hello! I have been doing tons of research on different brands (Cannon vs Nikon) and the meaning of DSLR etc, etc. Honestly, I'm still so confused by it all! I am SO new to this and need some guidance.

    I had, at first, wanted a Cannon DSLR camera. It was on a photographer friend's wish list so I just took his idea thinking he knew best. However, 2 other photographers have told me they ONLY shoot Nikon's... I'm thinking Nikon wins due to higher number of votes lol.

    Here is what I am looking for:
    Shooting children (my goal is to be primarily a children/family photographer) and often my child.
    So, I need the photos taken quickly and in focus when there is a lot of movement.
    I will also want to go out and take portraits in nature (using a blade of grass to frame a portrait is high on my list of shots I want to master!) and of nature (lightning etc). I also may assist my sports journalist boyfriend by doing photography for his articles.
    So, I think my shooting top three styles will be: Action/sports, outdoor/landscapes , Spontaneous. (Night/low light are also to be considered for football.)
    I am looking to spend $500.00 TOPS. Yes, I know, that is kind of low.

    Any information, knowledge, experiences and suggestions are VERY much appreciated!

    I want to buy one for my 21st birthday next month!


    Here is a link to my newest find (I will be purchasing whatever I chose on Amazon):
    Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera with Nikon AF-S VR DX 18-55mm lens

    This one was suggested to me yesterday by a photographer friend:
    Amazon.com: Nikon COOLPIX P500 12.1 CMOS Digital Camera with 36x NIKKOR Wide-Angle Optical Zoom Lens and Full HD 1080p Video (Black): Camera & Photo
  2. jaomul
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    jaomul Well-Known Member

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    You want a camera that will do everything from the sound of it. Your $500 tops will limit you. The coolpix p500 is more than likely a great camera with loads going for it, good reviews etc but will struggle in low light. I have a Panasonic FZ28, similar bridge camera and it is great but low light presents a problem for small sensors, night football will present a challenge. An entry model DSLR will with the right lens be better for this, but therein the problem lies. A good lens may very well be more expensive than the camera. The kit lens will be fine for loads of stuff but again low light will cause a problem, but you should be able to up the ISO to 800 or even 1600, so it still should be better than the coolpix for this.
    I am in europe so your prices may not match. A nikon D3100 or canon 1100D seem to be your target DSLR for the money with kit lens. You could add a 50mm prime for a little over $100 but the nikon lens may be a bit more expensive if you want an autofocus lens and you wont be able to zoom with this. Some good deals are going here for the Pentax k-r which is around the same price but has better burst rate so may suit sports action better, also there are twin packages which look good.
    All in all unless you go secondhand I think your budget will not allow you get all the kit you want, but if you do buy a DSLR you can add later. If you don't go this route you get a lot for your money with bridge cameras and there are loads of good ones around. Nikon and canon are only two makes in a very competitive market
  3. Sw1tchFX
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    Sw1tchFX New Member

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    Fully professional without breaking the bank: Nikon D2h with a 50mm f/1.8

    ohh, or if you want a Full Frame camera: F100 + 50mm f/1.8
  4. Bitter Jeweler
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    Bitter Jeweler Well-Known Member

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    $500 rules out professional grade equipment.
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  5. mjhoward
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    mjhoward New Member

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    A new "professional" grade camera will run you a minimum of "around $2500". A "pro-sumer" level camera will perform well enough to cover the items on your list (action, low light, etc.). These will run anywhere from $1000-1600 depending on the body you choose. This doesn't include any glass or off camera flash though. Your budget is point and shoot. You need to save more money... this is an expensive hobby.
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  6. Derrel
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You know, the D2 series cameras handle like a Formula One car...the D2h can be had VERY affordably on the used market...the files from the D2h are actually decent at lower ISO's of 1,000 and downward...the AF system is simply INCREDIBLE as well, even with off-center subjects, and even with fairly "pokey" consumer lenses. Noted Nikon guidebook author Thom Hogan refers to the D2 series' autofocus system as the "focus anywhere" system. I myself spent three years photographing my little son using my D2x...the autofocus performance of the D2 series cameras is vastly,vastly,vastly better than that in say the Canon 20D or the Canon 5D, or the Nikon D40 or D90. The AF sensor used in the D2 series bodies is color-aware, has a 4-part AF pattern, a 2-mode AF style switch, and dual AF/ON, and AF-AE-Lock buttons--it is, in the critical ways, MORE-advanced than the AF system used in the D200, D300, D700, and even the D3 series (Nikon reduced the 4 modes on subsequent cams, in effect dumbing the AF system down for power users, and making it more end-user friendly).

    The D2h was designed as an action/sports/photojournalism camera, and the camera's sub-systems are all incredibly FAST, and the controls are large, simple, and easy to use. The image quality is much better than the 4.2 MP pixel count might imply to the uninitiated...for $500, it is the ONLY "professional" camera I can think of that shoots digital files. it does have also some VERY attractive ancillary accessories, like fast glass, fast manual focus lenses on the used market, as well as something not even the newest pro Nikon models can use: the Nikon TC16A autofocus converter, which converts f/2.8 or faster manual focus lenses to autofocusing lenses when used with the 1.6x converter!!! This converter is available affordably, and it works amazingly well, allowing you to take modest MF Nikkors like say, the 50mm 1.4 or 50/1.8 and convert it to an AF telephoto; the 135mm f/2, 105/2.5, 85/1.8, 135mm f/2.8 are all good candidates for sports shooting.
  7. Bitter Jeweler
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    Bitter Jeweler Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm sold!
  8. 480sparky
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    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

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    No offense, but...... $500 tops for a 'professional' grade camera? Sorry, but you've got champagne tastes and a beer budget. If there was truly such a thing as a $500 pro camera, everyone would have one. This is equivalent to wanting to buy a new Ferrari.......... with $15,000.

    $500 won't really get you that much of a camera, let alone a 'pro' grade. Then you'll need to get lenses, flash, a tripod, memory cards..........
  9. Derrel
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You should check out the Nikon AF system Bitter...it's vastly more-powerful and capable than the one the 5D series has been saddled with...the difference is like diamond (Nikon) and cheap, cut glass (5D). Or gold, versus pot metal. Seriously.

    Have you ever tried a flagship-level Nikon camera body? Seriously...the difference in side-by-side use between a 5D series body and a Nikon D1, D2, or D3 series camera is like night and day, especially indoors in poor light, or outdoors in flat light...you of all people, who preach quality, ought to investigate a higher class of tools than the 5D offers. The D2h is an "old professional camera", but it still has most of the attributes needed for the kind of assignment the college-student buyer is going to be shooting. A D2h, well, it's like "an old race car".

    I shot the D2x and the 5D and 20D concurrently for three years...still do as a matter of fact...let's put it this way--even the "old" D1h body kicks the living **** out of the Canon 5D in terms of autofocus performance. The Nikon D2x series bodies, all four of them, have perhaps the best AF system EVER designed for wide-field, full-frame coverage of moving subject matter...it's like diamond versus cheap cut glass...both are clear, right?

    Do you use cheap, Chinese made tools Bitter? Do you do your best work in base metal?
  10. Bitter Jeweler
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    Bitter Jeweler Well-Known Member

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    Derrel, I have cheap Chinese tools, hand made Japanese tools, fine German tools, and a laser welder. :D
    Oh, some cheap Chinese tools are great to modify and make my own specialty tools from.

    When I did freelance work at home, I used and espresso maker for a steamer. I did finally upgrade to a modified industry steam iron ( industrial laundry equipment) for $250, till it blew up. Then I forked over the $1200 for a proper steamer.

    I have too much invested to switch for one thing. I don't have the time to hassle with selling it off for another.

    For what I mainly shoot, I have no issues with my gear. I am not a fanboi, but I also don't regret my purchase path.

    I will concede that if I knew everything I know now, then, I would choose Nikon. Having said that, I assure you, I am very happy with what I have.
  11. jaomul
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    jaomul Well-Known Member

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    Not to argue with all the experience of who posted here, but is it not a bit of snobbery to quote prices 2, 3 , 4 or 5 or more times as much as someones budget when advise is asked about a camera.I would say "pro grade" may have been a slightly bad choice of words, but it is very relative. Many would consider a DSLR of any kind pro grade and the "cheap" DSLRs now probably perform as well as ones many times their price back say 5 years ago, yet people still got pro spec photographs with digital then.
  12. pgriz
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    pgriz Well-Known Member

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    To the OP: "professional" grade equipment gives the operator almost infinite ability to change settings and options. For those who know how and why, it's a powerful plus. For almost everyone else, all that flexibility gets in the way. If you want professional-level results, you will need to acquire professional-level skills. In the meantime, I'd suggest get some basic equipment, learn how to use it, and upgrade to the next level (lenses, camera body, accessories) when you run into the limitations of your current equipment and you KNOW how to overcome those limits.

    From your original post, I get the feeling that your intended use of the photos is to capture memories. Many point-and-shoot cameras are very good for this purpose, and don't have a huge learning curve. On the other hand, they don't give you much control over the nuts and bolts of photography (focus, aperture, shutter speed, focal length). Another thing to consider is that the quality of lighting is often more important than the actual camera/lens combination - and that is a whole other potential money pit (and learning curve).

    I would suggest joining a local photo club and asking members to help guide you to the knowledge/skills you need. The photo club I belong to has members ranging from those using very basic point-and-shoot equipment, to well-known professionals with huge investment in equipment and experience. We have year-long mentoring sessions and many formal and informal workshops and training sessions. Most of that wealth of information is free and all you need to do is ask.
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  13. gryphonslair99
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    gryphonslair99 New Member

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    Hey, it can be done, I just bought a brand new Bugatti Veyron Super Sport for $63.00 on Quibids. Shipping sucks, but you can't have everything I suppose. :lol:

    I got a blue one.:thumbup: :lmao:
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  14. Railphotog
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    Railphotog Active Member

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    Did all of the OP's research indicate that one of his choices is spelled CANON and not "Cannon"?
  15. gryphonslair99
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    gryphonslair99 New Member

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