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Best Value Nikon Camera for Wedding Photograher

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DigiMediaPlus

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Hi all,

I would like your TOP recommendation for a Nikon DSLR camera that provides clear, high quality photos for wedding photography. My budget is at $1K max. This would be my first DSLR camera.

I am focused on the Overall Value of the camera (what is offered to me for the price? does it make sense to pay a little more for certain added components and capabilities? or is their more general value in a less expensive model, while still offering the ability to take great, clear shots?)

Thank you so much in advance for your insight.
Lisa
 
I have so many questions for you:

#1: Are you planning on doing professional wedding photography, or are you planning on taking this camera to a wedding? A $1000 budget is very very very low for a professional wedding photographer.

#2: Is this a training camera, to learn how to shoot before you get a better one? Or do you intend to go straight to charging money for your services?

#3: Are you familiar with photography editing software (Adobe Lightroom, and Photoshop)? Are you familiar with editing RAW files?

Here are a few answers to your questions:

#1: Any modern camera will take photos that are just as clear as the next camera. It comes down to how you are shooting, and what lens you have attached to the camera. Your first choice would be full frame vs. crop sensor. With a budget of $1000, it looks like that narrows things down to crop. If I were doing professional wedding work, I would want the features and flexibility of a full frame camera for many reasons. With that said, the D7100 or even D7000 are very capable cameras & could be used for professional wedding work.

#2: The D3xxx / D5xxx cameras are not going to cut it for professional wedding photography. That means you're looking at a D7000, or D7100. You can find the D7100 for about $800 new, and for about $1090 paired with an 18-140mm VR lens. You'd be better off getting a D7000 for $500 or thereabouts, and getting a 35mm 1.8G and 50mm 1.8G... and that still isn't great.

My advice:

#1: Please respond with some information about your experience with photography, and what you intend to do with the gear (what time-frames you are thinking of). It is potentially unrealistic to pick up $1000 worth of gear and start shooting weddings. Experience is going to be an issue. Software on the computer is going to be an issue. And the lack of gear is going to be an issue. I would consider it potentially irresponsible to be the sole photographer at a wedding if you don't have a minimum of 2 camera bodies, alongside some other gear. The reason: The wedding can't be done over, and if your camera craps out on you, that's game over. In addition, you would need at least 1 extra battery, and that would be cutting things close.

#2: Unless if you're really doing a major budget wedding (getting paid pennies because the bride/groom just want really basic and cheap photos), then you should have an array of equipment:
- At least one flash.
- At least two camera bodies.
- At least one portraiture lens.
- At least one fast normal range prime lens, or f2.8 normal range zoom lens.
- Some lens to reach a 24mm full frame field of view (an f2.8 normal range zoom lens could do this).

I wouldn't shoot a wedding without the following:
- Two D750 bodies.
- One ultrawide lens
- One 24-70 f2.8
- One 70-200 f2.8
- Some primes (probably at least 2), some combination of the 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm f1.8 lenses
- Some way to do macro
- One flash minimum, plus flash accessories (diffusor, reflector, flash stand, etc)
- Additional necessary accessories (bags, batteries, extra storage cards, wireless trigger, tripod)
- A second photographer.
 
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I have so many questions for you:

#1: Are you planning on doing professional wedding photography, or are you planning on taking this camera to a wedding? A $1000 budget is very very very low for a professional wedding photographer.

#2: Is this a training camera, to learn how to shoot before you get a better one? Or do you intend to go straight to charging money for your services?

#3: Are you familiar with photography editing software (Adobe Lightroom, and Photoshop)? Are you familiar with editing RAW files?

Here are a few answers to your questions:

#1: Any modern camera will take photos that are just as clear as the next camera. It comes down to how you are shooting, and what lens you have attached to the camera. Your first choice would be full frame vs. crop sensor. With a budget of $1000, it looks like that narrows things down to crop. If I were doing professional wedding work, I would want the features and flexibility of a full frame camera for many reasons. With that said, the D7100 or even D7000 are very capable cameras & could be used for professional wedding work.

#2: The D3xxx / D5xxx cameras are not going to cut it for professional wedding photography. That means you're looking at a D7000, or D7100. You can find the D7100 for about $800 new, and for about $1090 paired with an 18-140mm VR lens. You'd be better off getting a D7000 for $500 or thereabouts, and getting a 35mm 1.8G and 50mm 1.8G... and that still isn't great.

My advice:

#1: Please respond with some information about your experience with photography, and what you intend to do with the gear (what time-frames you are thinking of). It is potentially unrealistic to pick up $1000 worth of gear and start shooting weddings. Experience is going to be an issue. Software on the computer is going to be an issue. And the lack of gear is going to be an issue. I would consider it potentially irresponsible to be the sole photographer at a wedding if you don't have a minimum of 2 camera bodies, alongside some other gear. The reason: The wedding can't be done over, and if your camera craps out on you, that's game over. In addition, you would need at least 1 extra battery, and that would be cutting things close.

#2: Unless if you're really doing a major budget wedding (getting paid pennies because the bride/groom just want really basic and cheap photos), then you should have an array of equipment:
- At least one flash.
- At least two camera bodies.
- At least one portraiture lens.
- At least one fast normal range prime lens, or f2.8 normal range zoom lens.
- Some lens to reach a 24mm full frame field of view (an f2.8 normal range zoom lens could do this).

I wouldn't shoot a wedding without the following:
- Two D750 bodies.
- One ultrawide lens
- One 24-70 f2.8
- One 70-200 f2.8
- Some primes (probably at least 2), some combination of the 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm f1.8 lenses
- Some way to do macro
- One flash minimum, plus flash accessories (diffusor, reflector, flash stand, etc)
- Additional necessary accessories (bags, batteries, extra storage cards, wireless trigger, tripod)
- A second photographer.

Her other thread can probably answer some of your questions:

Camera & Lens Recommendations | Photography Forum

I agree with you on the recommended gear for a wedding photographer (I mentioned some of them myself) but I did suggest that she start with a crop sensor because she's a beginner buying her first DSLR. But I won't be offended if you disagree with me on that point. :)
 
Her other thread can probably answer some of your questions:

Camera & Lens Recommendations | Photography Forum

I agree with you on the recommended gear for a wedding photographer (I mentioned some of them myself) but I did suggest that she start with a crop sensor because she's a beginner buying her first DSLR. But I won't be offended if you disagree with me on that point. :)

I agree a crop sensor camera could work well for someone on a budget. I am still perplexed by a "wedding photographer on a tight budget" though. The two things don't add up.

Someone's wedding is going to get ruined it looks like. If the OP is reading this, don't take that too personally: I don't know exactly what you intend to do. The scary thing is there is such an expansive list of things to know. It would take a full day just to go over what the OP does not know, so that they can make a check-list of things they need to start doing.
 
We gotta start somewhere, but it seems like this is not the right way to start. I'd suggest before getting into wedding photography and invest in a great deal of gear, start with something cheap, used, and basic to get a better understanding of photography. Once you have a good understanding, it would be easier to know what you want/need. Maybe then, you can intern with an experienced wedding photographer to get a feel of what you're getting into.

Just my humble opinion...
 
On the chance you are buying to learn and not to buy one and do a wedding tomorrow I'd recommend you get a second hand 5d cheap and a 24-105 lens or a Nikon d700 and maybe a 24-85 and learn all you can. When you have money add a speedlight and realise to do a wedding you'll really need to add to this kit
 
Oh boy is right.

I'm curious what you are using now if this would be your first dslr ?

From a $1900 budget (the D750 cr*p kit)
to a d3300 in another thread (sub $500 budget)

Now with $1k max budget I'd repeat what was recommended above. A d7000 and 18-140 lens. Actually the 5d 24-105 combo sounds like a great option.

I was going to recommend a d700 but, I don't think it offers an AUTO mode (nor SCENE) which would be handy for a new dslr owner. One would actually have to know what they are doing.

Of course, you'll need more $$ to start learning post processing. BUT you could just take all JPEG photos or use freebie software. And of course the price of learning how to use the camera and not just use it in AUTO mode is another matter altogether.

But you have to start somewhere ...
 
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Err ... nobody needs scene modes. EVER.

The D700 offers no green mode, but it offers P mode, which is essentially the same thing.

And the explosure triangle really isnt THAT hard to learn, is it ? Choose shutter speed, aperture, and film speed ...
 
Err ... nobody needs scene modes. EVER.

The D700 offers no green mode, but it offers P mode, which is essentially the same thing.

And the explosure triangle really isnt THAT hard to learn, is it ? Choose shutter speed, aperture, and film speed ...
Actually people do use Scene modes, even on TPF.

People not familiar with a d700 in comparison to a d3300 (as an example), and not having the experience / knowledge may actually be lost on it, P mode or not. Essentially (dependent upon the beginner) it may not be a good choice, or it may, it's up to the user. Considering how many newbies people use the green auto mode (and not P mode) posting on TPF it might be a problem. YMMV though.
 
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