Camera for E-Commerce Product Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by HOOT, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. HOOT

    HOOT TPF Noob!

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    Hello Everyone,

    After years of trusty service my old point & shoot camera (Sony DSC P200) quit on me for good, albeit to no fault of its own since I dropped it, therefore I find myself having to look for a replacement. The one and only purpose I have for the new camera is to shoot great indoors product photography for my eBay store. I sell modern military surplus items of all sizes, both used and new, ranging from uniforms to personal field gear such as helmets, backpacks, pouches and so on. This is not my primary source of income, its something I do on the side mostly for fun, therefore hiring a professional photographer, as I've seen suggested in other threads, unfortunately is not an option.

    I have a maximum budget of €400/$450 for the camera+lens and I'm looking to take my photography up a notch (both in skills as well as equipment) in order to shoot photos that result in a white seamless background. I'm aware that most of it comes down to lighting so I'll have to invest money on the proper studio equipment as well, hence the limited budget for the camera to start with.

    Given the good experience I've had with my previous Sony camera I'd like to stick with them and as such have selected a few cameras which I think could do the job within my budget:

    - Sony RX100 MkI
    - Sony A5100 with kit lens
    - Sony A6000 (used)
    - Sony A58 with kit lens

    With that said I'll be glad to hear any other suggestions including cameras from different brands.

    Thank you for reading through all this!


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My suggestion based on absolutely no experience whatsoever would be the A58, and if you go for a used version, you should have enough left over for a couple of inexpensive speedlights and a radio trigger, which will allow you to really improve your results.
     
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  3. HOOT

    HOOT TPF Noob!

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    I already budgeted the additional expense of the studio equipment, that said any extra savings are always welcome.

    Why would you recommend the A58 specifically? One thing to keep in mind is that I have to stick with the kit lens due to the budget constraint.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Based on a quick read of the specs it seems like a decent overall camera for the price.
     
  5. Didereaux

    Didereaux Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Find the best lens you can afford....then borrow the money to buy the next one better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  6. HOOT

    HOOT TPF Noob!

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    Do you guys think it would be worth investing in a macro lens? I'm not taking photos of small items so I don't have the necessity to shoot very close to the subject but I've read that they offer the sharpest image quality, which is what I'm looking for when taking photos of my items.
     
  7. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In my opinion, camera is not my primary concern for "ebay product photography". I will just pick one that has a hotshoe. Lighting and setup is more important.

    Even a old Canon G series camera such as G11, 12, 15 or a refurbished G16 will do the job.

    With the hotshoe, you can get a radio trigger to trigger off camera flashes/strobes so that you can control the light(s).
     
  8. HOOT

    HOOT TPF Noob!

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    So sensor size, say a 1" on a compact camera compared to APS-C on a mirrorless or entry level DSLR, would make no difference when shooting products since there is plenty of lighting available? If that's the case I could simply go with something like the Sony RX-100 series.

    Also talking about lighting, would you guys recommend going with speedlights/studio strobes or constant lighting for a beginner? I don't shoot video and the products I shoot are static and non-perishable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  9. HOOT

    HOOT TPF Noob!

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    Anybody that can answer my question? Especially the first one regarding sensor size.
     
  10. table1349

    table1349 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Sure.

    Sensor size for what you want is pretty much irrelevant. Read this: Stunning Product Photography with an iPhone and a Desk Lamp | Fstoppers

    I'm thinking for eBay photos of the quality shown here would be more than sufficient.

    Your shooting for eBay. Any of the above listed cameras should do just fine for the size of photos you are going to be posting.
     
  11. HOOT

    HOOT TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reply. So even with something as small as a 1/2.3inch sensor I wouldn't see any noticeable difference, right?
     
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  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The lighting equipment manufacturer Photoflex has for several years, had some free on-line lighting lessons, including some that deal with photographing small products. As far as sensor size goes: small sensor digital cameras have pretty decent image quality as long as the light levels are adequate, and as long as exposures are adequate, and not severely under-exposed. ANd, because small sensor cameras like digital compacts, use short focal length lenses on small image sensors, there is a lot of depth of field for every angle of view: the compact, small-sensor cameras give DEEP depth of field on wide-angle, normal-angle, and telephoto-angle shots; at close distances, there's actually a pretty substantial benefit to using a SMALLER sensor capture device INSTEAD OF using a large-sensor device.

    I've actually seen some remarkably good on-line product images shot with smartphones! With good, bright continuous lighting, and decent light modifiers, an iPhone can make pretty good product shots, with deep DOF and everything nicely in-focus--al in one, single click, with no need to do the kind of focus-stacking needed with a large-sensor camera. We had a TPF poster inquire about this a couple years ago...(s)he was making really GOOD product shots with an iPhone.

    I really do not think you'll see much of a difference between sensor sizes in compacts with the 1/2.3 versus the so-called "1-inch" sensor, which is nowhere NEAR an inch in any possible way.
     

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