First DSLR

Lyricaniysha

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I'm buying my first DSLR and lens, as I'm starting classes soon. My ultimate goal is to shoot professionally (senior pictures, newborn, family portraits and eventually weddings and events) I'm enrolled to major in business with a minor in photography.

My question is, what is a great camera to learn on that's going to give me the best experience without being "too much camera" for a beginner. I know I'm most likely going to want at least a Nikon d800 before I start shooting professionally, but to go to school, and learn with I was curious about maybe a D90, or wondering if anyone had suggestions. Also what lens should I start with?

Sorry if this is supposed to be asked elsewhere, I'm new to this forum and am only trying to learn from the pros! Thanks!
 

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There are various thoughts on this. Personally, I think you would outgrow an entry level camera quickly. If you are going to school for this and your goal is to go pro (and you stick with it)...why not just go ahead and get your pro gear now. When it comes to digital devices, there really is no such thing as "too much for you". All it means is that the upper level camera will have features the lower end ones won't and it doesn't mean you have to use them all right away. It'll also provide other useful things the entry level camera won't have that will be good right off the bat...like buttons and wheels instead of menu diving for changing settings.

For the casual hobbyist, it might make sense to just go entry level, but as an aspiring pro, you will be using your equipment a lot more and pushing the various styles/envelopes.

If you are going Nikon, then you'll start amassing lenses anyway, so all you're really talking about here is a body. If it were me doing this, I'd be dropping coin on the D800 now. As technology changes, and you reach your pro level down the road, you'll probably be opting for a new body at some point anyway as things change/get better. A D800 a couple years from now will probably still sell well and recouping some of your cost will be easier if you decide to trade up (or it could remain a great second body as well).

As for a first lens, that depends on what your initial work/assignments are going to entail. Certainly a good prime and possibly even a zoom. You're talking your future livelihood here, so it makes sense to invest in good equipment. At worst, if you change your mind or it doesn't work out, it will be easier to recoup your investment.

Also don't overlook good editing software and a decent PC to do it on. Photoshop is the defacto standard, but it ain't cheap and neither are good calibrated monitors.

Just my 0.02 worth.
 
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tirediron

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I'm buying my first DSLR and lens, as I'm starting classes soon. My ultimate goal is to shoot professionally (senior pictures, newborn, family portraits and eventually weddings and events) I'm enrolled to major in business with a minor in photography.<-And this ladies and gentlemen is how it SHOULD be done!

My question is, what is a great camera to learn on that's going to give me the best experience without being "too much camera" for a beginner. I know I'm most likely going to want at least a Nikon d800 before I start shooting professionally, but to go to school, and learn with I was curious about maybe a D90, or wondering if anyone had suggestions. Also what lens should I start with?

Sorry if this is supposed to be asked elsewhere, I'm new to this forum and am only trying to learn from the pros! Thanks!
Bodies are not nearly so important as the lenses and the skill to use them. The D800 is by all accounts a GREAT body, however I would suggest something a little more modest to start with, such as a used D700, for a couple of reasons. It's a great camera, excellent low-light performance and will do all that you need for some time, and given the price difference between a used '700 and a new '800, you could probably throw in a 24-70 f2.8 and still have a little left over!
 

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Food for thought.

D800 is $2800 new. Refurbished, $2350. Used, Roughly $2000
D700 is discontinued. Refurbished $2200. Used, Roughly $1500.

24-70 2.8 is $1900 new. Refurbished $1500.

All retail and refurbished prices from adorama or Nikon website. Used prices are averages I've personally seen.
 

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If you are almost 100% sure you want to go pro, as you seem to be, then buy the pro body that you want.

Entry level bodies are not really any "easier" to use than a pro body, because the basic features for doing basic things are usually, in fact, identical in both models.

The differences are:
1) Advanced features that you can simply not touch at all until you need to or want to, with no negative repercussions
2) Faster better stronger--but NOT more complicated--versions of the few core features. For example, faster shooting rates, or higher acceptable ISO levels. In an entry level or a pro, you shoot the same way--by pushing the shutter button. And you set the ISO the same way--by pushing the ISO button or setting auto ISO. No more or less complicated. It's just that ISO works better on the high end models.

Neither of these two differences should make it any more difficult to learn photography skills on a pro body. So why pay for two cameras instead of one of the two you would have bought anyway?
 
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Lyricaniysha

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I'm now also considering the D600, and the D700 as I also would like to invest into a decent lens to begin with as well, but would one consider the D600 a worthwhile purchase? I'm not sure it's quality enough to work as a back up body once I buy the d800.
 

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Bear in mind that much of the 'quality' that is meant when referring to higher-end and "professional" cameras is NOT image quality (under normal conditions, you would find it virtually impossible to tell the difference between a D600 & a D800 image), but rather build-quality and feature-set. The '1's cameras such as the D3 & D4 have the highest build quality and the greatest feature-set, including the greatest number of dedicated controls. The 'hundreds' bodies used to be next in line with very good (but not quite so good) build quality and featur-sets. I've not actually had my hands on a D600, but as I understand it, it's a 'cheaped down' FF body, with a much lesser build quality. One of our members whose name escapes me at the moment recently reported very favorably on the D600 as a back-up body.
 

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why not just go ahead and get your pro gear now.

All you need is a loan for about $10,000. And then if you don't make it, you're sitting on $10,000 worth of gear you can't pay off. You can learn photography on the cheapest gear available. Until you actually are a pro, why spend money on pro gear? This goes back to my principle: If you want to learn piano, why invest in a $100,000 full-sized grand when the lessons are the same on a $500 electronic keyboard? Expensive cameras don't change the principles of photography. The instrument is nothing without the ability to play it.

Most pros believe in the same principle: don't spend money on gear you don't need. This is why even top pros make and modify some of their own gear, and even the millionaires are buying Adorama tripods (Doug Gordon), and Gary Fong uses Yongnuo stuff (though I'd never endorse Yongnuo). Therefore, by starting with entry-level gear you'd be more aligned with pro practices than if you started with high-end gear that you couldn't get the most out of. Equipment has the least to do with being a professional. What if some of your gear fails? What if the location sucks? If my fancy PocketWizards don't work at an event, or a lens quits, or my lights don't work, I can't simply make an excuse to the client. I have to know how to get good photos, and that's what separates the pros from the amateurs. Start with this pro principle and work up to bigger gear. You'll save lots of money and advance quicker.
 

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why not just go ahead and get your pro gear now.

All you need is a loan for about $10,000. And then if you don't make it, you're sitting on $10,000 worth of gear you can't pay off. You can learn photography on the cheapest gear available. Until you actually are a pro, why spend money on pro gear? This goes back to my principle: If you want to learn piano, why invest in a $100,000 full-sized grand when the lessons are the same on a $500 electronic keyboard? Expensive cameras don't change the principles of photography. The instrument is nothing without the ability to play it.

Most pros believe in the same principle: don't spend money on gear you don't need. This is why even top pros make and modify some of their own gear, and even the millionaires are buying Adorama tripods (Doug Gordon), and Gary Fong uses Yongnuo stuff (though I'd never endorse Yongnuo). Therefore, by starting with entry-level gear you'd be more aligned with pro practices than if you started with high-end gear that you couldn't get the most out of. Equipment has the least to do with being a professional. What if some of your gear fails? What if the location sucks? If my fancy PocketWizards don't work at an event, or a lens quits, or my lights don't work, I can't simply make an excuse to the client. I have to know how to get good photos, and that's what separates the pros from the amateurs. Start with this pro principle and work up to bigger gear. You'll save lots of money and advance quicker.

This a bit melodramatic, and a reach. I have "pro" gear. I have a D800, and a 70-200mm 2.8 and 2 primes 3 flashes, a tripod, 3 lightstands, 3 diffusers, and various other things. All together I spent $4500.
I initially started out with a D5100, then immediately returned that for a D7000 in which I sold. I wish I would have went right to the D700 and not listened to those who said that you should start small. I wasted more money buying cheap POS equipment, instead of just going right to the better stuff right off the bat.
 

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I'm now also considering the D600, and the D700 as I also would like to invest into a decent lens to begin with as well, but would one consider the D600 a worthwhile purchase? I'm not sure it's quality enough to work as a back up body once I buy the d800.

There should be no problem with a D600 backing up a D800. The D800 averages about a 12% resolution advantage over the D600, with a 30% file size penalty for the D800, so there's really not much visible difference between a D600 file and a D800 file. This according to DxOMark's extensive testing of the same set of 72 identical lenses on both cameras, D600 and D800. The two bodies are from the same era, have the same control ethos, and so they ought to work well together. Both are three-digit models, which means high-end prosumer model in Nikon's naming convention; Nikon saves the single-digit numbering for its highest-status cameras with the most features.

Your first d-slr? Well, ANY d-slr's better than the one you do not have. I've been shooting d-slr's since 2001. You want a great camera to "learn on" without having "too much camera". Hmmmm...I'd say go with a modern body, something that has live view and video capability. My suggestion??? Nikon D7100, 17-55 Nikkor as your "main" lens; the 50mm f/1.8 G as your high-speed lens for low-light work at public events and portraits, and a good flash; Nikon SB 910 flash. telephoto zoom? The 70-300 VR, obtained refurbished. Right now, today, the 50/1.8G is on a rebate, and I believe the 70-300VR is also.

The D700 is older, has no video, and is, well, a discontinued camera. I think the D7100 is probably a better imager across most of their shared ISO zone. You do not "need" a whole lot of stuff, but you will need to really study and learn how photography is done, and I think the APS-C Nikons are fine for that, especially the newest,best models, like the D7100.
 
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Lyricaniysha

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Thanks everyone for your replies. I think I have my heart set on the D800 as my main body. I have two years of full time schooling ahead of me, which will allow me the opportunity to put $ aside and purchase adequate equipment. My schooling is covered 100% under the GI Bill and I'm not going to quit my job as a retail manager until I've established myself as a professional photographer.

As for the notion that ill be stuck with a 10k credit loan, I'm not planning on financing any of my equipment, until well after I am established as a photographer, so everything that I am buying now is paid off in cash up front.

What are some lens suggestions or the d800? I'm still thinking about using the d600 as a back up body, but in waiting to make that purchase because if I'm not working as a photographer, I don't need a back up body right off the bat.

I'm also looking to accumulate lighting soon too, but that will come after a few nice lens. Your thoughts are appreciated! Thanks
 

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