I need a camera

bdogg

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Hello Everyone, I need some advice. I need to get a DSLR that has multiple focus points, and will work well in mixed lighting conditions... Does anyone have any recommendations? I am very new to this. I also need to be able to connect to a MAC via USB and see the photo before I take it so I can make necessary adjustments... Or right when I take the photo I need to have it display on my computer so I can see if I need to retake it. Is this possible??? I am doing photos of merchandise and have over 1000 items to photograph, gotta make sure i get them right the first time.. Thanks in advance!
 

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Canon has the tether function. Nikon too, but I think you have to buy the software seperately I believe. Not sure about the rest but they could. Any that has the tethered shooting feature should work. You're going to need lighting for product photography and that's not as easy as pointing and shooting.
 

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Whats your budget?

You are going to need camera, lens, lights, softboxes / umbrellas, possibly a lightbox,...

What is your level of expertise with cameras? When you say "new to this", are you new to DSLRs and used to film or just new to photography all together?
 
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bdogg

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Whats your budget?

You are going to need camera, lens, lights, softboxes / umbrellas, possibly a lightbox,...

What is your level of expertise with cameras? When you say "new to this", are you new to DSLRs and used to film or just new to photography all together?


I am new to this, meaning I have been doing the product photo stuff with a point and shoot camera, but it's just not getting the detail for us...

I have a backdrop and such, just gotta get the lighting and stuff taken care of.. I wanna get the right stuff and experiment till we get the photos looking the way we want them, and then just start taking the pictures...

Here is a sample picture of what I am working with, and my starting point. I have a budget of around $2000.00
4911-12.jpg
 

Katier

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Whilst tethered shooting is available the LCD on camera's work very well and for real detailed stuff have hystograms etc. built in.

Getting the shot 'right' will be the same whether you are tethered or using the LCD on the Camera. You'll light and frame the shot, take a shot in manual mode, adjust, take a shot, adjust (this can be simplified I believe using some light meters that I THINK - someone please confirm - will give the light level when the flash fires rather than the ambient light ).

Once you have one shot setup right, all the other shots should be pretty much place object, shoot, place, shoot etc.

Unless there's a major depth of field/focus/framing/object size change you should be able to take the shots without changing anything once you have the settings sorted.

Canons often in dpreview are reported as having 'poor incandescent' white balance performance but I assume that can be sorted with RAW post processing.

That said I don't think you should work with ambient/mixed lighting. You should get a couple of flash guns, probably both with shoot through umbrella's, lightstands and tripod ( for the DSLR) so the lighting is consistant and your job a lot better. Mixed lighting is going require you to post process EVERY image with white balance adjustments because the temperature will be changing all the time. If you work with flash ( or similar ) lighting your going to be working with consistant lighting so the white balance can be set on the camera and should not require changing shot to shot.

As for the DSLR to use, as I don't think you need tethered shooting ( and that's likely to require additional software), and after sorting money on lighting I'm guessing you'll have a $1500 budget. For that you'll need a DSLR and probably a couple of quality lenses, something like a macro capable 100mm and a 50mm.

That means the world is your oyster really, working at UK prices assuming a budget for the DSLR+lenses of £1100 , (it's easier for me that way - saves fishing out US vendors :p ) you'd probably be looking at something like :-

about £1100 for - Pentax K20D, Pentax smc FA 50mm f1.4 Lens, Pentax smc DFA 100mm f2.8 Macro Lens
about £1500 for - Nikon D90, Nikon 50mm F1.8D AF Nikkor Lens, Nikon 105mm F2.8G AF-S VR Micro Nikkor Lens
about £1000 for - Canon EOS 450D (XSi I think), Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Personally I'd go for the K20D, the other two kits don't quite match it for price/value. They all have 2.8 100mm lenses but the Pentax option has the best 50mm.

All three kits ( plus money spent on proper lighting ) will do what you want, it's quite possible the Nikon and Canon experts can improve on the kits I put together but not sure how they'd match for price.
 

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Whilst tethered shooting is available the LCD on camera's work very well and for real detailed stuff have hystograms etc. built in.

Getting the shot 'right' will be the same whether you are tethered or using the LCD on the Camera. You'll light and frame the shot, take a shot in manual mode, adjust, take a shot, adjust (this can be simplified I believe using some light meters that I THINK - someone please confirm - will give the light level when the flash fires rather than the ambient light ).

Once you have one shot setup right, all the other shots should be pretty much place object, shoot, place, shoot etc.

Unless there's a major depth of field/focus/framing/object size change you should be able to take the shots without changing anything once you have the settings sorted.

Canons often in dpreview are reported as having 'poor incandescent' white balance performance but I assume that can be sorted with RAW post processing.

That said I don't think you should work with ambient/mixed lighting. You should get a couple of flash guns, probably both with shoot through umbrella's, lightstands and tripod ( for the DSLR) so the lighting is consistant and your job a lot better. Mixed lighting is going require you to post process EVERY image with white balance adjustments because the temperature will be changing all the time. If you work with flash ( or similar ) lighting your going to be working with consistant lighting so the white balance can be set on the camera and should not require changing shot to shot.

As for the DSLR to use, as I don't think you need tethered shooting ( and that's likely to require additional software), and after sorting money on lighting I'm guessing you'll have a $1500 budget. For that you'll need a DSLR and probably a couple of quality lenses, something like a macro capable 100mm and a 50mm.

That means the world is your oyster really, working at UK prices assuming a budget for the DSLR+lenses of £1100 , (it's easier for me that way - saves fishing out US vendors :p ) you'd probably be looking at something like :-

about £1100 for - Pentax K20D, Pentax smc FA 50mm f1.4 Lens, Pentax smc DFA 100mm f2.8 Macro Lens
about £1500 for - Nikon D90, Nikon 50mm F1.8D AF Nikkor Lens, Nikon 105mm F2.8G AF-S VR Micro Nikkor Lens
about £1000 for - Canon EOS 450D (XSi I think), Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

Personally I'd go for the K20D, the other two kits don't quite match it for price/value. They all have 2.8 100mm lenses but the Pentax option has the best 50mm.

All three kits ( plus money spent on proper lighting ) will do what you want, it's quite possible the Nikon and Canon experts can improve on the kits I put together but not sure how they'd match for price.

???

http://www.jibble.org/canon-tethered-shooting/

Just gel your strobes and it's not a problem.

$500 should be spent on a camera and $1500 on lights in this situation. www.alienbees.com will get you started. They're not the greatest but they do an admirable job at that price point. If you want to go digital you can look at Elinchrom D lite 4's on bhphotovideo.com. They're a little more but they'll be consistant.

Does the Pentax that you'd personally go for allow you to tether and shoot with the included software?
 
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Katier

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Just gel your strobes and it's not a problem.

The OP was talking about 'mixed lighting conditions'... I was saying that would just cause him headaches and as such he should use proper lighting to get rid of that headache.

As for the lighting option, I don't agree, a strobist setup would be more than adequate for what he needs. Heck a single flash with a reflecter and umbrella/softbox would probably work just fine.

Does the Pentax that you'd personally go for allow you to tether and shoot with the included software?

As I said in my reply, I don't think he needs to worry about tethering. It's just an added complexity to the OP's aims and efforts, IMO, should go in getting the right lighting/lens setup. The OP seemed to be worried about having to reshoot a lot, well tethered or not the OP's still going to be shooting until the light/camera settings are right, but once right he can just shoot shoot and shoot with minimal downtime.
 
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Katier

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the answer is yes their is free software for tethered shooting called PENTAX REMOTE ASSISTANT 3.51. and is available for Mac OS and works with the K20D
 

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Using battery powered strobes for studio lighting would suck. 100 pops and a new set of batteries. 100 more and another new set. Monolights don't need batteries, just a plug. Makes more since in this situation. Plus you can shoot at higher apertures with lights that have more power.

And why macro? If you're shooting product, you generally want all of the product in frame and a narrower aperture so it can all be in focus. Showing a weight lifting bench with just a portion of the padding in frame and in focus doesn't show the product very well.
 

Katier

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And why macro? If you're shooting product, you generally want all of the product in frame and a narrower aperture so it can all be in focus. Showing a weight lifting bench with just a portion of the padding in frame and in focus doesn't show the product very well.

Depends on the size of the product, yes a weight lifting bench would need a 'normal' lens.. but what about say a pack of pins used to secure weights?

I assumed with so many things to photograph there would be a good range of sizes and macro therefore might be needed. But yes your right I should have mentioned that size of objects would be handy to know what lenses.. I just took a rough guess.

Fair point on the fact strobes are mains powered. Not sure he needs $1500 on lighting but he certainly may need to balance the budget more than I origonally guesstimated.

Assuming he can get away with one lens for all the K20D + 50mm f1.4 would probably be fine leaving slightly over half the budget for lighting and tripod.
 

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