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Old Jul 1, 2013, 07:35 PM   #1
Arkados
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Best camera?

I'm not sure if this is the right thread but I got my first job! I'm working with a local restaurant helping the current graphic designer catch up. Starting with redoing a few web pages and when looking at the images I thought to myself "I could take way better pictures." What camera do you recommend? I would like to stay under $300 but still produce professional photos that I can use.
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 10:42 PM   #2
ChrisA
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I'm not sure if this is the right thread but I got my first job! I'm working with a local restaurant helping the current graphic designer catch up. Starting with redoing a few web pages and when looking at the images I thought to myself "I could take way better pictures." What camera do you recommend? I would like to stay under $300 but still produce professional photos that I can use.
You can do professional level photography but you don't own a camera or know anting about them?

What exactly are you planning to photograph? Food photography is harder than it looks. Lighting matters a LOT.

How will the mages be used? Just tiny web-size images or will you ever make larger prints?

Finally $300 will not buy much, just a "point and shoot". Take some of the budget and spend it on a tripod, every shot can be improved if you use it. Not only does it make for a sharper image but it forces you to think about composition

An SLR system requires two or three times larger budget.
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 10:49 PM   #3
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Even if you would have three times the budget, learning the camera would take quite a bit of time. If this is just a one- or two-off job, it's probably better to rent professional equipment. Or better, hire a professional photographer.
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 10:53 PM   #4
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The best camera you can buy for $300 is a used Mamiya RB67. However, I make a guess that you will not have a clue what to do with such a beast.

But something used would probably suit. If it's just on the web, you don't need the latest thing. You could go to KEH and get a Fuji S2 body for under $200. Takes Nikon lenses, which are easy to get. Yes, get a tripod and some decent lighting. Learn how to use it.

It may be that you could do better than what they have; what they have may have been done by someone who knows even less than you do.
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 11:06 PM   #5
Arkados
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I'm still college so I don't have the budget to buy a nice SLR camera. The college I go to requires we take photography course in order to get our graphic design degree so I have used high level cameras and know basic lighting methods and what not. Thank you for the suggestions. I will look around. As for use. Honestly I haven't narrowed my field so web and print is what they would be used for.
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 11:30 PM   #6
zombiecakes
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You can get an old silver EOS Rebel for $100-$150 and a 50mm 1.8 lens for $100 that will take professional quality product photos like for food that provides bright photos with a lot of depth of field.
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 11:54 PM   #7
ChrisA
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I'm still college so I don't have the budget to buy a nice SLR camera. The college I go to requires we take photography course in order to get our graphic design degree so I have used high level cameras and know basic lighting methods and what not. Thank you for the suggestions. I will look around. As for use. Honestly I haven't narrowed my field so web and print is what they would be used for.
Ok, so you'e done a photo class? Then you'd know the camera hardly matters, for $300 it's going to be a rather basic compact point and shoot or an older SLR. I just bought a very nice Canon XTi body for $149. A lens would add $100 and then a cheap tripod for $50 and you are still within your $300 budget.

But as I said, the camera hardly matters you you care about is lighting and it is not hard to improvise lighting equipment like reflectors and light tents
Whatever you buy it should be used.
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Old Jul 1, 2013, 11:59 PM   #8
OreoCookie
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I concur: get an old dslr (e. g. an old Nikon D70 or Canon 400D). Don't mind the age or their limitations. The brand doesn't really matter, all that's important is that it works properly.
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 01:51 AM   #9
abcbcd
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If you want professional photos hire a photographer.
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 04:49 AM   #10
acearchie
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Are you not able to borrow or rent a camera from your college or local camera shop?

This would be a much better option IMO.
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 05:38 AM   #11
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The (film) Mamiya option is not a bad one if you have access to a high performance scanner...
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 08:30 AM   #12
MacCruiskeen
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The (film) Mamiya option is not a bad one if you have access to a high performance scanner...
Frequently a better option is to have a roll scan done at time of processing. Some labs (A&I in LA comes to mind) offer high-quality hi-res roll scans for fairly reasonable prices. These scans would be quite suitable for many uses. Prepress quality drum scans are expensive, but usually can be reserved for when you really need them.
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 06:46 PM   #13
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This often gets passed over, but in order to do professional level photography of any kind you need to be able to adjust the photos after the shoot unless you are a lighting expert. You have to have a camera that will shoot RAW and software to edit that format. If you only work in jpeg you can't fix the color or exposure if it wasn't shot just right. Since we seem to be talking resturant work, that's really important.

That said, any camera that will shoot RAW is a starting point. You can't touch a point and shoot that does RAW for the stated $300, but you might be able to get a used dslr that will. And don't forget the tripod.

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Old Jul 2, 2013, 11:06 PM   #14
mofunk
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Originally Posted by Arkados View Post
I'm still college so I don't have the budget to buy a nice SLR camera. The college I go to requires we take photography course in order to get our graphic design degree so I have used high level cameras and know basic lighting methods and what not. Thank you for the suggestions. I will look around. As for use. Honestly I haven't narrowed my field so web and print is what they would be used for.

For $300 I would stick to an older model that doesn't have video. Nikon D80 or D300. If you need video, add $200 more you can get a Nikon D90 with a 50mm lens. Any one of these cameras listed would work. Don't let the used scare you or the fact that they are older. You can pair it with 18-70mm lens and come close to your budget

18-70mm lens
http://www.adorama.com/US%20%20%20%20568557.html

D80 $200 Semi pro DSLR. Older OS. still rocks.

http://www.adorama.com/US%20%20%20%20564839.html

kit
http://www.adorama.com/US%20%20%20%20556763.html


D200 $239 bigger body. Pro features. older operating system. Still rocks

http://www.adorama.com/US%20%20%20%20566377.html

D90 $400 Video 720p. semi pro DSLR

http://www.adorama.com/US%20%20%20%20573942.html

D300
http://www.adorama.com/US%20%20%20%20572472.html


Entry level would be the Nikon D3100 but I wouldn't use that because it is very limited. Good luck
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Old Jul 2, 2013, 11:17 PM   #15
katewes
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I'll give a different take on this.

The question seemed to focus on taking better-quality pictures for web use.

The question didn't seem to imply that the OP wanted to learn photography in general, and become a better photographer as a craft. The OP seemed to just want better pictures that can be used in his/her web designing.

So, considering the two options:

(1) If you are, in fact, wanting to learn to be a skilled photographer and grow in the craft of photography, then I agree with a lot of the comments above. I've used Nikon for many years. I like the options of a used Nikon DSLR such as a the pro-grade D200, D300, or the pro-sumer level D80, D90. On the other hand, the level of D40, D3100, are more aimed at the level of point and shoot beginners.

(2) Alternatively, if you're not interested in growing as a photographer, but simply want good photos for use in your web development (is that it?), then there are a range of point and shoot cameras that have larger than normal sensor sizes that produce great results. e.g. a 2nd hand Lumix LX5 (new LX7), 2nd hand Canon S100 (new S110). I know the S100 and LX5 can shoot RAW files for later manipulation in Photoshop. The LX5 has a larger sensor.

The LX5 has a larger than normal sensor, and an absolutely brilliant Leica lens that is razor sharp. However, the LX5's sensor max'es out at about ISO 400 and, at a pinch, to ISO 800.

You can read reviews of all these at www.dpreview.com and www.imaging-resource.com

Last edited by katewes; Jul 2, 2013 at 11:22 PM.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 02:37 AM   #16
phrehdd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkados View Post
I'm still college so I don't have the budget to buy a nice SLR camera. The college I go to requires we take photography course in order to get our graphic design degree so I have used high level cameras and know basic lighting methods and what not. Thank you for the suggestions. I will look around. As for use. Honestly I haven't narrowed my field so web and print is what they would be used for.
I am at a loss as to what would be an ideal fit for you given that you haven't provided enough details. People have used point and shoot cameras with great results for web. As for print, this can range from requiring minimal quality to razor sharp quality - depending on the output required.

Along with another poster, I suggest you consider renting a camera first and appropriate lens(es). Consider it a learning lesson and also providing deliverables for your client. While I prefer film, these days it is not difficult to get decent colour separations from digital only images.
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 02:43 AM   #17
ijohn.8.80
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Originally Posted by Arkados View Post
I'm not sure if this is the right thread but I got my first job! I'm working with a local restaurant helping the current graphic designer catch up. Starting with redoing a few web pages and when looking at the images I thought to myself "I could take way better pictures." What camera do you recommend? I would like to stay under $300 but still produce professional photos that I can use.
?
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 07:11 AM   #18
Leeuwtje
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The camera doesn't matter that much

Any decent camera will do. It's what you do with it that matters. I've found www.kenrockwell.com a useful resource of information. Good luck!
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Old Jul 3, 2013, 08:05 PM   #19
brand
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A camera doesn't produce professional photos, a professional does. I like to think that you would know that given that you said you have taken a photography class but I guess not. You need to hire a professional that knows how to use a camera and how to compose a good picture.
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