Choosing a professional camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jplg842, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. jplg842 macrumors regular

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    Jan 11, 2007
    #1
    hello.

    i have a passion for photography, but i never used a profetional camera before. and i dont know much about it. i want to buy the best camera for under 500$

    i usually photograph landscape at daytime, including buildings, nature, animals... i think i need a camera with good zoom power

    what sthe best choice for me?



    Thanks
     
  2. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #2
    A used DSLR (take your pick with whatever fits in your budget) a wide angle lens and a good telephoto lens should get you going.

    An 18-50ish "kit lens" should cover you at the wide end initially, and maybe a 50ish-200 mm zoom for the telephoto part. None of these should be terribly expensive, and they will allow you to get a grip on what you want to do with the camera so you can make some more informed choices in lenses in the future.

    Maybe even the Tamron 18-250 mm zoom could be all you need up front (it comes for Canon, Nikon, and Pentax and perhaps Sony and Olympus too), it would cover the job of both those other lenses I mentioned. It's not too fast but you'll want to wait till you know what applications you want a faster lens for before dumping the $$$ in for one.

    SLC
     
  3. pprior macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Not that it's not possible, but I strongly doubt you'll find too many professionals shooting with a camera that costs under $500.
     
  4. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #4
    To most "newbies" a DSLR of any sort is a professional camera. And they all can make great images like they were professional models if one knows how to get the most out of them. It's got a whole lot more to do with the collection of Cells behind the camera than the actual camera it's self.
     
  5. jplg842 thread starter macrumors regular

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  6. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #6
    There is no "best". That is the most loaded question you can ask, and one that there is no answer for. What is best for you is completely different than anyone else.

    Since you're just getting off the ground and experimenting with the whole think, I suggest a Canon XT or Nikon equivalent (don't have theirs memorized). That'll meet your $500 mark, lots of features, good expandability, long service life, and if you really take off with this, a perfect "second body" when you move into something more substantial.

    Remember, a camera isn't the body, it's a system of body, lenses, accessories, etc., that much of which is tied to brand. Canon glass only fits Canons, Nikkor lenses are just for Nikons, etc. I'd suggest one of those two, as the range of bodies & lenses is the greatest, and likely to be around in twenty years, which may or may not be the case with the second-tier manufacturers. Those others aren't bad, but there's a greater chance of them being squeezed out of the market.
     
  7. jtblueberry macrumors regular

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    #7
    You're crazy if you think a sub $500 SLR is going to give you the same image quality of a higher end model. Maybe if you only look at them on a computer. I can see a huge difference between the quality of a wall portrait produced from a 10D file compared to one from a 1Ds or 5D file. Why would any pro buy a more expensive model if the cheap ones are just as good? What an absurd statement.

    By the way...you can't get a new pro model for that price. A rebel xt isn't even considered pro but that is the bottom end of what I would use on a professional level. That's just the body...a professional lens will probably cost you more than $500.
     
  8. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

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    #8
    I recommend your local Craigslist... I picked up a $2000 Panasonic L1 kit with 14-50mm f/2.8 leica lens for $500 cash on the button, just drove sixty miles to do the transaction. I love it, and while it may not seem 'professional' to some, like has already been said any dslr will at least get you hooked on the potential of going professional some day, and provide you with the tools to get started. ;)
     
  9. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #9
    Dude, What's it to ya? All I've seen (and it's only been today) is a bunch of looking down your nose at people because you're supposedly a "Pro" photographer. If you are going to tell me that the image quality from a 1D series is so far above and beyond what can be done with a Rebel XTi then it's you who are making absurd statements. I'm no pro, nor do I pretend to be one, but I do associate with many of them and even they freely admit that it's not the image quality that is better in a Pro grade camera, it's the build quality and the accessories (and in Canon and now Nikon's case the fact that it's FF and therefore functions as advertised with ultra-wide lenses).

    You as a "working pro" out of all people should know that technology advances so quickly that it is no time at all before the entry level either uses the same tech as the older pro stuff, or has passed it entirely. And if you think you can look at an image hanging on a wall and tell me which camera took it, then you've really been snowed haven't you?

    Plus, last time I checked those 1Ds MKIII cameras couldn't even focus correctly most of the time.

    Anyway I don't even care since I'm making pleasing images with my Pentax gear that most so called "Pro's" won't even look at. So you'll understand why I don't take too much stock in what they have to say.
     
  10. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #10
    If I were in your situation (being the Pentax man that I am) I'd look for a used Pentax *ist D or perhaps a used K100D if you can find a reasonably priced one. Then get the kit lens, and a 50-200 mm zoom of your choosing. There are many Professional Grade lenses to upgrade to if and when you decide to do so, but I suggest going cheap at first till you find out what you like to do with your camera.

    SLC
     
  11. pprior macrumors 65816

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    #11
    To the OP -

    Lenses are what make photographs, the body just holds them. If you really enjoy photography you will likely find it an expensive hobby. Glass is expensive!

    I can't help you much in your price range. I think that range is really just for P&S cameras. You might pick up a used digital DSLR with a kit lens in that range and that would be a good start - but I bet even a 20d will be more than that, I've got a 10D that I hold onto as a backup body and it takes good pictures in the outdoors with good light, but high ISO performance is horrid compared with more modern bodies. If you could find a 10D and a decent lens, that would be a good start.

    Don't forget the cost of computer and hard drive space to store all the photos you're going to have as well :)
     
  12. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #12
  13. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #13
    I saw a few left over brand new *ist DS's at Ritz the other day, kit lens and all for $385. That's a great deal especially since it's not used! It would be a great start for a Pentax kit. Perhaps if you ask at a camera retailer you might be able to find a similar deal.

    SLC
     
  14. jtblueberry macrumors regular

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    #14
    Sorry if I offended you. That's certainly not my intention. I will admit that I get frustrated with people throwing around the term "professional" so much. I was simply trying to make it clear that there is a difference between professional and consumer cameras.
    As far as being able to tell a 20x24 wall portrait produced from a 12mp camera vs a 6mp camera...I most certainly can. I print wall portraits all the time and there IS a difference. I guess not everyone has the same standard of "quality".
    With that said, I would also admit that non-pro's probably won't be printing wall portraits so you'll never notice the difference. In which case, buy the best camera you can and you'll probably be happy.
    I am curious...at what point do you think image quality topped out for digital? You really don't think the image quality is better on a current top end model than on a 10D?
     
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #15
    Wow! This is the first time I've ever read "professional camera" and "under $500" in the same sentence. I always thought the two terms were mutually exclusive.

    Seriously, when you start talking "profesional" you will need a budget at least 10 times larger.

    If you are looking for a digital SLR for under $500. I think there is only one serious choise out there. That would be the nikon D40, hardly a "pro" camera but it can do good work.
     
  16. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #16
    Minimum $5000? There are plenty of pros who shoot with things like a 30D or a D200 plus a few decent lenses and some lighting gear. You can do great work with a $3000-4000 setup.

    I'd still say photography and business skill is what makes a professional, not gear. A 1Ds doesn't make you a pro. It makes you someone who bought an expensive camera.

    On the other hand, something like an H3D better mean someone's a professional. Otherwise, they are a jackass. :)
     
  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #17
    Most people are going to make small prints or look at the images on-screen. If that is the case then any current model SLR is as good as any other. Wall-sized prints are not something most people have an interest in.

    My question to the pro who does want top quality work: Why are you using a small format SLR in the studio? I'd think you would want one of the new digital medium format systems. Yes I can understand if you are shooting wildlife or sports you need portability but indoors when you can control the subject and use one of those massive single column camera stands why use a small format camera?

    Why buy an exppensive camera? Many times it's simply to impress clients.
     
  18. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

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    #18
    If I were in your shoes and looking at under $500 (assuming you just want a DSLR and lens that is going to take you beyond your point-and-shoot), I would just grab a D40 with a kit lens or a D40x with a kit lens for around $100 more - just based on a quick look at Amazon kit prices (I haven't checked BH for D40 kit pricing, but it's probably worthwhile). I think you'll be psyched with either of those. (Full disclosure, I like Canon for a few reasons that have nothing to do with an entry DSLR (and I like Nikon in a few areas over Canon) but if I were thinking entry level DSLR as my one and only, I'd go with the Nikon - never was an XT/XTi 350/400 fan - just my personal preferences). If you were thinking of starting to build a system of lenses and planned on changing the body every now and again, it would be a different question of looking at what Nikon has and what Canon has (and not the sort of thing you'd be asking for quick advice on MacRumors about so again, given your post and the question, I assume that you just want a great DSLR set-up that will help you take great pictures for around $500).

    Enjoy taking pictures.

    LG.
     
  19. Whorehay macrumors 6502a

    Whorehay

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    #19
    Olympus E series. Great lenses for the price, low prices, all cameras have the best dust-removing system in the industry, and vibrant and rich colors (great JPEG engines). Suffers a little at at the high ISO end, but not as bad as some people make it out to be.
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    There's a difference between a professional photographer and a professional camera. They're often mutually exclusive.
     
  21. SubaruNation555 macrumors 6502

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    #21
    A lot of people will tell you that a intro level DSLR like the Canon Rebel line paired with a quality lens will produce better shots than a prosumer camera like a 20D/30D/40D with a kit lens and I agree. I would avoid kit lenses and put he money on a higher quality lens, maybe even a used one off of eBay or Craigslist.

    Looking at a used 40D or a Rebel XTi with a high quality lens is a great way to start. I will be going that route this summer with a used 40D and a used L lens. Lenses seem to be more of an investment then camera bodies.
     
  22. Hankster macrumors 68020

    Hankster

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    #22
    I don't believe the OP is asking about professional equipment, but rather what cameras can take high quality photos. There's a difference. You don't need a $1000 camera to take great photos, and not everyone is looking to take photos for print.
     
  23. thinkband macrumors regular

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    #23

    I am not sure why we are even talking about the $5000, $2500 top camera models. The OP clearly is looking at the XT, D40 models and priceranges.

    SLC was providing the best information one can give to a complete beginner as the OP. What part of what he said was "crazy?" For the OP's case, he will not see a difference between the $500 camera or the $5000 camera, judging by what he thinks a professional camera is. (No harm to the OP, just making a point).

    To defend SLC, there was a post going around on another forum about a guy who solely uses a Canon XT, with plenty of L lenses. His pictures were arguably the best portfolio any of the bloggers ever saw. Sure give that guy a 5d and maybe it will be better, but I think he works the XT pretty well, better than most with their 5D can produce.

    Also, I don't remember SLC saying that a 10d creates equal pictures than the 5D. He basically stated that 'pros' that he knows do not use the top notch camera, and instead have top notch lenses, and thats what makes their pictures 'professional.'
     
  24. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #24
    It's not so much that I think image quality has topped out, just that I do believe that as technology advances you get better results from "lesser" cameras. For example, when I got married our photographer had a brand new EOS 1 series camera and some L lenses; he shot wedding photography for a living and still does locally the camera was 4 MP (it was 2002) and I sure thought the pictures turned out great. But now when I look back at them, I can see the limitations that the camera must have had; the composures were great, but the DR was terrible compared to what cameras of today have, even a Rebel XT would have done a better job. All I'm trying to say is that with good technique and good glass, you can get gallery worthy photographs with a D40 or an XT/XTi, but if you can't shoot well then no amount of multi thousand dollar professional camera goodness is going to make your shots any better. So when just starting out, it's probably advisable to stick to something less expensive and evaluate later whether or not you really need that D3 or a 5D or whatever it is that's thought to be the uber-camera at the time.

    I shoot a Pentax K10D, it suits me and my style very well. I shoot with a lot of short primes and I don't feel that Pentax primes in that category can be beaten. I'm lucky that my camera cost about as much as the XTi and the D80 did at the time, but is built like a 1D series (with weather sealing throughout etc). It takes great photos and I still don't feel like I've been able to put it through it's paces yet so until then I'll continue with it. I know it's a much more capable camera than my wedding photographer had in 2002 and he probably payed >$5000 for the body alone, granted in 2002 it was probably the state of the art. I know one very high profile fashion photographer who gave up a Canon sponsorship to move to the Pentax K10D as well so it must have something going for it that discerning pro(s) value. I'm not going to say that it's better (or maybe even equal) to a new 1D from Canon, but it's certainly capable in the right hands of making high quality photographs (even large wall portraits).

    That's all I mean by what I said.

    SLC
     
  25. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

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    #25
    the camera bodies are much the same at the $500 price range. Go to you local camera store and try a few out and see what feels good to you. Then buy the best lens/lenses you can afford.
     

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