Need some advice on whether to rent camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by charpi, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. charpi macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2006
    Hi guys,

    I volunteered to help out my friend to help him take photos for him as he is organizing a 3 day camp for international students visiting my school. Please bear in mind that I am no way professional but just a hobbyist who is still learning and improving on photography techniques.

    Currently, my camera is the X100.

    Here's the question, I plan to buy the D600 (when it is released) with a Sigma f1.4 50mm lens. Should I rent a similar setup now if it costs around $250 USD for the 3 days? (D800 + Sigma f1.4 50mm)

    I think that I might need a good camera for action shots. Is this an acceptable choice? Should I spend $250 to "try" new gear and to help my friend out? Or is my current X100 enough? (I don't think my X100's focusing, speed and accuracy is good enough, but maybe that's technique)

  2. Rockadile macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2012
    What kind of action?


    D300s + 35mm 1.8
    D700 + 50mm
  3. charpi thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2006
    People walking, jogging, normal school orientation camp stuff I guess. I guess it's a bit like street photography, but faster paced.

    Thanks for you advice :)
  4. avro707 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010
    Don't rent a D800, everything else will seem horrible in comparison. :p Or you'll have withdrawal symptoms.

    A D300s or a D700 should be fine. Use a nifty-fifty with the D700, or one of those 24-70s if they are in your price range.
  5. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    Have you used a Nikon DSLR before? The worst thing to do is to try to force yourself to use an unfamiliar camera/system, as you may miss or flub shots while learning it. If nothing else, rent it for an extra day or two to get used to shooting with it.

    Also, the D800 isn't ideal for action (imo), due to the relatively low frame rate. You can manage it if you time your shots well, but a D300/s or D7000 may be better for that kind of shooting, and the image quality will be just fine, especially if you'll be shooting outside during daytime. A normal prime is also probably not ideal for shooting action. Depending on the activity, I'd look to rent either a 24-70mm or a 70-200mm f/2.8.

    Finally, is the firmware on your X100 up to date? I remember reading that the focusing was somewhat improved with later versions. Whatever you do, don't leave your X100 at home. It's a far less intimidating camera than a D800 with a giant lens attached to it, and your subjects will react accordingly.
  6. charpi thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2006
    Haha thanks for your advice guys. :)

    I mentioned D800 because I planned to get the D600 (younger brother?) when it is released. So I wanted to try out the handling before throwing the estimated $2k on it. At least if I don't like it now I only spent $250. Maybe D700 would be a better choice?

    Unfortunately I only have half a day max with the camera so I might not get much practice before the event itself. :(

    I agree I'll definitely not leave my X100 at home! I think it's on 1.21 if I'm not wrong. I'll upgrade it to 1.3 when I can!

    Now, question - is $250 worth it to try out a camera? Or is X100 enough?

    Thanks :)
  7. avro707 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010
    I don't find my D800e too slow for action provided you use lossless compression for the raw images.

    The D800 or D700 won't be much of a good evaluation/learning tool with respect to the D600, it's vastly different. The D800/D700 have a lot of differences, some that are immediately obvious when looking at the controls of the camera.

    A D7000 would probably be the closest in controls/operation, but remember, FX lenses on a D7000 won't give you the expected view angles. 300mm will look like 450mm, etc due to the smaller 24x16mm sensor, as opposed to the 36x24mm sensor of the D4/D3 series/D800/D700/D600.

    Yes, spending $250 is worth if you are renting the actual camera you want to buy, which you aren't really doing. Renting a different camera doesn't help you to know how the D600 will perform except for learning the basics of Nikon camera operation.

    Although they are dead easy to use, it's still a tall order to pick it up in a very short time, especially for "must have" shots.
  8. charpi thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2006
    ah, that's true too. Now I really have a dilema LOL on what I'm going to use for the event.

    X100, D7000, D700, D800... haha :eek:
  9. avro707 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010
    Sorry to not make it any easier for you. Good luck and happy photo-taking. :)

    If you really want to learn more about Nikon camera operation - a D7000 with a 16-85mm VR lens will be more than enough to be perfectly honest. Or otherwise, use the 17-55mm F/2.8 DX Nikkor.

    That will be closer in controls and operation than the pro-level D800/D700 cameras with their totally different control layout.
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    One other piece of info. Often a camera store will apply the rental you pay towards the purchase of the camera. It is a common occurrence for a photographer to rent the camera before buying it. Check to see if your rental shop does this... if not, perhaps find a shop that does. (In my experience you rent their rental camera, but if you buy you get a new 'in the box' camera. Also, you don't have to rent the same camera you end up buying, since you might decide that the rental camera doesn't suit.)

    Check with your shop and ask them what their policy is. You may not actually be tossing $250 down the drain.

    Also.... For your 1st camera it's more important to get really good lenses and a less featured camera. Leaving the photographer thing to the side for the moment - The quality of the image is a direct result of the quality of the lense and not the camera (except for the quality of the sensor). The "features" on a camera are there to make your life (as a photographer) easier - but do not affect the quality of the image. This is an oversimplified statement, perhaps, but it is - imho - true enough to make your purchasing decisions.

  11. steveash macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2008
    I can't see why the X100 wouldn't be fine for this kind of use. Just make sure you are using a suitable shutter speed to freeze action or catch motion blur. Focusing may be your only problem but if you position yourself well and predict your shots you should be fine.

    If you want to hire a camera to see if it is for you then that is another thing and possibly worth trying. DSLRs are not for everyone and Full-Frame isn't the silver bullet it is sometimes made out to be.
  12. charpi thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2006
    If anyone is still interested in the end I decided to go for D700 + Sigma F1.4 85mm to find out is full frame all it's made out to be. Been interested to try out the 85mm since I've only worked with wider angles before (X100 and Olympus EP2 + stock lens).

    Thanks for the advice guys. :)

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