Which Camera Should I Buy?

jarruemota

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 26, 2010
35
0
For the past few weeks I've been on a quest to find the right camera. I wanted a DSLR but after searching and reading reviews I have found there's a new species of cameras that are gaining a lot of popularity "Mirrorless Cameras". It is true that DSLR are big and are not as portable, however how good are mirror less cameras? I was planning on having a DSLR for pro-good quality pictures and my iPhone as my portable camera. Others tell me they don't even use DSLR because the iPhone is more than enough.

I want a camera because I'm starting to work as a Social Media Manager and I take a lot of pictures to put content on the net. My clients are veterinaries and restaurants (dog, cat and food pictures).

So what do you suggest? Should I just stay with my iphone (4s switching to 6 when it comes out), buy a DSLR (Nikon D3200) or buy a Mirrorless Camera (NEX 6 or NX300)?
 

compuwar

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2006
4,717
2
Northern/Central VA
My clients are veterinaries and restaurants (dog, cat and food pictures).
Good commercial pictures are more about controlling the light than the camera that's used. Good food pictures are more about arrangement, "tricks of the trade" and lighting than anything. Your ability to light well using 3-4 light sources will affect the outcome more than what brand or type of camera you use. Image quality has more to do with sensor size and sensel size than anything. You'll get lots of answers from lots of people who are vested in one technology or another.

In terms of controlled lighting and triggering compatibility, DSLRs have the most options. "Light: Science and Magic" should be your first read, followed by strobist.blogspot.com.

Paul
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,625
448
Redondo Beach, California
The people who say the iPhone is good enough are taking posed shots of stuff that does not move.

The SLR's main feature is that these are many controls that are done with physical knobs and dials so you can look at the subject and not some menu system on a screen. You don't have to drill down three levels to find a slider control. It is right there on the outside of the camera body.

The SLR is for when you main activity is photography. the iPhone is for when you are doing other things and want a snapshot. Cost is really a non-issue because you can buy a good used SLR for under $200 now. Look at the set of lenese you might want to own in a few years. You have a HUGE selection with SLRs of both ne and used lens but the mirror less systems have far fewer available.

If you are into serious photography the camera is not the biggest thing you will need to haul around. Tripods, lighting, a few lenses and so on. Your clients will need some change of clothing maybe, hair and makeup products and so on and so on. ...

What maters with a camera is the sensor size. The so-called "full frame" SLRs have a 24x36 mm sensor the lower cost "crop body" like the Nikon 3100 have 24x14 mm sensor and the mirror less camera has even smaller. The larger sensor has more options for depth of field, less noise and is more sensitive to light and costs more.
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,550
417
Atlanta
The wife and I shot SLRs and DSLRs for years. We just sold both sets of equipment off. We have gone Micro Four Thirds. M43 is a set of standards that describes the interface between a camera body and lens. The two main vendors of camera bodies and lenses for M43 are Panasonic and Olympus.

You can get a top of the line Oly E-M1 body or a Panasonic GH4 (that shoots 4K video) for $1700 or less. Compare those prices, not to mention camera body weights and sizes) to Canon 5D3 or Nikon D800. Some folks will say a M43 is a crop sensor. It is not. This is not a smaller sensor behind a regular 35mm lens. The M43 lenses are narrower in accordance with the sensor size. With a M43 body, you can use any M43 lens. You can also use Four Thirds lenses (an older standard) with an adaptor ring.

All of M43 is designed for mirror less digital photography from the start. Check it out if you want to know the best bang for your buck.
 

phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,315
748
This is a tough call. The question remains is how do you like to shoot your subjects. DSLR in a lot of ways has the upper hand in terms of flexibility. On the other hand, mirrorless cameras such as the Olympus offering does extremely well in the type of subject matter originally posted.

Perhaps the best route would be to do a bit of hands on with each and see what feels right for what you want to do and of course, the weight and size to meet your expectations in a camera.

I never have a negative about the use of DSLRs but I can also say I stopped owning them (in my case, Nikon) a while back and chose to go to Fuji X cameras (mirrorless). There are several mirrorless models from different makers that would fill the requirements of your list. You really need to handle them before being "sold" on a specific model.
 

RIZZO124

macrumors member
Nov 15, 2013
37
4
The wife and I shot SLRs and DSLRs for years. We just sold both sets of equipment off. We have gone Micro Four Thirds. M43 is a set of standards that describes the interface between a camera body and lens. The two main vendors of camera bodies and lenses for M43 are Panasonic and Olympus.

You can get a top of the line Oly E-M1 body or a Panasonic GH4 (that shoots 4K video) for $1700 or less. Compare those prices, not to mention camera body weights and sizes) to Canon 5D3 or Nikon D800. Some folks will say a M43 is a crop sensor. It is not. This is not a smaller sensor behind a regular 35mm lens. The M43 lenses are narrower in accordance with the sensor size. With a M43 body, you can use any M43 lens. You can also use Four Thirds lenses (an older standard) with an adaptor ring.

All of M43 is designed for mirror less digital photography from the start. Check it out if you want to know the best bang for your buck.
I also just went with the M43 system, with the Olympus omd em1 camera. My first camera was a Minolta srt201 35mm film camera and I had my own darkroom for black and white and cold slides (kodak ectachrome). I sold all my Nikon dslr gear and went with lightness and compactness. What I believe I didn't give up is image quality. I'm talking about image quality that is good enough. 35mm ful. Frame sensors are better but the question is do you need it, and is M43 sensor size good enough. For me it is.
 

Apple fanboy

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 21, 2012
36,388
25,197
Behind the Lens, UK
For the past few weeks I've been on a quest to find the right camera. I wanted a DSLR but after searching and reading reviews I have found there's a new species of cameras that are gaining a lot of popularity "Mirrorless Cameras". It is true that DSLR are big and are not as portable, however how good are mirror less cameras? I was planning on having a DSLR for pro-good quality pictures and my iPhone as my portable camera. Others tell me they don't even use DSLR because the iPhone is more than enough.

I want a camera because I'm starting to work as a Social Media Manager and I take a lot of pictures to put content on the net. My clients are veterinaries and restaurants (dog, cat and food pictures).

So what do you suggest? Should I just stay with my iphone (4s switching to 6 when it comes out), buy a DSLR (Nikon D3200) or buy a Mirrorless Camera (NEX 6 or NX300)?
You don't mention your budget. I purchased my first DSLR last year, and can assure you the difference between a DSLR and an iPhone is night and day. An iPhone in great light, with a still subject will take an alright snap. A DSLR will allow you more control in all circumstances.
I would focus more on lenses and speed lights rather than just the camera body.
Check out dpreview.com for a great comparison of different equipment and an explanation of what all those numbers mean.
Also here is a link to a thread on here where I got lots of great advice when I bought my first camera. https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1594348
If you have a good local camera shop, see if you can pop along and handle a few different cameras to get a feel for what you like.
 

blanka

macrumors 68000
Jul 30, 2012
1,549
3
The big advance you get with say a D3200 is that it produces very good results on 1600-3200 iso. If you do in restaurant shots, you will need it.

Today you have very good mirrorless camera's, the Sony Alpha A7R (D800 sensor!) is a total big shot, yet the price/quality is much worse than with a DSLR. A mirrorless with a a D3200 quality sensor and lens costs the double.
 

needfx

macrumors 68040
Aug 10, 2010
3,914
4,155
macrumors apparently
Good commercial pictures are more about controlling the light than the camera that's used. Good food pictures are more about arrangement, "tricks of the trade" and lighting than anything. Your ability to light well using 3-4 light sources will affect the outcome more than what brand or type of camera you use. Image quality has more to do with sensor size and sensel size than anything. You'll get lots of answers from lots of people who are vested in one technology or another.

In terms of controlled lighting and triggering compatibility, DSLRs have the most options. "Light: Science and Magic" should be your first read, followed by strobist.blogspot.com.

Paul
thanks!!

I just bought "Light: Science and Magic" on kindle
 

TheDrift-

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2010
877
1,370
thanks!!

I just bought "Light: Science and Magic" on kindle
Depending on your level you might also want to consider Brain Patersons understanding exposure, for a more gentle introduction. Light science and magic is pretty advanced in places.

If you want good commercial photographs your probably best of using a good commercial photographer, at least until you get the basics down. As others have said buying a better camera won't make your pictures any better....just as if I bought the same golf clubs as tiger woods it won't make me any better at golf!!
 

Apple fanboy

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 21, 2012
36,388
25,197
Behind the Lens, UK
Depending on your level you might also want to consider Brain Patersons understanding exposure, for a more gentle introduction. Light science and magic is pretty advanced in places.

If you want good commercial photographs your probably best of using a good commercial photographer, at least until you get the basics down. As others have said buying a better camera won't make your pictures any better....just as if I bought the same golf clubs as tiger woods it won't make me any better at golf!!
I kind of disagree with this. It's true the most important thing with any picture is the guy behind the camera, you can be the best photographer in bad lighting and struggle with the limitations of your equipment.
In a recent discussion at work we put it like this.
1. Photographer
2. Luck (although the more skilled you become, the better you get at being in the right place at the right time)
3. Glass
4. Camera body.
 

needfx

macrumors 68040
Aug 10, 2010
3,914
4,155
macrumors apparently
Depending on your level you might also want to consider Brain Patersons understanding exposure, for a more gentle introduction. Light science and magic is pretty advanced in places.

If you want good commercial photographs your probably best of using a good commercial photographer, at least until you get the basics down. As others have said buying a better camera won't make your pictures any better....just as if I bought the same golf clubs as tiger woods it won't make me any better at golf!!
thanks for the input, but I am not the OP

already have plenty of equipment :D
 

sequoiamac

macrumors newbie
May 20, 2014
19
0
Basically, if you do more than taking a photo from an iPhone or a smartphone of some sort, a DSLR or a high end point and shoot would even work. I love photography but don't even have a high end digital camera. I use my phone to take pictures that aren't in quick motion or in low light conditions.
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
5,456
4,309
Most important things have been mentioned in this thread.
I think its 50% the photographer, 25% the camera body and 25% lenses.

You might want to take into account that you don't need a high megpix count if you just publish online.

Cameras on phones are all bad, even though some very talented people make the best out of them.
Unless you are very skilled stay away from cellphone cameras!

DSLRs are still better than mirrorless, even though this will change in the future.

If you have the budget, the Nikon Df, D7100 and D610 are really nice.
For commercial images the Df and D610 will work better since the larger sensor will give you more light to play with.
For the extra reach the D7100 would be my choice.

These cameras will take good photos even if the man behind the camera sucks.
(to a certain degree that is)
 

compuwar

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2006
4,717
2
Northern/Central VA
I kind of disagree with this. It's true the most important thing with any picture is the guy behind the camera, you can be the best photographer in bad lighting and struggle with the limitations of your equipment.
In a recent discussion at work we put it like this.
1. Photographer
2. Luck (although the more skilled you become, the better you get at being in the right place at the right time)
3. Glass
4. Camera body.
You don't have light listed, so I'd argue that the list is incomplete. Light is either #1 or #2 depending on the type of photography you're doing-- but photographer is really about the things the photographer brings to the table- which can be technical and artistic. An artistic photographer who can't get the technical part right is as useless as a technical photographer who can't get the artistic part right. There needs to be at least a good balance of the two, but those who excel at both are the ones who do the best work.

I'd argue that if you're relying on luck, you're doing it wrong. Place and time are more important for nature and some other types of fine art, followed by informed place, time and framing, for some genres such as sports where there's some element of luck, but that is really based more upon skill and experience and luck is a minor part (and the difference between great shots and fantastic shots more than anything.) Most commercial non-sports photography involves zero luck, including weddings, food, pets, products...

Even with nature, there's less luck involved in most shots than you'd think. Plus, there are very few professional nature photographers who aren't shooting landscapes who don't still bring some light to the party- even if it's just to ensure a catchlight in a bird's eye.

Bad light is going to make for a bad picture, no matter how much you try to "clean it up" in post. Probably 95% of the images on this forum with technical issues suck because the lighting isn't good. Shooting with more capable equipment in terms of camera sensors and often lenses rarely makes the images better. By the same token, 95% of the images here that suck because of artistic issues suck because the photographer doesn't know the first thing about photographic composition.

My list would go something like this:

1. Light
2. Composition
3. Subject
4. Lens
5. Camera

In "found" art like wildlife, nature, and fine art without a model, if the first two aren't right, I'm not hitting the shutter button. In "made" art like studio work, you control at least the first two, and sometimes you need additional professionals like make-up artists and food stylists to get #3. In event photography, you hit more corner cases where equipment makes sure you have the shots you need, but 1 and 2 still stand out. Luck's a bonus in professional photography, and you should strive to have it that way in personal photography too.

You can't previsualize luck. Show me a great photographer who doesn't previsualize their shots as often as possible.

Paul

----------

thanks!!

I just bought "Light: Science and Magic" on kindle
Let me know what you think of it. I should probably get it in eBook format, I've lost at least three copies over the years that have been lent out never to be seen again.

Paul
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
5,456
4,309
You don't have light listed, so I'd argue that the list is incomplete.
My list would go something like this:

1. Light
2. Composition
3. Subject
4. Lens
5. Camera

You can't previsualize luck. Show me a great photographer who doesn't previsualize their shots as often as possible.

Paul
Light, composition and subject are the responsibilty of the photographer.
I think thats what applefanboy meant.

I noticed, that a great camera+lens make even badly taken shots look not that bad.
This isnt opposed to anything you wrote though.
 

The Bad Guy

macrumors 65816
Oct 2, 2007
1,137
3,504
Australia
I kind of disagree with this. It's true the most important thing with any picture is the guy behind the camera, you can be the best photographer in bad lighting and struggle with the limitations of your equipment.
In a recent discussion at work we put it like this.
1. Photographer
2. Luck (although the more skilled you become, the better you get at being in the right place at the right time)
3. Glass
4. Camera body.
And I'm gonna have to strongly disagree with your list, sorry.

1. Light
2. Shadows
3. Photographer
4. Everything else

Don't get me wrong - nice gear is great to have and all, but if 1 and 2 are in ample supply it's not a requirement.
 

Ish

macrumors 68020
Nov 30, 2004
2,060
464
UK
DSLRs are still better than mirrorless, even though this will change in the future.
I use a Fuji X100 and a Fuji X-E1 and previously a Canon 5DII, so as someone who's used both I'd just like to qualify your statement. DSLRs are still better than these when it comes to action shots if you're wanting to use AF-C but as far as picture quality is concerned they're every bit as good as an equivalent DSLR. I don't tend to shoot using flash but I think some are more versatile than others.
 
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