Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Camera Considerations

One of Matt's big dreams is to get better at photography. I also feel like I need to get better at photography to be a better blogger. Therefore, we are looking into options for purchasing a fancy camera.

Our friend takes amazing photos, and he uses a Nikon. Here's what he says about it:

I have the Nikon D60 camera body only (the link has an included lens, but you can find body only prices).

Note that the D60 cannot take video. You can do this with the new D90. If you want to know why I chose a nikon over a canon. There's this great saying about the essential difference between the design approach by the two companies:

Canon makes the best camera as designed by engineers.
Nikon makes the best camera as designed by photographers.

Not sure how true it is, but I've used both and they're both great, so don't fret over it too much.

Here are two of the lenses I got from Amazon:

Sigma 30mm f/1.4

This is the only lens of the ones listed here that will let you do decent low light photography without a flash. It's a great portrait lens and people do use it for multiple purpose stuff if you don't mind not needing zoom action (just walk up to your subject) and aren't going to be doing lots of landscape photography. It is the equivalent of a regular film 50mm fixed lens.

I use this for landscape, architecture and catching an entire room in a small space (also nice in cars). 10mm is as wide as you can get without resorting to a fisheye lens.

I also have a third zoom lens that I think is a Nikon 70mm-300mm.

For a memory card, I use this SDHC card.

Be sure to get a class 6 because that means it does the fastest kind of memory transfer.

However, if changing lenses isn't for you, this one is definitely the one to get.

I recommend this option to almost all of my friends that aren't as interested in getting hardcore right away but still want to get a wide variety of images. It is a bit expensive but it does go from relatively decent wide angel to a nice zoom and pretty much replaces using three different lenses. While the 18 - 55mm lenses you see most commonly packaged as a kit with the d60 is a mediocre lens, it won't be terrible.

If you're interested in a very easy to understand introduction to using a digital SLR, I highly recommend The Digital Photography Book.

After all that is said and done, there is a new type of camera that isn't as bulky as traditional SLR but still can use interchangeable lenses and do great video. For about the same cost, it can do some amazing stuff (low light images are amazing with their F1.7 lens and ridiculous ISO). Here's a great review done as a travelogue showcasing images from the camera.

I am actually considering getting this camera as a much lighter alternative to my Nikon when I'm on the go.
I've been stalking a few of my favorite blogger/photographers to see what they use (cakies, Lovely Morning, Superhero Journal, and fresh365). I definitely want to get a refurbished model of whatever we decide on, since that will be better on the budget and the earth...

Any recommendations from your experience?

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Kelsey said...

I'll be interested to follow your camera journey! Getting a decent camera and being able to take quality photos is a long term goal of mine. So no experience to share by Soule Mama recommended lens rentals which may cushion the price burden and help you test different things.
Might be other websites as well.

LauraC said...

I recently upgraded from a Canon digital rebel(an OLD one, the very first digital rebel ever on the market!) to the Canon 50D. I took a little over 10,000 shots on the Rebel before upgrading. I feel like those 10,000 shots were important to learn what I liked in photography.

As for lenses, I rented them from a local place to help me decide. Basically you can find reviews that every thing is awful or terrible!

Stephanova said...

I would recommend getting either the Nikon D60 or 90, or a comparable Canon such at the Rebel XT or T1i. (I also just read a lovely review for the T2i: http://thedigitalstory.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?search=t2i&IncludeBlogs=2&limit=20). Those cameras offer lots of value especially for beginners/non-professionals. (You can always upgrade later when you have a better feel for what you like.) Right now I shoot with a Canon T1i and my favorite lens in the 50mm f/1.4 lens, but I took many a picture with the kit lens before I got that one and was perfectly happy with it's versatility. Getting the kit lens with the body costs about $100 extra. You just need to decide if you want to dump another $300-$700 into the camera now for one lens, or if you want to experiment with the kit lens first. (I liked the experimenting, myself.) Here are some of my pictures-- a lot of the kid and food pictures are done with the 50mm, and the hiking pictures are mostly with the kit lens. http://www.flickr.com/photos/60763855@N00/

Ms. Loaf said...

I got a Canon Rebel T1i for Christmas and I love it. I especially love that I can shoot video on it, and I know people complain about the kit lens, but the one that came with mine does pretty well. I'm still trying to save up for a better one, but borrowlenses.com (I think) lets you rent lenses, which is a great option.

I look forward to following along on your camera journey!

Sharpiegirl said...

I just bought the Rebel Ti1 and love it. I wish I had a zoom lens but other than that, for the type of photography I do (my husband's shows and a few low light events) it does everything I want. I just bought myself a tripod and will be starting photography classes through UTA for a photography certification program.

Anonymous said...

I have a Nikon D70 and love it. I have two different lenses, and two batteries. Before that, I used an old Yashica that my grandfather owned, and it took great photos. :)

There's not a lot I don't like about the camera, although at some times I wish the shutter speed was a little slower. There are still things I need to learn about using a digital camera, but playing sure is fun. :)

You can see some of my photos here:
(I do need to update my Flickr page - I have taken photos since last May!)

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