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Author Topic: tech specs on picking out a camera  (Read 2850 times)

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« on: January 11, 2012, 17:25 »
I'm new to this business but not new to being meticulous and very technical with an eye for the perfection I have seen in microstock pics. Have been in the technical world since the 80s so can learn anything and always study all the details. Now I want to pic out the right camera. Important is since I'm in need of reading glasses the easier to get around the menu/buttons/screen view etc the better. I was looking at the 3" view finder that flips to see from the front as well. For starters I'm just taking pics of objects, food, and anything close up that would be a good seller and creative.

All I'm looking for in this thread is more technical reasons why you as a professional photographer choose what DSLR camera you prefer. I read many specs on Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and others but am aiming more between the Canon or Nikon and adding in an upto 250mm or 300mm lens with my purchase.

It is hard to get a hold of them in the store to feel them out since so few are on display this time of year, so all I get a chance to do is look at this screen and read about them.

So in the DSLR Canon and Nikon models what technical reasons do you prefer the one you have or why do you not like a certain one you know of real well? bulky, light, easy to handle, menu ease of use, lens glass grade, longer lasting, more lens interchangebility, etc. Your information will help me out quite a bit and I'm sure help anyone else who is in the same boat as I am. I'm telling you it really is hard to check out cameras in the store with a saleperson all over you and with so few on display, so you are doing a great service by sharing such information here.

Also would like a view finder that actually shows me what my pic looks like before I snap it. I mean an Olympus I took back to the store flickered a quick focus on the screen when you half push down the snap button and I hated that. Don't tease me show me what you see camera. lol. I was guessing how it looked and really did not know until I uploaded it on the PC costing valuable time. I want to see how the focus, white balance, and other settings look as I change them. Isn't that what the view finder is good for? Yes adding a flash adds more to it, but would like to do better than that half push on the button to see what the pic looks like.

Thank you so much,
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 18:20 by torizen »


« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 17:38 »
The 5d Mark II is the best camera out there right now unless you need more FPS, super fast autofocus, or weather sealing.

« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 17:59 »
I'm a Canon man (once you get the lenses you tend to stick to one manufacturer or another) and all of Canon's cameras are superb and perfect for stock photography, commercial work or hobbyists. I'm sure the same could be said of Nikon too. All modern DSLR's vastly outperform their film predecessors of yesteryear.

I'd recommend Canon because there is a greater range of bodies and lenses and also a much bigger aftermarket for both on Ebay and the like.

DSLR bodies I have tended to think of as almost 'disposable' in that they have usually been superceded by more pixels, etc within a couple of years. The mega-pixel race seems to be over for now though. Good glass on the other hand is forever if you look after it.

Stock photographers like lots of pixels because larger sizes can sell for more and provide more opportunities for cropping, down-sizing, etc. I'd suggest you aim for a minimum of 12MP but anything beyond that is luxury and will not necessarily make sufficient more money to justify the additional cost.

You can pick up hardly used equipment on Ebay for a fraction of the original price as hobbyists always want the latest gear. I'd suggest you start with a low-end model like the EOS 1100D (with kit lens) as it will be more than enough to make a start. Trust me, photography is not about the gear, it is about the photographer.

« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 18:00 »
The 5d Mark II is the best camera out there right now unless you need more FPS, super fast autofocus, or weather sealing.

Or a smaller body... The 24MP Sony NEX-7 also looks like a pretty good option at the moment, except that the range of dedicated lenses is a bit limited, and availability isn't great.  

There is a reason though why the majority of serious stock shooters are using the 5D 2 - there hasn't been anything that can match it on the price for resolution equation.

« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 18:03 »
The 5d Mark II is the best camera out there right now unless you need more FPS, super fast autofocus, or weather sealing.

Or a smaller body... The 24MP Sony NEX-7 also looks like a pretty good option at the moment, except that the range of dedicated lenses is a bit limited, and availability isn't great.  

There is a reason though why the majority of serious stock shooters are using the 5D 2 - there hasn't been anything that can match it on the price for resolution equation.

^^^ I'd agree with that if it's within your budget. The 5D MkII is a fantastic piece of kit at an extraordinarily low price.

« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 18:05 »
get a canon because nikon are rubbish. lol. Seriously what budget? There is no such thing as the perfect camera or photo. Photography is always a test to see how few defects we can get. It is alwas a trade off. I would suggest any DSLR and a good basic lens. Something like a canon 550 and 50mm 1.8. See how you go and then starting thinking about other lenses. Long lenses are more testing of your technique. You also need software. Photoshop elements and monitor calibrator like a spyder express. Do not invest big money to make money in stock as a newbie. Buy stuff that is good but is justified on its own as a hobby/fun.


« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 20:31 »
I started with Canon when I got my first dSLR because I wanted a 100-400 IS lens. (from Pentax in my film days). Took a couple of years until I could afford the lens.
Got the 5D2 just for stock as it copes well with the low light levels I have here and with night time street shots. Bulky and heavy, though.

Horses for courses: if I'd been shooting different stuff, maybe I'd have fancied a Nikon lens therefore gone that way.

« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2012, 01:20 »
If you haven't already, read dpreview for detailed information on specific camera models.

I'd second the comments made above - Nikon or Canon would be fine choices; the lenses is where your long term investment will be. I have a 5D Mk II and several good lenses; once I was able to understand the difference in what I shot with the same camera and a crappy lens and a really excellent one, I decided I'd go for the best lenses I could justify even if that meant waiting a bit. I wouldn't buy a cheaper zoom lens right away - if you stick with this you'll soon realize its limitations and want something much better.

I've had Canon cameras for many years and part of the reason they feel comfortable to me is that I am used to how they work; perhaps if my first camera hadn't been a Canon AE-1 Program I would feel equally comfortable with Nikon.  I don't know given the company troubles that anyone would be well advised to consider Olympus at the moment.

I can't emphasize enough that the "perfection" you have seen in microstock pictures is a result of many things, only a small part of which is the camera gear that shot it. Lots of people take a run at microstock thinking that if they just get the "right" answer about equipment they'll be all set. I could give my gear to many people who'd take the same rubbish with it that they did with their point and shoot - it'd just be 21 MP of rubbish.

You should probably also have a read at the Strobist blog to see what you can do creatively to light things with a hotshoe flash and a reflector or two (i.e. very low investment lighting solutions). The Lighting 101 section is good if you're new to that area. There's a world of difference, even with great camera gear, between a well lit and poorly lit shot.

« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 07:26 »
I shoot Nikon D3x it is incredible and easy to use.  Would I recommend it to someone starting out? No. Too bloody expensive.  As others have mentioned Canon 5d mkII, full frame, lots of great lenses available and not too expensive (if top shooters pick this over more expensive models then you know it has to be right).

However Nikon should be bringing out a D800 soon which should move the game on. But and it is a big BUT, I waited a year for this camera and got bored and got the d3x (which I have had for over a year).


« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2012, 01:58 »
Canon or Nikon DSLR pick a model that meets your budget and exactly what jsnover said has been true forever. Get the best lens you can afford, not the most expensive camera. You'll still have the same lens in ten years and could be on your 4th or 5th camera body. If it's Canon, buy body only and by the lens that matches what you are going to shoot. If you don't know, get a 50mm f/1.4 , if it's in the studio, get the 85mm, if it's Macro get the 100mm, see where this is leading. Your first lens should be a prime that matches what you will be shooting.

Then as time goes by, add a mid-range zoom. Always top of the line, no cheap lenses or kit lenses. If you buy something inexpensive or one of the made to fit brands, you'll get good pictures, but not as good as the top of the line. They don't just charge for the paint jobs and lettering on this things. They are visibly better and better constructed.

Something else. Top quality doesn't depreciate like entry level or mid-level brands. Go look at auctions on eBay for other than Nikon or Canon lenses, and you'll see, hardly the interest and they lose much more of their original value. It's all about quality and demand. Some discontinued Canon L lenses bring close to the original list price. Lets say, within a few hundred dollars. A ten year old "name-here" lens will be 1/4 the original price. Problem with any used lens is, parts are no longer made. But what I'm getting at, is quality holds it's value because it is quality and is still a working lens that takes exceptional photographs.

By the way, much of the time I shoot manual, IS turned off. I ask myself why I care about all the electronics and settings when it's the lens and post processing that create the finished product more than some magic mode.  :D

Someone else pointed this out. After the lens, the lighting might be the second most important factor in taking good photos. That would put the camera body third as far as the equipment. Number one on the back end is the individual, (experience and knowledge) then their eye for composition and creativity. In theory that makes the camera body about 6th on the list of importance?


« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2012, 02:11 »
I have used both systems for years, the D3X and the 5dMII,  both are superb cameras, none better then the other. Camera bodies are of less importance, its the optics, that does it.
The more you invest in lenses, the better and both Canon and Nikon lenses are super!  nowdays you can also put Zeiss and Leitz optics on your dslrs. You can even convert the old Hasselblad and LF-Schneider optics to your cams. The possibilities are endless.

If I were to pick a camera just for stock-photography,  it would be the Canon MII.

« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2012, 12:58 »

I agree that Canon or Nikon are a good choice. I have a 5dMark II and love it. I started with the first digital rebel (and a Canon Elan II film camera before that). In my case micro financed my photography hobby. Don't expect to make a living out of micro - not unless you're one of the top 1% (probably less) of micro photographers who can produce top notch quality and quantity (both are important). Don't expect that you can shoot images that are already approved and that your images will be accepted. Most sites are getting very stingy on what they accept. When I first started in 2007, all the sites had a list of subjects that were oversupplied (sunsets, flowers, etc.). It would be interesting to see how long that list is today.

I would start with a cheaper model and one lense and build from that.

Good luck.


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