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Old Jun 18, 2008, 12:07 AM   #1
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Hi! I do a lot of digital video work, so I know a bit about cameras in general. I'm looking to purchase as high end/profesinal a DSLR still camera as I can on a limited budget (about 400$) - I intend to use it to take pictures of elements which will be of a high enough quality to composite into my films via After Effects, so I need the images to be rather high quality as opposed to just good enough. I have no idea where to start as far as camera shopping goes, though and would apperciate some pointers or advice on what I should do first and how to get started so I can find the camera that's right for me. Thanks in advance!
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 12:22 AM   #2
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Most entry level DSLR's with kit lenses run between $499 and $800. You may be alble to get a good deal on Nikon's D40 on a clearance sale somewhere, a Sony A200, or a Pentax K100D Super.

Maybe I am wrong,but I think the image quality of any of these still cameras will be more than adequate for a video presentation. The D40 and K100D Super are 6 megapixel cameras, while the Sony is a 10 megapixel camera. There's more to image quality than mere megapixels, as many on this forum will tell you.

Good luck!
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 1:05 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply! I'll use your post as a starting point to gather more information as I go. Quality wise sounds promising, I hate to sound like a beginner so bare the extremly blunt question here, but would such a camera as you suggested also be adaqute for promo pictures or DVD covers? I of course know that it takes a lot more to make a still look good then just the camera, but from a raw quality perspective assuming other creative aspects are handeled properly I'd like to hear your opinion.. thanks again for the help I very much so apperciate it.
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 8:08 AM   #4
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Any dSLR will do well for what you want. Compared to a videcamera, they all have resolution to spare, so you can take any still shot,crop it, and still have an excellent image to includein your video.

And they will also work well for promo shots and DVD covers.

The first thing I try to discern when discussing this with people is the type(s) of photography they want to do, so we know what kinds of lenses to use, and therefore, what camera. From what you've said, I presume that much of what you'll be shooting is production candids, highlights, etc., so the kit lens (~18-55mm zoom, or an angle of view rangingfrom about 75° to about 25°) would do well. That is, I doubt you'll need anything wider (such as one would use for landscapes) or longer (such as one would use for sports/wildlife)

You might like image stabilization, and Pentax, Sony and most Olympus cameras have sensor shift image stabilization in the body, while Canon and Nikon have it only in certain lenses. Also, Sony's kit lens has a broader range than the others, at 18-70mm.

But I want to also point out that what you want to do doesn't sound like you couldn't do it with a lesser P&S digicam, and with a budget of $400, you might be better served by seriously considering something like a superzoom or a compact from Steve's Best Cameras List.

I should also point out that using a dSLR, even an entry level dSLR, usually involves at least a moderate learning curve, but with your experience as a videographer, you would, no doubt,be able to hit the ground running with a lesser camera.
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Old Jun 18, 2008, 9:51 AM   #5
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If you want something that handles like a digital camcorder, and still has much better image quality than video images, any of the superzooms will do.

It doesn't even need to be expensive. On the budget you'd need for a decent dSLR you could track down a Kodak Z712is like mine for under uk£200 ($400), see if it'll do the job, and give it away to a friend if it didn't, and then move upmarket, which might be overkill. You'd have learnt what image quality you need.

I've just posted an image at max 432mm (35mm equiv.) zoom, cropped to 1848x2304 from a 3072x2304 image, resized, plus a little sharpening at...


Good luck!

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Old Jun 18, 2008, 3:22 PM   #6
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Optics wrote:
... be adaqute for promo pictures or DVD covers? ...
How large are the promo pictures? 5x7"? 8x10"? 20x30"? 40x60"? Unless you are going larger than about 8x10" ignore pixel count - anything being sold today will be enough. More doesn't hurt, but isn't really needed unless you are doing some cropping.

Are you going to be shooting outdoors? In a studio? What kind of lighting do you have? High speed action? Very small objects?

Alan's suggestion of a superzoom seems like a good starting point.
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