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Old Feb 14, 2007, 10:31 PM   #1
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I am starting a part-time business that involves taking product photos for a marketing company, as well as in studio portrait/on location photos for customers. I currently have a low level of experience and knowledge about these cameras. I will soon be taking private lessons to increase my skill level in the feild. I am looking for a good all-around camera that can really perform in the "professional" situations and various activities of the business. I plan to shoot in RAW format and do some minor post-processing. I am open to all suggestions. Thank you for the help.
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 1:07 AM   #2
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Any DSLR could be called versatile. You'll need to be more specific about your needs. What kind of budget are you working with? Do you plan on using a tripod for most shoots? Will you be doing flash photography? What resolution printing will you be doing? Will you need a camera that is weather sealed (I'm guessing 'no' on that one)?
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 9:21 AM   #3
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Budget? I guess I would like to bearound $1500 including a kit lens hopefully.I will spend more if needed, I just want to make sure I have the proper equepment, even if it will cost me more.I am planning to use a tripod most of the time, and flash photography half of the time. Not quite sure what resolution i will be printing in. I assume most prints will be under 8x10.
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 9:41 AM   #4
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dooks-

Corpsey asked all the right questions. We are still at a point where any of the consumer level DSLR cameras can do the job. Let's recap what we know:

(1) The total budget is around $1,500

(2) You will be shooting product photos and some portraits of customers

(3) You will be using a tripod

(4) Your lighting will be done with multiple flashes

(5) The maximum print size will be 8" X 10"

(6) You will primarily be shooting in RAW mode

Have you given some thought to the kind of multiple flash are you going to use? Will they be an on camera commander flash with wireless slave flashes? Will you be using umbrella reflectors? How many flashes are you planning on using? What about the backgrounds, will you be using background drapes? Will you need a remote to actuate the camera, allowing you to move around a bit? What other props are you planning for your portraits.

How about the product shoots: is the product small enough that we should plan on including a macro lens in the budget. Will the same flashes serve double duty? What about backgrounds? Will this be done in a home or remote location? if using bounce flash, how high will the ceilings be? And what color are the ceilings? Will any natural lighting be used requiring reflectors?

You do know that shooting in RAW will measureably increase your workflow or are you planning on batch processing? Is the price of a good photo printer to also be included in the budget/

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 10:19 AM   #5
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One other key question here might be how heavy the usage is going to be.

One of the key differnces in pro level gear is it's designed to withstand a heavier workload. Since you did state part time, and it will likely take some time to develop a client base and turn it into a full time workload, you should do fine with good consumer level gear.

But if you get to the point where you're taking hundreds of shots a day, day in day out, you might need to consider pro-level equipment just for the durability.

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Old Feb 15, 2007, 11:23 AM   #6
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kenbalbari wrote:
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But if you get to the point where you're taking hundreds of shots a day, day in day out, you might need to consider pro-level equipment just for the durability.
Excellent point!!! When I bought my current DSLR which is rated at 50,000 actuations for the shutter I thought 50,000 was a large number. Well when I was taking3,000 photos a month for sports photography - suddenly 50,000 isn't so big.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Sarah's points are also excellent. For doing product and portrait photography, the camera is only a single part. Lighting and support are often more critical than the camera choice. To her list of other peripherals you NEED to have, I will add:

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"backdrops, stools, reflectors, props for posing

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"setups for the product shots - not sure what it's called since I don't do it, but basically you don't typically place the object on an ordinary table and shoot it - you have a setup with walls and such (to provide a backdrop other than the natural walls).

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Stands for the flashes/strobes

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"If you're using a camera mounted flash you'll want a bracket

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Again, this is not my area of expertise just things that come to mind as what I believe are necessary tools of the trade.
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 11:54 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the help so far. First off, the $1500 budget is for the camera only. I was hoping to also get a kit lens with the body for around $1500. I anticipate most of my portrait shooting to be done in the customers home, or at a park, or at the beach. The main reason for this is i tend to perfer "natural" pictures that can be accomplished on location. The secondary reason is since this will be a part time business, i will not have a dedicated studio. I will have backdrops for certain types of shots as well. So my main focus is to have most of my equipment be mobile.

As fas as the product shooting is concerned, I have a room in my house that will be dedicated for these shoots. I'm not sure of the exact set up I am looking for yet, but it will consist of table, backrounds, set walls,etc... I am also anticipating the need for a macro lens.

When it comes to the frequency of photos, I would say I would be shooting no more that 600 shots a month. At thins point i will not need a photo printer. I plan to find a good phot printing comapny to meet my needs.

My goal for the business is to have everything I need to get started for under $5,000. Since I am just starting to train, I really dont know the exact equipment I will need. I just want to make sure that I have a camera that won't limit me in the future. I want to purchase the camera soon so I can practice with it while recieving training.
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 1:23 PM   #8
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dooks-

That being the case, then take a look at the Canon XTi, the Pentax K10, Canon 30D and the Nikon D-80. Those are all 10mp DSLR cameras, except the Canon 30Dthat have received excellent reviews and have many enthusiastic and happy users.

Based on what you have told us thus far, there does not seem to be a need for a telephoto lens. The lens combinations below are only my own recommendations, and your choices could certainly vary.

Canon XTi: With this DSLR, I would purchase just the body and equip it with either a Tamron 17-50mm or a Tamron 28-75mm lens, if you do not need the wide angle range..

Pentax K10: with this DSLR I would purchase just the body, and go with the sames lenses, the Tamron 17-50mm or the Tamron 28-75mm lens, if you do not need the wide angle range.

Canon 30D: with this DSLR I would use one of the two Tamron lenses, rather than the kit lens.

Nikon D-80: with this DSLR the kit lens would be excellent for yopur proposed useage. Be sure to get the D-80 with the Nikkor 18-135mm lens. That is a commonly sold body and kit lens combo.

The question as to why I chose those Tamron lenses is a logical one. They are very higly regarded lenses, and you will find the discussed and praised regularly in all of the canon forums.

I hope that helps.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 3:34 PM   #9
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I was thinking it would be between the D-80 and the XTi. Now for the descision. Thanks for the help.
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 7:52 PM   #10
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I don't think you are at that levelto open your own business for portraits, product shots...Do you know when to use a white reflector when to use a gold one, do you master the art of fill flash, do you know what a soft box looks like, how yo cope with all kind of subjects with different shapes and sizes, are you good remembering color, what happens when you go home print the pictures and wondering what her lipstick color was....This girl is heavy how do make her look thinner, you make her look heavier you'll see her reaction when shelooks atthe pictures, expect her toput the pictures face down and walk away. Are you good with kids, can you make them smile?

Even you are a good photographer technically, do you have a good PR skill, can you sell a glass of cold water to an eskimo?

I sincerely suggest you start photography as a hobby first.

As soon as I see your post asking what camera to open a photography business I can tell you're at ground zero. An experienced photographer who wants to open his own studio or photo servicesknows what camera he needs, he already have an arsenal of equipment.

Lastly, when you look into the viewfinder, you see your passion to create a photograph, a master piece, you are ready to launch your carreer, but if you see a $ sign, stop.
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