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Old Oct 15, 2008, 10:00 PM   #1
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So, here it is. I work for Meguiar's in Santiago, Chile. I'm currently shooting with an antique Sony cd350.

I need to take shots of cars at indoor and outdoor events. Some will be action shots, some will be stills. Meguiar's trains us to not "edit" our shots. We're looking for lots of "activity" in the paint. High reflections with a lot going on.

I am currently looking for a DSLR, moderately priced, that is capable of taking shots for both internet publication and print applications. We also do a lot of banners for our shop etc... I'm thinking that I'm going to need something with more than 8MP, but I'm here to be corrected if necessary.

I was looking at a Nikon D80, until I read a few reviews that said that the D80 is old news and I'd be better off with a D40... Problem is, the D40 is only 6 MP.

I'm admittedly an amateur, but I love photography and plan on growing into my camera.

Any suggestions?
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Old Oct 16, 2008, 12:44 AM   #2
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Have you considered the Nikon D60?
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Old Oct 16, 2008, 8:26 AM   #3
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For print, agree that you need better than 8MP. And for action shots, the Nikon D40, D40X and D60 have autofocus systems that probably won't work well. The performance of autofocus systems is a hot topic here, but it is generally agreed that the entry level Nikons are not good choices for sports/action/wildlife photography.

Since the subject is cars, you should probably get some large aperture lenses so you can get shallow depths of field (blurred foreground and background, which will better draw attention to the subject.) The kit lens won't be very good for that. Also, large aperture lenses help with exposure for indoor shots. You may want to get an external flash, but I think they don't work well on shiny subjects.

Here's a topic that you might want to read. It discusses a variety of subjects on the topic of photographing cars, and I think much of it will be of interest to you: Best DSLR for an Exotic Car Dealer

Also, take a look at the Sports & Action Photosforum for photos of autos. There are plenty of action photos of cars, and you can see what equipment was used to get those shots.
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Old Oct 16, 2008, 8:41 AM   #4
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I have looked at the D60, the only thing that chased me away was couple reviews like this...

Quote:
I wouldn't buy a D60 or a D40x. I would buy, and actually did buy, the superior and least expensive D40, which today sells for only about $470 complete with an absolutely excellent non-VR lens. The least expensive D40 has twice the sensitivity to light (ISO 200 base vs. ISO 100 base) and over twice the flash sync speed (1/500 vs. 1/200). The other features, like pixels and dust reduction, are just fluff. I've never had a dirt problem with my D40, and I change lenses a lot and have made 25,000 shots on my D40. Pixels are a pain. Do you know that I own a $5,000 D3, and usually shoot it set down to 6 MP, not its native 12 MP? If you have $5,000, get the $5,000 D3. If you have $4,000 or less, get an $1,800 D300. If you have less than $1,800, skip the D80, D60 and D40x and head straight for the superior D40 for only about $470, with lens. If you have $1,000 you may want to look at the D80 if it's going to be your only camera, but honestly, I use cameras all day, every day, and when I go on vacation, I prefer my D40, not the D80.

Taken from: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d60.htm

I'm a bit confused. I understand that the D40 was a hell of a camera, but maybe not for what I need it for...

Again, I'm taking a few actions shots, and a lot of stills of cars. Being that we will be attending car shows, I guess you could possibly group a lot of those shots as action shots because there are always people walking around etc...

Again, I need to be able to use some of these shots for high detail graphics, print catalogs and banners. Should the D60 do the trick for me?
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Old Oct 16, 2008, 9:07 AM   #5
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What sizes will your prints and banners need to be? Do you have a budget in mind?

You'll want to take the costs of lenses and accessories (flash, etc.) into consideration, too.

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Old Oct 16, 2008, 9:12 AM   #6
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I mentioned the poor autofocus performance of the entry level Nikons because ...

Furyous wrote:
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I need to take shots of cars at indoor and outdoor events. Some will be action shots, ...
If 'action' isn't a consideration, then forget it. And people walking around a car doesn't make it an action shot.

There was considerable hype about 6MP Nikon D40 because ofits high ISO performance compared to dSLRs with higher resolution(and, consequently, higher pixel density)image sensors. For your application, I think resolution is more important, and there are other things you can do to get proper exposure without cranking up the ISO (like large aperture lenses, and flash.) Keep in mind that there isn't a very good selection of lenses for the entry level Nikons either, and the selection of large aperture lenses is particularly small. The entry level Nikons don't have an internal autofocus motor, so many lenses that will work on other Nikons, won't autofocus on the D40/D40X/D60, and that includes many large aperture lenses.
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Old Oct 16, 2008, 11:21 AM   #7
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JimC wrote:
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What sizes will your prints and banners need to be? Do you have a budget in mind?

You'll want to take the costs of lenses and accessories (flash, etc.) into consideration, too.
The prints tend to be catalogs, such as this one...
http://www.meguiars.co.uk/pdfpage/Me...lutions_08.pdf
My banner's are normally hung on the side of our stores, measure more or less 6ft x 3ft. Obviously the pictures wont take up all of this space, and honestly, they can be a tad bit pixelated, I'm not going to be shooting for museum pieces, but we will be doing publicity in magazines, and down the road there is a remote possibility of billboard type advertisements, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. From my basic research, I believe a 10 MP camera should be sufficient for what I intend to do.

Now, I've also just been turned on to the canon EOS-40D...
I'm thinking two good lenses and a camera such as that might do the trick, to get me started anyway?
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Old Oct 16, 2008, 11:29 AM   #8
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The 40D is a very nice camera.

There are a few more choices you may want to consider, too, depending on budget (and camera availability, since I don't know what the market is like in Chile). For example, Nikon's new D90 would be another option, as would the new Canon EOS-50D if you want to look at the next market niche up (versus the entry level models you're considering like the D40, etc.). Ditto for models like the Sony A700, Pentax K20D (which recently had a big price drop) and more.

What kind of budget did you have in mind for both camera and lenses? If you can give us rough U.S. dollars that would probably help us figure out what kind of kits may fit in.


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Old Oct 16, 2008, 12:36 PM   #9
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JimC wrote:
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The 40D is a very nice camera.

There are a few more choices you may want to consider, too, depending on budget (and camera availability, since I don't know what the market is like in Chile). For example, Nikon's new D90 would be another option, as would the new Canon EOS-50D if you want to look at the next market niche up (versus the entry level models you're considering like the D40, etc.). Ditto for models like the Sony A700, Pentax K20D (which recently had a big price drop) and more.

What kind of budget did you have in mind for both camera and lenses? If you can give us rough U.S. dollars that would probably help us figure out what kind of kits may fit in.

Thank's for the advice all...

I'm purchasing the camera in the US through my father who will be visiting in a month. The advantage we have with Canon is that they have direct representation here in Chile, so if something were to happen to the camera, I can take it directly to Canon Chile.

As far as the price goes, I'm trying to do it for under $1,000. Complete kit. I've found some amazing deals on the net. I know it's not much to work with, but my budget at this point is not enormous, and I'm trying to get the "best bang from my buck".

The D90 seems to be a bit more difficult to get a good deal on because of it's (as far as I understand) recent arrival. It seems to be easily $200 more expensive than, say the Canon D40, no matter where I look. Would the benefits of this camera justify the $200 price increase? I like the D90, but as I'm trying to extend my dollar at this point, I don't know if it's the right choice...

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Old Oct 16, 2008, 1:21 PM   #10
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As far as the price goes, I'm trying to do it for under $1,000. Complete kit. I've found some amazing deals on the net.
There are lots of scam artists around with nice looking web sites that have professional looking logos from manufacturers, review sites, etc. Most of the scammers are located in the Brooklyn, New York area, where they seem to be able to get away with it.

When you see prices that are much lower than you find at http://www.buydig.com or http://www.bhphotovideo.com (both are reputable dealers) on major brand gear, there is usually going to be a catch. ;-)

The scammers will call you to confirm the order (or send you an e-mail asking you to call them to confirm it). Then, you'll also find out that they'll want to sell you high priced batteries, extended warranties, stuff that normally comes with the camera anyway, want to include inflated shipping and insurance charges (sometimes unauthorized). Anything to increase their profit (since they can't sell the camera alone at the advertised prices without losing money).

If you don't buy enough of the outrageously priced extras, your camera will suddenly go to backorder status (of course, the web sites still show them in stock and your credit card has been charged). They'll often sell gray market gear, too (not intended for sale in the country you live in with a store versus manufacturers warranty).

This has been going on for years. It's a racket.

Do yourself a favor and stick with a reputable dealer.

Make sure to check out any vendor you consider using http://www.resellerratings.com
(they're a bit better about filtering out fake customer reviews compared to most ratings sites)

If they are not listed, avoid them (these guys tend to start up new web sites often under a variety of names). If they have a small number of customer reviews there, avoid them (they tend to try and get away with padding their own ratings with glowing reviews). Some even seem to have their own ratings sites now (with all of the stores listed being same old scammers, with the reviews unbelievably good).

Suggested Reading:

How to buy a Digital Camera without being robbed

Let me do some digging and see what some of the kits are selling for now from reputable dealers. ;-) Will he have to buy at a store location somewhere (where retail prices may be a bit higher than you can find from legitimate mail order dealers), or will he be able to place an order and wait for it to be shipped to an address here somewhere?

BTW, http://www.bhphotovideo.com ships to overseas addresses (as do a few other reputable dealers).

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