Getting started...with little knowledge (In cameras)

MedigoFlame

Premium
5,867
United States
Maine
MedigoFlameX
I would like to start this with an apology if there are many threads here, already asking about finding a camera as well as my lack of knowledge... :nervous: Also...I feel like this might be a long post that may drag on a bit. :scared:

Throughout the years I've always enjoyed photography (mainly looking through photos throughout the internet...), but I've been stuck with nothing but point-and-shoot cameras that my parents hand me. Of which is mainly just used for taking pictures at family gatherings. But of recent(last summer), I became friends with a group of car enthusiasts (mainly 240SX owners) that have a shop and work on cars and throughout the time I've spent with them I've been able to experience another side of car culture. (Mainly stuck with friends who talk about exotic supercars, but don't know how to work on cars) And with this new crowd that I've been a part of, we've had photoshoots with friends' cars and often discussed ideas of future modifications and dreams of what modifications could be done to our cars.

But anyways, enough of that! With the photoshoots that I've had with my friends. I couldn't help but feel frustrated having nothing but a point-and-shoot Canon Powershot SX230 HS to use for such opportunities with cars. And here comes the request...

At this point...with my current job, I've been thinking that I'll finally be able to purchase many of my own things after a long time of parental control and one of the top things on my list would be a proper camera. Of course...I ended up purchasing a 1971 Toyota Crown as a project car first, but that won't hold me back from wanting a camera. Also...I unfortunately haven't really taken the time to do my research on cameras as well, because all I can think of is "DSLR." But I just can't get my head around the specific models and specs I need for my requirements.

With these photoshoots that my friends hold with their cars, I want to be able to take some higher quality photos as well as videos. Filming is another thing I lust for, but lack the decent equipment for any good quality. Moving shots, night time, and close ups are what I hope to work on with a new camera. I know that lenses are a big part of the types of shots I want, but I still need to learn my way through them. I would also like to take photographs of diecast models when I don't have actual cars to take photos of. And finally, I would like to be able to use this camera for some upcoming events I will be spectating in the next couple of months with drift and rally events here in New England that my friends and I plan on going to. I've had some "practice" with Gran Turismo 5's photomode (I know...it's not that realistic in terms of how photography works) and with my camera. Also, I recently got Photoshop CS6 which will be of practice as well.

The majority of my requests do involve automotive photography, but I know that I won't have as much luck of having many automotive opportunites around here due to the fact that Maine isn't exactly a car crazy state...


As a...taster. (Not sure if it's that necessary) I'll post up some pictures of the photoshoot that I had with my friends.
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I make this request to the members of GTPlanet since I've been a member here for sometime and I enjoy the community and forum very much. I hope you guys can help me out in finding what would help fit me and my "needs." And again, I do apologize for my lack of knowledge in cameras...(Also typing this up at nearly 3AM, so this post may be quite messy) I just want to get started...
 
746
dukie827
So to sum everything up, you'd like to purchase a DSLR for automotive photography.

Alright, let start with Canon as you already own one. Depending on your budget, I'd highly suggest the Canon T2i. You can get the body and a kit lens for about $400 - $500. The Nikon equivalent would be the D3000 which is also around the same price range. Take a look at those two cameras and find out which one you like. These are older models but are just as good for beginners.

If you want to take it to the next level (and have the money for it), I'd suggest the Canon 60D or T3i or the Nikon D7000 or D5100.

I'd recommend sticking with the T2i/D3000 though.

You should invest in some lenses as the kit lenses aren't the best. Both Canon and Nikon have the 50mm lens. This is a must have lens in my opinion. If you are low on money, I'd suggest the 50mm 1.8 lens. These go for about $100 - $150. You can go for the 50mm 1.4 lens if you'd like but the price would be double, if not more.

The 1.8 and 1.4 refer the the lens's aperture which allows light into the camera. 1.4 allows more light into the camera than the 1.8 which is why it costs more. Also more bokeh.

Deep-depth-of-field-comparison.jpg


Here is a graph showing depth of field and the capabilities of the 50mm 1.8 lens and stuff.

This is getting long. I'm going to stop for now.
 

nobuffalo

Premium
2,647
United States
USA
caseynato
Considering you haven't really set a price range and based on your requirements, if you are looking for something such as a DSLR I believe nearly any of the newer entry level DSLR cameras with a standard kit lens (18-55mm) will fulfill all your needs. They may be a bit limiting on the night photography because of the lens and their high ISO performance but will still work well. The kit lenses are decently sharp and usually have the ability to focus pretty close to the subject which will be good for your model car photography.

A simple search on amazon for DSLR immediately brings up 3 cameras.

Canon Rebel T3
Canon Rebel T3i
Nikon D3100

I think these all are slightly outdated with newer variants out but they are well rounded cameras at a good price range. $400-$600

Further down that list but still within that price range you will find the Nikon D3200, Nikon D5100. I myself had the Nikon D5100 and it was a great camera although a bit small for my hands. Your best bet would be to go somewhere that sells these cameras and find which one handles best and has a menu/button layout that works for you.

Since you intend to do video I would recommend a good tripod, something with a fluid head. This will allow for very smooth pans and tilts. I myself happened upon a Davis & Sanford tripod with FM18 head for roughly 30 bucks and it works fantastic. Link here. I have used a few other more expensive tripods, $500 range, and the Davis & Sanford performs well in comparison. If you want to do video (actually photography as well) I can not stress the importance of a good tripod. Down the road if you feel video is something you really want to do a slider may also be a good investment. A camera with a screen that flips out can only benefit you as well. It's not a gimmicky thing, they are very handy.

I can only speak from experience with the equipment I have used, Nikon D5100 and Davis & Sanford tripod, both of which get a thumbs up from me. From time to time I have used a Canon 5d MKii and it is also a great camera, although it's higher-end and the price reflects that.

I'm am sure there are other cameras including mirror-less ones that would suit your needs but I know nothing about them. I googled a "simple guide to photography" and this was the first result, I haven't read it word for word but it seems to be a decent enough introduction.

Until you learn the camera you will be the limit.
 

wfooshee

Rather ride my FJR
Premium
4,710
Were I starting from scratch, as this guy is, I would have a very long look at the Sony cameras. I'm a Nikon guy, couldn't be happier with my D7000, and it's my 4th Nikon camera over the years. Once you commit to a line, you are committed, unless you want to replace EVERYTHING.

The Sony cameras are very innovative. The transparent mirror makes them mechanically simpler, as the mirror doesn't have to move for every shot. It also means the AF system works 100% of the time, not just right before the shot, so they can shoot video with fully functional, fast auto-focus. The fixed mirror gives them up to 10 frame-per-second shooting speeds, each frame auto-focused correctly. They have image stabilization built into the camera rather than the lens, so any lens on the camera is "stabilized." Sony has a good selection of lenses, and the third-party lens makers support them well.

The biggest changes you'll note moving from a point-and-shoot is that the camera takes the picture NOW; it doesn't think for a second before it clicks the shutter. That means fewer damn-that-was-almost-it shots. AF is faster, and image quality is higher... more glass gathering more light onto a larger sensor.

Sony only has 4 cameras at the moment, from the starter a58 to the pro a99. I would have a good long look at the a65 were I starting a new system.
 

Blitz187

The Man From Amsterdam
Premium
5,954
Netherlands
020 A'dam
Blitz187
Are u serious?
I can vouch for what wfooshee says about Sony. I've been using a Sony A55 for about two years now. The reason I chose Sony in the end was because I knew I'd be on a budget and you can use old Minolta glass on all Sony A-mount cameras. This glass can be bought on Ebay for great prices and results are very good if you manage to get a good copy of a specific lens 2nd hand. The equivalent to the A55 nowadays is the A58, but like wfooshee suggested I'd look at the A65 as well. I also really enjoy using the EVF (Electronic View Finder) on the SLT cameras from Sony because of all the extra info you get in the view finder. I can't say much about Nikon or Canon since my experience with them is limited but they are also great choices.
 

Sprite

Beanbag Brain
Premium
6,526
United Kingdom
Horbury, West Yorkshire
GTP_Sprite
I mirror (pardon the pun) what others have said, if you going down the rout of DSLR your making a choice that's going to be for a good amount time. As others say the lenses are the thing that keep you tied to one make, unless you use adapters but then you're not going to see all the benefits of those lenses.

I'm sure that what ever you choose there will be someone here that can help. Be happy in your choice too, all too often you can get green eyed at new kit coming along and the bug can get you and it's expensive. Can't wait to see the results from your future purchase.
 

wfooshee

Rather ride my FJR
Premium
4,710
And don't pay attention to fanboys touting their stuff being better because it's better.

A posting I saw recently about the Sony cameras had a thread of commentary on it from a Canon dude who just wouldn't let up about how his stuff was so much better than anything Sony had. He shoots thus-and-such, Sony can't do it, they don't have the glass, his stuff is way better, and on and on. Not one specific actual comparative, just annoying noise.

So when someone tells you "Ignore that. This is better," make sure they can actually tell you why.

You can get a camera and a kit lens, and then decide, "Well, this is crap!" If that happens, put it on eBay and try a different one.

Once you start buying lenses and accessories (remotes, flash units, etc.) you end up being committed to the line.
 

nobuffalo

Premium
2,647
United States
USA
caseynato
I completely forgot about Sony. I've always been intrigued and as wfooshee mentions some of their features sound pretty innovative.

Thing is I don't think there is really a king of the hill for dslr brands and they all seem to have something that sets them apart from the others.

I'll speak for Nikon since that's what I had. Nikon's lens interchangeability is pretty huge, almost every Nikon mount lens going back into the 50's I believe can be mounted without the requirement for an adapter. This can be good if your on the look out for cheap lenses, cheap lenses obviously don't offer great quality images but the benefit of course is they're cheap. Here on craigslist there's no shortage of off-brand $10 lenses. The biggest drawback however with the newer lower end Nikons is they don't meter through the lens but instead with the lens which means those older lenses (even Nikon ones) aren't gonna provide you with any sort of light meter. This pretty much guarantees you'll have to take a few test shots before getting your exposure dialed in and then a few more when your lighting condition changes. A big annoyance in my opinion. There are EV charts that give you an idea of lighting in specific scenarios but that's pretty much beyond most beginner photographers. Actually I'd say there are very few photographers that go completely without some sort of light meter.

Since you have mentioned you would like to do video I think it's important to keep in mind how many frames per second (fps) the camera can shoot in, especially at max resolution. I'm not sure about others or entirely sure about the Nikons either but I don't believe their lower end cameras do 60fps, not at 1080p at least although I could be entirely wrong about this. More fps give you an advantage if you would like to do any kind of slow motion. I don't know, it's something worth keeping in mind.

That's all I can think of at the moment.
 

Sprite

Beanbag Brain
Premium
6,526
United Kingdom
Horbury, West Yorkshire
GTP_Sprite
A camera doesn't make a picture a photographer does.

I've seen some outstanding work done by people using low cost equipment. Get what you can afford and enjoy making images. Make a list that are must haves then try and get kit that can cover most things, you will never find that perfect camera and lens as it doesn't exsist.

I'm not an expert on photography and there better qualified people here who use DSLR as thier main equipment. Also GT5 is useful for learning the basic principles of framing and settings of photography. Plus it allows you to try various options without wasting time.

I know there are some car photography guys in here and I think they may give some pointers.
 

MedigoFlame

Premium
5,867
United States
Maine
MedigoFlameX
Thanks for the suggestions guys! Been looking through the posts learning that much more about these higher end cameras. I know it really isn't the equipment that makes the art, especially from what I've seen from some people I know who have such cameras. :crazy: But I feel like the point-and-shoot cameras really limit you on what you want out of what you can make the best of in the moment.

I do apologize for not setting my price range in the OP, I was thinking somewhere around $800 including the cost of lenses and a tripod.

Speaking of practicing with DSLRs, I had a friend offer to let me try out his Canon Rebel T3i. Luckily he's also part of our group and will bring his camera often, although he doesn't have a tripod to use. So I'll be able to mess around with it the next time my friends hold a photoshoot or maybe at an event...

I don't intend to do filming anytime soon... Still haven't gotten any editing programs and I haven't looked into it as much as photography.

I'll be looking through several of the suggested cameras and equipment to see what will work out for the money. Feel like I have more to say but I can't get it out of my head. :irked:

Edit: Just had a friend suggest this D3200 that comes with two lenses?
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Nikon+D...?id=pcmprd200400050001&skuId=9999201500050001

Also want to add that a friend of mine who used to work at Best Buy suggested this since he has a premium Best Buy rewards membership with a two month return policy. >_>
 
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