Best DSLR for my *special* needs ???

SuperStalin

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Hello everyone, I'm SS, and I am a Serbian.
After a year with the prosumer FUJI S6000fd I've realized I could make a bit of money on the side by doing stock photography. ( like, for this site www.istockphoto.com )

I don't have too much money to start with ( around 1800 euros ), so I'll have to choose carefully for now.

Now, these camera bodies are what I'm thinking about:

1. Used Canon 5D for around 1100 euros.
2. New Canon 40D for around 800 euros.
3. New Nikon D300 for around 1300 euros.

The first one should be OK, barely used with about 1000 shots taken ( the owner has three 5D's and he wants to sell one ).

Now, the bigger dilemma are the lenses. I don't know if I should buy the 5D and a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens, and then go from there, gathering money and buying other prime lenses in the future.

Then, I heard that the Canon 40D goes well with the 17-55mm IS lens.

Then, there's the Canon 35mm f/1.4L prime which costs about the same.

Then there's the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L which costs a bit more, but I could handle it.

The Nikon D300 seems to be a great camera, but I have absolutely no idea about Nikkor lenses, and have no clue which ones fit nicely with the D300
and what I intend to do.

Which choice would be the best for a beginner?
 

SuperStalin

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I used the 400D and the 30D for a while, and I was amazed at how much more natural the 30D felt (to me).
I never tried Nikon cameras. I haven't tried the 5D, but I hear its full-frame sensor is amazing (for some reason).
 

Top Geek

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Just out of curiosity, why did you rule out Digital Rebels and the Nikon D40?
Good question, although, if I had to recommend a camera to invest in, I'd stay away from the D40[x]/D60 (coming from someone who owns one ;)). It's certainly not a bad camera, but I didn't realize how much I was limiting myself in lens features when I bought the D40 because of it's lack of internal screwdriver AF motor.

I've used a Canon Digital Rebel 400D/XTi, and the only thing I have against it is that I don't find it quite as comfortable to hold as my D40, but everything about it is that bit better than the D40. It is also that bit more expensive ;)
 

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POWERRR!!

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If you're thinking you could recoup the money you'll spend on equipment - don't. I hate to sound like a pessimist, but chances are you'll be lucky to sell just a photo or two. Only a very small percentage of members actually earn at any given stock photo website.

My advice is not to invest *too* much if you're getting into stock photography as means to supplement your income. Invest more on lenses rather than on the body. Lastly, get into the "business" knowing that you'll most likely spend more money on equip. than you'll ever earn shooting stock.
 

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Invest more on lenses rather than on the body.
Agreed. As the great Top Gear Dog once said (actually, she said it only a few days ago :p), no new DSLR body you can buy today will be bad. Some will be better than others, but none of them are truly bad. It all comes down to what suits your needs and what is comfortable in your hand. But, lenses can vary greatly in quality, both physical and optical.

To add to what the others have said about making money on stock photographs, I have to agree with them, but, hey, if it's something you want to do for fun anyway, why not? I've already surprised myself with how much time and money I've invested in something that, for the most part, is just for fun.
 
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SuperStalin

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Yep, I want to do photography partly because I find the whole art amazing. I'm a graphic designer by education,
I mostly do illustrations, but I fell in love with photography, and it wouldn't hurt me to sell a photo or two
on stock sites.

I can't borrow cameras or lenses, because I live in a crappy city, so I mostly gathered informations from the internet.

What annoyed me greatly with my FUJI S6000fd is that the menus don't let me do anything as fast as I'd want to.
The autofocus is annoyingly slow. There's almost no situation where I can make a nice bokeh shot or anything with a sharp central object and soft background.

I immediately fell in love with the 30D, while the 400D felt a bit too much like the Fuji ( although the shots were much better ). The 40D costs about the same as the 30D here, so it wouldn't hurt my budget that much to buy a newer body.

The lenses are a bit of a mystery to me. I read all about them, and came to the conclusion I'd need something around the 35-85mm range ( on a full frame sensor ), so, for a 40D (crop factor x1.6) that'd be somewhere around that 17-55mm f/2.8 lens I mentioned earlier.

The other idea I have would be to buy a 5D ( because of the full frame sensor ), and start with a 50mm f/1.2
prime lens, and then buy the 85mm, then the 35mm, and in a few years, I'd have all the primes.
The downsides to owning a 5D is that its used, there's no dust reduction system, and no built-in flash
( which means I'd have to buy a flash sooner or later ).
 

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so, for a 40D (crop factor x1.6) that'd be somewhere around that 17-55mm f/2.8 lens I mentioned earlier.
18-55mm seems to be a pretty standard kit lens for cropped-sensor DSLRs. If you want the mega-convenience of a huge focal range in one lens with a Nikon, they make an 18-200mm DX (1.5x FOV crop).

The other idea I have would be to buy a 5D ( because of the full frame sensor ), and start with a 50mm f/1.2
prime lens, and then buy the 85mm, then the 35mm, and in a few years, I'd have all the primes.
The downsides to owning a 5D is that its used, there's no dust reduction system, and no built-in flash
( which means I'd have to buy a flash sooner or later ).
Any particular reason you'd need a full-frame camera?
 
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Dr_Q

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If you really want to get one of those it will be a lot cheaper for you to get a camera that doesn't have a full frame sensor. Full frame will find any small flaws in the lenses you use (which wouldn't be apparent with a cropped sensor) so to get the best out of them you would have to invest really heavily in lenses. Microstock agencies such as istock take images from pretty much anything. I shall quote from an email of tips they send out:"Capture speed ? Most sports happen quickly, so set yourself up to capture the action. Make sure your shutter speed (length of time a shutter is open) is the same or higher than your lens' focal length (e.g. if you're using a 50 mm lens, make sure to shoot at 125 or faster)". With this in mind it may be an idea to search for different macrostock agencies as you sound like the kind of person that doesn't take their photographs in fully automatic mode.
 

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I can see many reasons to get a full frame. Most importantly if you like film and the shallow DOF it gives you.

But as a starter, I think the 5D is overkill. Getting good results can be hard BECAUSE of the shallow DOF.

And demand for good lenses for full frame, well.. a full frame sensor is more likely to provoke things like vignetting, but it's easier to make a full frame lens to resolve, ie. 14mp than it is to make a cropped lens to resolve. ie. 14mp, simply because every square part of the lens must resolve more pixles with the cropped lens.
 
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TopGearDog

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If you are on a budget, dont go full frame. Like Nomix says, full frame requires better quality and more expensive lenses because budget lenses are usually soft in corners on crop factor cameras which will be even worse on a full frame because it's using an even bigger area of the lens. So unless you buy quality expensive optics, you will have to live with vignette and corner softness.

However, the shallow depth of field that comes from a FF can be almost magical and it's something i have never seen from a crop camera. Some day i will own a FF digital camera. Some day. :)
 

SuperStalin

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That's what I'm thinking.

1. I can afford to buy the FF 5D body, because it's relatively cheap now.
2. I can afford to buy a 50mm 1.4 prime for this body, because it's not too expensive, and it should be versatile
for a prime lens.
3. I suppose I will be able to buy more L primes for the 5D, as time goes by. I just hope I don't become too frustrated with having just one prime lens for the first few months.
4. The utter lack of a shallow DOF on the prosumer camera always frustrated me. Some great shots were ruined
because the camera produced shots where one can see all the pores and acne on a person, and every person in the background.

So, a question. Is the 5D much much better at doing shallow DOF than a 40D, or is the difference not that pronounced?
 

nomix

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If you are on a budget, dont go full frame. Like Nomix says, full frame requires better quality and more expensive lenses because budget lenses are usually soft in corners on crop factor cameras which will be even worse on a full frame because it's using an even bigger area of the lens. So unless you buy quality expensive optics, you will have to live with vignette and corner softness.

However, the shallow depth of field that comes from a FF can be almost magical and it's something i have never seen from a crop camera. Some day i will own a FF digital camera. Some day. :)

Put a 50/1.2 or 85/1.2 on a crop camera, and it will be plenty shallow. Not as shallow as on FF, but still shallow enough for most needs.

And the 5D with 50/1.4, though. It's actually rather cheapish, and the quality of the files will be supreme, the 50/1.4 is legendary for beging cheap and great (as opposed to the 50/1.8 which is cheap, but not as great..), and I believe it will easily resolve the 5D, at least stopped down, and wide open it's still rather nice. Stopped down to f/2, it's a little sharper ofc.

(I must admit, next year, I'm thinking of getting exactly that, a 5D and 50/1.4 for some shallow DOF work and so on, stop stealing my secret ideas! :D)
 

SuperStalin

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That's one aspect of my dilemma: if I get a 40D x1.6 will it cost me more in lenses over time?

I mean, I don't mind spending an extra 100 euros for a great lense which will do exactly what I want it to do.
If I buy a 40D + 17-55 IS it will cost me about the same ( or more ) than getting a 5D and 50mm 1.4

If I want a "normal" prime on a 40D, I'd have to buy a 35mm 1.4 which is REALLY expensive, and a bit of an overkill for the 40D... plus, I'd get a bit worse results than the cheaper combination of 5D + 50mm 1.4.

But, then, there's the lack of dust-busting on the 5D, and I hear the LCD on it is crap,
and, I'd have to buy an external flash which is expensive and cumbersome.
 

nomix

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Get a 28/2.8. It's a very nice little lens.
 

SuperStalin

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Haven't thought about that one.

btw. are there any decent SIGMA lenses as substitute for Canon lenses?
( I get a bit lost when looking at the SIGMA catalogue, can't make out what's for Canon cameras, and what's for Nikon ).
 

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There are many good Sigma lenses, most of the EX line are quite good. The 30mm/1.4 is one of my favorite lenses on DX-format. Their 70-200/2.8 is quite good as well, although not quite as good as the first-party equivalents. Sigma makes some older FF fast wides, the 20,24,and 28mm f/1.8s. Of the three I've only used the 20mm on a 5D, and it was OK optically but nothing spectacular.
 

nomix

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I wouldn't really call the 28/2.8 a fast lens, especially for a prime. Not a bad lens, but not a great lens either, performance-wise. I'd say the 28/1.8 would be a better choice and worth the extra $.

But the 28/2.8 is better, afaik.

It's not fast, that's true though. If you're just after a compact prime to get into 'prime mode', though, it's excellent.
 
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