Thursday, March 15, 2012

Equipment Recommendations

I published this on House of Smiths blog a few months ago.  I thought everyone here would like to see it as well.  Enjoy...

You absolutely get what you pay for when purchasing a camera and lens.  The more you spend the better your images will look.  Sometimes you can find a good sale but for the most part the more you spend the better your images.  The lens is just as important if not more important to the look of your image as your camera.  Here are some recommendations for both Camera bodies and lenses.  These recommendations are for people who are serious about shooting in manual mode.

I would suggest purchasing a camera body separately from your lens, not in a kits.  The kit lenses are not good if you'd like pro looking images and want to shoot in manual mode.

Nikon and Canon are the 2 leaders in the industry and both make killer equipment.  I don't recommend one over the other.  

I'll list them most to least expensive.

Nikon D5100 sells for around $696.  This is the most expensive of the Entry level cameras.  This camera produces super sharp crisp images.  A really fun feature that sets this camera apart is it's 3 inch vari-angle LCD monitor opens horizontally up to 180˚ and flips up and down.  Really handy for capturing self portraits.  Only compatible with the AF-I and AF-S series lenses which are a bit more expensive than the AF-D and G series.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i sells for around $669.  This camera is super sharp and has the highest resolution of any of the entry level camera at 18 megapixels.  It also has the 3 inch vari-angle flip monitor.  
Nikon D3100 sells for around $596.  This is the only entry level camera that you can not buy as a body only.  It comes with a 18-55mm 3.5-5.6f lens.  It's not a lens I recommend for portraits.  It has a large sensor for the price (which translates to sharper images).  Only compatible with the AF-I and AF-S series lenses which are a bit more expensive than the AF-D and G series.
Canon EOS Rebel T2i is the least expensive camera I recommend.  It sells for around $579.  It is comparable to the T3i but does not include the vari-angle flip screen.

For the advanced user or someone who have a little more to invest these are the 4 cameras I recommend:
(These are not considered professional cameras, rather high-end consumer camera.  You are welcome to contact me with questions about professional equipment.)

I get asked all the time do I need to spend a lot of money in order to get a great photo?  My answer is no, but your images sure will look better if you do spend the extra money.  The major difference in your images as you spend more money is the quality of the crispness, sharpness, color, contrast, white balance... well okay everything about your images will look better!  However, the biggest aspect that will determine the quality of your images is... YOU!  That's why I highly recommend educating yourself.

Canon EOS 7D. Sells for about $1,400
Nikon D7000.  Sells for about $1,300
Canon EOS 60D. Sells for about $1,000
Nikon D90. Sells about about $850
**These Nikon bodies are compatible with the "D" series lenses which is an advantage because "D" series are less expense than "G" series lenses.

Now let's talk lenses.  Like I mentioned, I would discourage you from purchasing a Kit that includes a camera and lens.  I would recommend purchasing the camera and lens separately.   Here are my favorite 4 lens for Canon and Nikon.  These lenses complement each other and would make the perfect combination for the ultimate complete set.

(These are not considered professional lenses, rather high-end consumer quality.  You are welcome to contact me with questions about professional equipment.) 

50mm 1.8F for Canon.  Sells for about $99
50mm 1.8F for Nikon D3100 & D5100. Sells for about $214

This is the best bang for your buck of any camera equipment.  Everyone, beginner and professional alike should own this lens.  It's often referred to as the Nifty Fifty.  Perfect for everyday situations and particularly good for low light inside shots.  Ideal if you take detail shots of products or crafts.

Tamron  28-75mm f/2.8 for Canon.  Sells for around $449
Tamron  28-75mm f/2.8 for Nikon.  Sells for around $449
Tamron is an after market brand.  The comparable lens in the Canon & Nikon brands are between $1500-$2000, the Tamron version only $449!!  It's received good reviews, the only complaint has been that it's a bit sluggish to focus, but for a $1500 saving I'd take a bit sluggish all day long.  This is your go to lens when photographing children.
Tamron  70-200mm f/2.8 for Nikon.  Sells for around $699
This is the sister lens to the Tamron lens shown above.  Again, it's a huge savings over the Canon/Nikon brand lens.  This is your go to lens when photographing older children and families.  Typically this lens is used outside.  The focal length is a little too long to be used in small spaces.  You'll melt when you see the images that come out of this lens. 

Tamron AF18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 for Canon.  Sells for around $625 

Tamron AF18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 for Nikon.  Sells for around $625 

This is the perfect everyday lens.  It's perfect for birthday parties, vacations, family reunions, kids playing at the park.  The large range of the focal length makes this lens very versatile.  I would not recommend this lens for portraits.

 Just a few of the things you'll learn in my workshops:
-Shooting in Manual Mode
-Perfect Lighting Every time
-My Favorite Poses
-The Magic of Photoshop
Photo By Emilie Workshops:

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