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In Need of Guidance/Advice on Photography Cameras/Equipment

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have a Canon t3i the wife bought me last year before heading down to our vacation in Punta Cana. She made an upgrade on the packaged lens and it seemed to do well. I am not too advanced yet in how to take the best shots under certain conditions (for instance, one night it was really humid), but I am getting better.

I think what I will need is additional equipment and lenses more than anything. Some suggestions for that would be nice. I will explain in a moment what I do or intend to do.

Additionally, I didn't know if it would be best to aim for a Canon 5diii or a 6d in the next few months (by the end of the year), and when it is traditionally best to buy cameras (Holidays?). Ideally, I will end up with two cameras so both me and my wife can work together on things. I don't have the money now to buy two new cameras so it will most likely be a new camera plus the t3i (although turning that into a 6d would be nice).

As far as what I would ultimately like to shoot? Well, a flexible range I suppose. It would be nice to do some model/cosplay shots, conventions, scenic/landscape, and artistic shots. Granted it is possible I would be interested in shooting some local sporting events (soccer, hockey, lacrosse). It wouldn't be the main thing though. Working with some light boxes to do product shots for things on ebay/web stores would be nice, but that doesn't require much. Lastly, if I can do some wedding photography for some cash inflow that would be ideal as well.

I know some people who do wedding photography (even a guy in Toronto who regularly does weddings in the Dominican Republic) to exotic photography tours and their equipment ranges from a t2i to a 5dII (last I checked). So I know things can vary widely.

I do happen to have Adobe CS6 as well and thus have access to all those programs. However, I don't have any of the fancy macro programs or things people use to alter/filter things (any suggestions would be nice).

Any knowledge I can get from you guys would be great. In summary that would be recommended cameras, additional equipment/lenses, software, etc. I need some goal setting and best ways to do it the first time. I typically like to buy what is going to be the most practical and best for whatever it is I am doing.
post #2 of 16
If you know your skill needs improvement, don't start chasing higher-dollar equipment until you absolutely need to. No amount of money in the world will buy you vision and skill.
post #3 of 16
Basically, +1 what Sub said.
Quote:
Any knowledge I can get from you guys would be great. In summary that would be recommended cameras, additional equipment/lenses, software, etc. I need some goal setting and best ways to do it the first time. I typically like to buy what is going to be the most practical and best for whatever it is I am doing.

You have to set your own goals. It sounds like you want to improve your shooting - that's fine, but whatever we would recommend would be based more on what you are shooting and why. Don't fall into the trap of buying gear -- Ive seen some seriously beautiful images come straight out of Rebels with kit lenses. It's 100% best to learn with what you have, identify things that are difficult because of what you have (i.e. if you find you need lenses that have a larger aperture for low light / night / etc shooting, IS if you have really shaky hands, etc.) and then we can begin to recommend stuff for you.

The idea is, when you get to situations that certain gear would make life easier or possible is when you upgrade/buy gear. Don't just 'buy gear' because it's there and you have money. EX- The Canon EF 8-15 F/4L Fisheye is on sale at Adorama for $1121.20 with a three year Mack warranty. That's a fantastic price for this lens, but it doesn't mean squat if you don't plan on using it.
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post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MistaBernie View Post

Basically, +1 what Sub said.
You have to set your own goals. It sounds like you want to improve your shooting - that's fine, but whatever we would recommend would be based more on what you are shooting and why. Don't fall into the trap of buying gear -- Ive seen some seriously beautiful images come straight out of Rebels with kit lenses. It's 100% best to learn with what you have, identify things that are difficult because of what you have (i.e. if you find you need lenses that have a larger aperture for low light / night / etc shooting, IS if you have really shaky hands, etc.) and then we can begin to recommend stuff for you.

The idea is, when you get to situations that certain gear would make life easier or possible is when you upgrade/buy gear. Don't just 'buy gear' because it's there and you have money. EX- The Canon EF 8-15 F/4L Fisheye is on sale at Adorama for $1121.20 with a three year Mack warranty. That's a fantastic price for this lens, but it doesn't mean squat if you don't plan on using it.

Ironically, I find most of this true. But, I like to have flexibility and can identify at least that I currently would very much appreciate a wide angle lens, fisheye, and a lightbox for product shots. Also, perhaps a couple items that can help out in the software realm such as some lightroom software that can help me make some additional artistic changes to the pictures taken. Anything basic recommended for model shoots would be nice as well.

Oh, and a decent tripod as well, if not a stabilizer harness (or whatever they are called) for when shooting video.

I will try and post a couple links as examples later.
Edited by RoddimusPrime - 3/21/13 at 9:51am
post #5 of 16
Maybe post some of your own shots -- it sounds like you're buying just to buy.
post #6 of 16
Well, I don't really think I would be able to give you suggestions off of 'appreciating' things. You basically listed that you want to shoot just about anything you can, which shows a general enthusiasm - the problem is, for the most part, the gear required for each type of photography you listed varies enough that it doesn't make sense to make even broad gear recommendations at this point.

One thing I would not do is say you want to do 'weddings on the side for some cash'. It's a really easy way for anyone that does this even fairly regularly to give you the cold shoulder. It shows a general lack of consideration for their trade - you, in essence, become part of 'the problem' of 'a guy with a camera thinking he can do wedding photography', when in reality you can't really define what it is you want to shoot yet. And yeah, it is a problem because what ends up happening in most cases is, you end up pricing yourself so low that people that do this for a living get passed up, and a (likely) inferior product is delivered, thus worsening the general image of the industry.

Please know, I'm not trying to chastise you or come off as harsh; in reality, I'm trying to save you money so that when you make your decisions, you you're in a much better place. There isn't much worse than when someone drops thousands of dollars on gear only to find out photography isn't for them.

You really need to clarify what you're asking. In reality, it seems like you're asking more for general advice on photography in general and advice for gear, etc, without really giving enough firm information about what you want to do.
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post #7 of 16
I had this discussion with some of my friends earlier this week, they all wanted a new fullframe body but when asked "WHY?" no one really knew the reason.

it really doesnt seem like you are being limited by the t3i and there is probably no reason to upgrade to a fullframe. i dont know if you know this but upgrading to fullframe requires a lot of new glass (which i am assuming you dont have right now) and they are not cheap. wide (17-40L) + fisheye (15/2.8) from canon will set you back 1.5k and if you want a fast walk around there goes another 2k. so with a 6d + wide/fishy/normal you are looking at about 5-6k. you will also need a flash for the 6d (no on board) so theres another 200 for a 430ex2.

if you want 2 bodies then pick up a used t2i or a eos-m. the t2i is cheap enough to not sting that much if you dump the camera in a few months. the eos-m will always be useful as a travel or everyday camera.

finally use the extra money you have and pick up new glass you NEED not want. this is probably the biggest waste of money most beginner photographers will make is buy glass they think are useful but never use.
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post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sub50hz View Post

Maybe post some of your own shots -- it sounds like you're buying just to buy.

Not at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MistaBernie View Post

Well, I don't really think I would be able to give you suggestions off of 'appreciating' things. You basically listed that you want to shoot just about anything you can, which shows a general enthusiasm - the problem is, for the most part, the gear required for each type of photography you listed varies enough that it doesn't make sense to make even broad gear recommendations at this point.

One thing I would not do is say you want to do 'weddings on the side for some cash'. It's a really easy way for anyone that does this even fairly regularly to give you the cold shoulder. It shows a general lack of consideration for their trade - you, in essence, become part of 'the problem' of 'a guy with a camera thinking he can do wedding photography', when in reality you can't really define what it is you want to shoot yet. And yeah, it is a problem because what ends up happening in most cases is, you end up pricing yourself so low that people that do this for a living get passed up, and a (likely) inferior product is delivered, thus worsening the general image of the industry.

Please know, I'm not trying to chastise you or come off as harsh; in reality, I'm trying to save you money so that when you make your decisions, you you're in a much better place. There isn't much worse than when someone drops thousands of dollars on gear only to find out photography isn't for them.

You really need to clarify what you're asking. In reality, it seems like you're asking more for general advice on photography in general and advice for gear, etc, without really giving enough firm information about what you want to do.

Part of one of my two majors was Multimedia Design and Development which involved photography classes. We went from text based to actual shoots. I of course have done some things here are there since college, but went more to the software side and am a Website and Social Media Manager (I also have a Psych degree in ergonomics which I would love to get into... lol).

I am not just a beginner, but I post things regardless to see what other people say and recommend. I would do the same for computers even though I have a great understanding and have worked in the IT field myself for several years as well. I would venture to say that my knowledge as a whole on that probably extend beyond the normal OCN user (not being an ass, but it was part of my living and degrees as well). But, regardless of experience and tech knowledge, that doesn't mean one automatically knows the performance/price ratio, known issues others may be experiencing, etc. that may guide one person to buy or not to buy something. Or to perhaps consider something they didn't consider before.

I don't frequent photography forums much, but having found a couple forums (POTN for example) recently, it has sparked me to get back into the game if you will. And as with any technology things change. The 6D for example could suit someone much better than a 5Diii and it does have some nice selling points. Some people really don't need full frame cameras while others want to simply dump money into something simply to do so. I would venture to say that there are many people in this forum who dump money into their rigs and then never use them to their full potential. Maybe they did so because they could. Their choice. I like to be practical while also having the best tools for the job and the best quality. Some people are satisfied having a cheap quality screwdriver, while I want and demand something more high quality. Same could be said with a lot of things. When I got into fencing I could have bought the low quality jackets, etc., but you eventually upgrade to the nicer stuff anyway, so I skipped the beginner crap and went to something more comfy and quality that will last me a while. However, I worked my way up with swords as I knew in the beginning I needed to learn control and thus I had greater chance of damaging the weapon.

So with camera and equipment I aim to buy what the majority consider to be of great price/performance that would serve purpose between multiple things. For instance, a tripod is something many photographers should have. It is useful for a variety of reasons. A light box I mention to enhance product shots for things I sell or for my wife who takes shots for pre-production examples or final product shots. I mention a stabilizer so the video is smoother for while doing some video at cons I go to. All these things would enhance what I already do or need. What I have mentioned in this segment isn't something mentioned just to have something to buy. But, I also don't need to spend gobs of money on a tripod or setup that may be overkill as I am not shooting for VS, etc.

As far as the various photography situations mentioned, they are all something I have done, can do, or have options to do. But, most of it isn't for money or if it is, it is for very little. For instance, while I am connected a the convention scenes, I would like to take good pictures for blogs, cosplay, etc. I can do that now and things turn out fine. But, I don't want to get into more niche shots with cosplayers for instance without having what I want to achieve the artistic vision I seek. For instance, you can achieve fisheye with software, but it doesn't typically look that great. A wide angle lens would also enhance shots taken at some very nice scenic places (urban and nature). Other things are tricks you can do such as making pictures look as if they were taken during the day, but were taken at night. Or perhaps using gels over lights to give a mood. I have worked in drama departments and with other photographers.

To me it's like telling somebody to do rendering on a laptop with a subpar processor for the job. I would say get used to the software and how to use the program, and then upgrade to something that will do the job much better. Speaking of which, I use Adobe CS6 and have used previous versions as well. My wife is the one who works with product development and graphic design. She will also be using the camera more as while her day job has equipment she uses, we are now picking up more work on the side in areas that will benefit having the proper equipment for the job. For video editing I now have what I need (a nice rig and the right software). Plus we both have 27" Dell UltraSharps. Those were needed as well given her profession is very much about being color accurate and it helps my end as well as I deal more with websites and some video editing (and of course photography).

When I get into something I dive full force typically into what it is that will best help me within reason. It's not like I bought a t3i at first as getting used to things is best first. But, when you discover you are limited in some situations more than others, you start to ask the community you are involved with what they seem to recommend. I didn't say I wanted a new camera now, but down the road and if people thought one option was better than another. That's the way I treat topics. If someone wants the best processors I will of course be recommending Intel. They are just better. If they want best bang for buck lower end I can recommend both Intel and AMD. If you want good audio and are looking at Polks in Best Buy, then you have a large world you have not discovered. B$W, KEF, etc. are some good brands. But, higher end Klipsch models can sound real good too and some of it will be to each person's taste (Klipsch can be warm).

I also will be buying appropriate audio recording equipment for podcasts and recording interviews at conventions and on the go. Now, I don't need to spend $1,000 and I have a budget in mind for that, but I know I don't want to buy a cheap audio recorder either. That simply won't do and you can tell good audio from a podcast from those using lower end or non-ideal setups (picking up background noise, not clear, not filtering in an audio program, etc.).

I always do quite a bit of research. And by no means do I want to go blow $5k today or tomorrow. But, some recommendations, if there are going to be any, would be nice to get a feel from what other people do for photography.

In regards to weddings, I will indeed be doing such a thing. And, to be frank, I have a good eye (no I don't care to post pics). But, I also plan on doing it with some local photographers I know and will be the 2nd guy taking shots on their team. And at some point should I feel I have the experience, equipment, and rep to pursue something on my own I will, but not right now. My wife does a lot of free lance outside of work, but she is very good. I do some freelance in other areas and am good at what I do. We charge fair pricing and wouldn't cheapen things as it has to be worth our time and we have certain skill sets. So in the same regard I am up front with what I can do and would not undercut a pro unless of course it was something basic. They are going to charge more and have more abilities and things they can do because of experience, equipment, etc. I would never claim to be at a level if I weren't there or attempt to take work away I didn't feel I was qualified for.
post #9 of 16
Holy wall of text Batman. It does give me a good idea of where you're at though.

I'm not going to touch any of it -- it seems like you have a good idea of where you are and where you want to go and you're simply looking for information. I feel like it's simply possible that you kind of buried some of the specific questions you may have.

First things first, one of the questions you brought up appears to be 5D3 vs 6D. In all honesty, for shear image quality and physical value, the 6D is the winner. Yes, it lags on auto focus, but the low light performance actually beats the 5D3 in most of the tests that I've seen (it's not exactly obvious, but if you really check out the data, it's there). The question ultimately becomes, do you think the sophisticated AF system of the 5D3 is worth an extra $1000+ (given that you can pick up 6Ds for under $1800 nowadays)? That's a judgement call, but for most of the stuff you talked about, I think the 6D would suit you just fine.

In terms of software for image editing, CS6 is all you need for actual edits -- Lightroom is more of a workflow program, though you can do most simple edits in it for photography purposes.

Other than that, if you have more specific questions or require advice on more specific situations, definitely ask.
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post #10 of 16
I guess I would ask if sticking to a Canon body is because of the existing ownership of the Rebel, and if lens-sharing is the main reason you're not looking into Nikon. If so, then forget the D600 and D800 exist -- if not, it's probably worth a look since both of the Nikon offerings have some pretty compelling advantages over their Canon counterparts, though they may or may not be seen as such in your eyes.
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