Forums > Photography Talk > First camera to buy...HELP! :)

Model

- Christelle -

Posts: 71

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Hello! I've been a model for years but I know don't know anything about cameras.
I need a professional camera (at least better then my google pixel 3 cell phone, which is OK...)
To shoot my clothing company probably by myself. I think I'll use natural light.
(but I saw cheap soft box on Amazon, like 100$ for two, I didn't know it could be that cheap)
So I basically need a good definition, and I'd probably end up using it for the shoots I'm doing outdoors
just for fun with my boyfriend (who doesn't understand photography but he can hold a camera pretty well 😂
And he's learning!).
So I guess I don't want to pay over 500$ but if it worths it and I'll keep the camera for years maybe I can invest more.
I'm really open to all suggestions.... I need help! It's really hard to start from 0 and try to buy the best one.

Don't hesitate to have a look at my Instagram to know what I've been doing with my cell lately (I think
It's pretty good for a cell) @christelleflow

THANK YOU!

Christelle

Sep 21 21 06:39 pm Link

Photographer

Acraftman1313

Posts: 171

Greensboro, North Carolina, US

There will be a lot better informed opinions forthcoming but I will start with my 2cents and say buy a used camera and a better lens.  Prices drop quickly on cameras my 5 year old $1200 camera is $250 now and it still takes the same images it did at $1200.If you want to emphasize the detail in your product line a decent macro lens and proper lighting  along with a nice tripod will really accomplish a lot.  Remember doing product is even better than landscape ,people, pets anything really because you can walk away from the subject and a week later its exactly the same , my point being you can adjust your lighting ,props, angles etc. infinitely until it looks the way you want it to so you really don't need a super camera unless you are publishing in full page magazines and going thru a editor. I will not say which brand but sony, nikon and cannon all have a vast selection of used products because they are always pushing people to buy the latest and greatest $$$.

Like I said just my opinion. You are a awesome model and have a great port and good luck with your endeavors .

John

Sep 21 21 07:17 pm Link

Photographer

PhotographybyT

Posts: 7946

Monterey, California, US

- Christelle - wrote:
Hello! I've been a model for years but I know don't know anything about cameras.
I need a professional camera (at least better then my google pixel 3 cell phone, which is OK...)
To shoot my clothing company probably by myself. I think I'll use natural light.
(but I saw cheap soft box on Amazon, like 100$ for two, I didn't know it could be that cheap)
So I basically need a good definition, and I'd probably end up using it for the shoots I'm doing outdoors
just for fun with my boyfriend (who doesn't understand photography but he can hold a camera pretty well 😂
And he's learning!).
So I guess I don't want to pay over 500$ but if it worths it and I'll keep the camera for years maybe I can invest more.
I'm really open to all suggestions.... I need help! It's really hard to start from 0 and try to buy the best one.

Don't hesitate to have a look at my Instagram to know what I've been doing with my cell lately (I think
It's pretty good for a cell) @christelleflow

THANK YOU!

Christelle

There are so many different options (makes and models) available when buying your first quality camera. At around a $500 budget, you'll most likely limit yourself to entry level cameras if you're considering new cameras or up to prosumer grade cameras in the used market depending how old they are or what condition they're in. Whether new or used, you'll be limited to a kit lens (non-professional grade lens), which should be fine for how and what you're using it for.

Since there are so many cameras to choose from there's going to be quite a number of opinions so I'm going to let others chime in on specific brands and models. That said, I will give my opinion on lighting instead.

You mentioned cheap soft boxes on Amazon - my first instinct is to tell you to stay away from those. I'm assuming they're constant/LED lights. These types of cheap lights won't give you enough power compared to a speedlight or a monolight.

For about $125 (give or take), I would go with a budget speedlight (Godox, Neewer, or Yongnuo), a radio transmitter and receiver, light stand, and soft box or umbrella. This would give you more light output than most cheap continuous lighting sets.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll get some good recommendations. Maybe somebody who has extensive technical knowledge can give you more info. about features to consider. Like DSLR vs. Mirrorless, in-body image stabilization vs. lens stabilization. mechanical shutter vs. electronic shutter, sensor size, video capabilities, etc.

Sep 21 21 08:12 pm Link

Photographer

G Reese

Posts: 819

Marion, Indiana, US

I looked at the instagram. To get a camera to be better than the cell, your looking at near $700. My first Nikon lasted 12 years. The publisher didn't know it was an entry level camera.
If you go used, check the shutter count to see how much "life" it may still have.

Sep 22 21 06:25 am Link

Photographer

JT Life Photography

Posts: 593

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

All the major brands make great cameras.

The one thing I would suggest is to go to a shop, like Henrys or Vistek, and hold the cameras before buying. Do this over a few days. Make sure the camera feels comfortable for your hands and that the controls are easy for your fingers to reach.

Sep 22 21 06:26 am Link

Model

- Christelle -

Posts: 71

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Acraftman1313 wrote:
There will be a lot better informed opinions forthcoming but I will start with my 2cents and say buy a used camera and a better lens.  Prices drop quickly on cameras my 5 year old $1200 camera is $250 now and it still takes the same images it did at $1200.If you want to emphasize the detail in your product line a decent macro lens and proper lighting  along with a nice tripod will really accomplish a lot.  Remember doing product is even better than landscape ,people, pets anything really because you can walk away from the subject and a week later its exactly the same , my point being you can adjust your lighting ,props, angles etc. infinitely until it looks the way you want it to so you really don't need a super camera unless you are publishing in full page magazines and going thru a editor. I will not say which brand but sony, nikon and cannon all have a vast selection of used products because they are always pushing people to buy the latest and greatest $$$.

Like I said just my opinion. You are a awesome model and have a great port and good luck with your endeavors .

John

Yes you're right I started to looked at the used one... thank you so much!

Sep 22 21 06:37 am Link

Model

- Christelle -

Posts: 71

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Ok thank you for all the answers, it might not seem much for you but for me it helps tremendously.

Sep 22 21 06:38 am Link

Photographer

Mark Salo

Posts: 11168

Olney, Maryland, US

There are so many used cameras available that it's hard for us to recommend specific ones. You are encouraged to check local stores if you have them in your area.

An option is to call B&H, Adorama, or KEH and they can immediately tell you what they have in your price range. Of course, B&H and Adorama are currently closed thru the end of the month for the Jewish holidays. However you can browse on their web sites.

You mentioned soft boxes from Adorama. As has been mentioned, stay away from kits that include LED lights.

Sep 22 21 07:05 am Link

Admin

Model Mayhem Edu

Posts: 1041

Los Angeles, California, US

DP Review has a Buying Guides section that can be a helpful place to start. They have many different categories based on price and what it's best used for.
https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/buying … -under-500

I'd also recommend considering used cameras and lenses. KEH.com is a great place to buy used equipment with a warranty and returns are accepted. Their "bargain" rating is as good as most "excellent" ratings on eBay.

Keep in mind size and weight, especially if you plan to travel with it but also for regular use. Mirrorless cameras are much smaller and lighter than DSLRs.

Sep 22 21 10:02 am Link

Photographer

Studio NSFW

Posts: 457

Pacifica, California, US

I am sure you realize the perception of the quality of your product directly correlates to the quality of your photography.

Good thing your boyfriend knows how to hold a camera, I am sure that will be helpful.

Sep 23 21 10:49 am Link

Photographer

Abbitt Photography

Posts: 13499

Des Moines, Iowa, US

Stock photography sites have been accepting cell phone photos taken with better cell phone cameras.  Some give reasonable results in good existing light conditions, especially for online use.  Updating to a cell phone with better photo capabilities may be your best option.    I’ve seen some canon EOS DSLR packages for under $500.

Sep 23 21 06:15 pm Link

Photographer

TaiChiJohn

Posts: 30

New York, New York, US

My first digital camera, purchased in 2008, was a Nikon D700 — a beautiful camera that quickly achieved "classic" status! Prior to that, I was shooting 35mm film with an Olympus OM-4 T (another beautiful camera).

I started developing and printing black and white film in 1974, at the age of 14. My first high quality smart phone was the original Google Pixel, which I upgraded last year to a Google Pixel 5.
 
I currently shoot with a Nikon D850 — another beautiful camera that has achieved "classic" status. It has 45 megapixels. My D700 had 12 megapixels. Both my original Google Pixel and the Pixel 5 have 12 megapixels. A general rule of thumb is, once a count of 8 megapixels was reached, digital sensors achieved a level of quality comparable to 35mm film.

Within a few weeks, Google will be releasing its Pixel 6 which will have a reputed sensor of around 50 megapixels. Rumor also has it that the output from this sensor will be just 12 megapixels — because a process called "pixel binning" will be used to fold those 50 megapixels into a much higher quality output at 12 megapixels.

If I were in your shoes, I would seriously think about upgrading my smart phone from a Pixel 3 to a Pixel 6. That's where I would put my money, knowing I would get a lot more use from the Pixel 6's camera (which I would always have with me) than I would from a DSLR that I would need to drag around whenever needed.

As soon as the Pixel 6 is released, I am going to trade in my Pixel 5 and get a Pro model of the Pixel 6 with as much memory as is available. I've aways been impressed with the quality of the images that Google's computational photography produces, and the Pixel 6 will have a custom chipset that is dedicated toward the Artificial Intelligence that powers Googles computational photography — I'm expecting exceptional results!

Many years ago, Google bought the company that produced the suite of NIX plug-ins for Photoshop. NIX had introduced a revolutionary "U-Point" approach to editing images which was far superior to what was standard in Photoshop and other high end image editing programs. I am sure that Google stripped down and chewed through the code that powered the NIX software, and that this is what gave them the ability to jump way ahead of Apple and all others in their smart phone photo apps. After they were done stripping out that computational code, Google actually released the NIX software suite for free (I grabbed a copy); then, they sold the company and now the NIX software plug-ins are once again available only for a price. but I'm pretty sure that all of the abilities of U-Point technology are incorporated into the Artificial Intelligence algorithms that power Google's computational photography.

Once last thing: did you know that you can get apps which give you full manual control over your smart phone's camera? I use an app called ProShot on my Pixel 5 (and had it on my original Pixel), mainly because it gives me direct control over how the photos I take are stored – as DNG files, a RAW format that captures all of the information from a camera's sensor so that I have as much information as possible when I go to start editing photos.

So that's my advice for you, in the form of what I'd do if I were in your shoes: upgrade to a Pixel 6 Pro; add ProShot or another similar app for manual control over the phone's camera; save the images a DNG files; and spend $50 for a copy of Affinity Photo, so you can edit your photos afterward (okay I mainly use Capture One but that's way more expensive). Also: if you spend another $50 for a copy of Affinity Publisher, and you can create your own look books, posters, and whatever other output you need.

Good luck and have fun!

Sep 24 21 07:15 am Link

Photographer

michaels magic mirror

Posts: 4

Columbus, Ohio, US

as some have said before check out used for both camera and lens. now i shoot nikon so that is what i know but all make great images if you do your part.
here in ohio i go to world of photography, they are really helpful. i let them know what i was looking for and they found me a great item and even set it back till i could get in the store. same with lenses.

i tend to go with items that are 2 generations back if there isn't a feature i need. so i use a D7100 and an old school. 28-70 2.8 as it is a tank of a lens. i did go with the tamoron 70-200 2.8 and the 2X adaptor because they are so good. heck my D70 still makes great images and it is really old and very cheap on the used market. it just isn't good in low light.

light... for what you want to do i.e. show off the outfit for the company, you will need lights. if you must shoot outside then it is speed lights. in this case i would go with godox or the Adorama lights. get the R2 controller and you can adjust the light power from your shooting position.  the upside for them as they all talk to each other so if you find a deal on lights for a different camers maker than you have the controller will still work it. they have several in the $60-90 range so you can work you way into it. they also have low cost soft boxes that will get you started.

if you want links or any more info feel free to message me and we can work it out. above all have fun.

Sep 25 21 08:34 pm Link

Photographer

lvs001

Posts: 107

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Considering what you are currently trying to accomplish (product photos for web usage), going the used route would be most appropriate. You don't need large megapixels or anything too demanding - just what's necessary to get the job done. Find a camera body that's made within last 5-6 years and a decent lens, invest in some lighting, and I think you'd be good to go. Search kijiji.ca for cameras with low shutter counts. Send me a message if you'd like more direct advice.

Sep 28 21 10:31 am Link

Photographer

Joe Tomasone

Posts: 11117

Spring Hill, Florida, US

Model Mayhem Edu wrote:
I'd also recommend considering used cameras and lenses. KEH.com is a great place to buy used equipment with a warranty and returns are accepted. Their "bargain" rating is as good as most "excellent" ratings on eBay.

I just sold a ton of well-cared for gear to KEH.

Oct 01 21 11:38 pm Link

Photographer

PhotoByWayne

Posts: 1291

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The OP is in Canada, so it is $500 Canadian.  At this budget, I recommend going with the micro 4/3 system from panasonic or olympus because they are generally more affordable, smaller, and lighter than the major brands. I have this littlte camera, good enough for casual shooting in good light, definitely better than cell phone images.

https://shop.panasonic.com/cameras-and- … GX85K.html

Add a prime lense such as 45 1.8 for portrait photos and you should be set.  Obviously you won't get those creamy bokeh shots, but you will get nice crisp sharp images with good natural light with this kit.

The above setup should be doable under 500 in the used market.

Oct 13 21 02:07 pm Link