Camera Comparisons – Why You Don’t Need the Most Expensive Equipment

When I was just getting started in the photography business I could not afford the newest or best camera equipment. Often times I would purchase used equipment or fabricate photography equipment from items that I had around the house.  I still produced great images and made a comfortable living.

A few miles away, a respected photographer I knew used exclusively the newest, most expensive Hassleblad cameras and lenses and was struggling to pay the bills.  This photographer had been in business for several years and had a reasonable amount of sales, but was always in financial trouble because she was constantly buying a new, expensive camera each time one was introduced.

With this being said, you only need the equipment that will do the job at hand- nothing more, nothing less. A claw hammer is a claw hammer, whether it is new or used it will still do the job that it is intended to do- hammer and pull nails.  A camera and lens are merely tools and you only need to use what will produce the best image for each situation.

 

Photographing Individuals & Small Groups

Photographing individuals does not require the same type of camera equipment as larger groups of people.  If you are photographing individuals or small groups of 30 or less, such as school portraits, graduates, or athletes, we suggest using a 10 mega pixel camera such as the Nikon D3000 or Canon XS.  Anything more is just overkill.  Below is a chart that compares a few features of these two cameras.

After comparing many cameras, the refurbished Nikon D3000 camera and the Nikon 18-70 lens are the best options because of the built in distance scale.  Candid Color Photography has successfully used, and abused, these for almost two years with no major camera malfunctions.

 

Photographing Large Groups  

For those of you photographing large groups of 100 or more, such as senior classes or bid day groups, a camera with more mega pixels is required in order to have enough detail in each face.  We suggest using a 12 or more mega pixel camera such as the Nikon D300, Nikon D300S, Canon 5D or Canon 7D.  Below is a chart of a few important features of these cameras.

After comparing many cameras, we recommend the Nikon D300.  Candid Color Photography has used these for more than two years with no major camera malfunctions. For many years I have personally used Canon cameras and must admit the Nikon D300 is more ergonomic.  I have also recently used the Canon 7D and Canon 5D on some very large senior class groups and found that the focus is not as sharp in the corners of the frame as the Nikon D300.

 

As you can see, the newest and most expensive cameras are not always better. If the lower priced cameras will do the job, go for it! They may not have all the bells and whistles, but you will probably never use those anyway. The next time you are looking at that shiny, new exotic camera in the store display (I know you will be looking!) just remember: no one really cares what camera you use.  Customers will only remember the images you produce.

 

Using a Camera Simulator to Supplement Training

Over the past 12 years with the proliferation of digital cameras, a new crop of photographers have surfaced that extensively use the “P” or “Auto” setting on their high tech, ultra cool cameras. It’s quick; it’s easy and, for the most part, will deliver acceptable images.

Today’s cameras—with their sophistication and technological advantages—do a great job at these automatic settings in most situations. But you still have to rely on your brain to execute the basics of photography; namely, lighting, ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

With Grads, Bid Days, Sports, Portraiture and other special event markets, Manual settings are the preferred shooting method.  The ability to understand and react to changing lighting conditions is critical to creating images that sell.  Your customers will not purchase underexposed or over-exposed images that appear on your website for viewing and ordering.

Training the “P/Auto” photographer to understand how each camera setting affects the others can be challenging and not altogether easy. Now, a website has surfaced that allows the newbie photographer to see how all of these critical settings interact with each other to produce properly exposed and saleable images.

CameraSim, the Online SLR Simulator available at http://camerasim.com/camera-simulator.html  is a website that allows you to see in real time how today’s DSLR cameras react and change to all of the critical settings essential to a good exposure.

The hands-on DSLR simulator allows you to change and control lighting, distance, focal length, mode, ISO, aperture and shutter speed while, at the same time, being able to observe the readings in the camera viewfinder.  Once you’ve adjusted your settings, you simply click the, “Snap Photo” button to review your photo.

Keep in mind that the camera simulator is not a replacement for a training program; far from it!  But it is a great way to see in real time how camera controls can affect the appearance of an image.  Think of CameraSim as a supplement to whatever training program you use to teach your photographers.

Sports Photography Part Three

View video from the CCS Summer Workshops last July. Brian Allan is presenting Outdoor Sports Photography. From posed shots to simulated action, camera and lighting setups, and tips and tricks for marketing to customers. There is a lot of information in his presentation so we have broken it up into three parts.

Topics covered in part three: Demonstration photo shoots, understanding motion, optimizing team photography, crowd control and recap.
[podcast format=”video”]http://podcasts.candid.com/CCSSports03.m4v[/podcast]

Sports Photography Part Two

View video from the CCS Summer Workshops last July. Brian Allan is presenting Outdoor Sports Photography. From posed shots to simulated action, camera and lighting setups, and tips and tricks for marketing to customers. There is a lot of information in his presentation so we have broken it up into three parts.

Topics covered in part two: basic and action posing, camera capture settings, camera positioning and lenses.
[podcast format=”video”]http://podcasts.candid.com/CCSSports02.m4v[/podcast]

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