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Looking to buy a camera for Theatre/General Photography

Nanceish
Apprentice

Hello, I am new to the photography world and I am looking to get a new camera for this upcoming semester. 

I am a theater student that was recently added to my programs marketing team, and I am looking for an effective camera for my overall needs. I am looking at a camera that is descent at theater photography (low-light, moving, quick lighting changes) as well as some simple videography (theater b-roll, singing videos, event highlight clips, etc) and general photography of student life or hanging out with friends. 

I know that this is probably a big ask considering it is such a wide range of needs, but I'm not looking for the best of the best I'm just looking for something that'll get the job done and leave room for me to learn. I have been looking at the EOS R50 because of its automation and beginner-friendly interface, but I don't know how it would do in a theatrical setting. I also have a friend that uses the SL1 that looks very good in theater settings, so I've also been considering the new SL3. My budget is around $1000 and I am also looking to get 2 lenses no matter what camera I end up with. 

Any guidance or help would be much appreciated! 

6 REPLIES 6

Greetings,

Since you are just starting out, I would recommend investing in a mirrorless body and not DSLR. Its a better long term investment, offers performance benefits and will be future proof when you decide to move up.  Your lenses will be the bulk of your investment.  With some planning, they will also be what you take forward with you as you upgrade.  Typically, theatrical performances do not allow flash photography, so buying "faster" lenses can make a big difference.  With your budget, getting a body and 2 lenses will be challenging.  It might be wise to consider refurbished directly from Canon.  These products come with the same 1 yr warranty as new gear and you can save some $$$.  The Canon USA store is down for maintenance at the moment, but I'm sure it will be back up for shopping.  Used gear is also an option, but if you can swing getting your gear from Canon, I'd go that route.

~Rick
Bay Area - CA


~R5 C (1.0.5.1) ~RF Trinity, ~RF 100 Macro, ~RF 100~400, ~RF 100~500, +RF 1.4x TC, +Canon Control Ring, BG-R10

~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~DaVinci Resolve ~Windows11 Pro ~ImageClass MF644Cdw ~Pixel 8 ~CarePaks Are Worth It

So if I went with the R50 mirrorless body, and expanded my budget what would you suggest for 'faster' lenses? My friend in theatrical photography uses 55-250mm and 18-55, but hers is DSLR. I don't know how lenses react with DSLR vs. Mirrorless. 

The R-series bodies generally have better ISO performance, allowing higher values without too much noise. Furthermore, if you have access to the one of several packages for post processing, you can now apply AI-based noise reduction.
The cheapest lens you are likely to get that is relatively fast is the RF 50 f/1.8 STM lens.  It is quite economical, so you could consider getting one of those instead of the 18-45 kit lens, for example - you need to decide if you need the focal range limitations. Again, you need to do your research for deals, including the Canon Refurbished offerings that Rick suggested and I would support.  Failing all of that, I would suggest you get whatever deal you can on the kit you initially suggested.  You could always save up for the 50mm 1.8 or the 18-45.


cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Tronhard
Elite

Hi and welcome to the forum:
First question is does the figure of $1,000 cover the body only, or the lenses as well?  If it is the latter, then it is a big ask to fit into that with gear that will work in a relatively dim environment.

However, we can provide some advice immediately.  As you are starting out, I would strongly suggestion you stick to the R-series Mirrorless camera system.  Not only is the DSLR range no longer being developed, and in some cases not supported.  Furthermore, the R-series cameras have face and eye tracking - which DSLRs don't have, and better low light performance.  By buying into the platform you don't have to look back and dispose of older tech if you continue to develop your photography.


cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

I was hoping for the body, and a beginner lens with the $1,000 budget, then maybe expanding to better lenses slowly. The base build I'm looking at right now is the R50 with an RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 lens and RF-S 55-210mm f/5-7.1 which is priced at around $1,050 in the bundle I'm looking at. But I figured I'd explore a little more before pulling the trigger. 

Given your budget limitations, and the availability of that bundle, I think that the deal you specify is the way to go.  If you had more money available I would have encouraged you to go to a full-frame unit, but budgets need to respected and you don't want to exceed what you can afford.  Go for it.


cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
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