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Recommendations for a new camera

chogan
Apprentice

Hi all, I need some assitance in selecting a new SLR for a company I work for.

 

A little bit of background information first. I'm primarily a web/graphic designer with some photography experience. I took 3 semesters of photography in college and currently own a Rebel Xti with two prime lenses and a YN565EX Flash. My camera does pretty good considering it's age and spec range but it's not quite going to make the cut for a project we're working on. 

 

The company I work for builds web applications and websites for government clients. The project I'm on is for an internal website (sub company) and we plan on using all custom photos. The 'boss' doesn't like stock photography. Problem is, we need a camera that's going to hit the quality of stock photography. 

 

Budget: I'm not completely aware of the budget, I just know it's going on the company credit card. I'm guessing around $2-3 grand. 

 

Awarenss: I've read across other forums that just getting a new fancy camera won't automatically give you super awesome photos. Good glass and lighting kits make a big difference. Hopefully my Flash will work on whatever camera we end up purchasing.. 

 

Cameras I'm looking at:

 

EOS 6D

EOS 7D

EOS 70D

 

We're hoping to make a purchase quite possibly this week. And again, I don't claim to be a master photographer but I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty with an SLR. I feel like operting SLR's are a lot like driving stick. Once you get it, you can operate just about any of them. 

8 REPLIES 8

Skirball
Authority

What kind of photography are you planning on doing?  Landscape, architectural, macro, etc?

 

Probably not what you want to hear, but I agree with what you read on other forums:  a fancy new camera won’t necessarily make the photography better.   

 

The XSi does have a significantly smaller resolution, however, if you’re only using it for web applications then 12 mp is plenty.   If there is sufficient light, and you don’t need a sophisticated AF system for moving subjects, and you’re not making huge enlargements, you can do just about everything with your XSi that you can with those 3 cameras you listed.  If anything is going to make a significant difference without an increase in photography skill, it’s a new lens.

The 70D won’t offer a huge image quality improvement over the XSI.  Much better resolution, but again, if you’re downsizing for the web it doesn’t matter that much.  It can also handle low light much better, but whether or not that makes a difference depends on your subject.

 

The 7D is an older camera, and is still much loved.  But if you’re not shooting moving subjects then you can do better for the money.

 

The 6D has a much larger sensor, which will perform much better in low light, as well as offering much better performance in shadows and highlights, and more depth to the color.  But getting the most out of this camera will require better lenses, and again, if you’re not shooting low light the difference might not be as much as you think.

 

My recomendation: get a new(er) Rebel, like the T3i or T5i, and maybe a new lens.  If you're going to be doing product shots then lighting can make a huge huge difference - but you have to have the skill to make the lighting work.

Basically, if you go to any stock photo website and use the keywords 'coporate office' or 'business professional' ..that's pretty much the same subject matter I'll be shooting. Mostly indoors. 

For indoor shooting in ambient light a better sensor (such as the 6D) will give you much better IQ results than the XSi.   But almost all of those stock images that you see in an office setting are going to be done with lighting.   I could do far more with an XSi and a modest off-camera lighting setup than most people could do with a nice camera, lens, and ambient.  For this application.  Office photography is supposed to look bright and “clean” and you’re going to struggle to get enough light even with a full frame camera and a good lens.  Not saying it can’t be done, just saying that lighting is much more flexible in an indoor situation.  And lets you get rid of all those nasty florescence.  With proper lighting the XSi provides all the resolution you need for web applications.

 

That said, if you don’t have experience with off-camera light there is a pretty steep learning curve.  I don’t know if your company is going to spend the time and money as you learn the art.  My recommendation would be to either get a T5i and a good fast lens, or get a 6D and a good fast lens (if budget allows) and hope for the best.  Get a cheap softbox, some green gels, and use that flash of yours for key light and learn to balance it with the ambient.  Also, get Lightroom, shoot in RAW and learn to post process.

 

Photography is an art, and in general there are no right and wrongs.  However, you have a lot more leeway in something like a nature photograph for artistic expression.  Poorly lit and processed office stock photography is going to look like…  poorly lit office photography, IMHO.  I fully applaud you and your company for venturing into it yourself, but there’s a reason why the majority of this type of photography is done through stock trade.

hsbn
Whiz

Your current camera is perfect for stock quality already. I have sold many stocks photos with lesser camera. Like Skirball said, it's all about lighting and techniques. Buying the best camera in the market right now doesn't give you the image you want without some good lighting.
But if you want to use this situation to get your hand on new gears then it's ok. But be aware that you may need to answer to your boss when he expects you to give him great images.

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Weekend Travelers Blog | Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide

Idk, I've been using the XTi for quite a while. It's shown a gradual decrease in quality since I started using it out of college. It was essentially an upgrade from my POS manual film camera I had during 3 semesters of photography in college. Once I finished translating some of the settings on the XTi from the POS fuji, I was able to get some d*** fine shots. It's biggest issue was low light situations. If I was almost anywhere in doors, might as well have used my iPhone to take the shot. Also, a big issue I've had on it for years and a few others I know have experienced this on my camera as well...it's not an All Star in the focusing department. I've mentioned that in a few other forums and I've had many nods in agreement on that one. 

 

Another forum is suggesting the Fuji X-T1. I've done some quick homework on it and while I'm impressed with it's low light performance, it looks like it's basically an automatic alternative to a full blown manual. That said, I'd like to reiterate a previous point I've tried making haha. I'm not intimidated by more advanced equipment. I'd never used an external flash in my entire life and just recently bought one. Read the manual for about half an hour, hooked it up and within about an hour had the hang of it. Doesn't mean I know the equipment by heart, it just means I'm pretty comfortable learning new equipment. 

 

The mindset of my creative director is this..if we're going to get a new company camera, we might as well get a respectable platform to work with. In the event that I move up to developer and someone else comes in my place with even better lenses and better lighting equipment then the purchase was worth it. We now have a very useful body. 

 

Someone on another forum mentioned this as well, "stock photos of the corporate environment are supposed to be bright and clean". While I agree with that, we're intentionally going a little darker. We're going to have responsive text over the many of the images. Also the navigation menu is going to be 'very different'. It's going to be a fully collapsable accordian style nav menu (expanding left to right like you would on a computer hunting for a file) with some transparent 'glass-like' effects so the images 'semi' show through them. 

 

I'm actually kind of surprised by some of the responses I'm getting across forums. I know 22 MP doesn't make you the God of photography but if all photographers kept the mindset of "keep your old equipment and just replace the lenses and lighting equipment", then hardly anyone would bother upgrading to the higher end body's. Photographers must buy the higherend body's for a reason. I'm not suggesing the company I work for should go all out and buy the top of the line Canon or Nikon. I'm just saying, I'd be willing to bet half my year's salary that even a 70D with a starter lens could take a better shot than my XTi with a starter lens.

 

The TWO BIGGEST things I'm after are this.

- Strong focusing

- Good low light performance. 


@chogan wrote:

The TWO BIGGEST things I'm after are this.

- Strong focusing

- Good low light performance. 


Then the 5d3 is your camera.  Though I'm curious, why do you need strong focusing for office stock photography?  When I think strong focusing I think fast paced sports and birds in flight.  And with that, the need to have a high keeper rate. 

 

 


@chogan wrote:

I'm actually kind of surprised by some of the responses I'm getting across forums. I know 22 MP doesn't make you the God of photography but if all photographers kept the mindset of "keep your old equipment and just replace the lenses and lighting equipment", then hardly anyone would bother upgrading to the higher end body's.

 


You said that your end use was for the web.  A 3 MP camera is sufficient for the web.  22 MP is waaaaay overkill.  Yes, the ability to crop is nice, but 12 MP even gives you that.

 

As to your second point, that's a more complex one.  Many pros shoot action sports, or concerts, or chasing celebs, and they need a high keeper rate; so they need advanced AF systems.  Others shoot weddings and need the low light performance.  And a much larger portion, are rich hobbiests that convince themselves that they need the latest and greatest equipement, and then post on here about how everyone else needs it too.

 

You seem to have your mind set on upgrading, and that's fine.  But to address your last point, I'll take you up on that offer.  Half a year of my salary vs half a year of yours.  I'll let you use my 6D and I'll use my old XSi.  Off-camera lighting allowed.  Downsampled to 1024 on the long end.  Nothing personal, you could be a great photographer, but based on some of your comments I think you lack some experience.  Fancy cameras can help, and in certain situations they may be required, but in many they’re not.  The camera is nothing more than a tool, and I treat it the same way I do my lenses, my lights and modifiers, my programs and Wacom tablet.  They’re just tools to get the end product I want, and if I know their strengths and limitations then I know how to get them to do what I want.  Ultimately, it’s the person behind the lens, and behind the mouse, that makes a great photo.

 

Note though, nobody said anything about a starter lens.  You said that you had a couple of primes.  And one of the first things I recommended was to upgrade your lens.  That said, with lighting and downsampled to 1024, that kit lens isn’t going to hold you back that much.

I bet the differ, if I have the right lighting setup, I can make your XTi outperform 70D with bad lighting. Yes, people buy pro body for a reason, to push the limit of their photography. Like Jimmy Hendrix could make good sound out of $200 guitar but he would make the best sound out of $10k guitar. I can only make noise with either so there is really no point for me to upgrade my guitar :). Just do a simple flickr search "Canon Xti" you will find tons of amazing photo people can take out of this camera. Here is the link : https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Canon%20Xti

Also, in setup enviroment without any fast action, focus and low light performance is not really relevant. You can take photo with manual focus lens. Have you tried to take your flash off camera? you will see a big different. That's all just my 2 cents. I don't mean any ill intension or anything. Just because I and a lot of other people already walked this path so I just want to give you some insight.

 

BUT if you heart is already set, then for "budget" low light camera you should get a full frame camera like 6D which can be bought for under $1.5k now (check out places like Slickdeals). I shoot cooperate event a lot especially in fine dining enviroment. You know in those places, it can get really dark, but the 6D can focus (only the middle point) well. I'm pretty confident of using it in low light situation. There are other brand too so you don't have to stay with Canon.

There is currently a deal for 6D + 24-105 F4L IS lens for $2k, it should be great for starting gears and well within your budget. Good luck, let us know what you end up buying and do share some photos if you can 🙂

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Weekend Travelers Blog | Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide

I think HSBN and I see fairly eye to eye on this topic.  Neither one of us are saying don't upgrade, I'm pretty sure if my company offered to buy me a nice camera I'd take them up on it.  But upgrading won't necessarily get you the results you want, nor is your current camera incapable of it.

 

While I think the 6D would be a fine camera as well, and it's the one I use, it certainly isn't a strong performer in the auto-focus category.   The reputation on the internet forums is pure garbage, but it certainly can't compete with the likes of a 5d3 or 7D when it comes to fast moving subjects. 

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