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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:49 pm 
Hi there,

I came accross this forum today and thought somebody would be able to help. Apologies if ive posted in the wrong place.

I would like to buy a mid-range DSLR (my first) and have a budget of about £700. I've looked at the Nikon D90 and D5100 but am a little confused at to which would be most suited.

I would like to use it predominantly for product photography of products no bigger than about 1m x 1m. I will also occasionally use it for landscapes and general photography such as holiday snaps.

I get so confused as all the modern cameras seem to play so much importance on video which i'd rather not pay a premium for.

What i'm asking is which would be best for still photography or would a different model be more suited such as the Canon EOS 600D.

Thanks very much for your help.

OD


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:04 pm 
Nikon D90 and D5100 are both good cameras.

D90 has better semi-professional buttons on the body which make it better if you want to do full-manual mode a lot (also it has 2 scrolwheels not 1 as the D5100 has) plus the extra LCD display on top of the camera is a nice feature too.

D5100 has a better sensor, better newer matrix lightmeter too.

If you use Aperture or shutter priority mode most of the time I probably rather choose the D5100 because of the better sensor and you don't really need extra hardware buttons since the camera will figure most things out for you.

If you use full manual mode a lot, I rather choose the D90, you really want the extra buttons and scrollwheels and lcd display then.

If you want it for product photography maybe look at a prime lens like the nikkor 35mm F1.8G or nikkor 50mm F1.8G, If you are really tight on a budget then the nikkor 18-105mm will be a good choice, you can use it on hollidays, landscapes, products etc...

A D90 with 18-105mm will get you started for jack of all trades solution. But for product photography I would invest in a 50mm F1.8G prime lens becuase it will give you much better quality sharp pictures. So if you can afford it D90 + 18-105mm plus 50mm F1.8G prime lens would be a nice startup. If product photography is your job then definitly buy a prime lens just for that. Also invest in a little portable studio (basicly a product tent and some light, won't cost too much).

Of course you can buy a canon too. If it feels better in your hands go with canon. I personaly prefer nikon becuase it feels beter in my hands and also because its always just a bit more quality rather then just a lot of pixels with canon. (Nikon always has just a tad better noise reduction, better dynamic range, better lightmetering,its not a very big difference but Nikon is always slighty better with that because they are very conservative on megapixels).


Last edited by nikonfreak on Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:21 pm 
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For product stills, I'd get a D3100 with the new 40mm F/2.8 macro lens, a flash, tripod, and a cheap light tent.

The flash and light tent will ensure proper lighting on your products, the tripod will prevent you from going crazy because you don't have enough arms to hold everything, and the macro lens will ensure you can also photograph any smaller products you might have.

The D3100 has what's called CLS, Nikon's wireless flash system. If you buy one of their flashes (SB-600, 700, 800 or 900), you can position the flash remotely; it does not have to be on your camera. It will make your life a lot easier if you're trying to light your products :)

The D3100 also has "Live view", meaning you can see what the camera sees on it's rear screen. It makes for easier focusing, and saves your back when you're working with a tripod (you don't have to lean in to the viewfinder).



For general photography, I'd toss in an 18-55 VR lens or, if budget allows it, an 18-105 VR lens for more reach.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:29 pm 
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Hello, OD, welcome to the Camera Labs forums!

For product stills I'm assuming that you'll have a fair bit of time to mess around with the settings in between photographs, and you'd probably be doing tripod based manual focusing in live view, the D5100 would be excellent. It's vari-angle screen is great for getting shots at awkward angles where you don't want to bend down. The D90 however, is better if you'll need to quickly change settings to get the photograph. The D90 offers a better body build, with a top LCD display and dedicated buttons to change settings without even turning on the main LCD to save battery life and time.

I'm assuming that since you're doing product photos you'll have a good lighting setup, and won't need to bump your ISO up too high. In that case, both the D5100 and D90 would work fine. They both perform well in low light, but the D5100 is that bit better, however assuming that you'll be shooting at lowers ISOs it shouldn't be a problem. At 1x1m prints, you shouldn't notice too much of a difference between 12mp and 16mp.

For everyday or holiday shots, assuming that you won't be shooting in too much low light, the D90 would be the obvious choice. It's great to have the top LCD and dedicated buttons to change settings quickly.

Also, as NikonFreak mentioned, you'll want to take a look at some decent glass like the 35mm f1.8 or the 50mm f1.8. They're both excellent, but the 35 gives an equivalent of 50mm and the 50 gives an equivalent of 75mm. Obviously then, you'd want to use the 35 for something that you'd need a wider lens, and the 50 when you need to focus on only one subject. The 18-105 would also be a great inexpensive alternative for an all-around zoom.

Regarding the 600D, I'd choose it over the D5100 if you do a lot of video, but otherwise the D5100 would be my choice.

Hopefully I helped you with your final decision,
-Evan

EDIT: As Marijn mentioned, the 40mm f2.8 would also be a good choice if you really need to get close up.

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:31 pm 
All Nikon DSLR have LiveView by the way.
Also if it is for products does you client or DTP-department have special demand like deliver files of a certain size (like 12megapixel minimum?).

You dont really have to look at the lens or at live view anyway. The cameras have probably a sound signal when the autofocus is set. My D7000 make a sound when autofocus is in focus. You know pretty much where he focus point is in the tent anyway (probably is the same most of the time).


Last edited by nikonfreak on Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:37 pm 
Thanks very much guys, all your suggestions are very helpful.

I think I will go for the D5100 and will hunt around based on you lens reccommendations.

Thanks again

OD


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:35 pm 
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Great choice, OD

It's important to get yourself a good lens, I've always said that an image is composed of three elements, the camera is 2% of the image, the lens is 8%, but of course, the photographer is 90%. You may want to consider taking some photography classes, they can really be a help if you're just starting out.

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:39 pm 
nikon 50mm F/1.8 or a macro,like the Tamron 60mm F/2.0. you need 0 distorstions,so lenses like the 35mm F/1.8 aren't a good option.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:05 pm 
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The D5100 has the best current DX-sensor at the cheapest price.
Get one of those lenses mentioned and you ready to go.

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Last edited by Thomas on Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:27 pm 
Lens distortions can be corrected even in-camera. So it really is not an issue.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:15 am 
if the camera supports lens distortsion control. and anyway,a lens without distortsions is always a better option. (& there's one for every price)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:24 am 
There will always be distortions, sometime at a very minimum, sometimes noticablle but they all distort to some kind of degree.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:24 am 
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May I also add you should seriously consider canon cameras. I expect you will be wanting to print the photos out in quite a considerable size and that's when megapixels will have a big effect. The d5100 has the most out of the nikons recommended with 16.2 which is quite good but the canon 550d 600d 60d and 7d have 18 which would allow you to print to a bigger size without reducing image quality.

I would suggest getting the 550d (is cheaper than 600d and has same image quality just no articualted screen) with the 18-55 and either 50mm 1.8 or 60mm macro lens. if you can afford both then I would definitely do that.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:59 am 
the camera doesn't count really. don't get cheap lenses,get a macro lens or a very good prime. everyone,don't recommand crapy kit lenses for serious applications,like product photography. you need the sharpest lens money can buy (with the least distortsions too) and mostly any camera will do,the sensors are about the same quality & resolution anyway.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:40 am 
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@Razvan in general the camera doesn't really count but if you are going to be printing the image out in large sizes it has a big effect on the image quality.

Everyone is recomending a cheap zoom lens because OD said they wanted to use it for general photography such as on holiday.

I agree with you that OD should get a good lens for the product photography. I recommend the 60mm macro or/and 50mm 1.8 if they get canon or 40mm or/and 50mm 1.8 if they get nikon.

_________________
Camera: Canon 550D with battery grip
Lenses: Canon 24-105mm f/4L, Canon 50mm f1.4, Canon 18-55mm, Tamron 70-300mm,
Accessories: Manfrotto 055XPROB with 808RC4 head, Canon 430ex II speedlite, Lowepro Nova 180AW and Lowepro Pro Runner 450AW


Oh that is so lame, every hot girl who can aim a camera thinks she’s a photographer -Stewie Griffin


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