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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:00 pm 
I am hoping to upgrade from my point and shoot to a dslr in the near future, but I need some help. I am very much into portrait photography. I have been researching cameras for a while now. Canon, Nikon, Nikon, Canon. I am in a pickle. If anyone has any great combinations of body and lens for portraits it would be greatly appreciated. -RR P.S. Other tips would also be a great help.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:17 pm 
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Hello RushRocket, and welcome to the Camera Labs forum!
I'm sure you've already read a lot (here and elsewhere).
Then you know that much depends on your budget and your goals.
So tell us what you'd like to invest (as nice portraits can be made with a 600$ equipment), whether you'll be selling the photos and whether you plan to have a little studio with light-solutions or just a powerful flash-setup?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:15 pm 
I eventually would like to do some studio work, but since I am new to the DSLR world I would first like to decide on a body and lens so I can get some experience. Plus I don't have the deepest of pockets so I can't get a flash-setup quite yet.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:24 pm 
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Ok RushRocket!
For portrait work without flash setup you need lenses that have a large aperture and flatter your subject.
So the most radical suggestion would be: A Nikon D40 plus Nikon 50mm f1.8
The next step-up from this is a Nikon D40x plus Nikon 50mm f1.4.

On a cropped-sensor/APS-C body the 50mm is like a 75mm, which is deemed an ideal portrait lens and the wide aperture makes the pics soft and throws the background nicely out-of-focus.

Sorry for this radical suggestion, but you asked explicitely for a portrait setup with a limited budget :)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:50 pm 
Thanks tombomba2! This is a big help. I actually just found out that my budget is higher than I originally thought. Now after looking at the Nikon website I am kind of interested in the D80. Do you think that the D80 will suite my needs? Do you suggest the same lens, or does something else come to mind knowing that my budget is higher?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:55 pm 
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Well if the D80 is in (financial) reach, go for it! You get an even more sure-footedly automatic than with the D40/x and b.t.w. I made a big mistake: I forgot the D40 cannot autofocus the 50mm prime-lenses, because those lenses need an AF-motor built into the cam-body! Sorry!
But that is no problem with the D80, as it has the AF-motor onboard :)
Still for portrait-work, I'd suggest one of the 50mm primes.
If you want to start with a standard kit lens, go for the 18-70mm, which was tested by Gordon (see his verdict here). It has a little longer reach, but you'll find out that the depth of field (dof) is not as shallow as with the 50mm primes. That is because the zoom has only an aperture of f4 or smaller from 40mm onwards. This also captures less than 1/8 (!) of the light of the 50mm f1.4!

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:10 pm 
If you got the money you can get a Carl Zeiss 85mm AF lens for Sony DSLRs.


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 Post subject: Options
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:23 pm 
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RushRocket wrote:
... I actually just found out that my budget is higher than I originally thought. Now after looking at the Nikon website I am kind of interested in the D80...

With that budget life just got a lot more interesting! The D80 has some nice wireless flash options for the future (when there is a bit more money in the kitty). As Rune suggests, it is probably worth researching outside the box (Nikon/Canon) as well. Check out lens systems and future expandability if you want to set up a small studio. You may well come back to Nikon and the D80 but it's nice to be sure.

Bob.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:58 pm 
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There's also a new company called Pentax, or something like that. They haven't been around long but I hear good things.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:09 am 
Quote:
You may well come back to Nikon and the D80 but it's nice to be sure.
I was thinking the same. I am still interested in the D80, but I would like to see what else is out there. The 400D is a nice option. What about the 30D? The price has really gone down since the release of the 40D. What about portrait lenses from Canon? I have read the reviews but I would also like to hear from you guys.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:10 am 
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Hi RushRocket. The principle of getting a nice body and using wide-aperture primes in the 50-85mm range can easily be transfered to Canon, Sony and Pentax. With Olympus, the choice is a little limited (only one 50mm/f2.0 macro), but that will work too.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:05 am 
Hi tombomba2. You've been of great help! Everyone else as well. Thanks much.
-RR


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:42 am 
By the way Tom. I was looking through your pictures on flickr and I must say you do great work. I am most interested in the photos you took with the 10.5mm Fisheye. It seems to bring everything in the picture together somehow. Keep it up!


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 Post subject: More options
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:52 am 
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RushRocket wrote:
...I am still interested in the D80, but I would like to see what else is out there. The 400D is a nice option. What about the 30D? The price has really gone down since the release of the 40D. What about portrait lenses from Canon?

30D prices have certainly fallen and may well continue to do so in light of the release of the 40D. However, if you want to invest in a second lens for your portrait work then you may be pushing the budget a step too far, especially if you want to add a flash unit etc., as the 30D is a semi-pro model.

All isn't lost, however, as I would be surprised if there aren't some relatively unused 30D models in pretty mint condition appearing in the shops or online auction sites as owners get seduced by the 40D. Obviously you need to be careful buying in this way but with the usual safeguards you could make your budget go a lot further. Of course, this option isn't restricted to just Canon.

Do your research on the review sites. Look for excellent image quality from cameras and lenses, make sure the camera can grow with you in terms of suitable accessories and don't get too hung up about the megapixel count. Then spend some time trawling the Net to try and find real world feedback from users of your target camera and lens. It may also be useful to start a separate thread here to generate some feedback from forum members who have bought used equipment.

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:27 am 
I think pixel count actually matters a lot when doing portraits since you have to retouch a lot. But my guess is that lens matter the most however, and buying a fast 85mm will also cost in the area of a new camera. Buying a used camera and the best lens might be the best start, that's what I would do. Carl Zeiss is a top choice for Hasselblad camera so that was the reason I suggested a lens from them :) (not that those are directly comparable - different format)


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