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Thread: what camera + lens is right for me ??

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2013

    what camera + lens is right for me ??

    I am looking to buy a DSLR, but know absolutely nothing about them

    Budget is $2,000-$2,500.
    Use: Taking photos indoors of clothing items for auction sites.
    I don't need fast shutter speeds, clothing will remain stationary.
    And I don't need something with a mega zoom (I probably won't use zoom at all).
    And I don't need a ton of megapixels (will be resizing images to 4''x4'' for online pages)
    My main issue is going to be lighting, and image quality.

    I am currently thinking Canon t4i with Canon ef-s 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
    Top image is not mines, it's a guy with an older Cannon (from 2007) and Canon ef-s 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens. Bottom left is with my current sleek point and shoot Sony 10 megapixel camera, it's from my old house and I liked the turn out. The bottom right is at my new house and the image is horrible to say the least. I think this is due to my older house having larger windows and better lighting. Both bottom pictures are with same camera.
    Here are pic's with my Sony camera, the first pic is my main focus, when I shoot images from that range, it turns out horrible, I don't think my camera is good enough to capture details at that distance. Second picture, I like my cameras capabilities at that distance. Third picture at close distances, I don't think it's great, but I think it's OK.

    My questions:
    (1) What camera and lens should I get? I loved the picture of the jeans with Canon ef-s 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens. But I have no idea what those numbers mean. Is that lens right for me, based on my needs? Also, someone stated that lens is "ultra pro", is there something else I can get that would fit my needs?
    (2) Do you think lighting is my main problem? Maybe I should buy lighting and just a cheap camera?
    (3) Do I need photo editing software? I am willingly to get software only if I can put a certain filter/adjustment and click apply all to all my photos. (I don't have the time or knowledge base to edit each photo one by one)
    (4) As far as shooting, what mode and settings should I have the camera to fit my needs?


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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Planet Earth
    1, the lens isn't "Ultra Pro". It is a consumer grade lens, but an expensive one. The camera you mentioned will do the job. 17-55mm is the length of the lens; the length will determine how wide of a field of view you have. The f/2.8 means that the lens maximum aperture can open to f/2.8.
    2, from your examples lighting and set up will do more for you than buying a new camera in this situation. On camera flash of the t4i may do more for you than the camera itself. How you set up is important to. Laying your jeans against a flat surface makes for a bland picture. Perhaps hung on something might make a better pic?
    3, you can get by with DPP which is included with the new camera. If you shoot in RAW format you can adjust the picture after the fact, and then convert it to JPG. In the pictures you took, being able to adjust the white balance will help you immensely.
    4, the t4i will have basic modes that are selectable and fully automatic. I haven't had a consumer body in a while but from memory there was a setting that looked like a flower for close-ups. I think it would be the one to choose.

    The camera and lens you listed would do the job fine for you. Product photography is what this would be called. If you get very advanced in it you might invest in off camera lighting and a tripod.

    With your budget I would also concider the 5D II, which is a discontinued model and offered cheap now. Pair that with one of Canon's mid range macro lenses and a good tripod and flash and I think you would be set. The 17-55mm will not work with this camera, but you could get the kit that includes the 24-105mm L.

    Good Luck

  3. #3
    Senior Member nvitalephotography's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    south florida
    I would also say that a better setup of the clothes with better lighting would make more of a difference than a camera. Especially if you are just going to downsize them to put them online.

    I think most current DSLRs will be fine, and you could probably get a prime lens (no zoom) if you are photographing items that are all about the same size, which would typically yield a better image and cost less money then a high end zoom.

  4. #4
    Senior Member alex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    If you do plan to stick with shooting the clothes placed on the floor, I would avoid the 17-55. I don't know if other people experience this, but my 17-55 would fall all the way to 55mm if I had it on a tripod aimed at the floor for very long. Basically the glass in the lens is so heavy that its weight extends the lens to 55mm if it's pointed downward for an extended time.
    70D --- 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 --- 17-55mm f/2.8 IS --- 70-200mm f/4.0L IS --- 85mm f/1.8 --- 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro --- B&W Filters --- Manfrotto Tripod & Ballhead

  5. #5
    Moderator Steve U's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    A tripod will allow the slower shutter speeds and alleviate some of your lighting issues. Just about any new kit lens and camera combo will provide excellent results for the type of product photography that you have mentioned and you are right that the lighting will be the key difference.

    The key factor here will be if you decide to do something other than product photography. Once you decide that you want to try some landscapes, capture some bird or wildlife shots, or shoot a friends party/wedding, than the more you spend, the better the image quality and the better the versatility of your setup.

    It is very easy to spend some serious dollars on a setup to shoot great stock photos and product photography. Lighting, reflectors, tripods, remotes will all help you achieve that professional look.
    Steve U
    Wine, Food and Photography Student and Connoisseur

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Thanks for the replies, very helpful. Anyone have any other opinions?

    I still have a few questions,
    (1) do I necessary need a t4i? or can i do something like t3i/t3? The photo of the jeans I liked the guy used a canon rebel from 2007
    (2) do I need any lenses? he used a Canon ef-s 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM or will using the stock 18-55mm lens kit give the same results as far as my needs?
    (3) do i necessary need a tripod? the tripod recommended above is $200. kind of seems like a waste if I can just hold the camera myself lol
    (4) i think I need the flash. do i need a diffuser or anything else?

  7. #7
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Boston, MA

    what camera + lens is right for me ??

    T3i and 18-55 kit lens is fine. Something like the Photoflex First Studio 2-light kit ($250 from B&H, constant lighting). Manfrotto 190XB with 496 ballhead (B&H kit, $186).

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Big Mouse Florida
    18-55 on a t3i is perfect. Constant lighting is much easier to deal with than flash. The usability of both the constant lighting and the better tripod than the cheapo at the local electronic store can't be over stressed. For the extra few bucks you will never notice the tripod, for a few less bucks you will be swearing at it. Somewhat similar to the cable TV adds - don't swear
    If you see me with a wrench, call 911

  9. #9
    As much as I love my EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens, I have to agree with the folks here who recommend getting a 3Ti and kit (18-55mm) lens and invest the savings in external lighting. I'm not a fan of prepackaged kits, so I would buy the pieces individually, something like (all prices B&H):

    This may seem like a lot, but it's basically what would come in a good lighting kit, only better quality than most. Including the flash these items total $453.70. Throw in a Rebel 3Ti with EF-S 18-55mm kit ($649 after rebate) and your total cost is just $1,102.70.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kombi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Alberta, Canada
    - Another opinion

    I am currently thinking Canon t4i with Canon ef-s 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
    This would be a fantastic combo for general use- high image quality and one of the top all round lenses.

    BUT, if you only plan on taking pictures of clothing for the web, then a kit lens will do just fine.

    As mentioned above a tripod, and lighting will offset the advantages of the 17-55 over an 18-55--

    Actually-- just follow Black_Dogs advice above-- he's got it covered.

    Only - try looking for a deal on a 15-85 kit lens if you can.

    As for editing - your new Canon comes with some software, also sites like picasa have some free editing software.

    Biggest help will be read your manual- and take an introductory DSLR class to get to know your camera.

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