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What Camera do I need to do a class?

Posted on August 7, 2013 at 8:35 PM

What Camera do I need to do a class?

This question I am asked all the time, along with what model and brand do I buy. Please take the time to read it and you will find I have answered most of your questions.

Let me just answer a few of these questions for you. To do 90% of my camera classes you will need a Digital SLR camera, or DSLR.  This style of camera is defined by having detachable lenses and ( generally) many different control settings on the body. Detachable lenses are lenses that can be changed.  You can buy many different styles of lenses and as you discover the beauty and wonder of photography you will gravitate towards a particular 'like', whether it is close-up or macro photography, landscape, or people.

Digital SLR camera's are abundant on the market today with brands like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Minolta, Olympus just to name a few. The DRSL leaders are Canon and Nikon, and these two are the ones that I would tend towards as long as your budget allows for that.

Both Canon and Nikon have great camera models and lenses to go with them, and again you need to do a bit of research as to what is best for you.  We DO NOT recommend camera models to you. We are not camera sales people and models change all the time.  Add in that every person has a different 'wish list' and budget and you may understand that we don't sell gear, or keep up with every model and price range on the market.  That is something that you are simply going to have to do yourself.

SIZE DOES MATTER :: What to look for when selecting a camera model/ body/ kit.  All camera bodies have different ' specs', and so things like weight, size, hand-ability, and body function set up come into play.  Men's hands are usually larger than females hands and sometimes a smaller DSRL body will not 'fit' into a larger man's hands' comfortably.  Also some woman are vey petite and smaller hands may prefer a smaller light weight body. 

As I travel for work constantly and this often includes flying, weight is a major factor for me when considering new gear. For those of you off on great over seas adventures you should also think about this as carry on luggage is only five to seven kilo's and you will be carrying that for the duration of al your flights. 

FEATURES OF DIGITAL SLR CAMERA'S: The more you spend on your body , the more features will come with it. But you really don't need all these functions and probably never will use some. Buy a body that is not to complicated when you are starting out or you could end up so confused that the big camera sits in the wardrobe and the point and shoot has all the fun! I have seen this over and over again. If you buy a simpler body to start with and learn to use it, a more professional model will always be on the market for a later date. 

DSLR WITH A LENS KIT :: Many camera manufacturer's sell their body's with the option of a 'kit lenses'. This will consist of two lenses of different focal lengths from wide angle to telephoto, and be enough to get you going on your photographic journey. However kit lenses are the cheapest of all lenses and therefor are 'slower' at taking some images. They have fewer apertures and lesser quality glass and casings so are an entry level product. This once again does not mean they are no good, it simply means that there is ' better' on the market. These kits are a fantastic way to explore the different sens variations and find you true passion for  photography. 

You can choose to buy a body only and add any lens you so choose ( as long as it is compatible) to make your own kit. This option will be more costly but could give you exactly what you want. Lenses ca always be purchased afterwards. 

COMPACT CAMERA'S :: Are defined as cameras that do not have a detachable lens. Some are very small purse sized models and others look more like a digital SLR in shape but have no interchangeable lens. Again there are thousands of models on the market and - we don't sell camera's - and would not have a clue as to which model would be best for you. 

Some of the DRSL style models are OK for some of my classes but the main downfall is that it is very hard to manually focus, or not a function that you can do and this can cause some problems when we do certain demo's. If you have one of these camera's then there are some classes that you can not participate in as you will not be able to set your camera accordingly.

TRIPODS and HEADS :: Your kit will end up including a tripod and a cable release, so you can look into these as well and perhaps get a better price if you buy all together. The tripod should be sturdy and preferably have a 'ball head', or 'trigger grip'. Believe me when I say the added advantage of either of these grips it that you will not hate your tripod because you don't understand how it works. If you purchase a tripod that has a standard head, make sure that this head can be unscrewed  so you can buy a trigger grip or ball head down the track. On very cheap tripods may not be able to unscrew the head, meaning that this will never be able to be changed. You can get a suitable tripod starting from around $135.00 up.

CABLE RELEASES :: The variety of these is also endless, from brand names to generic models, cable releases come in all sorts of styles.  To do the classes you only need an easy to use model that can plug into the camera. Cordless varieties are more expensive and many of my students have had trouble setting them and using them. this means that they have missed valuable shots fiddling with gear. Simple, easy , plug in models are always good enough for the uses we have and they will ensure that you will always get, rather then loose, the shot!

FILTERS :: Making sure that you get filters that are suitable for DSRL models, the main two filters to get are UV filters to cut down glare and protect your lenses and a circular polarising filter. UV filters should go on all your lenses. The polarising filter is put on to give effects and is not as important as the UV filters.


I hope you have all found this to be informative and useful. If you are in Coffs Harbour, then I recommend Fletchers Photographics to you as a local dealer. They know all the things that I like you to have for classes and the specs of things like tripods that I recommend. BUT please don't waste their time -  if you intend to buy online and never have walk in service and help - then don't bleed them for info, it is just rude!  Local businesses need support and if they don't get it, they wil be gone and we will be very stuck for quality service and help. - That is my opinion and my say anyway!




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