Saturday, April 30, 2011

Buying a Camera & lenses ($700-$800 budget)

As of late, I've been asked several times, "What camera should I buy?" So I figured I should write a series of blog posts on "What camera you should buy?" Let me preface...I use Nikon's and will recommend them in this post because I feel they are much more user friendly than the other major brand. I have no scientific data to show that Nikons are more user friendly...perhaps it's just the way my brain is wired...and if you like me or you are like me, then your brain is probably wired similarly. have $700-$800 to use on a camera (& lenses)...I'm assuming you are a somewhat serious hobbyist and you already know how to shoot a camera...or you're going to learn how to shoot manually. If that's you, check out the Nikon D3100. I checked out some specs...lower noise at high ISO settings...big preview screen...14.2 megapixels...11 focal video! Some of the specs on this camera are better than the semi-pro D300! If you're shooting HDR...there's no auto bracketing...and if you don't know what HDR is...then who cares! You'll have to use those AF-S lenses, which cost a bit more than the standard AF lenses. If you have older AF lenses, then you might want to look at another camera.

The D3100 doesn't seem to be sold as body only. If you can find it as body only...I suggest purchasing it like so...and then getting your own lenses. Traditionally, this camera comes with the 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 zoom lens and the 55-200mm 3.5-5.6 lens...both are Vibration Reduction...meaning your pictures will be a bit less blurry when you're shooting at slower shutter speeds (it'll help reduce your hand shakiness...or just lay off the coffee)! I don't care for these 2 lenses because of multiple reasons. One main reason is because of the confusion it can create for those who are just learning about aperture. You may be puzzled when you set your aperture at 3.5...and then when you zoom in, it's at 5.6...and you can't bring it back down to 3.5...and so you're forced to change your shutter speed or ISO...or shoot super wide. There's an explanation for can be confusing to explain...but it has to do with zooming in...losing light...and so therefore it's acting like it's at 5.6 rather than 3.5. These are not a pro lenses...or even semi pro...and that's why these lenses are rather inexpensive...and not always convenient.

I suggest purchasing the rumored 50mm 1.8 AF-S lens (if it actually comes out)...or it's more expensive brother, 50mm 1.4 AF-S. I also dig the 35mm 1.8 AF-S. If you need something wide...or a wide zoom that will keep it's aperture in place (a pro lens), then you'll need to save some $...or save a little bit of money and purchase a Sigma or Tamron. I prefer to buy Nikon lenses simply b/c they are more consistent in production. Some Sigma & Tamron lenses are awesome...but you are more likely to buy a lemon...I know from experience!

Also, check out the D5000, a used D80, or a used D200. The D80 & D200 will be in the same price range...and you'll be able to use those AF lenses. Issue is you will be buying a used won't have video...and your ISO performance will be compromised! (The D200 will be have some settings that are much easier to access!)

If you don't know what ISO's a setting that makes your camera sensor more or less sensitive to light. Hence, if you are shooting at ISO 200, you're probably shooting outside in daylight. If you are shooting ISO 2000, then I hope you are inside...or it's dark outside! The drawback to higher ISO ratings is that your images may have more noise. The D80 & D200 will get more noisy quicker than the D3100...if that makes sense...?

Update: My good friend & trusty assistant back in Florida reminded me of the mighty D90! If you have an extra couple hundred dollars to spare (purchase used), I'd jump on this fine camera-ware. It's ISO capabilities are similar to it's older brother, the D300...but unlike the D300, it has video! It's body is similar to the D80, so the D200 (& D300) have some easy access buttons. But for the price and performance, this is one tough camera!

Hope that "What camera should I buy?" will be for those on a much stricter's a pic to hold you through...enjoy!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bybee's Historic Inn!

Last week I got to hang-out with Tina & Vikki! I was shooting the interior for their inn... Bybee's Historic Inn...located in Jacksonville, Oregon... you need to visit...if you haven't's a really cool place!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fun Stuff!

Here's a few pics I did for a local high school. The pics were made into posters to promote their prom...some of the text has been removed...but this was the general idea.

Thank you to Tease (Julie-O!) for letting us borrow the space! And thank you to Marie & Jorge for jumping...and jumping!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another Fam Jam!

Fam Jam+Tease=$ for Winter Spring Center! Don't miss the next's every last Monday of the month!

These shots are little different than my usual. When I photograph an event, I shoot with a high ISO (the shots of the musicians playing at the bottom)...or I try to use off-camera lighting...which isn't always possible b/c 1) the event is in multiple rooms or 2) there's no aesthetically good place to put my light stands. So then what typically happens I put a flash on the hot shoe of the camera...and bounce. In this case, I decided to go old school...flash on hot bounce...just direct hard light...nasty shadows! My wife is not too crazy about it...but I like to experiment every once in a while. What do you think or feel? Never do it again...or keep mixing it up? You won't offend either of us.