Home FEATURE ARTICLES Choosing a Camera
Choosing a Camera PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jay Allan   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 01:50

Nikon D3

Selecting A Camera Body

Choosing a camera is kind of like choosing a girlfriend. They come in many shapes and sizes, some are heavy and solid, and some are light and fragile. We all have are own preferences and tastes. You have to find a camera that works well for you. You will need a digital SLR if you want to

have the most versatility and maintain high quality. I use a Nikon, but I know photographers better than I who shoot Canon. It really is just a tool, and depending on what your goals are will ultimately dictate what camera you use. I actually have several different bodies that I use for different tasks, and I have a Leica that is my travel camera. My everyday workhorse is a Nikon D3, which I love.

I highly recommend starting with a basic digital SLR and an inexpensive zoom (unless money is no object for you) in the 80-200 range. Unless you really like the wide angle distorted look, I would stay away from wide lenses until you have shot a few girls. The fastest lens you can afford is always best. A 4 or 5 megapixel camera will give you an image that can be printed up to 8x10. The camera that works best for you will depend on your shooting style. If you shoot fast you will want a camera that fires fast. And fast cards. If you take your time with each setup then speed my not matter for you. I like a high rez screen on the camera so I can check focus while I shoot. Go to a camera store and spend a few hours asking questions and handling the cameras. You will likely be stuck with the brand you select so take your time and choose wisely.

Look at the autofocus abilities of the cameras you are looking at. If this feature is important to you. There can be major differences between cameras on the speed that a subject is acquired. Same goes for the lenses.

Your First Lens

Try to find a camera that has a good choice of lenses as that will be your first add on. I recommend an 80-200 because 80mm is a good portrait lens size and 200mm will let you get in for more detail. An Nadia (80mm lens)80mm will give you a full length shot at about 20 ft. using the longer end of the range will give you a tighter image will less depth and close the background putting the emphasis on the model. There are some good after marked lenses available as well. Tokina, Sigma, and Tamron all make good lenses. They make them for Nikon and Canon as well as some other brands. Investigate this before you buy a body as well as it may be important to you.

TIP: The chip inside digital SLRs is electrostatic so it attract dust. Take care to keep your body capped at all times if there is no lens on it, and change lenses with care so that no dust gets in. Otherwise you will need to clean your CCD often, and that is a bitch.


Memory cards are getting cheaper everyday. I always shoot on 2 gigabyte cards and keep 4 on me with a couple 4 gigs as backup if I am on location. I use 2 gig cards because that is the max I am willing to lose. You will develop your own digital workflow (separate article) once you start shooting, and this will become very important. I have my assistant dump my cards to a laptop as I fill them, and then leave the cards full until I have a dvd burned of every file on the hard drive. This way I always have 2 copies of my images. As soon as the shoot is done we backup the Laptop to a removable hard drive and file the dvdrs away. You may not need to be this diligent with your files unless you are shooting professionally, but I recommend it if you can.

Working with an SLR system will give you the most flexibility and most bang for the buck. You can upgrade your glass as you shoot more, then upgrade your bodies as money allows. Pick a brand that ergonomically works for you. Brands tend to sty similar in their handling and will remain familiar to you on your upgrade path. Make sure you have at least 3 sets of batteries with you if you are shooting a long day. Use NiMH batteries when possible.

(c) 2008 Jay Allan Productions

May not be reproduced in any way.


Last Updated ( Friday, 17 October 2008 04:29 )