View Full Version : camera dilemma

01-11-2007, 04:19 PM
Okay, for the last several years I have used the Panasonic Lumix FZ-20 which I absolutely adore and get great photos. Currently I'm saving up for the FZ-50 and am close to my goal.

At the same time I want to be a pro, not an amatuer and the Lumix, I believe, is not a pro camera since it's not an DSLR, no matter how much I love it. Problem is, I only have so much money so getting lenses for a DSLR will take forever.

So, do I go forward and purchase the FZ-50 knowing it has the zoom I need (12x) and has two attachable lenses, a wide-angle, and a telephoto and is 10 mg and won't need anything else for it.

Or, do I inverst the FZ-50 money into a body of either the Rebel XTI or the Nikon70 or 80 and use my FZ20 until I can afford the really good lenses, which I hear run into the 1,000's?

I love the Lumix but I'm aiming beyond the amatuer level.

Oh, also, I shoot tons of nature, wildlife and pets along with weddings, kids, pregnancy and so on, if that makes a difference.

Please help as this indecision is driving me nuts.

01-11-2007, 04:48 PM
Personally speaking if you want to compete in the Pro market I think you would be better getting a dslr and a couple of nice lenses (they do not necessarily have to be top of the line, others here could advise you better on them)
At the end of the day the dslr's have better image capturing technology.

01-11-2007, 07:03 PM
The other thing is that I absolutely need image stabalization because the meds I'm on cause my hands to shake pretty often.

01-12-2007, 02:56 AM
The other thing is that I absolutely need image stabalization because the meds I'm on cause my hands to shake pretty often.

Look at the Canon L range of lens - top of the range with image stabilization if you're serious about being a wildlife photographer.

It all depends how much money you have to spend. I know a wildlife photographer who has the Canon 5D and a selection of L lenses and tele-converters and says it's not enough. If you gave a budget, I'm sure we could suggest a little better.

How do you envisage selling your work to become professional? It makes a big impact on your camera choice. For instance, if you want to sell through agencies, some will only accept transparencies which obviously a digital camera can't do. Also, many of the prosumer cameras (fixed lens, like you suggested) produce unacceptable artifacting. Agencies will want the cleanest images they can get, otherwise a client will not buy them.

Weddings also - you're unlikely to be taken seriously without a half decent SLR / DSLR. Many people these days buy cameras like the Canon 350D as a hobby camera - it takes nice pictures on auto exposure. If you turn up with a camera that isn't as advanced, most brides aren't going to take you seriously - especially if they're paying you 1500+ to take pictures of their special day. I know the only issue should be with the images produced, but people don't work that way. They will see the camera before they see anything else. Hell, I get regularly asked to leave events because I have a "professional" camera (A 350D with a long lens). It doesn't matter that I am not a professional.

Anyway, I've rambled a bit. Tell us a vague budget and we can make slightly more intelligent recommendations.

01-12-2007, 09:20 AM
My budget is as low as I can possibly get and still get good equipment :lol:

I spent hours upon hours yesterday and today researching cameras and lenses, reading reviews and pretty much every camera thread on this board and here's what I cam up with.

Right now it's between a Canon Rebel XTI body with a starter zoom lens of Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens.


a Nikon D80 body with a started zoom lens of Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens

I would also want a good flash for either. Any advice between the two will be greatly appreciated.

01-12-2007, 10:10 AM
Nikon and Canon are much the same until you start getting up into the high end stuff, then Canon generally seems to come out on top.

I would say though, you get what you pay for. Pay peanuts, get monkeys. If you want to be a professional photographer I seriously suggest going to a business center and getting advice on things like business start up grants, loans and other similar things. You might be entitled to money that you didn't even know you could get. Write a business plan too and take it to a bank and see what loan and account details they offer you.

I'm sorry, but I think if you want to be a professional you need to be looking at professional equipment, which is not the Rebel or the D80.

But saying that, the Rebel is a good camera - it's what I've got. It does most of what I want, but when I want QUALITY I shoot medium format film. It's not as good as the scans I can get from medium format.

Also, you won't shoot much wildlife with a 200mm lens, it's really too short for almost everything. I'd have thought you'd want to look at a 400mm plus a 1.6x tele-converter or similar. Both I should think would be reasonably for weddings, although this isn't my area.

If you're looking at shooting alot of people look at either getting a 55mm or an 85mm fixed focal length lens. The optics are generally very good and are usually nice and fast (the canon 55mm is f1.8) and very cheap. This is my workhorse in and out of the studio for fashion and people shooting.

About the flash, again I can only advise on Canon, but look at the Speedlights made by Canon. They allow full TTL functions on the camera and you can also buy an off camera sync cord. Don't forget for weddings and often people shooting you'll probably want a set of studio lights, large groups in a dark place are not going to be lit by one flash!

If you want to know anything just ask. I work as a photographers assistant in a large studio so will do my best to help. Can also ask the photographer I work for most things, he's been a professional for a reasonable amount of time now.

My budget is as low as I can possibly get and still get good equipment :lol:

I spent hours upon hours yesterday and today researching cameras and lenses, reading reviews and pretty much every camera thread on this board and here's what I cam up with.

Right now it's between a Canon Rebel XTI body with a starter zoom lens of Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens.


a Nikon D80 body with a started zoom lens of Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens

I would also want a good flash for either. Any advice between the two will be greatly appreciated.

01-12-2007, 11:03 AM
Kallistos, I totally see where you're coming from but at this time there's no way I can afford a top of the line camera. And considering my finances, no one in their right minds would give me a business loan at this time, but I do plan on checking in with Vocational Rehabilitation to see if they can help me.

Wouldn't it be better to start with a lower-end DSLR than to stick with my lumix point and shoot until I get enough jobs under my belt to buy the higher end camera?

01-12-2007, 11:49 AM
If it's all you can afford then sure. Buy a cheap body and get the best lens you can afford.

Of course, you could always consider 35mm bodys, second hand camera shops give them away dirt cheap now that everyone is jumping on the digital bandwagon.

Why not look at second hand digital bodys also? You might get a Canon 30D cheap, one of my friends uses one (a professional wedding and stock shooter) and he loves is. In fact, he bought a second one as a back up instead of a 5D, so it might be worth trying to get one on eBay or similar. Unfortunately I was brought up being told "make do with what you've got until you can afford the best you need". If you're getting paid work with the camera you have, why change?

01-12-2007, 12:10 PM
Because the one I have isn't a DSLR, has only 5mg and bad noise at anything over ISO 200. Other than that I adore it, espcially the zoom lens.

01-12-2007, 04:03 PM
Stick with your Lumix and get a low end DSLR at least you are not creating dead money. You may be able to create your own business niche and be able to get your better cameras later. You can often get good deals on the cameras that you like.

As far as the business plan is concerned, it is better to get one in place now (regardless of whether you are going for finance or not). Document where you want to be in 12 months. 3 years and 7 years and how you plan to get there (included projected dates here). This is for your own reference and will help keep you on track. Make it flexible as your business direction may change in 12 months and you will need to rewrite it. This personal document is not in depth enough for banking institutions but is a good way of gelling your own thought processes and plans.

01-12-2007, 04:57 PM
I have the Canon Digital Rebel XT with a Promaster 70-300mm lens. It takes awesome shots and I haven't even begun to figure it all out yet. But I'll admit...I hated the XT until I started to learn how to use it. The Canon 50mm prime is next on my lens list. I just really need that telephoto lens first! My agility dog moves way to fast and too far away for the kit lens!


01-12-2007, 05:07 PM
Okay, after an entire day more of research and talking to my sister who owns the Canon xti I decided to go with that.

Now to be patient and wait.

Thanks for all the advice!

01-12-2007, 05:50 PM
Cool we await developments. :D

01-13-2007, 06:08 PM
aleks - why don't you get the digital rebel xt and use the extra to get a better lens?

8mp over 10mp is nothing really - especially since you're upgrading from a point and shoot which the sensor in those is tiny - so the noise is going to be far less, thus you can make bigger enlargements than you would from a 8mp point and shoot equivalent.

I'd go with the older body (the xt) over the newer one (xti) and use the difference to get a better lens.

lenses hold their value much better and you can always upgrade later on down the track to a better body. but start with a high quality lens system and build the bodies around that.

just my opinon.

01-18-2007, 10:16 AM
I know you feel that you have made your decision, but I hope you went to a store and actually held these cameras in your hand. I am in the market also. I went and held the Canon xti and the Nikon D80. I have small hands but relatively long fingers. The Canon is a smaller size, but it has an uncomfortable bump sticking out at the back that hits me right at the base of the thumb when I hold the camera. I don't know why they designed it this way. The D80 was bigger for my small hands, but more comfortable. I think my long fingers make up for it and I'll be fine with it.

If you're on a budget, I don't want you to regret your decision and have something that doesn't feel good....day after day.

01-19-2007, 07:30 AM
Lot's of good advice here for you. I have the Nikon D80 got the 18-135 kit lens too. It works well, I am waiting for my Nikon 70-300mm VR (vibration reduction) lens to arrive should be here next week. I was on the fence like many others, should I get the Rebel xti, xt, Nikon D200, D80, D70s, D50, Sony a100, etc. I came here for advice and got great opinions.

After holding in my hands taking photos and seeing the quality of photos taken with all of the above plus many other high end cameras e.g. Canon EOS 1D, 2D, 5D, Nikon D1, D2, etc, also reading probably every dslr camera review at dpreview.com, I realized that the picture quality with the modern digital bodies was very similar. Many of the cameras in a class may use the same sensors. The lens makes a huge difference but even the new cheaper lenses will do a decent job and unless you are printing large format like I do it doesn't matter as much as some people may think whether you are using an $8000.00 body or a $999.00 body. If you are only printing 5x7 or just using the images for web applications the mega MP cams are over kill imo, and I actually like the 6 8 mp cam images allot.

Also today there is so much that can be done in post processing aka photo shopping you can get away with murder and still have an impressive photo after P&P.

I think it comes down to how much you are willing to invest in your gear, for comfort, feel, options, mp, etc. To be honest most people haven't a clue what kind of dslr camera you have and how much it cost's, or how good it is, many photographers included ;-). If you can get awesome shots from a Point & Shoot good on you. I walk up with a tripod and my D80 with it's 67mm lenses and battery grip attached to the bottom, people generally think I am a pro or from the news paper or something. I think that your photos will speak for themselves, not how expensive a body you may have.

I have seen some awesome shots taken with point & shoot cameras on auto that look better than pics taken on $8000.00 bodies with $10,000.00 lenses. Also if you are not using VR, IS, APO, or a tripod those long lenses deliver few keeper shots even without a condition that leaves you with shaky limbs.

I also agree that you should hot foot it over to the local camera shop and feel the cameras, and take sample shots, ask about lenses and cost, and ask to try them out. My brother is a staunch Canon man, and I almost went that way, until he started to talk about the cost of his lenses, hes got quite a few L lenses and some cost many thousands of dollars. I knew there was NO WAY I am spending that sort of money on glass for my camera right now. Nikon has released some great lenses that give you the focal length modern features like VR, and really good quality for thousands less than you could be paying. That combined with image, build quality recommendations persuaded me to go for the D80 and Nikon lenses. I have NO regrets!

I consider decent glass and bodies a good investment and will flog them off when I decide I need better, but until then there is nothing wrong with my D80 and Nikon glass, as I am covering my basic focal lengths with really good quality but inexpensive glass and my photos are not really suffering for it.

IMO, I think you would be much better off getting a decent dslr and decent lenses and actually practicing with your camera and lenses now rather than buying an expensive body and waiting till you can get lenses or vice versa, just get to shooting pics, you can always upgrade later. Also check out www.dpreview.com there is some serious photography info on that site and all the cameras mentioned are reviewed in detail and there are some side by side comparisons too.

Hope this helps somebody :wave:

01-19-2007, 09:05 AM
Thanks for all the great advice! The rebel came Wednesday and I LOVE it. Love the way it looks, the way it feels, everything. Unfortunately I had to order the memory card seperately so I haven't been able to take any photos yet. I think it's coming on Monday.

01-19-2007, 03:51 PM
Congrats on your new camera! I feel your excitement YAY, :clap: You have made a Great choice! If the XTi came out sooner I would probably have that camera as well. My brother is a canon guy and swears by them! Their lenses are wicked, and if I didn't live 7000 miles away, I would have bought the Xti and snagged his lenses till I got my own. :lol::angel: Hopefully you have a lens too or can borrow glass from your sis, and can start taking shots as soon as your memory card arrives.

I took over 20,000 shots in my first couple months trying all the settings etc. I had to get a dvd burner finally because I used 60 gigs on my hard drive really quickly storing images. I am still having a BLAST!

01-19-2007, 06:58 PM
Ahh...I love happy conclusions!

01-20-2007, 03:55 PM
Ahh...I love happy conclusions!
Me Too,, stalksthedawn, can't wait to see some pics from your new XTi!