PDA

View Full Version : need DSLR for shooting paintings/ low light



kmistin
06-26-2007, 11:45 AM
Hi, Iím an artist (painter) needing to buy a DSLR to use for two primary purposes:
1. shooting my artwork Ė for years I shot slides of my work with my old film SLR and tungsten lights. I prefer to shoot with tungsten rather than daylight because it is constant; so I need something that can work with that. Accurate color is a must.
2. low light/night landscape photography.

I donít need a lot of bells and whistles. I have no experience with digital SLR's only with film slr's and digital point and shoot

Budget

hoping for under $2000, including lens. I donít anticipate needing more than one lens, a standard one ( 50mm? 35mm?Ölens recommendations also much appreciated here)

Size

preferably a lighter weight model. Iím a small person and big cameras make my neck sore.

Features

8-10 mega pixels ( ?)
zoom not so important
Image quality, manual controls important

General Usage

see above
Prints : YES I need to be able to make images for publication
indoor photos or low light photos? YES

sports and/or action photos? NO
Miscellaneous

Been looking at the Canon EOS 30D, and 20D Canon Digital Rebel XTi, and Nikon D80 cameras

I donít think I need special features, except maybe image stabilization ( presumably I would need that in low-light situations without a tripod?)

Thanks in advance for your help. This is a great site Ė there are an overwhelming number of choices out there.

Tim018
06-26-2007, 07:59 PM
Get the Nikon D80 body- for about $900 here http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/449061-REG/Nikon_25412_D80_SLR_Digital_Camera.html

for lenses: get a 50mm f/1.4 prime for your artwork(make sure to use a tripod with this!) http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/97413-USA/Nikon_1902_Normal_AF_Nikkor_50mm.html

and then i would suggest the 18-70 for your night landscape shots

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/324190-USA/Nikon_2149_18_70mm_f_3_5_4_5_G_AFS_ED_IF.html

anyways- that would be my suggestion- if anybody else would suggest anything else/different- go right ahead...

hope that helps

timmciglobal
06-26-2007, 08:56 PM
For art and night landscapes you really want a tripod, handheld low light = bad color at least in terms of "art" color where as the color might be "good enough" at ISO 3200 for most I doubt for art prints it would be anything close to sufficient.

Tim

Tim018
06-26-2007, 09:08 PM
For art and night landscapes you really want a tripod, handheld low light = bad color at least in terms of "art" color where as the color might be "good enough" at ISO 3200 for most I doubt for art prints it would be anything close to sufficient.

Tim

Yes- make sure for both of these you use a tripod- and the lowest iso possible

coldrain
06-27-2007, 03:01 AM
You do NOT have to worry about colour, at all. What a DSLR will give you is a possibility to actually "measure" the colour temperature, and adjust for it.
This is called setting the white balance, and it could not be easier. Just make a photo of something white or grey inthe light, and set the camera to that...
No problems with having to choose the right film for the right light.

About lenses. 50mm is a standard focal range for 35mm film SLRs, as you know.
But for a DSLR with a smaller sensor than 35mm film, it gets to be longer.
So, you better look at lenses with a lesser focal length, since 50mm will be a LOT longer than you think (75 or 80mm!).

Canon:
- Canon EF 35mm f2 : 35 x 1.6 = 56mm
Very good lens for a very affordable price. ~$230

- Canon EF 35mm f1.4 L USM : 35 x 1.6 = 56mm
Amazing lens, but very expensive. You could stay within your budget when going for an XTi, though. The BEST, but expensive, option. ~$1120

- Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX DG HSM : 48mm
Good lens, more expensive than the 35mm f2 Canon, but soft at the edges, and more barrel distortion. ~$430

- Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 EX DC Macro : 29-80mm.
At around 35mm, the lens is very sharp, into the borders, and distortion free(!). So, this should/could be a contender too. ~$420

- Canon EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS USM : 27-88mm.
Shows some pin cushion distortion at around 35mm. But very sharp, and what makes it attractive for your usage is the IS, it will allow a LOT longer shutter speeds without tripod use. ~$1000

Nikon:
- Nikon 35mm f2 : 35 x 1.5 = 52.5mm
Very good lens too, about the same as the Canon version, bit more barrel distortion. A bit more expensive too. ~$320

- Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX DG HSM : 45mm
Good lens, more expensive than the 35mm f2 Nikon, but soft at the edges, and more barrel distortion. ~$430

- Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 EX DC Macro : 27-75mm.
At around 35mm, the lens is very sharp, into the borders, and distortion free. So, this should/could be a contender too. ~$420

So, there you have the most suitable options.
The best lens, the Canon 35mm f1.4 L USM. But, at a price. Most affordable, and 2nd best prime, the Canon 35mm f2. About as good, the Nikon 35mm f2. And the Sigma 30mm f1.4 is also a possibility, but optically the weakest.
And then there is the Sigma 18-50mm. It will perform very good for a zoom lens, at the "standard" focal length of between 30 and 35mm.
It may even beat the 35mm f2 options, and definitely the 30mm f1.4, image quality wise.
The Canon 17-55 IS is an option if you would want image stabilization.

I recently shot paintings (someone else's work) with the previous version of the Sigma 18-50 f2.8, and my 12-24mm Tokina. This went well, both lenses are quite free of distortions if you do not use the widest settings, so quite suited for the task.

So... for under $2000, the best combination would be the Canon XTi or 20D with Canon EF 35mm f1.4 L USM.
A Canon XTi, EOS 30D, Nikon D80 with 35mm f2 or Sigma 18-50 f2.8 EX DC Macro would be good options too.
Or an XTi/20D with Canon 17-55 f2.8 IS and Canon 35mm f2, this combination would give you IS in lower light situations.
I'd slightly prefer a Canon for their colour reproduction and JPEG quality, but when you shoot RAW you should be able to get very good results with any of these cameras.