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Pro Cameras: Canon and Nikon

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA Lounge' started by Mosquito, May 6, 2008.

  1. Mosquito

    Mosquito oh noes!!

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    Ok, I'm seriously considering on purchasing a pro-digi cam now that my income is a little nicer. I've been using Nikon's at school for awhile now, mostly the D50 and D40 (I think...it's been awhile actually). Now, I would like to hear peoples opinions on Canon and Nikon. I'm actually leaning towards getting a Canon. Potentially the new rebel or the 40D, but I'm not sure yet. My main concentration will be low light shooting (Concerts). I'll use it for other things but low light is definitely going to be what I want it for. Id be interested to hear some input on lenses and flash use for concert photog since I'm not experienced in it. I know that The Fiddler and Esa have some fucking amazing shots, and honestly I'd like to hear a lot from you two. Hell, if you guys don't mind me PM'ing or emailing you, that would be even better to hear your thoughts. But I would like to hear anyones opinion on the matter.

    Justin
     
  2. BlackRoseMetalHeart

    BlackRoseMetalHeart Metal Mistress

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    I have a Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital Elf. (Yeah, it's a few years old - my sister just got something like the PowerShot 7000 or something for graduation.) It's very user friendly IMO and takes nice pictures. It has an indoor/lowlight setting and a nighttime/fireworks setting, but I really haven't explored all it has to offer as far as it's many settings and functions.

    I can't use it at ProgPower since it's a digital, but it takes pretty good shots at most other venues I visit. (I was pretty sure that you were aware of the PP camera policy ban on digital cameras, but I figured I'd toss that thought in there just in case that's one of the concerts you were planning on using it at.)

    Oh wait ... just realized you said "pro" digi camera. My camera's certainly not on par with anything like that. Still, I have heard from other folks that Canons in general are very user friendly.
     
  3. Diamond45

    Diamond45 Terminate Bad Music

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    Though not a "pro" camera, I have the Canon Rebel XTi, which is an entry level digital SLR. I bought it in August 2007. Overall it is a nice camera, but looking back I wish I had tried the equivalent Nikon. One thing I don't like about the Canon is that it is hard to adjust the aperture (aka "F stop") easily when taking pictures in manual mode. I'd like to see if Nikon has an easier way of doing it. Other than that - it takes great pictures.

    (No, the avatar to the left was taken with a point and shoot Sony back in 2006)
     
  4. Yippee38

    Yippee38 Living the dream!

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  5. Wyvern

    Wyvern Master of Disaster
    Staff Member

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    I have a Canon Power Shot S3, not pro, not SLR (sadly) but takes great pictures at a very affordable price (I bought it at Amazon). I'm extremely satisfied with the results, I recommend it as well as the brand, this is nor my first Canon camera :D
     
  6. Dragon KLaw

    Dragon KLaw Shadow Lurker

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    The Nikon D40 and D40x are pretty good cameras if you are wanting to go the cheaper route. The biggest problem that I have with them is that you are limited to a handful of lenses if you plan on using autofocus.
    The Nikon D80 is a good choice if you want to keep it around 1000. If money isn't an issue, then the D300 or the D3 are great.
    I have always used Nikon and have never had any problems with them.
     
  7. Kaosaur

    Kaosaur Member

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    I'm a diehard Canon fan. Unfortunately I think the new Nikon DSLR models absolutely spank Canon this time around.

    That said, what I love most about Canon is the lenses. If that's where you plan to spend your money, I'd say go with a Canon.

    But really...you can't really go wrong with either.
     
  8. esa

    esa Member

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    This topic defies a short answer -- for example, lens choices and shooting skills can compensate for the handicaps of a particular DSLR.

    Fiddler is a Canon shooter (5D's with f1.2 primes last couple ProgPowers.) I switched from Nikon to Canon last summer (30D and 40D with f1.8 primes) specifically for Canon's superior (at the time) high-ISO performance. But starting with the D300, Nikon has switched to CMOS sensors (same as Canon) in the midrange DSLRs and leveled the playing field.

    What types of venues will you be shooting at? Arena tours are so brightly lit that any camera/lens combo will do. In small clubs you will likely find that even the fastest zoom lenses (f2.8) are too slow for the job. It took four years of watching Fiddler shoot ProgPower for me to realize that he almost never shoots with zooms, for a good reason (the downside is having to buy and carry two bodies.)

    ProgPower has been deliberately and specifically lit for video shooting last two years. Lighting levels were noticeably down for the bands which did not participate in the DVD shoot, such as Sonata Arctica. You can see the difference in e.g. Fiddler's pictures (or my zero Sonata pictures from PP8.)

    But wait, there's more -- should you meter or shoot fully manual exposure? And as you might expect, to get a dozen good shots from a show you have to shoot a LOT more than 12 frames. That brings up the "workflow" challenges -- filtering and processing NNN or NNNN frames down to NN. And now that you're post-processing *all* images, should you shoot RAW instead of JPG? (Yes.)

    Feel free to PM or email for more ramblings on the subject. It's my favorite. :)
     
  9. AMBR

    AMBR Metal Grandma

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    Me too. :)

    So you usually shoot in RAW? I've avoided that at events like ProgPower because to the number of photos I take and the huge amount of memory used by that format. What software do you use?

    Shooting low light, fast motion in smaller clubs has been the greatest challenge for me and I've only partially mastered it. Especially since I frequently have to get photos of the drummers. I'd love to hear how others are dealing with it. I have Nikons and plan on sticking with that, because of the lenses. Not ready to invest in starting over. Most often for long events, I use the D40 because it's so much easier to handle/carry and I've mastered the menu and manual shooting issue, which only applies to one of my lenses.
     
  10. esa

    esa Member

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    True, true. There's plenty of room for differences of opinion and debate here, but IMHO this is one of the defining questions for somebody wanting to get serious with music photography as a hobby: the pros are already shooting RAW and not interested in debating it; they can easily afford the supersized memory cards and are getting paid for the post-processing time.

    As you point out, JPG has the overwhelming advantage of storage size (and, consequently and importantly, continuous shooting ability regardless of DSLR make and model.) At any level, including Fiddler's stratospheric level, concert shooting is like shooting sports: you don't control the lighting, the timing, the action, the surprise elements, or anything else. Why wouldn't you choose to shoot JPG that improves your odds by a factor of 2-5X on sheer volume?

    One geeky reason:

    JPG locks in exposure and something called "white balance" and gives you only limited latitude for tweaking either one of them after the fact. RAW, on the other hand, lets you tweak white balance without limitation and provides up to 2 f-stops of *under* exposure compensation after the fact. (Trivia: digital photography is inherently unforgiving of *over* exposure, unlike negative film but very much like slide film.) The tweakability of RAW actually goes beyond exposure and white balance, but that's another topic.

    This is where concert shooters divide into two camps:

    1. "I don't care about post-processing; I want to buy a pricey camera that produces killer pictures straight out of the camera with no post-processing. Tell me what camera to buy."

    2. "I realize that any straight-out-of the-camera JPG image has already been heavily processed by the camera: automatic white balance, sharpening, color/luminance response curves. Those might work well for daylight and flash shots, but not so much for live concert shots. I can do better."

    Yeah, my bias is showing. There are plenty of great JPG shooters out there (including yourself :)

    To answer your question: I shoot RAW exclusively. Every image that I print or publish goes through RAW conversion and Photoshop. I carry a 8G card in each camera (good for around 500 RAW shots) and a 60GB image tank (portable hard drive with card reader) on long shoots like ProgPower.

    I made the switch from Windows to Mac roughly at the same time as my Nikon to Canon defection, and my digital darkroom workflow is still in shambles as a result. I'm trying to make do with Adobe Bridge CS3 (which comes "free" with Photoshop.) The RAW converter is excellent, and Photoshop itself is not too shabby :) but Bridge is far from a speed daemon. I lust after either Lightroom or Aperture as the workflow hub.
     
  11. Yippee38

    Yippee38 Living the dream!

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    Not to mention that if you are spending hundreds, maybe thousands on a camera body and lenses, how can you not justify taking shot in RAW when you can get an 8Gb flash card for around $30, and a 132Gb for around $130?
     
  12. esa

    esa Member

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    A little bit of damage control, lest I'm sending the wrong signal:

    Given a choice between top notch gear and top notch shooting skills, shooting skills win every single time. No exceptions -- folks in the "just tell me what camera to buy" camp take note. You need to pay your dues, and there's no better way do do it than supporting your local music scene and shooting at dimly-lit clubs.

    Examples of shooting skills:

    * Energy, emotion, and expression is what makes great shots. To plug one of our own, I don't recall the last time I was as floored by a newcomer as I have been by Empress. She has decent gear alright, but it's her eye for emotion and aesthetic that makes her work stand out.

    * Simple stuff: avoid the eyes-closed and microphone-covering-the-mouth shots. You'll be shocked at first at the (seeming) limitations that this rule imposes, but it'll pass as you see the results. Corollary: vocalists holding a long note are good prospects for energy and emotion.

    * Lighting varies. If you're shooting a show where the light progresses through the primary colors, avoid the reds (especially the reds) and blues and go crazy during the whites, yellows, and greens.

    * Got nothing but red light? Learn to love black-and-white photography and black-and-white conversions. Big topic, big rewards.

    Other unrelated random thoughts:

    * Nikon and Canon don't have a monopoly on low-light/high-ISO shooting, but don't overlook this angle: Top-of-the line lenses are expensive to buy, but relatively inexpensive to rent -- as long as you're looking to rent Canon or Nikon lenses. If you live near a large metropolis, there's probably a friendly rental outfit near you. Atlanta folks, check out PPR. And there's always mail order for anywhere within USPS reach.

    * The more serious you get about music photography, the more often you will be shooting with manual exposure. Learn the basics of exposure: shutter speed, aperture, depth-of-field, ISO. You'll need them.

    Questions or comments?
     
  13. AngraRULES

    AngraRULES Member

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    I personally will *ALWAYS* choose Nikon over Canon. Canon are great cameras, don't get me wrong, but I still haven't found anything better than Nikon.
     
  14. J-Man

    J-Man Old as Yoda

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    I don't guess disposable cameras count huh?
     
  15. AMBR

    AMBR Metal Grandma

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    Ah, VERY good point. I'm going to have to spend more time with that and stop taking the "easy" way out. Need larger memory cards too, but I'll have to pass for now on the image tank.

    You are too kind. ;) I have made much progress in the last few years, but there's still so much to learn. But that's half the fun (with more than a little frustration.)

    One of the things I have learned is that I'm definitely in camp two, now. Live concerts shots are tricky and plenty of practice seems to be the only way. I totally agree with your next set of advice:

    All great advice. Thanks!
     
  16. J-Dubya 777

    J-Dubya 777 It NEVER ends

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    Thanks for the advice! Even sub-amateurs like me learned a lot in this post. :)
     
  17. J-Man

    J-Man Old as Yoda

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    She does take some good pictures
     
  18. Formerly known as Chris F5

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    UURGH....tell me about it,do you know how many times I accidently fired off s shot adjusting the f stop

    A 40d is in my very near future
     
  19. Formerly known as Chris F5

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    I shoot in JPeg,mainly because,like film,if you have your setting right and camera properly set(ie,fstop,white balance)there is no need to have to do post editing
     
  20. Formerly known as Chris F5

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    what is the f stop on your glass(think I asked you a few months ago)
    I just picked up a Tamron 28-75 2.8f,its almost the equal of the Canon L series that it replicates.
    And as I told you last year
    Nikon is Japanese for "Oh Shit,I should have bought a Canon"( I hang out with a bunch of Nikon users from Model Mayhem,and always use that line)
    I'll be getting a 40D very soon(as adjusting my F stop with what I have is not fun)
     

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