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Photography Question 
Gina 
 

What's A Good Camera for a Home Studio?


What camera would work to start a home-based studio? I'm considering a good 35mm or maybe a medium format ... don't know which direction to go! I've looked at the Nikon FM3A, Nikon F100, Nikon F-5, and the Bronica ETRSi. Which would be the best choice cost-wise and quality-wise? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.


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5/9/2004 2:16:18 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  It depends on what you want to do. 35mm is good. Medium format is better. But, again, it depends. If your work will strictly be studio work, then I'd probably go MF. If you will be hand-holding your camera mostly, I'd go 35mm. I mostly do weddings and some portrait work (actually, I do anything that pays)! For weddings, I use 35mm exclusively due to my style of shooting and the speed at which I feel I need to be able to react. I shoot very few posed shots, mostly photojournalistic style, which is lucky because that happens to be "in" right now. For most of my portrait work, I use MF. The only exception to that is kid portraits. MF is not very good for kids. 35mm is the only way I can be quick enough and flexible enough to capture moments as they occur. Kids rarely do what you or their parents ask them to do.

Don't forget to also research digital. It can replace MF, as far as the size of prints you can achieve, but it handles like a 35mm SLR. All the major camera manufacturers make them. They are worth consideration.

I can tell you that in Southern California, 99% of the clients who call me want film. So, that really tells me something - which is one reason I have not yet invested a lot in digital technology. That isn't to say that I'm not always looking and thinking about it though.


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5/10/2004 12:34:48 PM

 
Gina    Thank you for responding. What I'm looking to do is mostly family and children's portraits in the studio. Can I get a quality print from the Canon EOS-1v 35mm? How about the Olympus E-1 digital? I don't know which way to turn. Thanks for any help.


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5/10/2004 3:35:03 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
 
 
 
For family shots, you can use medium format, 35mm, or digital. For children shots, my preference is 35mm or digital. MF is just too clunky for children, IMHO.

Digital is great for children for a few reasons. One is, if you have a difficult kid, you can just shoot your finger off until you get a few good ones, without having to burn through film. That's something to think about. I have two EOS 1V's and love them. I get superb results. In fact, the meter in those cameras is amazingly accurate. But you still have to use a hand-held meter for studio work. I can talk about the Olympus E-1. But, I like digital for certain things.


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5/10/2004 3:56:08 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
 
 
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For family shots, you can use MF, 35mm, or digital. For children shots, my preference is 35mm or digital. MF is just to clunky for children, IMHO.

Digital is great for children for a few reasons. One is, if you have a difficult kid, you can just shoot your finger off until you get a few good ones, without having to burn through film. That's something to think about.

I have two EOS 1V's and love them. I get superb results. In fact, the meter in those cameras is amazingly accurate. But, you still have to use a hand-held meter for studio work.

I cannot talk about the Olympus E-1. But, I like digital for certain things.

Here are some EOS 1V examples. The internet doesn't do them justice, but here they are.

Just go with what you know and start from there. If you are familiar with 35mm, but not digital or MF, then go with 35mm. Don't worry about what others are doing. You are always best to do YOUR thing!

Jerry


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5/10/2004 3:57:45 PM

 
Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/27/2003
imagismphotos.com
  Gina,
Shooting studio portraits or location portraits doesn't generally require the speed of a sports type camera. Medium format will work fine. I find that I shoot more and more digital for the reasons mentioned by Jerry. In addition, proofing becomes a breeze. After a shoot, I edit my images and then burn them to a non-copyable CD using a program called 'Flip Album'. I provide the CD to the client for review and print ordering and offer to sell the CD to the client if they wish -- they always buy it. I shoot with an Olympus E20 and love it as a portrait camera, but the E1 is better yet because of the speed, lenses, and features. My medium format film system is the Bronica G1 system. A lot of great used medium format equipment is available these days -- check out KEH Camera Brokers.
God Bless,
Greg


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5/11/2004 7:07:58 AM

 
linda    Have you tried the canon eos 3? I have found that it takes the same quality pictures as my larger canon. I bought the power booster, and the 550ex flash and I use it for my studio and for outside pictures, I really am enjoying my eos 3.


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5/25/2004 9:08:20 PM

 
James Bowman   Everything is about what works for you and your style and is pleasing to your subject. I have been photographing people with Film, both 35mm and medium format ( 645, 6x7) for years now. I use an Olympus E-1 with Speedotron lights in a home studio these days. The speed and flexabilty with the E-1 is good. It is a 5 megapixel that yeilds 16 x 20 when I need them. I photograph babies and families, this works for me and my subjects are pleased with the finished product, I use Photoshop and an Epson 2200 for proofs. I send the images off to a lab for the real prints. ( they are noticabliy better than the best inkjet ). I do use the big battery pack for the E-1. ( burst is only 12 frames) This little setup works well. A 6x7 properly exposed negative is hard to beat, but for kids, a pro DSLR is the ticket. I went with the E-1 because all my Pro 35mm was Olympus. Cannon's offerings should be heavly considered if you are just starting to invest, they are impressive.


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12/11/2005 4:41:15 AM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Actually with 35mm film, it's not really the camera that determines the quality of the negative. I mean it has a few factors but in the end, it's only a device to hold the film and control the shutter. Granted some bodies will have more autofocus features or better metering capabilities. What controls the end result is all in the film and the lenses. If you put the same film in 2 different bodies, with identical lenses (well the SAME lens, because no two are alike), the same settings, there will be absolutely no difference, so if you want the 3 compared to the 1v and you are understanding of its capabilites compared to the 1v, then it should be great and you will get identical quality. I personally shoot 6x7 format, but I've been doing landscapes and when I get my lights Wednesday I'll start shooting women and to be honest, they quality is top notch (except 4x5 and 8x10 obviously) but I would venture to say that it is too clunkly for shooting children, unless they are all perfect little angels; but we all know there's a devil of a kid here and there! lol. Good luck. I'd say a get a nice 35mm with professional film:

Kodak 160NC
Kodak 160VC
Fuji NPS 160
Fuji NPC 160

and some HIGH quality glass. Go with primes, they are much sharper and you don't really need the versatility of a zoom in a studio, since your tripod will probably be on casters anyways. Go with the 85 or the 135. The 135 L series is much cheaper than the 85 though so if you have a big enough studio you might get flatter results with that. But then again you are shooting family shots so you could be alright with a 50mm as well. I've heard people say that Canon's 50mm f/1.4 is soo amazingly sharp that it should have a red ring on the end of it, and it's only about $350 so that won't eat up your wallet.

Here's the excuse for digital though. Get a nice high powered digital. I would recommend a full frame because in the studio you probably wouldn't want the field of view crop factor (FOVCF). This is because for flattering portrait results you want the flattening effects of a telephoto. Now lets say you get a 50mm, it's going to act as a 80mm on a 1.6 FOVCF which is portrait length but the lens still shoots with the properties of a normal lens which in turn could enlarge noses and make chins look funny. Anyways an excuse to go digital, would be that you can directly hook up your camera to the computer with some nice software that will organize your shots as they are taken and will display the latest one. This is good because you can get yourself a nice 26" flat screen LCD screen, hang it on the wall and the family can see and decide on the pics as they go. This factor, along with instant turnaround will probably be what sways you to go digital. So my take would be get yourself a nice strong digital that will last (the 5D?) with an L series prime lens or two and get a nice lighting system. I just got pretty much everything I wanted with the Paul C. Buff Alienbees. I cannot vouch for their performance because I don't have them yet but price wise for what you get, it's defintely something to look into. Good luck in your endeavors and entrepreneurship.

Justin


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12/11/2005 6:16:31 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  The simple answer Gina, is the same camera that will work in the studio should work for you at home. See what I mean? I agree with Jerry and James. First, whatever camera you use is going to come down to both budget and personal preference. Other than using 35mm for photojournalism (like Jerry) and headshots occasionally, I think you'll find that most professionals use Medium or larger format for studio or location portraiture.

Which one, whether film or digital, is up to you. I suggest you rent what you plan on buying. My own preference for medium format is the Hasselblad because, among other things, it has interchangable backs including a polaroid back. Zeiss lenses, IMHO are the best, and for 35mm I use some very seasoned Nikon F-2A's with Nikkor lenses and motor drives or Leicas with Zeiss glass. For large format, 4x5, I like Zeiss again. I love their sharpness, their precision and coatings.

As for Justin's explanation, while I really know next to nothing about digital equipment, I can safely say that higher quality (film) bodies, from say Nikon, Leica, Hasselblad, Linhof, etc., accept higher end glass and that leads to a better result along with a higher end film body that's precisely made and transports the film in a precise manner, from advancing it to pressure plates.

Also, in all cameras, including SLR models, 35 and MF, the body you attach the lens to, needs to be precisely aligned to the film plane so the lens can properly do its job and produce maximum sharpness. In short Gina, there are a lot of reasons why pros spend a fair amount of dough on high quality equipment. It's also an investment in your career. Seewhatimeaneh?
Take it light.
Mark


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12/11/2005 6:53:04 PM

 
John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
  It really doesn't matter what camera you use. Make certain you shoot with slow film [ISO 100] and, if possible, use a tripod. You want sharp pictures unless, of course, there's a reason to use soft focus [remember the shots of Angela Landbury as Mrs. Flether of Murder She Wrote.]

Too much stuff above...too many opinions based on the responders use of his/her available camera[s.] Spend your money on decent lighting and backdrops. The camera is really secondary as one can get great studio shots with almost any camera [well, maybe not a pinhole.]


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12/20/2005 8:31:47 AM

 
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