Tuesday, August 16, 2011
DSLRS For The Minimalist
Dig into the lower-priced, but highly capable cameras that are available, and you may find that they fit your style and workflow. Top-of-the-range cameras aren’t necessarily the best tools for every professional photographer.
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
All entry- and mid-level DSLRs have built-in flash units, which come in handy in a pinch. Many also offer similar capabilities as the pro cameras when using external flash units, including wired and wireless off-camera TTL operation. None of the $5,000-plus pro DSLRs has a built-in flash unit.
Pro and mid-level DSLRs have built-in PC terminals to connect studio flash units, which the entry-level models lack. So if you do studio work with corded studio flash units, the entry-level DSLRs aren't ideal (although they work well with hot lights and can trigger studio flash systems via an accessory trigger). All DSLRs offer a wide range of white-balance adjustments (and full control in postprocessing if you shoot RAW files), so this makes them all excellent for a wide variety of lighting situations—a big advantage over film.
Pro DSLRs will make a lot more shots on a single battery charge than lower-level cameras—4,000 or so, compared to 1,000 to 1,200 for a mid-level model and 500 to 600 for an entry-level camera. But this is a big concern only if you shoot on location where you can't recharge batteries easily. And many mid- and even entry-level DSLRs have accessory battery holders available, which provide more heft and more battery life.
The top pro cameras start at $4,999. If you need their specific advantages, they're worth it. If you don't need all of those assets, however, there's not really much reason to pay for them. A DSLR doesn't have to last 10 years; it will be technologically obsolete long before that. But another consideration is client perception. It sounds silly, but it's absolutely true—if your client is going to be there when you shoot, you may get some flak about using a "lesser" camera for the job. The distinct looks of your pro-series lenses should reduce any whispering behind your back, and if you do get some sideways glances, you always can tell the client that being a gear minimalist helps you focus on the shot instead of the camera.
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