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Best DSLR for Portraits

miss_v 8 81 England
1 Aug 2010 12:59PM
I am hopefully going to be buying a new GOOD camera. As, at the moment, I have to get through with the family digital camera, which isnt amazing and is now getting worse!

Most of my photos are portraits, and I was wondering what is the best one too buy. I am not amazing at the fiddly buttons, so is there an easy to use one, good for portraits.

Thank you very much,
help will be much appreciated!!

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Toonman 11 1.4k 2 England
1 Aug 2010 1:06PM
Hello Eloise. If you can tell us how much you can spend then we will be able to help better. Smile

jonah794 8 1.7k 11 United Kingdom
1 Aug 2010 1:07PM

Well Eloise - It's not really about the camera, more about the lens for portraits. Here's what I recommend. Smile :

Nikon D60
Nikon 50mm f/1.8
SB-600 Flash (if you can afford it).

All of these items should not be too expensive, and are a great starting point.
Good luck!
WilliamRoar 10 188 United Kingdom
1 Aug 2010 1:10PM
No, No, No!

It needs to be the Canon EOS 5D (Mk1 or 2)
With a 50mm F1.8
User_Removed 7 238
1 Aug 2010 1:10PM
The best DSLR is the one you feel comfortable with. Go to a good camera shop and try a few. Some will feel too large, too heavy, cumbersome etc.

All modern dslr's with about 10mp will give results that will make you smile.

It's not about the brand, its about what is right for you.

1 Aug 2010 1:18PM
Interesting question that I think doesn't really have an answer.

You don't particularly need any special features for portraits, no super fast frame rates or quick focus for example that you might need for sports. Seeing as how with portraits your subject is going to be posing for you to take the picture it is relatively easy. I would suggest that any DSLR is fine and that where you need to spend the money and time is first a good lens, one that can be stopped down to f1.8 or more so that you can throw the background out of focus to concentrate on your subject. Second lighting, direct flash can be harsh especially the built-in flash on the camera, an external flash that can be angled in any direction and ideal can also be used wirelessly so you can position the flash independently of the camera. Then a reflector or scrim is really useful to remove unwanted shadows, you can get a 5-in-1 reflector/scrim for less than 20 that will make huge differences to your portrait shots.

So in summary, don't spend a fortune on the camera, save the money and use it for a good lens, good flash, and a few cheap accessories. See this video for some tips on taking portrait pictures indoors.

1 Aug 2010 1:22PM
WOW, how quickly people jumped in with specific equipment recommendations, I think quite inappropriately.
User_Removed 7 238
1 Aug 2010 1:29PM

Quote:WOW, how quickly people jumped in with specific equipment recommendations, I think quite inappropriately.


csurry 16 9.2k 92
1 Aug 2010 2:07PM
I think you'll find the two recommendations are from junior members expressing enthusiasm and they may even know Eloise, so chill out a little.

Eloise, as you are a junior it really is important that you try out various cameras to see what suits you, most importantly what fits your hand size and is easy and comfortable to use.

Don't discount any brand at this stage. Either try to borrow a camera from friends for a quick shoot or get along to a good camera store and try out how each camera feels. Try to have an idea of what your first purchase might be in terms of camera plus say a kit lens, so you don't get drawn too far off course by the salesperson.

Good luck with whatever you decide to buy, and remember no matter what kit you start with there are always work around to get the images you want, e.g. close up filters rather than a macro lens, and lamps or natural light rather than flash.

Take your time and make a wise decision Grin
sherlob Plus
12 2.9k 129 United Kingdom
1 Aug 2010 2:23PM
Listen to Cheryl - some sound advice. Also - don't be too quick to think that portraits will be your main use. You may find that as you experiment you find other areas that interest you.
ge22y 9 115 12 Wales
1 Aug 2010 3:21PM
Cheryl has given you some sound advice, it will depend on 2 factors your budget and what feels comfortable, I've had a quick look at your portfolio and if you are the same age and of similar size to your friends then you may find the Canon 5DII to big in your hands and to heavy, the last thing you want is to cut a shoot short or not get the pin sharp shots you want because your arms are aching so something like the Canon 1000D or the 500/550D might fit you better. It is really down to the lenses then, Canon do a great 50mm 1.8 lens for 90, a real bargain. Nikon also do comparable kit, personally I use Nikon but don't have any experience with their D3000/D5000 series, I've had a 450D and it was a great little camera but too small for my hands.
ecowarrior 11 577 England
1 Aug 2010 4:03PM
I think there is a common theme running through this, that being that whatever camera you go for, it's the lens that will make the difference in terms of the quality of photos you go for.

If you go out and buy a DSLR 'kit' as is so widely sold, then you'll end up with a 'reasonable but nothing-special' zoom lens. It's a good general purpose lens, but it won't be of the highest quality.

However, if you buy a camera body separately, then you can go out and choose the lens(es) you want. And absolutely everybody is recommending the same lens here, and I totally agree. The 50mm 1.8 (any DSLR manufacturer should have one in their armoury) will be a perfect camera for portraits. I even did a wedding the other week (as secondary photographer) and mine hardly left my camera, and got some fantastic shots. It will give you sharp photos (noticeably sharper than a kit lens), give you the ability to shoot in lower light than other 'slower' lenses, and it's conveniently cheaper that just about any other lens in the range. It might not have the zoom-capability but you can get the same result simply by using your legs and feet! i.e. you move towards or away from the subject. It also has the advantage of being very lightweight.

One bit of advice - check that the camera you buy and the lens you buy will suit each other. There was a recommendation above for a Nikon D60 with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8. Both great, but (I think) neither the body nor the lens have the auto-focus motor, so you'd end up with only manual-focus with that combination I believe. In my opinion this is something that Nikon should really address, by releasing a 50mm 1.8 WITH the autofocus motor for a similar price. But they haven't, so it might be worth you looking at other makes for that reason - a Canon 450D as suggested above might just suit YOU - ladies have smaller hands, and the 450D is small and lightweight, so might be perfect for you.

Consider looking secondhand too - you will find used but perfectly good cameras such as the 450D (for example) out there as people trade up to the newer models.
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
1 Aug 2010 5:22PM
It never ceases to amaze me, Ask a simple question get some simple answers......Smile

Or so you might think......Grin

Some variation on the theme of " What Makes A Good Portrait Lens " .

In days of old you would be told it has to be around 85 to 90mm ......Smile

So why does everyone jump straight to 50mm, When even on a crop sensor that only works out at 75mm ( + or - brand dependant ) Thats assuming we rule out the Micro 4/3rds and variants, That have even stranger requirements......Sad

It also seems apparent that many are afraid to recommend a particular camera/lens brand, For fear of being mauled by followers of all the brands not mentioned......Smile Smile Smile

For examples of the sort of reactions to daring to recommend a brand name, Look no further than a few posts above, In this very thread.

What a pair of naughty boys, Jonah794 & Williamroar.......Tisk tisk, tha " Anti Brand Recommendation Squad " will be after you, Ooppsss to late, Well thats your pocket money up the swaney for a week or two......Smile Grin Wink

Whatever, There is one small consideration without which even brand brandishing can not begin, Its that of overall budget......Tongue

So perhaps our " OP " can come back and give us a clue as to how much she wants to spend.......Smile

photofrenzy 11 424 2 United Kingdom
1 Aug 2010 5:23PM
Eloise forget about comments like No you need full frame or a 5dmk1 or 2 its all nonsence and wouldnt buy either of them anyway .

Any camera can take an image of ANYTHING remember that.

So there isnt such thing as the BEST camera for this Best camera for that its total nonsence .

You can go out and buy a five year old 6 mp dslr and still take some beauty portraints with it , You dont need massive amounts of pixels like most Canon users would have you believe. Just a aps.c format will surfice or even a COMPACT like the PANASONIC LUMIX LX3 will give you descent portraits.

Poeple often forget that there is quite a few very good digital compact cameras on the market , Now personally i use the Nikon D3 12 mp with 105 f2.8 vr or 70-200 f2.8 vr for my portraits BUT your not me so i wouldnt sit here and say buy a D3 with this lens or that. because every single camera you buy will take a portrait you just simply sit the person in front of the camera that you have and take a shot. But do not overlook the digital compacts check out the reviews on the PANASONIC LUMIX LX3 you may be pleasantly surprised Wink
miss_v 8 81 England
1 Aug 2010 5:38PM
WOW! what a load of brillian advice! Thankyou to everyone Smile
When the time come, and when i have some money Wink i will go into a camera shop and have a GOOD look around.. I'll take ALL of your advice into consideration, and get the camera that i think is right for ME!

Thankyou very much! Smile you allllll helped Smile

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