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Low budget stills camera


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#1 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 05:15 PM

Can anyone offer advice on what prosumer type digital still camera would be useable for general set use and simple lab communications? Budget is very tight. I was hoping for possibly even a decent fixed lens model that could of course go fully manual. Or maybe a cheaper DSLR like a Rebel XTi or something like it?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 06:23 PM

Can anyone offer advice on what prosumer type digital still camera would be useable for general set use and simple lab communications? Budget is very tight. I was hoping for possibly even a decent fixed lens model that could of course go fully manual. Or maybe a cheaper DSLR like a Rebel XTi or something like it?


Yes, the Canon Rebel would be fine, or the similar Nikon D40X.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 07:29 PM

Canon 20D bodies can be had quite cheaply nowadays.
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#4 Daniel Smith

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 08:32 PM

I personally own a Nikon D40 and get along with it just fine (see my photography page, link below)

However I would suggest looking into the Pentax K100d. The build quality is amazing for a camera of that cost. Only complaint I would have is that I'm not too keen on the smoothness of the shutter.

Everyone just seems to run away when it's not Nikon or Canon... but the Pentax really does seem to be the best value for money.

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 01 January 2008 - 08:33 PM.

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#5 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 10:32 PM

However I would suggest looking into the Pentax K100d. The build quality is amazing for a camera of that cost. Only complaint I would have is that I'm not too keen on the smoothness of the shutter.


I'd suggest looking at the Pentax K10D over the 100D.
The built in shake reduction is a brilliant idea!
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 11:21 PM

I'm just curious what lab communications would be done with stills? It was my impression the main function of a still camera onset was for continuity, shot set-up documentation and possibly behind the scenes stills and publicity shots. I had planned on just using my Finepix and a lap top for continuity and turning my Minolta and Canon still 35mm cameras (as I have several lenses and filters ect) over to an experienced photographer friend of mine who will be working on set as my Behind the scenes and stills photographer in addition to his other jobs (indy film, multiple jobs). I figured a laptop on set could serve several functions but would make continuity a lot simpler and cheaper that Polaroids or prints, as would ANY digital camera, however why do you need a prosumer digital still camera for that? I think a small, inexpensive camera would be a lot more desirable because it could be carried with the script supervisor everywhere and not be in the way AND if God forbid because I really like my little Finepix, it should get damaged, lost or stolen, though it would be REALLY irritating, it wouldn't cost a lot to replace. Is there a flaw in this thinking? If so, please enlighten me. B)
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#7 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 11:48 PM

I forgot to mention that I also planned on bringing along my little Optima mini DV video camera to help document setups and for continuity ect as well because you can also explain verbally what you need to communicate for reference while showing and move around the subject you're trying to document which is actually a great advantage over a still camera. The still cameras would work in conjunction with the video camera for those times when an excess of information is un-necessary and perhaps even could be confusing. B)
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#8 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 01:38 AM

A prosumer camera can come in handy because of its manual settings, giving you the ability to closely match the stills to your film images. You can look at the stills taken at various settings to get an idea of what your final image will look like, and then send those along to the telecine (if you can't make it - which I recommend you should if you can!) to give them an idea of your intentions. Photoshop also comes in handy here if there is a specific look you are going for that you're planning to achieve in post.

I have a Nikon D80 and love it... but my final decision came down to which camera felt more comfortable in my hand. The bodies vary in size a lot and I found some of the other models I looked at were either too small or too front heavy (depending on the lens) to hold comfortably with one hand and shoot for long periods of time.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 08:52 AM

I agree with the above statement of matching up your stills approximately to the asa and aperture you're shooting at. It can also really help to calm the nerves of jittery directors or producers when you or they are trying something abhorrent. A good friend of mine comes out on a lot of shoots with her Nikon D80 and i always ask her to grab me one shot with the asa/f stop i'm working with from a master so I can mess with it later on in photoshop. Then i bring a print of it with me to telecine, and we start from there.
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#10 Matt Pacini

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 07:23 PM

I have a Canon 20D and it is a wonderful camera.

Matt Pacini
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